Defective Products’ Manufacturers May See Loophole Closing?

Washington, DC—The following is a statement from American Association for Justice President Larry Tawwater in response to the introduction of the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act (FMLAA) of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The FMLAA (H.R. 3304) was introduced today by Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Michael Turner (R-OH) with 13 additional co-sponsors.

Foreign manufacturers reap billions of dollars’ in profits from American consumers, but at the same time many are able to evade our civil justice system when their products injure people in the United States. Manufacturers located abroad should be forced to play by the same rules as American companies, and should be held accountable in our courts if their products fail to comply with American laws and regulations.

The idea that foreign manufacturers can flood the United States with defective products and avoid responsibility for their conduct is unfair to all Americans. Even worse, it’s unsafe.

The FMLAA is a common-sense proposal to ensure that foreign manufacturers face the same accountability as American businesses when their products hurt or kill consumers, and will go a long way to strengthening the safety of all American consumers.

Background on the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act:

The bipartisan FMLAA would allow consumers injured or harmed by a foreign-made product to hold the foreign corporation accountable in U.S. courts.
This bill will level the playing field between U.S. and foreign manufacturers by ensuring that all manufacturers that do business in the U.S. are held accountable for the safety standards mandated in our legal system.

The legislation requires a foreign corporation that does business in the U.S. to have a registered representative in the U.S. who would accept service of process for civil and regulatory claims. The manufacturer, by accepting service of process, would also be consenting to U.S. jurisdiction.

Imported products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are covered by the legislation. This includes imported drugs, devices, cosmetics, biological products, consumer products, chemical substances, and pesticides.