It took more than three years, but a Chinese company’s efforts to evade responsibility for selling defective drywall in the U.S. may slowly be hitting a brick wall. Taishan Gypsum sold more than 10 million pounds of dangerous drywall, linked to metal corrosion, sulfuric gases, headaches, asthma, and other health problems here in the U.S. But for homeowners like Bill Morgan and his family, who paid the price for a foreign company’s dangerous product, the battle has been too long.
Congress / Legislative
The Third Circuit issued an opinion in Homa v. American Express this week that wiped out consumers’ hope for meaningful access to justice when faced with a forced arbitration clause. The court found that when a forced arbitration clause with a class action ban is included in the fine print of a contract, individual arbitration is the consumer’s only remedy – even if a consumer can prove that the cost of arbitration is so high that it is not a viable option.
Before the ink was even dry on the Supreme Court ruling in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) case, numerous Members of Congress argued repeatedly and publicly to repeal and replace the ACA with a federal medical malpractice proposal that relies on the Commerce Clause for constitutional authority. This legislation would decimate the legal rights of patients injured by negligence, nursing home abuse, or defective drugs and devices and eliminate any incentive improve patient safety.
Washington, DC—The following is a statement from the American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Gary M. Paul in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a step forward not only in the fight to expand access to healthcare, but also in the fight to protect patients’ access to justice.
Senator Al Franken has introduced a bill, the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act of 2012 (S. 3317), to restore employees’ rights to bring lass-action lawsuits, which were severely limited by a U.S. Supreme court case, Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, last June.
Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) claimed at a Judiciary Committee markup of his bill to benefit the asbestos industry – H.R. 4369 – that he “has no idea” what the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is.
One thing is for sure, he does know what Honeywell is and Honeywell has used front groups like ALEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for years to help it delay justice and deny accountability as it faces over 22,000 asbestos injury claims and billions in asbestos liabilities.
Despite recent backlash and intense consumer pressure on corporations to drop sponsorship of the shadowy front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), many corporations are standing by ALEC. Corporations have used ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to grant corporate immunity when products injure or even kill consumers. For decades, corporate immunity has been ALEC’s specialty.