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Michelin settles in Texas rollover case

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Michelin North America Inc. opted out of the "Burk Van Crash Trial" in Wichita Falls, Texas, yesterday by settling with the plaintiffs. Shortly thereafter, Daimler/Chrysler also settled.

"Michelin has resolved the suit to its satisfaction and maintains that the nine-year-old tire in question had no quality or workmanship issues," said the company in an official statement.

The lawsuit stemmed from the a one car accident on May 8, 2001. A Dodge Ram 3500 church van with 12 passengers rolled over after a Michelin tire blew and the driver was unable to bring the vehicle under control. The driver and three passengers were killed; the other eight passengers were injured.

Plaintiffs' lawyers claimed the Michelin tire had manufacturing defects and the 15-passenger Dodge Ram 3500 had an unsafe design. They alleged that both companies knew about the problems and failed to properly warn the First Assembly of God church in Burkburnett, Texas, and its congregation about the risks of driving the van.

The amount and terms of the settlements, which were made as jury selection entered its second day, were not disclosed. All records were sealed as part of the agreement.

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