Sears, Roebuck and Co. may appeal a case involving a Bridgestone tire, while Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford Motor Co. have settled a vehicle rollover/tire failure suit.
Ford and BFS settled July 17 in Los Angeles Superior Court with the family of Gary Lynn Meek and his 13-year-old granddaughter Amy Meek who died in the rollover of a Ford Explorer equipped with Firestone tires.
Meanwhile, Sears probably will appeal the $29 million verdict awarded by a Texas jury to the family of Terry Tripp, a Sears spokeswoman said. Mr. Tripp was killed in a September 2000 crash of a Chevrolet Blazer equipped with Bridgestone Dueler APT tires.
BFS was judged 65-percent responsible in the accident; Sears was held 35-percent because the tire was repaired, purchased and mounted at one of its outlets.
BFS came to a confidential agreement with the Tripp family several months before the case went to trial and has completed its part in the case, a spokeswoman said. The trial judge was expected to reduce the jury award because of the tire maker's settlement.
The Meeks were on vacation in Wyoming in August 2000 when the left-rear tire on their Explorer allegedly suffered a tread separation, causing the vehicle to overturn. The accident occurred nine days after BFS announced the recall of 6.5 million tires-including the ones on the Meeks' vehicle-and they hadn't heard about it, attorneys for the family claimed.
``The family feels it has satisfied its goal of holding Ford and Firestone accountable,'' the Meeks' attorney said in a statement.
This case had the potential to be the first rollover suit involving both Ford and BFS to be tried in its entirety, a Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman said. Both companies have settled hundreds of rollover cases. In Texas a case was tried last summer, the spokeswoman noted, but Ford settled before that trial.
Mr. Tripp was riding in a Chevy Blazer near Bryan, Texas, in September 2000 when a Dueler tire on the vehicle allegedly separated, causing the driver to lose control and the vehicle to roll over.
``We continue to believe that Sears' handling of the tire was entirely proper and appropriate,'' the Sears spokeswoman said after the July 3 verdict.
``We stand behind the quality of our Dueler line of tires,'' BFS said. ``They have provided hundreds of millions of miles of safe driving for millions of satisfied consumers.''