Text: H.R.6524 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/17/2020)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 6524 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 6524

To provide justice for victims of State misrepresentation to the World 
              Health Organization, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 17, 2020

  Mr. Smith of New Jersey (for himself and Mr. Wright) introduced the 
  following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide justice for victims of State misrepresentation to the World 
              Health Organization, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Compensation for the Victims of 
State Misrepresentations to the World Health Organization Act of 
2020''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) There is a role for an international organization to 
        help mitigate infectious diseases that respect no boundaries.
            (2) The United States depends on an effective WHO to make 
        good and well informed public health decisions to contain 
        infectious diseases.
            (3) The WHO has played a critical role in addressing and 
        mitigating infectious diseases, such as the 1979 eradication of 
        smallpox, which eradication the WHO coordinated through a 
        sustained global effort.
            (4) Without accurate information, the WHO cannot advise 
        Member States properly on the risks posed by infectious 
        diseases.
            (5) There are credible reports that in 2006, 2009, and 2011 
        the Government of Ethiopia misrepresented the nature and 
        seriousness of cholera epidemics in that country to the WHO 
        with a view towards minimizing the potential damage to their 
        economy.
                    (A) Those misrepresentations diminished the WHO's 
                effectiveness and the WHO transmitted inaccurate and 
                misleading information regarding the presence of 
                cholera to participating States.
                    (B) Other Member States relied on the misleading 
                and inaccurate information that the WHO communicated to 
                them to formulate public health policy, resulting in 
                loss of life, injury, and damage to property and 
                commercial interests to citizens outside of Ethiopia as 
                a consequence of that country's misrepresentations to 
                the WHO.
            (6) There are credible reports that WHO Member States 
        misrepresented facts concerning the Ebola outbreak to that 
        organization with a view towards minimizing the commercial 
        impact that a widely disseminated understanding of the risks 
        posed by the Ebola epidemic may have caused in their individual 
        economies.
                    (A) Those misrepresentations diminished the WHO's 
                effectiveness, and the WHO transmitted inaccurate and 
                misleading information regarding the communicability of 
                Ebola to participating States.
                    (B) Other Member States relied on the misleading 
                and inaccurate information that the WHO communicated to 
                them to formulate public health policy, resulting in 
                loss of life, injury, and damage to property and 
                commercial interests to citizens outside of the 
                misrepresenting States as a consequence of those 
                countries' misrepresentations to the WHO.
            (7) During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, China 
        misrepresented the seriousness and nature of the novel 
        coronavirus to the WHO, with a view towards minimizing the 
        potential damage to their economy and international reputation.
                    (A) Those misrepresentations diminished the WHO's 
                effectiveness and the WHO transmitted inaccurate and 
                misleading information regarding the communicability of 
                the novel coronavirus to participating States.
                    (B) Other Member States relied on the misleading 
                and inaccurate information that the WHO communicated to 
                them to formulate public health policy, resulting in 
                loss of life, injury, and damage to property and 
                commercial interests to citizens outside of China as a 
                consequence of that country's misrepresentations to the 
                WHO.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to provide civil litigants with the 
broadest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution of the United 
States, to seek relief against persons, entities, and foreign 
countries, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, that have 
sustained wrongful death, injury, or damage to property or commercial 
interests as a result of the misrepresentations of an agent of a 
sovereign State to the WHO concerning the nature, communicability, or 
seriousness of an infectious disease.

SEC. 4. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    It is the policy of the United States to facilitate the ability of 
victims of State misrepresentations to the World Health Organization 
(WHO) that result in death, injury, and damage to property and business 
interests.

SEC. 5. RESPONSIBILITY OF FOREIGN STATES FOR LOSS OF LIFE, INJURY, OR 
              OTHER DAMAGES RESULTING FROM CERTAIN MISREPRESENTATIONS 
              TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION.

    (a) In General.--Section 1605(a) of title 28, United States Code, 
is amended by striking ``in which money damages are sought against a 
foreign state for personal injury or death, or damage to or loss of 
property, occurring in the United States and caused by the tortious act 
or omission of that foreign state or of any official or employee of 
that foreign state while acting within the scope of his office or 
employment;'' and inserting ``in which money damages are sought against 
a foreign state, for personal injury or death, or damage to or loss of 
property, occurring in the United States as a result of a willful or 
grossly negligent misrepresentation of information to the World Health 
Organization of the nature, seriousness, or communicability of an 
infections disease or other tortious act or omission of that foreign 
state or of any official or employee of that foreign state while acting 
within the scope of his office or employment''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by this section shall take 
effect 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
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