LOS ANGELES (Jan. 7, 2003) — A federal judge has ruled preliminarily to remand a class-action lawsuit against Bridgestone Corp. and Bridgestone/Firestone to the local court, sidestepping temporarily Bridgestone's request to dismiss the suit altogether.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder ruled on Jan. 6 that the case—which demands that the tire maker recall 27.5 million Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T tires—should be returned to Riverside County Superior Court.
Judge Snyder tentatively denied two motions by Bridgestone attorneys seeking to have Bridgestone Corp. dropped from the suit, and to dismiss the lawsuit entirely. The judge was to hear arguments by Bridgestone attorneys to keep the case in federal court before she was to issue a final ruling on dismissal.
If the case is moved back to state court, the motion to dismiss will be taken up at that court level, a Bridgestone spokesman said. If the case stays in federal court, Judge Snyder will consider the motion to dismiss.
In a statement, Bridgestone expressed disappointment that that “certain plaintiffs lawyers will try to create fear and concern among the driving public for their own personal gain.”
The suit was brought originally by Pasadena, Calif.-based Lisoni & Lisoni on Aug. 13, charging that the Steeltex tire series is defective and prone to tread separations that allegedly have resulted in thousands of accidents causing deaths, injuries and property damage.
Specifically, BFS and its parent, Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., are charged with fraudulent concealment, deceptive practices, violation of unfair practices act, strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty.
The plaintiffs' attorneys also have petitioned the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to request it reopen an investigation of the Steeltex tire series which the agency suspended on April 9, 2002.
Steeltex tires pirimarily have been standard equipment on 43 models of pickups, vans, trucks and mobile homes, mostly made by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., according to sources familiar with the case.