INDIO, Calif.—A California Superior Court judge again has denied certification of a class action lawsuit against Bridgestone/Firestone for alleged defects in Firestone Steeltex radial light truck tires.
The attorneys who filed the class action simply never identified a single, common design defect among 103 different populations of Steeltex tires, Judge Christopher J. Sheldon of the Indio court explained in a notice Jan. 31, three days after he made his ruling against certification.
The plaintiffs´ basic argument is that BFS "de-engineered" the Steeltex as part of a company-wide cost-cutting program, Sheldon noted in his ruling. "Unfortunately for plaintiffs, nowhere in their moving papers is a coherent definition of ´de-engineering´ provided," he said.
BFS said it is pleased but not surprised by Sheldon´s decision, adding it agreed with Sheldon that the plaintiffs never presented adequate evidence to support certification of a class action.
A team of lawyers led by Pasadena, Calif., attorney Joseph L. Lisoni filed its class action in August 2002, claiming that Steeltex tires are inherently prone to tread separation and seeking the court-ordered recall of some 30 million tires. Sheldon denied certification in March 2004.
The California attorney said he could refile the class action in Los Angeles federal court, or proceed with the simple product liability suit that formed the basis for the class action "and use that as a forum to tell the world what we know about Steeltex tires."
Lisoni said he and his wife and law partner, Gail M. Lisoni, are completing a book about Steeltex tires that they plan to post on their Web site within 120 days.
The Steeltex tire also has been the subject of three defect investigations at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two of them based on petitions by Lisoni. In every case, the agency found no evidence of a defect trend among the tires.