McALLEN Texas (Aug. 24, 2001) - A Texas family that sued Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. for $1 billion over injuries suffered in a tire-related accident in Mexico has settled the case for an undisclosed sum.
The closely watched lawsuit was the first to go to trial out of several hundred cases involving rollover accidents of Ford Explorers shod with Firestone Wilderness AT tires.
The settlement came on the fourth day of jury deliberations. Although no details were released, news reports said the settlement was for $7.85 million, attributing the statement to sources close to the case.
Ford Motor Co., the vehicle's manufacturer, settled earlier with the plaintiffs for $6 million.
Pharr, Texas, physician Joel Rodriguez sued following an accident on a Mexican highway in March of 2000. His wife, Marisa, was left brain-damaged and wheelchair-bound. Mr. Rodriguez, his brother and 3-year-old son also were injured.
The family alleged that Firestone skimped on materials and hid early indications of problems with the tire´s design.
Bridgestone/Firestone, in a prepared statement, said it was glad to have reached a resolution with the Rodriguez family.
"Since the outset, when we provided financial assistance to help with the family´s medical bills," BFS said, "we have been hopeful we could reach a fair settlement that would also bring closure to them following the accident.
"...We see this as a reflection of the responsibility we feel for all Bridgestone/Firestone products and the people who use them," the company said.