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February 20, 2006

Industries Shielded from Lawsuits by U.S. Rules

Past rollover accident cases have prompted the adoption of stiffer roof-safety standards proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in August, but the rules also provide that "[w]hen a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter." |NHTSA Rule|

The rule would preempt all differing state statutes and regulations.  The rule is "one in a series of recent steps by federal agencies to shield leading industries from state regulations and civil lawsuits on grounds they conflict with federal authority."  The proposed Food and Drug Administration  rules governing drug labeling would also be preemptive, according to an FDA legal opinion.

When the Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted new rules to curb mattress fires it asked courts to bar suits against manufacturers complying with the rule.  These and other efforts are part of an effort by the Bush administration to provide "industry with an unprecedented degree of protec tion at the expense of an individual's right to sue and a state's right to regulate," according to a recent Los Angeles Times article by Myron Levin and Alan C. Miller.  |LA Times|


February 20, 2006 | Permalink


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