IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: TLR Letter to the Editor—Following the Law Should Protect Your Firm
By Richard W. Weekley
Your editorial “Fighting a Tort Plague” (Jan. 7) raises a critical question for businesses that make highly regulated consumer products. Can you do exactly what the government tells you to do and still get sued?
Government standards exist to protect consumers. Most manufacturers adhere to them, and in some cases even work to exceed them. That adherence should not be weaponized by mass-tort lawyers against manufacturers to open a Pandora’s box of litigation. Lawsuits don’t happen in a vacuum. They create real costs for job creators that are passed along in higher prices for consumer goods or less investment in products, employees and communities. The U.S.
Chamber Institute for Legal Reform recently found that the U.S. tort system cost $429 billion in 2016, or more than $3,300 per American household.
Thankfully, there is some reprieve at the state level. For example, Texas amended its product-liability laws 15 years ago to provide that if a pharmaceutical company uses a warning label approved by the FDA—and didn’t lie to the FDA to get the approved label—then the company cannot be liable under Texas law for any deficits in that label.
Texas is well ahead of the nation in this regard. But Texas has also been working for 25 years to make its legal system fairer and more efficient, which has strengthened its economy and made it a national leader in job creation.
Other states—and our federal government—would do well to follow suit.
Richard W. Weekley
Texans for Lawsuit Reform