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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings The settlements apply to Explorers in model years 1991 through 2001, he said. Consumers will be able to apply for the vouchers through a Web site starting Monday if a Sacramento judge gives preliminary approval to the settlement. The parties plan to ask Superior Court Judge David De Alba to give final approval during a hearing in April, after those covered by the settlement have had time to apply for the vouchers, Roddy said. Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley confirmed a settlement had been reached but declined to comment further. “Once the judge issues a ruling on Monday, a joint statement between Ford and the plaintiffs will be issued,” she said in an emailed statement. Ford has faced wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits across the country stemming from a series of rollover accidents that involved earlier models of its popular Explorer. In 2000, the federal government began investigating the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tires that had been standard equipment on Explorers after receiving numerous complaints. More than 250 people were killed and hundreds more injured in accidents involving tread separation on the tires, most of which were on Explorers at the time they failed. Each company blamed the other for the rollovers, with the Nashville-based tire manufacturer saying the Explorers’ earlier design was faulty. The agreement announced Wednesday in California ends all the outstanding lawsuits against Ford stemmming from the Explorer rollovers, Kinley said. “This does settle them all,” she said. She would not say how much Ford has paid to settle earlier claims. Customers affected by the four-state settlement will be notified in late December and early January, she said. “Ford’s position on this is we feel this is fair and reasonable, and in the best interest of our customers,” Kinley said in a telephone interview. The earliest of the four lawsuits was filed in 2000. The consolidated case went to trial for 50 days earlier this year before the parties announced in October that they were close to a settlement. Many of the Explorers owned by the plaintiffs had been purchased between 1990 and 2000 and are no longer on the road, Roddy said. If the judge approves the preliminary settlement, the parties will announce a toll-free number and Internet site for consumers, followed by the mailed notices to Explorer owners. The vouchers can be used not only by plaintiffs’ family members but also can be transferred to anyone in the vehicle owner’s state, Roddy said. “You can give it to your neighbor if he’s in the market,” he said. The settlement also requires Ford to distribute information about the rollover dangers of sport utility vehicles and to limit safety claims in its advertising.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday agreed to settle class-action lawsuits covering plaintiffs in four states who claimed its Explorers were prone to rollovers, the company and an attorney for the plaintiffs said. The settlement applies to about 1 million people in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas, said Kevin P. Roddy, a New Jersey attorney and co-counsel for the SUV owners who brought the lawsuit. He said the settlement will be filed later Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court. It will allow vehicle owners to apply for $500 vouchers to buy new Explorers or $300 vouchers to buy other Ford or Lincoln Mercury products, Roddy told The Associated Press.last_img read more