After years of failure, Corporate America seems likely to win congressional approval for some product-liability reform. The big winner: makers of private aircraft. Earlier this year, the Senate passed a bill to curb their liability for damages in accidents, and the House followed suit on June 27. Now, lawmakers are trying to reconcile their differences. The Senate limits liability for all general-aviation products to 18 years, while the House calls for a sliding scale ranging from 15 years for piston-engine planes to 22 years for jets. A compromise would spell a major defeat for the powerful Association of Trial Lawyers of America, which barely blocked broader reform on June 29. That could mean relief for other industries down the road.
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