McALLEN, Texas (Aug. 8, 2001)—A Texas federal judge has denied a plaintiff's motion to remand his case against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Ford Motor Co. and a Ford dealer to state court. U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela ruled that the case brought by Joel Rodriguez will go to trial as scheduled in his court Aug. 13.
Bridgestone/Firestone hailed the decision in a press release, saying that Judge Vela's ruling “affirms the longstanding constitutional principle that parties from different states have the right to have their case heard in federal court.”
Ironically, Bridgestone/Firestone had sought unsuccessfully to have Judge Vela recuse himself because his son, Filemon Vela Jr., represents a plaintiff in another case against the tire maker. Mr. Rodriguez was driving with his family in Mexico in March 2000 when a tire on their 1998 Ford Explorer failed. The vehicle rolled over, injuring all four of its occupants and permanently disabling Marisa Rodriguez, Joel Rodriguez's wife.