BEAUMONT, Texas (March 16)—A Texas state district judge in Beaumont has approved an agreement settling 30 different class action lawsuits filed in the wake of the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires in August 2000.
The settlement, which covers a class of about 15 million people, includes a pledge to include cap plies in the manufacture of some 45 different Firestone tire models; a $15.5 million, three-year consumer campaign; and $19 million in attorneys' fees. The Associated Press estimated the total cost of the settlement at $149 million, an amount a Bridgestone/Firestone spokesman said was probably correct.
"We've said all along that we believe this settlement is fair and beneficial to all parties," the spokesman said. "This is a part of our past we'd much rather see in our rear-view mirror."
There were, however, some 110 parties who objected to the settlement on the grounds that it benefited the attorneys too much and the plaintiffs too little, and they have the right to appeal the agreement. "They could delay the impact of the settlement for months, if not years," the BFS spokesman said. Attorneys on both sides of the settlement question could not be reached for comment.