House Civil Justice Subcommittee Hears Automobile Defect Bill

HB 201 by Representative Marlene O’Toole (R-Lady Lake)

Tallahassee, Fla --- Wednesday, February 9, HB201, legislation relating to the elimination of Florida's crashworthiness doctrine, will be debated by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. HB 201, by Marlene O’ Toole (R-Lady Lake), is the House Bill for SB 142, by Garrett Richter (R-Naples), which has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. If passed, this legislation will allow vehicle manufacturers to escape liability when their products seriously injure or kill unsuspecting consumers.

This legislation will greatly impede the safety of Florida's drivers and their passengers. When considering the impact of this dangerous bill, consider the story of 7 year-old Alyssa, who now suffers from devastating injuries after she and her family were rear-ended in a collision. Alyssa was buckled into the backseat when the driver's seat failed and collapsed backward, crushing her and leaving her with permanent brain injuries. Had it not been for the vehicle's defective seats, Alyssa would have walked away from the crash. Alyssa was extremely intelligent—who once spoke multiple languages—yet after serious brain injuries, she can barely speak at all.

To watch a full video covering Alyssa's story, click HERE.

In this case, reports confirm that the vehicle manufacturer had known about the faulty seats since 1968. When you look at the role our laws play in protecting Florida's consumers, there is no doubt—we need strong crashworthiness laws. If we don't hold vehicle manufacturers accountable for their negligent behavior, justice is lost.

Florida Justice Association President Rich Newsome will testify in front of the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee, where he will present the short video covering Alyssa’s story and the tragedies she and her family have endured due to the negligent behavior of auto-manufacturers.

For a complete analysis on the crashworthiness doctrine and on SB 142/HB 201 by the Florida Justice Association, click HERE. For an informative white paper on tort reform statistics and civil filings in the state of Florida, click HERE. For additional videos and information on Florida's crashworthiness doctrine, visit

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House Civil Justice Subcommittee (Judiciary)
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
1:00 PM —4:00 PM
Room 404 House Office Building