Lawmakers Consider Limited Liability in North Carolina Defective Product Cases

WRAL is reporting on a proposed law that would relax the North Carolina’s liability laws in an effort to protect workers in the healthcare industry.

The proposed law, House Bill 542, would cap damages for malpractice, would ease negligence laws for doctors and restrict lawyer’s fees in some cases.
Our personal injury lawyers in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Charlotte note the bill would also protect businesses facing product liability cases. The proposed Bill would ban Carolinians from filing a lawsuit for injuries sustained for almost any product regulated by the government.

The Bill originated from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Commission.

Technically speaking, ALEC is supposed to be a conservative non-partisan policy group in Washington DC. This group is where lawmakers and experts are asked by businesses to assist them with legislation.

ALEC has been described by a senior policy director as a “unique public-private think tank”. Dozens of bills over the years have gone through this group, modeling legislation on such topics as voter ID and gun control.

A $50 annual fee is what it costs to get state lawmakers into the group. However, large corporations are willing to pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for access to lawmakers, and have the ability to influence how legislation is written.

Some of ALEC’s members include: Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, Altria, ExxonMobil and pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

ALEC recently came to Raleigh to hold a tort reform boot camp, which was paid for by ALEC but not well publicized. Oddly the only person that spoke at the Tort Reform committee meeting was a GlaxoSmithKline representative which happens to be an ALEC board member.

The draft bill that came from the meeting did not sit well with NC Advocates for Justice, a trial lawyer’s group. They note that if the bill passes, North Carolinians would not be allowed to file a lawsuit over dangerous drugs or tainted food.

Amendments will be debated this week by the House Select tort reform committee.

If you or someone you love has been injured in North Carolina, contact Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965. The Law Offices of Lee & Smith, P.A. represent North and South Carolina, including Concord, Gastonia, Lancaster and Rock Hill.

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