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When making strategic decisions about how to cope with potential liability exposures, companies should examine the protections offered by a federal law passed soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York and Washington, experts say.
The Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 provides unlimited liability protection and defenses to providers or manufacturers of anti-terrorism technologies or security platforms, according to Wendy Peters, executive vice president of Financial Solutions-terrorism and political violence for Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. in New York.
“Many high-profile buildings and manufacturers benefit from the liabilities protections of this act,” Ms. Peters said.
The law, which was part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, “was designed to encourage the development and deployment of anti-terrorism products and programs by automatically conferring very broad limitations, caps and affirmative defenses for suits stemming from a terrorist act,” according to a fact sheet from Willis Towers Watson.
“Any company, that uses, sells, or otherwise provides technology, product or service to prevent, respond to, or recover from a terrorist event,” should apply for the program, according to the broker.
Examples of eligible technologies include: threat and vulnerability assessment services, detection systems, blast mitigation materials, screening services and sensors.
Once a product or service is approved by the department, any user is endowed with certain specific rights, including exclusive jurisdiction in federal court for all related suits against the applicant and protection from punitive damage claims, noncompensatory damage and prejudgment interest awards, which are all barred.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers have long been viewed as a major source of liability exposure, and their risk profiles are getting more complex as they battle a range of liability issues on multiple fronts.