Summary: H.R.1075 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1075. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (02/28/1995)


Title I: Product Liability Reform

Title II: Punitive Damages Reform

Title III: Biomaterials Suppliers

Title IV: Effect on Other Law; Effective Date

Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act of 1995 - Title I: Product Liability Reform - Declares that this title governs any State or Federal product liability action except actions for commercial loss. Supersedes State law only as State law applies to an issue covered by this title.

(Sec. 103) Makes a seller liable if the seller failed to exercise reasonable care, made an express warranty, or engaged in intentional wrongdoing. Declares that a failure to inspect is not a failure of reasonable care if there was no reasonable opportunity to inspect in a way that would have revealed the harmful aspect. Makes the seller liable as if the seller were the manufacturer if the manufacturer is not subject to service of process in any State in which the action might have been brought or the claimant would be unable to enforce a judgment against the manufacturer.

(Sec. 104) Makes it a complete defense if the claimant was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was more than 50 percent responsible for the event that resulted in the harm.

(Sec. 105) Reduces damages by the percentage of harm attributable to misuse or alteration, except for misuse or alteration by the employer or any co-employee who is immune from suit by the claimant under the State law on workplace injuries.

(Sec. 106) Imposes sanctions for frivolous pleadings.

(Sec. 107) Declares that product liability for noneconomic loss shall be several only and not joint, with each defendant liable only for the noneconomic loss attributable to that defendant's share of fault.

(Sec. 108) Bars product liability actions after 15 years after the delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee, subject to exceptions. Applies this bar only if the claimant has received or would be eligible to receive from any source full medical expense compensation.

(Sec. 109) Declares that this title does not apply to a product liability action unless the manufacturer has appointed an agent in the United States for service of process from anywhere in the United States.

Title II: Punitive Damages Reform - Allows punitive damages if the harm was a result of conduct intended to cause harm or conduct manifesting a conscious, flagrant indifference to the safety of others. Limits amounts. Requires the trier of fact, on request of any party, to consider punitive damages in a separate proceeding.

Title III: Biomaterials Suppliers - Allows liability for biomaterials suppliers for harm caused by medical devices only i: (1) the raw materials or component parts delivered by the supplier did not constitute the product described in the contract between the supplier and the person contracting for delivery or failed to meet certain types of specifications; (2) the supplier intentionally and wrongfully withheld or misrepresented information material and relevant to the harm; or (3) the supplier had actual knowledge of prospective fraudulent or malicious activities, relevant to the harm, in the use of its supplies.

(Sec. 302) Allows a supplier who is a defendant in a medical device product liability action, subject to exceptions and if the supplier did not take part in the design, manufacture, or sale of the device, to move to dismiss an action on the grounds that the claimant has failed to: (1) establish that the supplier furnished materials or parts in violation of the contractual requirements or specifications; or (2) comply with requirements to name the manufacturer of the device as a party. Requires the claimant to pay the supplier's attorney's fees and costs if the claimant named or joined the supplier and the claim against the supplier is held to be without merit and frivolous.

Title IV: Effect on Other Law; Effective Date - Specifies ways in which this Act shall not be construed. Declares that U.S. district courts shall not have jurisdiction under this Act based on provisions of the U.S. Code relating to Federal questions, commerce and antitrust, and amounts in controversy. Sets forth the effective date of this Act.