Texas family settles Firestone lawsuit

A Texas family who sued Bridgestone/Firestone for devastating injuries they suffered when their Ford Explorer flipped over after a tire blew out has settled the case for an undisclosed sum, a U.S. judge said.

"The parties have reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount," U.S. District Court Judge Filemon Vela said.

The settlement came on the fourth day of jury deliberations. It was the first of about 400 suits against the beleaguered tiremaker. The plaintiffs had sought $1 billion in damages.

Firestone's former corporate pal Ford Motor Co. F.N also was a defendant in the case, but had earlier settled with the plaintiffs for $6 million.

The closely watched lawsuit was the first of hundreds of such cases to go to trial.

Pharr, Texas, physician Joel Rodriguez sued after his family had an accident while driving on a Mexican highway in March of last year. His wife Marisa, 39, was left brain-damaged and wheelchair-bound. Rodriguez, his brother and 3-year-old son were also seriously injured.

The family alleged that Firestone skimped on materials and hid early indications of problems with the tire's design.

In most of the accidents linked to Firestone, the tires were installed on Ford Motor Company's F.N popular Explorer sport utility vehicles, which has sparked a vicious war of words between the long-time corporate partners, who blame each other for the crashes

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