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Ford, Michelin Settle With Defendants In South Texas Tire Death Suit

Jun 5, 2002 | AP The family of a Mexican couple killed in a Ford Explorer rollover reached an undisclosed settlement with defendants including Ford Motor Co. and Michelin North America, Inc.

Parties in the lawsuit settled following jury selection in state district court in Edinburg.

Attorneys for survivors of Raul Aguirre Pedraza and Ana Maria Martinez claimed Ford and Uniroyal were negligent and liable for designing, respectively "defective and unreasonably dangerous" vehicles and tires. Ideal Autos, Inc., also named in the lawsuit, was blamed for marketing and selling the tire. Tipton Motors, Inc. was named for performing improper repairs on the 1995 vehicle.

Shortly before the June 7, 2000, accident, Pedraza and his wife had transferred a Uniroyal "Tiger Paw" tire from a Chevrolet they owned to the Explorer.

According to court papers, the tire failed and the vehicle became uncontrollable and rolled over, causing their deaths.

"Michelin is satisfied with the settlement," Michelin spokeswoman Nan Banks said, adding that the tire had had an improper repair and was 13 years old at the time of the accident. Michelin acquired the Uniroyal brand in 1989.

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