Thursday, April 20, 2006
From the AG's press release [PDF]:
PRODUCT LIABILITY. IMMUNITY FROM PUNITIVE DAMAGES. INITIATIVE
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.]