Congress: Adopt Tough Measures to Stop Corporations From Evading Accountability for Unsafe Foreign Toys, AAJ Urges

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Congress: Adopt Tough Measures to Stop Corporations From Evading Accountability for Unsafe Foreign Toys, AAJ Urges  

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2007

AAJ Communications
202.965.3500, x369
media.replies@justice.org

Washington, DC—More than 13 million foreign-manufactured toys have been recalled in the past two months, with the latest the Chinese-manufactured “Aqua-Dots,” recalled last week because it contains a chemical that converts into the date rape drug GHB when ingested. Nine U.S. children have already been hospitalized in connection with “Aqua-Dots,” according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Previously this year, millions more toys were taken off the market because they contained toxic lead paint and parts, such as magnets, acting as choking hazards and abdominal obstructions.

What should be done to better protect America’s children?

Testifying before a Congressional hearing tomorrow, Thursday, November 15, attorney Thomas Gowen will urge lawmakers to adopt legislation to better detect and stop dangerous products from entering the U.S. market and hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for the injuries and deaths caused by their products.

The foreign manufacturers of these dangerous toys are attempting to evade responsibility for their negligence and the injuries and death that have resulted. Victims of these products are frequently unsuccessful in seeking justice and compensation from these manufacturers because these companies snub our courts. And when foreign companies do not follow our laws, American companies that play by the rules are at a competitive disadvantage.

Gowen will recommend that all foreign manufacturers and sellers who seek to sell their products in the United States first acquire an import license containing the name, address, product lines and brand names made by the company. Additionally, the license will require the foreign company to name an agent for service of process in all states in which the product is to be sold and require the company, in order to avail itself of the privilege of accessing American markets, to consent to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts of law. The import license would also require that company maintain adequate U.S. product liability insurance. Gowen will also urge that Congress make it clear in law that foreign manufacturers may be held liable in courts in states where their products are sold. Too often, foreign companies claim they may not be held liable in U.S. state courts for products that injure and kill Americans.

Gowen’s testimony will come before the Oversight Hearing on Protecting the Playroom: Holding Foreign Manufacturers Accountable for Defective Products held by the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

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