WASHINGTON-The Senate voted 61-37 on May 10 to approve a watered-down version of the product liability reform package approved earlier by the House. The Senate version retains the punitive damages cap of $250,000 or triple economic damages, whichever is more. But it limits the cap to product liability cases, whereas the House extends it to all civil actions.
The Senate bill also allows judges to lift the cap if they feel a manufacturer's actions are particularly reckless, but defendants could then request a new trial.
Severe disagreements between House and Senate negotiators are expected during conference.
President Clinton, meanwhile, has threatened to veto any product liability reform bill that contains any sort of damage cap.