Bridgestone/Firestone Settles Almost 40% of Personal Injury Suits

July 25, 2001

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has reportedly settled approximately 40 percent of personal-injury lawsuits filed against the company over its recalled Wilderness AT and ATX tires.

According to an AP article, Bridgestone/Firestone set up a reserve fund of $851 million last year to cover recall costs. Of that total, $463 million set for legal expenses was offset by $98 million in product liability insurance. The legal reserve was later increased by $300 million.

Bridgestone/Firestone tire failures in the U.S. have been linked to about 203 deaths and more than 700 injuries, resulting in approximately 500 personal injury lawsuits and 100 class-action product liability lawsuits, none of which have yet gone to trial. Ford Motor Co., whose Ford Explorer was involved in a significant number of the accidents, is also implicated in a number of the lawsuits filed against Bridgestone/Firestone.

According to a Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman, approximately 200 suits, mostly in Texas and Florida, have been settled, and more settlements are in the works. Financial details of the settlements were not disclosed.

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