“A bid to limit retail liability for tainted food” appeared on Food Safety News this morning, profiling Colorado House Bill 11-1190, which was recently introduced by state Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg and state Sen. Cheri Jahn. The bill seeks to change Colorado law by absolving food retailers, as opposed to manufacturers, of liability in situations where the manufacturer isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of Colorado courts. FSN poses the legitimate question of who is really behind the bill, and for what reason?
Nevermind the fact that Sonnenberg and Jahn are trying to rewrite a half century’s worth of law on product liability. The bigger question, a political one, is whether the measure is truly a reflection of Sonennberg and Jahn’s constituents’ will, or instead just reflects the will of a food retailer or two who would rather see their insurance company save some money rather than an injured person made whole. That’s fair. Let the state taxpayers shoulder the burden of the sick people’s medical expenses.
Moreover, its not even certain that the bill, if it survives the legislative process and ultimately becomes law, would change the legal landscape in Colorado all that much. Colorado juries already apportion fault amongst defendants and other companies that may have been involved in the manufacture and distribution of the contaminated product, and its likely that a jury would place most of the blame on the manufacturing company, even if its not a party to the suit. Point: is this bill the result of a well placed phone call or a legitimate point of law or policy?