NEW YORK - An op-ed in this weekï¿½ï¿½s Wall Street Journal blasted trial bar attacks on the maker of the red plastic gasoline can.
Blitz USA faced a lawsuit when a consumer poured gas on a fire and the can exploded. Plaintiffs argue the explosion was the result of defects in the canï¿½ï¿½s design rather than consumer misuse of the product.
Unfortunately, this wasnï¿½ï¿½t the only time Blitz was sued for consumer misuse. As a result of paying legal fees over time ï¿½" roughly $30 million ï¿½" the company was forced to file for bankruptcy and will close at the end of the month. Blitz represents 75% of the plastic gasoline can market.
"The rest of the plastic-can industry canï¿½ï¿½t be far behind, so long as thereï¿½ï¿½s any cash flow available," the newspaper writes. "The American Association for Justice's (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) annual conference in Chicago this month will feature, with a straight face, a meeting of the 'gas cans litigation group.ï¿½ï¿½"
As a result and to prevent the financial ruin of other gas can manufacturers, The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association (PFCMA) is pressing for federal safety mandates and supporting H.R. 6065, legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on June 29.
The bill would amend the 2008 Childrenï¿½ï¿½s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act to make all voluntary product standards mandatory, and would seek to establish a reasonable baseline of product performance expectations to allow manufacturers to effectively defend themselves against claims involving product misuse.