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Y2K Immunity Passed
Senate approves Y2K immunity; House may accept Senate bill or insist on conference committee

On June 15 the U.S. Senate approved by a vote of 62 to 37 the McCain-Dodd Y2K immunity legislation (S.96), the Association of Trial Lawyers of America reports. Thirty-three Democrats and four Republicans voted against the bill, according to ATLA. The full vote tally can be accessed at

According to ATLA, the Clinton Administration has indicated it will veto S.96 in its current form or the even more draconian House version (H.R. 775).

According to ATLA, the Senate bill will now go back to the House, which can accept the Senate-passed bill and send it to the President or demand a conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate versions and then send a "compromise" bill to the President.

ATLA reports that the measure would apply principally to business versus business, rather than consumer versus business, contract and tort actions. In Y2K cases ONLY, it would cap punitive damages, eliminate joint liability, federalize class actions, and establish delays and procedural hurdles for plaintiffs.

ATLA and other opponents of the legislation succeeded in preventing inclusion in the bill of any limitations on liability for personal physical injury and in assuring that the liability protection would sunset in three years.

According to ATLA, the Senate vote, although troubling, should not be construed as erosion of the influence of consumers and trial lawyers, as high-tech industries have major facilities and many employees in a number of states represented by traditional friends of the civil justice system--some of whom voted for the bill because of the Administration's presumed veto of this dreadful public policy.

ATLA says it will closely monitor the conference committee to help assure that the legislation is not made worse still. And ATLA pledges to continue to work with the White House to make certain that the President exercises his veto of this special interest protection legislation.


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