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Foreign companies may soon be held liable for defective products

Defective products are sold in North Carolina every year, and unfortunately, some of these defective products lead to serious and fatal injuries. Consumer product safety advocates want foreign manufacturers to stop selling unsafe and defective products in the U.S. but it is difficult for foreign companies to be held liable for selling defective products due to the difficulty of bringing foreign manufacturers to court in the U.S. for defective products.

Consumer safety advocates and some lawmakers believe that foreign companies should be held to the same standards as American companies, and that they should be held liable for selling defective products to U.S. consumers.

That is why U.S. legislators have introduced the "Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act" to hold foreign companies more accountable for selling defective products. The bill would help injured consumers sue foreign manufacturers for manufacturing and selling dangerous and defective products. The foreign manufacturers being sued would have to register an agent in the state to service the civil and regulatory claims filed by injured consumers.

Foreign manufacturers would also have to consent to state and federal jurisdiction for any claims against their company. The covered products under the bill include medical devices, drugs, cosmetics, consumer products, chemical substances, pesticides and biological products that are manufactured outside of the country.

Supporters of the bill say it will help consumers and U.S. businesses by giving consumers the ability to take legal action against foreign manufacturers for any injuries their products cause. It also helps U.S. businesses by holding all businesses to the same standard and legal consequences if they sell dangerous products in the U.S.

If the bill is passed, more consumers would be able to file product liabililty lawsuits against the companies responsible for the defective products that caused their injuries.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "New Push to Hold Foreign Manufacturers Accountable For Defective Products," Andrew Cochran, May 17, 2013

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