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S Amdt 1799 - Product Liability Reform - Key Vote

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Amendment - Amendment Tabled (Senate) (53-45) -

Title: Product Liability Reform

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to table an amendment to S 250 that establishes uniform national standards for product liability lawsuits with respect to dispute resolutions, product seller liability, punitive damages, “several” liability, and other factors related to damages awarded to plaintiffs.

Highlights:
- Allows the court to extend the arbitration period for up to 60 days if the parties are unable to reach a settlement [sec. 221 (d)]. - Specifies that if the plaintiff rejects a settlement and the court awards the plaintiff an amount equal to or more than the offer, then the court may consider the plaintiff's legal/attorney fees and costs when entering a judgment against the defendant [sec. 221 (e)]. - Specifies that if the plaintiff rejects a settlement but the verdict awards the plaintiff an amount equal to less than the offer, then the court may reduce the amount of the verdict to compensate for defendant's attorney/legal fees and costs [sec. 221 (f)]. - Limits punitive damages to cases in which the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are as a result of the defendant's "conscious, flagrant indifference to the safety of those persons who might be harmed by a product" [sec. 233 (a)]. - Prohibits punitive damages from being awarded if the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in choosing alternative product designs, formulations, instructors, or warning notices [sec. 233 (a)]. - Prohibits punitive damages from being awarded in cases involving drugs, medical devices, or aircrafts that are approved by the Federal Drug Administration or Federal Aviation Administration, unless the defendant withheld from or misrepresented information reported to the FDA or FAA [sec. 233 (c)]. - Requires that noneconomic damages be allocated to each defendant in direct proportion to the defendant's percentage of responsibility for the injuries incurred by the plaintiff [sec. 236 (a)]. - Annuls any civil action unless it is filed within two years of the time that the injured party discovered or should have discovered the harm and its cause [sec. 234 (a)]. - Prohibits injured parties from filing a civil action as a result of injuries incurred by workplace products that are more than 25 years old, provided that the injured party received or is eligible for workers compensation as a result of the harm caused by the product [sec. 234 (b)]. - Allows an employer or worker's compensation insurer to recover from the manufacturer or product seller any amount paid as workers' compensation benefits and the value of all workers' compensation benefits to which an employee is entitled to if a civil action has been filed against the employer for harm caused by the manufacturer or product seller's product [sec. 235 (a)]. - Prohibits individuals from suing if drug or alcohol intoxication was the primary reason (more than 50 percent responsible) for their injuries [sec. 237 (a)]. - Finds that a product seller other than a manufacturer is liable only if [sec. 232 (a)]:
    - The seller failed to exercise reasonable care and that was the cause of the plaintiff's injuries; or - The seller made an express warranty and the product failed to conform to the warranty.
- Finds that a product seller is liable in the same manner as a manufacturer if the manufacturer is located outside of the country or is unable to pay for damages [sec. 232 (c)]. - Allows any person to bring a civil action against an aviation manufacturer for harm caused by an aviation accident if (Sec. 305):
    - The aircraft was defective, being used properly at the time of the accident, and such defection was the cause of the plaintiff's harm; - The manufacturer, upon releasing the aircraft, knew or should have known about the dangers that caused the plaintiff's harm and failed to provide or take reasonable steps to provide warnings or instructions; or - The manufacturer made an express warranty that relates to the aspect of the product that cause the plaintiff's harm and the product failed to conform to such warranty.
- Specifies that an aviation manufacturer is not liable if the defective condition could have been corrected by compliance with an airworthiness directive, and if that directive was issued within a reasonable time before the accident [sec. 305 (c)]. - Provides that all actions for harm caused by an aviation accident will be governed by comparative responsibility, meaning the fault of each party involved will be compared during the civil action (Sec. 306). - Prohibits a civil action from being filed against an aviation manufacturer for an aviation accident after 20 years from the date the aircraft was delivered to the purchaser or lessee (Sec. 307).
Note:

NOTE: A SENATOR MAY MOVE TO TABLE ANY PENDING LEGISLATION, THUS HALTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION. A "YEA" VOTE IS IN SUPPORT OF HALTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION, AND A "NAY" VOTE IS IN SUPPORT OF FURTHER CONSIDERATION. TABLING MOTIONS ARE OFTEN USED TO KILL LEGISLATION.

Amendment - Introduced (House) -

Title: Product Liability Reform

Sponsors

  • Robert Walker 'Bob' Kasten Jr. (WI - R) (Out Of Office)

Co-sponsors

  • Conrad R. Burns (MT - R) (Out Of Office)
  • John C. Danforth (MO - R) (Out Of Office)
  • John F. Seymour (CA - R) (Out Of Office)
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