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Product liability reform

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Compromise product liability agreement worked out between Senators Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) "could be brought to the Senate floor in the near future and is expected to be signed by" President Clinton, the lawmakers say in a June 11 release. The bill would place a cap on punitive damages against small businesses (defined as having fewer than 25 employees and annual revenues of less than $5 mil.) of the lesser of two times compensatory damages or $250,000, provide for a two-year statute of limitations and mandate an 18-year statute of repose for durable workplace goods in which the plaintiff has received, or is eligible to receive, workers' compensation. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) has not yet determined when the bill will be brought to the floor; such a move is not likely until debate on the tobacco bill (S 1415) has ended, Lott's staffers say

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