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Marketplace

Bill eases how U.S. sues foreign firms

Dan Grech Aug 13, 2009
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During the housing boom, home builders put defective drywall in homes in 23 states. There’s a new bill in the Senate that might make it easier to prosecute those in China — that’s been under a jurisdictional nightmare. From Miami, Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.


Dan Grech: Under current law, it’s expensive and time consuming to establish jurisdiction when suing a foreign manufacturer. So in many cases, lawsuits are filed against the U.S. distributors instead. Professor Louise Ellen Teitz is with the Roger Williams University School of Law.

LOUISE ELLEN TEITZ: There’s the homebuilder and all these other domestic parties, and they’re the ones who get stuck.

The Senate bill would make it faster and easier to bring foreign companies before an American court. Tom Gowen is an attorney who specializes in international product-liability claims.

TOM GOWEN: You’ve had the lead paint on toys, you had the date rape drug on the art toy, you’ve had the Chinese drywall situation now. And you know it’s going to keep happening just because of the volume of commerce that’s being done.

Gowen say imports to the U.S. have doubled in recent years, and they’re expected to double again.

In Miami, I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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