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January 9, 2006

Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Products Liability-Related Bills

On January 6, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed four bills that would have imposed varying limitations on the right to recover in products liability cases.   Assembly Bill 56 would have granted immunity from civil liability for the entire gun industry. He saw no reason to provide the gun industry with greater protection than that provided by federal law. Senate Bill 58 would have required proof of a safer design to justify recovery in a design defect case. He vetoed it because he thought it would discourage industry innovation. He vetoed Senate Bill 70, which was not limited to products cases. The bill would have established new standards for the admissibility of lay and expert testimony, because it would have diminished the role of the jury in determining the credibility of witnesses, instead mandating that judges act as "gatekeepers" of information and the arbiters of what testimony is allowable. For Governor's veto message see Veto.

Senate Bill 402 was the legislature’s response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Thomas v. Mallet, 701 N.W.2d 523 (Wisc. 2005) |Lexis|, which applied Wisconsin’s relaxed causation risk-contribution theory to white lead carbonate claims. The bill would have reversed the court’s decision and required proof of which manufacturer’s product caused specific injury. The Governor vetoed the bill stating, in part, that “the problem of lead paint poisoning is substantial and ongoing, and children injured by the ingestion of lead paint should have some recourse against the companies that manufactured lead paint.”  For Governor's veto message see Veto.


January 9, 2006 | Permalink


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