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Bill would protect sellers from product liability

Posted On: Feb. 13, 2007 12:00 AM CST

WASHINGTON—Sellers of items named in product liability lawsuits would be protected from liability under most circumstances under a bill introduced Monday by two congressmen.

"It is unfair for a seller to be held responsible under the doctrine of product liability for damages that the seller did not cause," reads a portion of the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act—HR 989—introduced by Reps. Dan Boren, D-Okla., and Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.

Sellers would lose their immunity if a claimant proved at least one of four "nonsale activities by the seller," according to the bill. The four exceptions are: The seller manufactured the product; the seller participated in the design of the product; the seller participated in the installation of the product; or the seller altered, modified or expressly warranted the product in a manner not authorized by the manufacturer.

Rep. Boren co-sponsored an identical bill last year, but the measure did not reach the House floor before Congress adjourned.