February 3, 2009
Criminalizing Products Liability
Professor Frank J. Vandall of Emory University School of Law has published an article entitled "The Criminalization of Products Liability: An Invitation to Political Abuse, Preemption, and Non-Enforcement," in 59 Cath. U.L. Rev. 341 (2008). The SSRN abstract reads as follows:
Senator Arlen Specter called a hearing in March 2006, on a proposal that urges the criminalization of products liability for the manufacture of intentionally lethal goods. The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee provided an opportunity to comment on the numerous issues raised in the far-reaching proposal. Responding to these issues requires revisiting the foundational question of whether the manufacture and sale of a defective product should be addressed by civil litigation or criminal prosecution. Understanding the issues will assist state legislatures and federal agencies in considering such a proposal. To plumb the issues raised by Senator Specter history, economics, and the system of product design and manufacture must be examined. Because Senator Specter argues for a federal act and federal enforcement, his proposal demands consideration of the concepts of preemption, political abuse, and nonenforcement. Fundamental concepts of cause-in-fact and proximate cause must also be considered. After examining these concepts, it should be clear that the criminalization of products liability is neither necessary, nor desirable.
Vandall, Frank J.,The Criminalization of Products Liability: An Invitation to Political Abuse, Preemption, and Non-Enforcement(January, 14 2009). Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 57, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1327761
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