A California lawyer has filed a lawsuit demanding that Bridgestone Corp.'s US unit recall 27.5 million Steeltex tyres that allegedly suffer from tread separation similar to that which led to a massive recall two years ago, Reuters reported.

Reuters said the suit seeks class action status and could cost Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. as much as $2.75 billion to recall roughly 27.5 million Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T tyres.

A Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman told Reuters that the Steeltex tyres had been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from Sept. 2000 through April 2002, and no defects were found.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit contends the tyres contain a lamination defect that can cause the tread to separate from the rest of the tyre, "in a matter of seconds, leading to the tyre's total destruction," lawyers said in a statement.

Reuters said the suit was filed on behalf of Roger Littell of Riverside, California, who has seen four Steeltex tyres on his 1999 motor home disintegrate, according to the lawyers.

Firestone recalled 6.5 million tyres two years ago, most of them fitted to Ford Explorer SUVs, after officials linked the tyres to a series of fatal accidents, Reuters said.