CALIFORNIA: ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL ALLOWING TOBACCO SUITS
The California Assembly passed a bill late last week thatThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
would repeal a 1987 product liability law (see AHL 12/13/96) and
allow individuals to sue tobacco manufacturers, San Francisco
Examiner reports. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Quentin Kopp
(I), failed to gain approval two weeks ago; however, it gained
enough support over the ensuing week to pass. The legislation
must now return to the Senate for approval of minor changes made
by the Assembly.
PROS AND CONS
State Rep. Kevin Shelley (D) said that "the bill would allow
smokers and their surviving families to sue the tobacco firms."
Shelly said that the legislation is necessary because it would
allow California residents to collect on the proposed fund for
individual tobacco lawsuits that could be established if the
global settlement is accepted by Congress. State Rep. Bernie
Richter (R) however, said, "The message we're sending is to the
trial lawyers and the message is: 'We love you, we're with you,
we want to support you and we want you to reap the fortunes that
come out of this.'" Kopp predicted that few suits will be filed
due to the expected difficulty in winning
cases (Capps, 7/4).