In response to the Chinese drywall crisis, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a bill on August 6 that could make it easier for U.S. consumers to sue foreign manufacturers for defective products, including Chinese drywall.
Homeowners in Virginia and several other states have been particularly hard hit by toxic drywall.
To get around technicalities and hurdles that can block legal authority over foreign companies doing business here, the proposed legislation would bring foreign manufacturers–such as those responsible for introducing Chinese drywall into the U.S. construction industry–within the scope of the American justice system.
The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2009 would require a foreign concern to establish a registered agent in the state where it conducts its principal business; that agent would be authorized to accept legal papers such as a lawsuit or a complaint from a regulatory agency. The legislation also requires each foreign company doing business in the U.S. to formally accept the jurisdiction of U.S. federal or state courts over its activities here.
According to the Miami Herald, “legal analysts say current laws contain so many loopholes that foreign manufacturers of shoddy equipment are rarely penalized by the legal system.”
“American businesses and consumers harmed by defective foreign products need justice, and they don’t get it when foreign manufacturers use technical legal defenses to avoid compensating those they have injured,” U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), one of the co-sponsors, said.
“A U.S. manufacturer is subject to full accountability to ensure that people only purchase and use safe products. This bill would help to make sure consumers are similarly protected from foreign products, and that there is a level playing field for both domestic and foreign manufacturers,” added Senate co-sponsor Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
If your home contains Chinese drywall, you need to know your legal rights. Do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. for a free Virginia Chinese drywall consultation, Toll Free 877-544-5323.