The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has recently released two research papers concluding that foreign manufacturers enjoy favorable status in American markets that imposes high costs on Americans.
The first paper, Defective Foreign Products in the United States: Issues and Discussion, argues that foreign producers "are protected by the complex web of laws, policies, and practices that make it difficult if not impossible to sue successfully foreign manufacturers in domestic courts." Not only is this bad for the American consumer, U.S. manufacturers are also negatively impacted. U.S. manufacturers who do face the prospect of tort liability must pay higher product liability insurance rates and cannot set their prices as low as foreign manufacturers. Professor Andrew Popper of American University Washington College of Law concludes that "[f]oreign manufacturers suffer few consequences from exporting popular and profitable products that are also inexpensive, untested, and deadly."
The Social Costs of Dangerous Products: An Empirical Investigation, the second paper released by the AAJ, concludes that the costs imposed by dangerous products are less than what is recovered through the tort system. This paper examined the costs associated with three known dangerous products: Ford SUV’s with Firestone tires, the Baycol pharmaceutical drug, and ATVs (all terrain vehicles). The paper concludes that these three products created almost $4.7 billion in costs, including those associated with medical bills and lost wages.
To see the actual reports see