Ford, Firestone Settle Rollover
LOS ANGELES September 19, 2002
Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone Corp. unit Firestone settled
a lawsuit brought by a college student who suffered brain
injuries as a result of a 1999 rollover accident involving
her Ford Explorer, said the plaintiff's lawyer.
The settlement amount was not disclosed and the companies
did not admit liability in the agreement that ended one of
the few rollover cases to go trial in the United States,
attorney John Denove told Reuters.
"I can't tell you the amount of settlement but the plaintiff
is hoping that that kind of settlement will make (the
companies) understand that they can't get away with that
kind of conduct," Denove said. "They did not admit to
liability. They will never admit to any liability even
though everyone agrees that these were defective tires."
As part of the agreement, the companies asked for the return
of the de-treaded left rear tire that allegedly caused the
Oct. 31, 1999, accident on a highway near Bakersfield,
California, John Rowell, another attorney for plaintiff,
The settlement was reached late on Thursday morning during a
week-long break in what was expected to be a three-month
trial in Los Angeles, Denove said. The settlement
negotiations had begun again a day earlier.
"They made us an offer that the clients couldn't refuse,"
In the Sept. 1 opening statements, Denove told jurors that
his 21-year-old client, Cristina Hernandez, suffered brain
injuries and post-traumatic stress that probably ended her
dream of becoming a surgeon when the tire lost its tread and
her 1997 Ford Explorer rolled over, killing one of her
Ford and Firestone attorneys argued that the tire had been
damaged long before the tread separated from the steel belt
and that Hernandez's injuries would not prevent her from
becoming a surgeon.
Firestone spokesman Dan MacDonald said the company was
pleased to have reached a settlement in the Hernandez case.
"We are always open to a settlement that is acceptable to
both parties and we are pleased that we could work something
out in this case," MacDonald said.
If the jury had rendered a verdict, the case would have been
one of the first in the United States to establish whether
the companies were liable in tire-related accidents with the
Federal regulators have linked defective Firestone tires to
crashes that killed 271 people and injured hundreds more.
Many of those tires were installed as standard equipment on
Ford Explorers and the company spent millions of dollars
recalling tires and replacing them.
This has been a public service message from the Los Angeles
Motor Vehicle Accident attorneys at Cheong, Denove, Rowell, Bennett
We have the special knowledge and
skill to expertly handle complex areas of the law relating to
personal injury and wrongful death cases as a result of motor
vehicle accidents, train accidents and other
common carrier accidents.
At Cheong, Denove, Rowell, Bennett
& Hapuarachy we believe the more you know, the better choice you will
was selected by Law Dragon as one of the
Leading Attorneys in America. They credit him for taking
Firestone to task for equipping millions of vehicles with tires
that blew out too easily. (Lawdragon,
started his career working on Grinshaw v.
Ford Motor Co., the famous Pinto exploding gas tank
Throughout his career, John has represented people injured
in auto accidents. He has authored articles which deal with
the defenses commonly asserted in these cases,
How to Determine if Seatbelts Were in Use.
Bringing to bear his engineering experience from the
products liability arena to auto accident cases has led to
some spectacular results.