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The Preemption WarWhen Federal Bureaucracies Trump Local Juries$
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Thomas O. McGarity

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300122961

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300122961.001.0001

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The Preemption War in Congress

The Preemption War in Congress

(p.111) Chapter 5 The Preemption War in Congress
The Preemption War

Thomas O. McGarity

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the battles in Congress over recent efforts to pass legislation preempting state common law claims with respect to federally regulated products and activities. It highlights two successful efforts to enact laws shielding manufacturers of firearms and certain vaccines from liability and an unsuccessful effort by the petroleum industry to shield itself from liability for damages caused by a fuel additive that leaked out of underground storage tanks into groundwater. The chapter then examines an ambitious attempt by victims of HMO and insurance company negligence to persuade Congress to fix an unanticipated and highly inequitable preemption situation by enacting a Patients' Bill of Rights. Although Congress devoted scant attention to federal preemption of common law claims in the 1960s and 1970s, the congressional front of the preemption war at the turn of the century was both heavily contested and highly visible.

Keywords:   battles in Congress, federally regulated products, petroleum industry, victims of HMO, insurance company negligence, Patients' Bill of Rights

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