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Bridgestone/Firestone settles class action suit

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC settled a nationwide class action lawsuit involving Firestone tires. The tires were the subject of the company’s August 9, 2000, voluntary recall and the October 4, 2001, replacement program.

Bridgestone/Firestone says these lawsuits involved customers who had tires that were among those that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating in May 2000, but who did not suffer personal injury or property damage.

The settlement, according to the company, is designed to benefit Bridgestone/Firestone customers by focusing on consumer safety. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will spend $15,450,000 on a three-year consumer education and awareness program that will focus on tire inflation, tire use, tire maintenance, driving safety and automobile maintenance.

The consumer education campaign will include a national media campaign focused on tire safety and maintenance. "We remain committed to safety," says Christine Karbowiak, vice-president of public affairs for Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.

Bridgestone/Firestone also announced that for seven years, "certain tires will be manufactured with cap strips, nylon strips, or comparable technology that provides the same or better high speed capability."

If there are any remaining members of the class action suit with tires from the August 2000 recall or the October 2001 replacement program that are still on their vehicles, they can take the tires to a Firestone Tire and Service Center to be replaced at no charge, according to the company. Class members who would like to receive more information about the settlement may call, toll free, (866) 345-0360.

The agreement resolves numerous class action lawsuits filed against the company since August 2000, when Bridgestone/Firestone voluntarily recalled certain Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT brand tires. The company "denies any wrongdoing or liability and believes this action and all related actions are without merit," but entered the settlement "to avoid the burden and expense of protracted litigation."

The settlement has been presented to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd District Court in Beaumont, Texas, for approval.

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