INSIGHTS On Massachusetts Personal Injury Law

Welcome to the SUGARMAN blog. We'll be sharing our perspectives on the state of the law and current legal issues in Massachusetts personal injury law. Issues relating to medical malpractice, construction site injuries, premises liability, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, insurance, and more will all be reviewed here by our team of lawyers who have prosecuted some of the most complex cases in Massachusetts personal injury law.

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Defective Consumer Products – How New Legislation May Help to Hold Foreign Manufacturers Liable for Injuries

In 2012, more than 78 percent of all products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission were produced by foreign manufacturers. The Banzai Falls Inflatable Pool Slide that was the subject of a jury award in favor of SUGARMAN’s clients was just one of these dangerous foreign products. Despite this significant figure and the overall number of foreign products flooding the U.S. market, foreign corporations routinely evade U.S. laws and safety standards because of the difficulty in holding them accountable in U.S. Courts. By sidestepping safety regulations, foreign manufacturers are able to produce less expensive products than domestic manufacturers.

To pursue legal action against a foreign manufacturer under the current system, the foreign company typically must be served in their country according to their rules of service. This frequently requires translating the pleadings into their native language and tracking down their foreign address, adding additional time and expense to the legal process. Even if service is properly effected, U.S. plaintiffs face additional obstacles, including enforcing judgments against foreign corporations. This system frequently and effectively deters consumers from pursuing claims against these foreign manufacturers and gives these products a competitive advantage in our market.

This month Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Mike Turner (R-OH), along with over 30 bipartisan cosponsors, reintroduced the “Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2013” (H.R. 1910) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill requires foreign manufacturers or producers of covered products to register an agent, in any state where the company does business, to accept service of process for civil and regulatory claims. By registering an agent, the foreign manufacturer or producer consents to state and federal jurisdiction for civil and regulatory claims, making it easier to pursue claims for defective products against the manufacturers. This bill will pertain to imported products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Such products include pharmaceuticals, devices, cosmetics, biological products, consumer products, chemical substances, and pesticides.

SUGARMAN attorneys continue to pursue product liability actions on behalf of people injured as a result of defective products, whether manufactured in the U.S. or elsewhere. If you or a family member have been injured due to the use of a dangerously defective or recalled product, SUGARMAN’s personal injury lawyers can help. Fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email info@sugarman.com.

To read the full text of H.R. 1910 go to www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1910/text.