Product Liability Law Battle Will Continue

By Wolfe, Lou Anne | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 7, 1994 | Go to article overview

Product Liability Law Battle Will Continue


Wolfe, Lou Anne, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Journal Record Staff Reporter

Product liability laws are biased against business, two local advocates for reform said this week. They lamented the recent failure in Congress of product liability legislation, but vowed to continue the cause.

Until about a week ago, supporters of U.S. Senate Bill 687 thought it would waltz through the Senate, said Fran Godchaux, director of the Small Business Department of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce Industry.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., and Slade Gorton, R-Wash., was aimed at reducing the high cost of liability insurance manufacturers pay, removing a major impediment to new product research and helping consumers by speeding up lawsuits.

Opponents said it would undercut an essential remedy for consumers who were grotesquely and permanently damaged by defective products.

Business interests failed on two consecutive days to get the necessary 60 votes to end a longtime filibuster of Senate 687.

"We're disappointed the trial attorneys and Ralph Nader's Public Citizen group were able to keep the filibuster," Godchaux said. "I am pleased to state that both Oklahoma U.S. Senators (David) Boren and (Don) Nickles were cosponsors of the bill, so they were certainly not in that group that was part of the filibuster."

Robert H. Alexander Jr., whose Oklahoma City law firm specializes in defense of manufacturers against plaintiffs' claims, said, "It would have made things better for manufacturers, because they wouldn't have been subjected to different standards in different states, so there would have been some uniform ability for them to manage their affairs."

Godchaux said there is a "mishmash of 50 state laws on product liability. This statute was important because a federal statute would have pre-empted many of the inconsistent state provisions that govern product liability for personal injuries. It could have saved businesses millions of dollars in court costs and injury compensation claims."

Alexander said manufacturers generally have a corporate headquarters, along with one or more plants that manufacture the product. "The product is usually found in every state, and a number of other countries as well," he said.

"The company has to hire lawyers in all those states to defend them in those situations. I defend some of my clients in a number of states, so I have a familiarity with the laws in other states."

Some of Alexander's clients are General Motors Corp., Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co., Volvo/GM Heavy Truck Corp., Freightliner Corp., New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., Deere Co. and DuPont.

Godchaux said in most states, about 70 percent of all goods manufactured in the state are shipped elsewhere.

"The law that was proposed was not skewed toward manufacturers and against consumers, but the laws as they presently exist are skewed against manufacturers," Alexander said. "All an individual has to do is point to an alleged defect and the fact he was injured, and the fact that he caused the injury can't even be talked about, in most states."

With the torpedoing of Senate 687, federal product liability legislation probably won't be called up again until next year, Godchaux said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Product Liability Law Battle Will Continue
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.