May 15, 2006
California Anti-Punitive Damages Initiative Dropped by Chevron and Tort Reformers
A Law.com article notes that Chevron Corp. and its allies in tort reform withdrew a proposed California ballot initiative last Wednesday that would have barred plaintiffs from recovering punitive damages in some products liability cases after legislative leaders apparently promised to address lawsuits targeting oil companies such as Chevron for polluting groundwater with methyl-butyl ether, a fuel additive known as MTBE. Chevron's initiative would have barred punitive damages awards against a manufacturer whose product complied with applicable state and federal rules. The initiative could have aided Chevron and other MTBE producers who are currently facing hundreds of contamination lawsuits. On two other occasions in a little over a year corporate-sponsored initiatives in California were withdrawn, one by the pharmaceutical lobby to cap contingency-fees when the Consumer Attorneys of California agreed to keep out of what turned out to be an unsuccessful campaign to cut prescription costs, and the other by a coalition of homebuilders and restaurant owners to limit lawsuits after the Consumer Attorneys of California withdrew three retaliatory construction-defect measures.
May 15, 2006 | Permalink
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