Thursday, April 20, 2006

California Ballot Measure Would Create Regulatory Compliance Defense to Punitives

From the AG's press release [PDF]:

PRODUCT LIABILITY. IMMUNITY FROM PUNITIVE DAMAGES. INITIATIVE
STATUTE.

Prohibits courts from assessing damages to punish defendants (punitive
damages) when a product causes injury or harm if, at time of manufacture, distribution
or sale, the product or the product's warning information was in material compliance
with existing laws, regulations or governmental standards. Immunity from punitive
damage awards would be required unless injured party could prove, with clear and
convincing evidence, that manufacturer, distributor or seller intentionally withheld or
misrepresented information required by a governmental agency, and that such action
was causally related to consumer injury. Measure applies to pending lawsuits.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal
impact on state and local governments: Potential unknown reductions in revenues to the
state and local governments resulting from a potential decrease in punitive damage
awards in certain product liability lawsuits. (SA2005RF0147.)

The Secretary of State's tracking number for this measure is 1205 and the
Attorney General's tracking number is SA2005RF0147.

The proponent for this measure, John H. Sullivan, must collect 373,816
signatures of registered voters, which is five percent of the total votes cast for governor
in the 2002 general election. The 150-day deadline to collect signatures is July 17,
2006. The initiative proponent can be reached at 916-446-6752.

For the complete texts, titles, summaries and circulation calendars, please call
the Secretary of State's Press Office at 916-653-6575.

According to the Sierra Club (which opposes the measure), Chevron supports it; such support may be related (per this LAT story) to the MTBE litigation.  The measure was created by the Civil Justice Association of California.

[via Wandering Bell.]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2006/04/california_ball.html

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Comments

Talking about the MTBE litigation. I think the people have to act as responsible citizens. Simply suing up the Reformed-Gasoline manufacturers isn't the right way. According to the law -anyone who spills or leaks gasoline-with or without MTBE will be required to clean it up. Otherwise litigation would be appropriate.

U can't blame the manufacturers. It was the congressional mandate to add MTBE to gasoline. And Adding of ethanol would be more costly and inconvenient for transportation.

There is much to be known before filing a claim or going against the manufacturer. I got my load of information on MTBE LITIGATION . Before speaking up anything, please do make sure to know the actual matter behind the whole issue and its benefits also rather than looking into the drawbacks alone.

Posted by: Jean Claude | Jul 12, 2006 12:08:13 AM

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