Tagged Articles

preemption 8 articles

Supreme Court ruling throws consumer rights to the wolves

The U.S. Supreme Court has made another monumental ruling that empowers corporations while stripping everyday Americans of their consumer rights. In a 5-4 vote last week, the justices ruled to allow corporations the right to ban class actions in the small print of their contracts. “Now, whenever you sign a contract to get a cell phone, open a bank account or take a job, you may be giving up your right to hold companies accountable for fraud, discrimination or other illegal practices,” the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen said in a response to the ruling. The case originated with Liza ... Read More

Florida bill lets automakers off hook, burdens taxpayers

Last month, the Florida State Senate approved a bill that makes it much more difficult for people harmed by automotive defects to hold carmakers responsible for their injuries. The legislation, which the St. Petersburg Times considers to be the latest attack in the “interminable war” waged by Republican legislators against trial lawyers, will actually hurt Floridians by removing liability for car crash victims from carmakers and placing it on the shoulders of Florida taxpayers. The Crashworthiness Doctrine mandates that because vehicular crashes are inevitable, automakers must be held to a duty to keep the safety of crash victims in mind ... Read More

Wrongful-death suit involving Mazda seatbelt may proceed, Supreme Court rules

In a unanimous decision that surprised many across the political spectrum, the U.S. Supreme Court gave a wrongful-death lawsuit the green light to proceed against Mazda Motor Corp. The decision by the Supreme Court, which became conservative and corporate-friendly by a majority in 2006, offers some hope that the little guy suing a big corporation in America still has some chance for justice. The lawsuit was filed by the parents of a girl named Thanh Williamson, who was killed when the lap belt she wore in the backseat of a 1993 Mazda minivan failed to secure her during a head-on ... Read More

Public health and safety often sacrificed for pro-business legislation

What’s good for business isn’t always good for the average American taxpayer. Ken Sobel, a civil attorney and a member of the Florida Justice Association’s Board of Directors, recently wrote an editorial for South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, calling attention to a number of bills pending in the Florida legislature that favor corporate interests at the expense of public safety and taxpayer money. According to Sobel, in the bills currently being considered by the Florida legislature, “corporate responsibility gets reduced, people get injured, and the state’s tax payers are being called upon to pay for the increased medical expenses that will follow.” One ... Read More

Preemption language must be removed from railroad regulations

The American Association for Justice is calling for a review of Bush administration regulations that it believes compromise the safety and rights of consumers who are injured in railroad accidents. The request was prompted by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s nomination hearing of Joseph Szabo as the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) new administrator. Though Szabo’s nomination is not controversial, many lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Congress believe the regulations and policies put forth by the previous administration favor big business at an enormous expense to the consumer. Preemption is the problem. Preemption is the legal premise that federal law ... Read More

California sues truck stop chain for UST violations

The state of California is suing Ohio-based TravelCenters of America, LLC, the owner and operator of several truck stops throughout the state, claiming the company will not comply with California’s underground storage tank regulations. “TravelCenters of America has knowingly and repeatedly disregarded California’s underground fuel storage laws for years,” attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. told the Central Valley Business Times. According to the CVBT, Riverside, California, District Attorney Rod Pacheco filed a similar suit against TravelCenters in July of last year, alleging the company violated multiple state regulations governing the possession of underground storage tanks, which almost always store ... Read More

Safety advocates hopeful about future auto roof crush standards

Consumer and safety advocates nationwide are praising President Obama’s reported nomination of Chuck Hurley to serve as the next leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – the government agency that sets the standards for automobile roof crush strength. Actually, setting roof crush standards is not something the NHTSA has done much of since 1971 — the year it established the alarmingly weak standards that are still on the books today. Safety advocates hope that Hurley will overhaul the weak standards, which were written so many decades ago, by the auto companies and for the auto companies. Hurley has ... Read More

FDA approval of medical devices was rushed and incomplete

A group of FDA scientists recently sent a six-page letter to Barack Obama’s transition team venting consternation over their agency’s corruption and mismanagement. It’s not the first time FDA scientists have sought the help of Washington, pleading for a shakeup, but the number of complaints and the overall tone of the latest letter indicate agency insiders are eager to grab some of the new President’s much promised change. And change is apparently what the FDA needs the most. On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that from 2003 to 2007, the FDA cleared 228 medical devices for the market ... Read More