Makers Of Dangerous Foreign Made Products Have Protections Not Available To U.S. Companies

Our Georgia product liability lawyers have filed many lawsuits against foreign manufacturers for dangerous products introduced into commerce in the United States. In these actions it is sometimes very difficult to find and serve the manufacturer in a foreign country.
This problem has now come into the spotlight as the result of the Chinese wallboard epidemic facing many unsuspecting consumers across the United States. The problem is enormous. By some accounts as many as 100,000 homes across the United States, built between 2004 and 2008, may contain defective and potentially dangerous Chinese drywall.
The wallboard has been determined to contain excessively high levels of sulfur. Homeowners have reported that the fumes from the wallboard cause illness and corrode the copper in home wiring, fixtures and appliances.
Until several years ago, most drywall used in the United States was made in this country. But when the housing boom increased demand, many sellers turned to China to meet the demand and due to lower costs.
Many insurance companies are refusing claims from homeowners to remediate the wallboard problem. While some owners have been forced to move from their toxic homes, many simply cannot afford to do so and the houses are not saleable.
While many lawsuits have been filed and undoubtedly many more are to come, it will be very difficult and expensive to identify the Chinese manufacturers and serve them with legal papers in China. Some attorneys are reporting that it is costing approximately $25,000 per case just to serve legal papers on one company. In many cases more than one Chinese manufacturer may be involved.
A bill now before Congress would place these foreign manufacturers in the same position as domestic companies. The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act now before the United States Senate would require foreign manufacturers that export to the U.S. to agree to abide by U.S. law and be held accountable in state and federal courts; and, to appoint an agent in at least one state where the company does business to accept the service of legal papers for any lawsuits or regulatory claims.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) points out that the list of recent examples of Americans injured by defective foreign products is shocking.
That list includes deadly blood thinner, children’s jewelry made from lead, a variety of food products contaminated with dangerous chemicals, 60 million packages of contaminated pet food and substandard tires that failed and killed people.
Two major consumer groups, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) support the proposed legislation.

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