This article is brought to you by The Legal Examiner.
Every day, American consumers are vulnerable to injury or death from dangerous foreign products manufactured abroad. We’ve read and seen numerous stories about poisonous drywall and toys manufactured overseas, with no compliance with our consumer products standards. While U.S. manufacturers must comply with our laws, safety regulations, and judicial system, foreign manufacturers can skimp on safety in order to rush a product to market, knowing there is little to no threat of legal recourse for an unsafe product sold in the United States.
Foreign manufacturers should have to play by the same rules as American manufacturers and not be able to escape responsibility because they are beyond the reach of our judicial system. There’s a new push by Congress to change the status quo and hold foreign manufacturers accountable.
The “Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act” was introduced today by Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Mike Turner (R-OH), with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) as an original cosponsor. This bill is similar to bills introduced in previous sessions, and I hope a bipartisan majority of Congressmen and Senators support it.
The bill would make it easier for an injured consumer to serve the foreign manufacturer with notice of pending claims, so the consumer can proceed with a lawsuit. Foreign manufacturers or producers of covered products would be required to register an agent, located in a state where the company does business, who would be able to accept service of process for civil and regulatory claims. By registering the agent, the foreign manufacturer or producer also consents to state and federal jurisdiction for civil and regulatory claims. Covered products include drugs, devices, cosmetics, biological products, consumer products, chemical substances, and pesticides manufactured or produced outside of the United States.
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