NAED Supports Innocent Sellers Fairness Act

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has signed on to a coalition supporting a bill called the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 1199), which protects distributors in product liability cases.

Below is a letter in support of the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 1199) that was sent to House Judiciary Committee members on Thursday, April 23.


Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers:

As organizations representing distribution and retail companies, we urge your support for the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 1199) that would protect distributors and retailers from unwarranted product liability lawsuits. These unfounded and unfair claims have a negative effect on the ability of businesses to operate effectively and contribute to their communities. This common-sense legislation would restore fairness to a system that penalizes companies whose only activity was selling a product.

The high costs of defending product liability lawsuits have caused some sellers to settle, regardless of the case’s merits. In fact, plaintiffs have even been awarded damages on products they were not sure had been purchased from the defendant’s store. Current law in a majority of states imposes strict liability without wrongdoing on sellers and exposes them to all the damages allegedly suffered by a plaintiff. Even in product liability claims where the issue is the product’s manufacturing or design, or in a customer’s improper use of the product, the seller is oftentimes faced with some or all of the liability.

These abusive product liability cases are part of a growing litigation burden on our nation’s small businesses. According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, small businesses bear 81 percent of business tort liability costs.

The Innocent Sellers Fairness Act has been introduced in previous Congresses and would ensure that businesses do not take on liability for a product merely by selling that product, but that if they are negligent with respect to certain, specific non-sale activities, they would be responsible for the harm that their negligence causes. This protects sellers from liability who have done nothing wrong, while preserving victims’ access to courts by holding sellers responsible for their proportion of wrongdoing.

Should you wish to learn more about the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act, or support the bill, please contact Austin Carson in Rep. Blake Farenthold’s office at

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.

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