WASHINGTON (May 5, 2003)—The attorney leading a class action suit against Bridgestone/Firestone produced a memo at a press conference May 5 he claims shows the firm deliberately made shoddy Steeltex tires, a document BFS said isn't new and proves nothing.
Joesph L. Lisoni, the Pasadena, Calif., lawyer leading an effort to get 30 million Steeltex tires recalled, said the July 25, 1994, memo from Bridgestone Corp. in Japan to Bridgestone/Firestone in Nashville shows BFS cut corners to reduce costs with the tire.
The document outlined “Project 95,” a Bridgestone plan to reduce operating costs between 1994 and 1997. The recommended actions included the purchase of off-spec synthetic polymers and pigments, as well as making manufacturing decisions that would result in increased belt edge separations, according to the document.
A BFS spokesman, however, gave no merit to the memo. “They're always trotting out that document in every court case that involves us,” he said.
Mr. Lisoni claimed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—which in 2002 investigated the tire and found no defect trend with it—has more than 4,000 accidents on file directly attributable to Steeltex failures, and he has proof of 7,000 others.