NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in 39 states and the District of Columbia to hold manufacturers accountable for defective products in home-state courts.
According to the state attorney general's office, in a briefing to the U.S. Supreme Court, Slatery and the rest of the coalition have asked the court to uphold decisions made by Supreme Courts in Minnesota and Montana. In those courts, it was ruled that Ford Motor Company may be sued in those states' courts for defects in Ford cars that led to serious crashes.
Ford has appealed the Minnesota and Montana Supreme Court decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that product-liability lawsuits against it should only be filed in the states where the individual vehicle was designed, manufactured or first sold.
The brief filed by the coalition states the Minnesota and Montana decisions are consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedents that, "Recognize states' strong sovereign and constitutional interests in ensuring that their own courts remain open to citizens injured within their borders."
The coalition also argues that reversing the Minnesota and Montana decisions might hinder the ability for attorneys general to protect state residents against out-of-state companies that break state laws.
"Tennessee needs to be able to act, unencumbered, when our citizens are harmed by out-of-state companies that break laws," said Slatery. "Whether we are talking about manufacturers of defective automotive products or those who deceptively market or distribute opioids, state must continue to hold them accountable no matter where they are located."
A copy of the amicus curiae brief by the coalition to the U.S. Supreme Court can be read in full here.