WASHINGTON (March 22) — The Rubber Manufacturers Association stands behind the U.S. business community in opposition to an as-yet-unintroduced bill by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., that would establish jail terms of up to 15 years plus unspecified fines against business executives who knowingly sold products with potentially fatal defects.
"This type of legislation would end up being a trial lawyer´s bonanza to extort higher settlements from companies in product liability cases," an RMA spokesman said. The bill is unlikely to go anywhere in this Congress, he added.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers testified against the legislation at a recent hearing, while the Consumers Union and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., spoke in its favor.
"Corporate actorsàsometimes ignore known risks, putting profits over responsibility," Sen. Leahy said. "(T)he public was victimized by unsafe tires and unsafe cars," he added, evidently referring to the 6.5-million tire recall by Bridgestone/Firestone in August 2000.