Sunday, October 7, 2012

Exploding gas cans and tort reform?

A few days ago, The New York Times published an article on the story behind the most recent Chamber of Commerce propaganda campaign in favor tort reform: a 30-second commercial that uses Blitz USA, a bankrupt Oklahoma gasoline can manufacturer, to illustrate what they argue are the consequences of abusive lawsuits. But, as the NYT's article makes clear, the commercial ducks the complexities of the product liability cases surrounding Blitz by making no mention of the dozens of casualties linked to explosions while people used the cans in recent years.  As usual, for the Chamber of Commerce everything can be blamed on greedy lawyers and frivolous lawsuits.  The reality is not quite that simple, though.  You can read the NYT's article here.

One particularly interesting point in this specific case, is that the product could have been made safer by using a simple device that would have not added much to the cost of production, something the company knew but apparently failed to look into.  Friend of the blog Professor George Conk (Fordham) comments on the story in his blog "Torts Today" here.

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