Product Liability Resolution
ALEC’s model Product Liability Resolution recognizes that most manufacturers engage in interstate commerce, and that the state product liability reform effort would be benefited by the establishment of a uniform product liability standard at the federal level.
WHEREAS, product liability has created serious problems for interstate commerce;
WHEREAS, common law or case law product liability law has created a situation where product sellers have little or no predictability with respect to their obligations in designing a warning about products. So, too, insurance underwriters are unable to set product liability rates in a rational manner, and consumers are unaware of their rights if they are injured by products;
WHEREAS, individual state legislation has been able to address only a portion of this problem because products flow in interstate commerce, and state legislation cannot give nationwide predictability to product sellers, insurers, and consumers. Although a number of states have enacted product liability laws, these rules have not always been comprehensive and they vary in key details. Unfortunately, they have not fully resolved the product liability problem.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that it is the sense of this legislature that a reasonable, fair, and balanced federal product liability law be enacted, and that, in enacting such legislation, representatives of the federal legislature should cooperate with representatives of the state legislatures to help ensure that the goals of fairness and stability will be achieved by enacting legislation that establishes reasonable standards of manufacturer liability, limits the application of joint and several liability, establishes a clear standard of liability for punitive damages, and raises the burden of proof to clear and convincing evidence, provides a defense for product sellers when their negligence did not cause the injury, and avoids double payments by offsetting workers’ compensation payments.