Under the Dome

May 20, 2014

Another effort to protect products from lawsuits emerges

An ALEC-promoted bill to protect all products that have been approved by government regulators from liability if something goes wrong with them resurfaced in a bill Tuesday.

An ALEC-promoted bill to protect all products that have been approved by government regulators from liability if something goes wrong with them resurfaced in a bill Tuesday.

The General Assembly first came up with that bill in 2011. Later the liability protection was limited just to FDA-approved drug manufacturers. Ultimately, even that provision didn’t make it into law.

The American Legislative Exchange Council has long promoted the bill in this state and others.

This time it cropped up in a bill presented Tuesday in a Senate judiciary committee. Several Republican lawmakers on the committee peppered the bill’s sponsor – Sen. Brent Jackson a Republican that represents Johnston, Duplin and Sampson counties – with questions about it. Jackson said the bill was crafted in a subcommittee with other senators, including committee chairman Buck Newton, a Republican attorney from Wilson.

The bill will be discussed further in the committee on Thursday, along with unrelated provisions, some of which are also controversial.

One contentious provision is meant to prevent people who sue over asbestos injury from double-dipping by collecting payments in different courts. A number of lawyers on the committee appeared to have several problems with the proposal. 

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