Ford Motor Co. settles what would have been the first case to reach trial since the onset of the Firestone tire recall in the summer of 2000. The carmaker reaches a settlement for an undisclosed amount in the case of a Texas woman killed in a rollover accident while a passenger in a Ford Explorer after a tread separation. Bridgestone/Firestone agreed to pay an undisclosed settlement amount in August to the woman's family. A jury had been selected for the Ford suit and opening statements were to begin when the settlement was reached. Meanwhile, a judge ruled Ford need not be supervised as it offers buyout packages to reduce the white collar workforce by 5,000 by year end. The call for supervision was from a group of managers claiming the carmaker's controversial — and subsequently dropped — employee grading system was targeting older managers. Still to be decided is whether lawsuits against the company can be certified as class actions.