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Firestone CEO Ordered to Testify in Case Involving Two Deaths

28 August 2000

Firestone CEO Masatoshi Ono Ordered to Testify in Case Involving Two Deaths Related to Tire Failure
    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Aug. 27 According to the Corpus
Christi, Texas law firms of Constant & Vela and Robert Patterson & Associates,
on August 25, 2000, Texas State District Judge John Pope ordered
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. to present its Chief Executive Officer, Masatoshi
Ono, for a deposition in a case brought on behalf of the families of Patricio
and Nidia Leal, who were killed in May 1999 near Brownsville, Texas while
travelling in a Ford Explorer equipped with now-recalled Firestone ATX tires.
Ono, along with Firestone employees Gary Crigger, Christine Karbowiak and
Robert Wyant, have been ordered to give testimony on September 15, 2000 in

    Robert Patterson and Anthony Constant said
    "The testimony of Mr. Ono is extremely significant because he has made
statements indicating Firestone was aware of the problems with its tires and
was taking steps to address the situation without advising the government or
the public.  This will be the first opportunity for Mr. Ono to be formally
questioned about his company's conduct and its knowledge of the defect."
    Attorneys Robert Patterson, Anthony Constant and Filemon Vela are
representing the children of Patricio and Nidia Leal in a lawsuit pending in
the 381st District Court in Starr County, Texas.  The case is currently set
for trial on October 16, 2000.  This will be the first case related to
Firestone tire failures to reach trial since the recall.