Sometimes legislators get going so fast they get out in front of themselves.
That was the case when the General Assembly rushed through a bill allowing groundwater contamination lawsuits in Asheville and Camp Lejeune to proceed in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month. The bill cleared the legislature in a little more than a week, and the governor promptly signed it on Friday.
But that was a little too fast for all the lawyers to weigh in and make a simple one-page bill a little longer. On Tuesday, a House committee approved another bill correcting the first one.
The new bill emphasizes that it was never the legislature’s intent for the 10-year “statute of repose” limit to apply to groundwater contamination lawsuits alleging latent disease or other harm. Instead, it put a limit on product liability suits. The correcting bill, SB58, also emphasizes that nothing in the new legislation changes anything about the state’s product liability laws.
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“These are minor changes that the legal eagles have pointed to,” Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Hendersonville, told the House Rules Committee.
The bill next goes to the full House, then to the sent and then back to the governor for his signature again.