Much of what we buy these days — from children’s toys to drywall for construction projects to medicines — is made in other countries where, often, manufacturing standards are almost nonexistent. So, like most Americans, Coloradans encounter plenty of obstacles when they try to hold foreign manufacturers responsible for product defects.
Christine Zinner, policy advocate for the American Association for Justice, says that when Congress returns from its August break, members will consider a way to level the legal playing field. The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2009 would cover products regulated by federal agencies, she says.
“That covers consumer products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; drugs, devices and cosmetics that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration; biological products as defined by the Public Health Service Act; as well as chemical substances that are defined by the Toxic Substances Control Act.”
As it now stands, Zinner explains, if someone in Colorado is injured by a product made outside the United States, obtaining legal recourse is extremely difficult.
“They basically have to go into that foreign country; they have to rely on that foreign country’s government to be able to serve process on the party; and they also have translate all the documents into that language.”
The proposed legislation would require foreign manufacturers to have agents in the U.S. where legal papers can be served. So far, Zinner adds, surprisingly few in Congress or in business have expressed opposition to the bill.
— Colorado News Connection