Center for Auto Safety Sues Ford & Bridgestone/Firestone



August 21,2000Center for Auto Safety Sues Ford & Bridgestone/FirestoneReplacement of All ATX, ATX II and Wilderness Tires Sought

The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) today filed suit to force Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone to replace all ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires regardless of size and the plant where made. The suit, filed in US District Court in Washington DC, seeks injunctive relief based on CAS' organizational status as the leading non-profit auto safety group in the country. The number of tires covered by the lawsuit is at least twice as large as the 6.5 million tires which Bridgestone/Firestone has already agreed to recall. Although CAS has filed numerous lawsuits against regulatory agencies and has opposed class action settlements, this is the first lawsuit it has filed against a corporation since its founding in 1970.

CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow stated:

The Center has filed this lawsuit to force the replacement of all ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires because they represent one of the most lethal defects ever with 62 deaths known already. Over the past 20 years, CAS has seen the auto industry avoid or limit one recall after another by hiding defects and negotiating inadequate settlements from an agency whose budget and enforcement authority is too small for the job. The Safety Act preserves the publicÕs right to file lawsuits over vehicle defects. Today we are exercising our right to sue on behalf of the public still riding on or sharing the road with defective Firestone tires.

CAS was the leading force behind the recall of 14.5 million Firestone 500 steel belted radials (made through January 1, 1977) for tread separation in December 1978 and 5 million more in July 1980 (made after January 1, 1977). Firestone tried to limit its recall liability then similar to now by claiming certain tires were not defective. Among the many representative lawsuits filed by CAS are:

Emission recalls: CAS v EPA, 731 F.2d 16 (D.C. Cir. 1984)
Vehicle bumper standards: CAS v Peck, 751 F.2d 1336 (D.C. Cir. 1985)
Tire quality grading standards: Public Citizen & CAS v Steed, 733 F.2d 93 (D.C. Cir. 1984).
Highway safety standards: CAS v. Cox, 582 F.2d 689 (D.C. Cir. 1978)