WASHINGTON (May 15)—Groups such as the Tire Association of North America and the Specialty Equipment Market Association are lining up to support the Senate introduction of the Small Business Liability Reform Act of 2001, which would protect businesses with fewer than 25 employees from excessive or frivolous product liability damage awards. The measure would cap punitive damages for those businesses at $250,000 or three times compensatory damages, whichever is less; would abolish joint liability for non-economic damages; and would allow plaintiffs to collect damages from non-manufacturing product sellers only when the seller did something to make the product harmful. Also, Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, plans a May 16 markup for the Small Business Liability Relief Act, which would limit the liability of small businesses in toxic waste cleanups under Superfund.
Small business liability bills introduced in House, Senate
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