House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Legislation to Help Hold Foreign Manufacturers Accountable for Safety

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For Immediate Release: July 21, 2010

Contact: Jennifer Fuson
202-965-3500, ext. 8369
media.replies@justice.org

House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Legislation to Help Hold Foreign Manufacturers Accountable for Safety

Washington, DC – Legislation reported out of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today will make it easier to hold foreign manufacturers accountable for the safety of their products in the U.S. legal system. 

Today, foreign manufacturers are able to sell their products in the U.S. while skirting U.S. laws and safety standards.  This is because bringing a case against a foreign manufacturer requires translating the papers into the language of the native country and then serving legal papers in the foreign country, adding time and expense to the legal process. 

The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act (S. 1606 / H.R.4678), sponsored by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), will level the playing field between U.S. manufacturers and foreign manufacturers while helping ensure foreign products sold in the U.S. are safe. 

“We are one step closer to putting foreign corporations on notice that their products must meet our standards and be subject to our legal system,” said American Association for Justice President Gibson Vance.  “Not only will American businesses be on a level playing field with foreign corporations, but consumers will now have the added security that our civil justice system offers.”

The legislation will require manufacturers to have an “agent” located in at least one state where the company does business that would accept service of process for any civil or regulatory claims.  Foreign companies would then consent to state and federal jurisdiction, holding the manufacturer accountable to U.S. judicial standards.

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