Top Menu Left

Top Menu Right

Subscriber-only Content

This audio content is accessible only to current Audio or Premium subscribers. For access, login, subscribe or upgrade your subscription.

Get Access...

Subscriber-only Content

This ebook content is accessible only to current Ebook or Premium subscribers. For access, login, subscribe or upgrade your subscription.

Get Access...

Liability Reform Shouldn’t Be Limited to Space Industry

Space Ship OneColorado legislators are considering a bill to limit the liability of spaceflight companies. The bill’s sponsor says the measure would recognize “the inherent risks of spaceflight activity,” reports the Denver Post. New Mexico’s legislature also took up legislation to limit the liability of space companies.

No doubt abusive litigation in America has spun out of control. But why should select industries receive special protection that others don’t enjoy? Lawmakers should focus on crafting sensible liability rules that apply equally to everyone.

In his book The Right to Earn a Living, Timothy Sandefur (an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation) summarizes, “The abuse of tort law by mercenary lawyers poses a major threat to American businesses and therefore to the economic liberties of everyone.”

One major problem Sandefur cites is that courts often fail to recognize explicit contracts limiting liability. He offers the example of a 2005 case in which a New Jersey court refused to recognize the liability waiver a woman signed before her son used a skate park. (The son broke his leg, and the mother sued the park despite her signed waiver.)

Whether people want to skate in a park or fly into space, they should be able to decide what level of risk they are willing to accept. When courts fail to recognize freely negotiated agreements limiting liability, that drives abusive lawsuits, puts producers out of business, and limits the creation of new businesses.

Spaceflight companies deserve legal protection from abusive lawsuits. And so do the rest of us here on planet Earth.

If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to The Objective Standard and making objective journalism a regular part of your life.

Related:

Image: Wikipedia Commons

,


Comments submitted to TOS Blog are moderated and checked periodically. To be considered for posting, a comment must be civil, substantive, on topic, and no longer than 400 words. Ad hominem attacks, arguments from intimidation, misrepresentations, off-topic comments, and comments that ignore points made in the article will be deleted. Thank you for helping us to keep the discussion intellectually profitable.