FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2006
GOV. RENDELL VETOES BILL CANDIDATE RENDELL ENDORSED
Fair Share Act vetoed by governor was identical to measure passed in 2002
Governor Ed Rendell today vetoed legislation he had unequivocally endorsed while a candidate four years ago, thereby preventing Pennsylvania from joining the 43 other states that have curbed lawsuit abuse by reforming liability laws. The bill, known as the Fair Share Act, was supported by Pennsylvania’s employers, hospitals, doctors, and not-for-profit and service organizations, among many others.
The Fair Share Act would have reformed the outdated system of “joint-and-several” liability under which a party only one percent responsible for an injury can be forced to pay one hundred percent of damages. Under the Fair Share Act, a party that is less than sixty percent responsible could only be required to pay damages equal to that party’s share of responsibility. The legislation provided for multiple exceptions, including for intentional acts, violations of the liquor code, and damage to the environment.
“This veto shows once again that Governor Rendell is not responsive to the needs of Pennsylvania’s business community,” said Frederick W. Anton III, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association.
“Reinstating the Fair Share Act has been a long battle and it is very disturbing at this hour for Governor Rendell to go back on his word.
Failure to reform the unfair ‘joint-and-several’ system tells any business looking to locate in Pennsylvania: ‘We don’t want you here’.”
On August 27, 2002, the Rendell for Governor campaign issued a statement accusing Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Fisher of “trying to ‘redefine’ the truth”:
“In an attack released today, the Fisher camp alleges that Ed Rendell opposes the Fair Share legislation passed by the Legislature. In fact, Rendell called for the types of changes to joint and several liability that the Legislature ultimately enacted – and even in their attack, the Fisher camp acknowledges that Rendell has consistently supported modifications”
“It is a tragedy that Governor Rendell values the lawsuit industry more than all of Pennsylvania’s employers, doctors, and hospitals combined,” said David N. Taylor, PMA’s Vice President-Communications. “Governor Rendell’s veto condemns Pennsylvania to the shrinking list of states that have not reformed their liability laws. When Pennsylvania is one of only a few states to cling to outdated practices, is it any wonder we rank near the bottom in job growth, wage growth, and population growth?”
Founded in 1909, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association is a statewide trade organization representing the interests of the manufacturer in Pennsylvania’s public policy process. Learn more about the association and its work at www.pamanufacturers.org.
CONTACT: David N. Taylor (717) 232-0737/cell: (717) 649-6980