Congress to examine civil justice issues this week

The U.S. House and Senate will examine a number of civil justice issues in committee hearings and bill markups this week.

This afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law will take up the issue of foreign judgments. The hearing will address the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments by U.S. courts, but will unlikely address an even greater issue: the lack of accountability foreign manufacturers face when their negligence harms Americans here in the U.S.

This legal discrepancy between foreign and U.S. manufacturers gained national attention after Chinese drywall left American homeowners with millions of dollars in property damage and numerous health problems. Current law requires foreign manufactures to be brought to court in their home country and under their rules of service.

Later this afternoon, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold an oversight hearing regarding medical devices. This committee hearing and the Food and Drug Administration’s current review of the 510(K) approval process of medical devices should center on the safety and elimination of possible risks devices could pose to patients.

The HELP Committee will hear from four witnesses, including Gregory Curfman M.D., who penned a New England Journal of Medicine editorial supporting the Medical Device Safety Act in 2009.

Finally, the House Rules Committee is scheduled to markup H.R. 10 tomorrow, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, and prepare for its floor discussion. H.R. 10 is a misguided bill that would jeopardize crucial public protections by further complicating and delaying the rulemaking process by requiring a vote by Congress on all regulations in order for them to be enacted.

Federal agencies are responsible for protecting children from toxic toys, families from tainted food, and consumers from financial exploitation. To subject agencies to an extreme level of congressional review would not only be wasteful; it could be damaging or even deadly.