LOS ANGELES (Jan. 10, 2003) — A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles has remanded a national class-action lawsuit against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Bridgestone Corp. to the California state court system, rejecting a motion by BFS to have the case heard in federal court.
BFS said that while it disagreed with Judge Christina A. Snyder's decision, it is prepared to defend itself in the state court system and would pursue its motion to have the case dismissed altogether. BFS had sought to move the trial to federal court, where it had petitioned the judge to have Bridgestone Corp. dropped from the suit, and secondly to have the case dismissed altogether.
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.
For its part, BFS said: “NHTSA has reviewed these tires and clearly stated they found no evidence of defect…. In closing its investigation, NHTSA noted that the claims rates on the Steeltex tires are lower than competitive tires. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss those issues in the California state court.”
Following Judge Snyder's decision, Joseph L. Lisoni remarked: "Now that it has been returned to its proper court jurisdiction, we are now hopeful that the defendants will not prolong this litigation. Our main goal has always been to get the Steeltex tires off the streets and we urge Bridgestone/Firestone to recall them immediately.”
In its response, BFS said, “We are disappointed that certain plaintiffs' lawyers will try to create fear and concern among the driving public for their own personal gain.”