Rendell vetoes victim rights bill

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:23

    HARRISBURG - Saying it did not adequately protect the state’s businesses or victims, Gov. Ed Rendell has vetoed the state Senate version of a victims’ rights bill. Referring to the 200-year-old “joint and several liability doctrine” in his veto message, Rendell said: “It has become apparent in our industrialized society that this doctrine has produced inequitable and unfair results that have had a detrimental impact on businesses.” Rendell cited the case of, Crown Cork & Seal, was held responsible for 100 percent of the damages in an asbestos class action when it had caused less than three percent of the injuries. The other companies that had caused the vast majority of harm were bankrupt and out of business, leaving Crown Cork & Seal with the responsibility of paying nearly $250 million in damages. Rendell cited a campaign promise to enact some limits on the doctrine of joint and several liability to protect Pennsylvania businesses from unfair and inequitable results. “Just as our businesses have given me telling examples of the unfairness and harm that is caused to them by the current law, consumer organizations have given me just as telling examples of how victims - many times the children of parents killed by negligent actions - would be left without adequate compensation for their loss. “I believe we must find a better way - a law that will balance the equities between our businesses and the victims of negligence.” Rendell concluded.