South Dakota's Aircraft Parts Liability Cap

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A bill proposed for South Dakota by its governor, Dennis Daugaard, would create a 10-year liability cap for in-state aviation parts makers and has earned unanimous approval in a state committee. Parts manufacturers would be protected under the bill if their parts became defective or led to damage 10 years or more after the part was installed. Some exemptions would apply. Manufacturers could still be sued if their parts failed to meet safety standards at the time of manufacture, and if a company offered a warranty of longer than 10 years. The bill is intended to attract new business to the state and was modeled after legislation in Kansas. But the state's lawyers aren't entirely happy with it.

The South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association employed the slippery slope argument in opposing the bill, The Associated Press reported. "This year, it's airplanes. Next year, it's heavy equipment or automobiles," said one lobbyist for the association. And while state officials stipulate that there don't appear to be any aviation companies standing at the state line waiting for reasons to come in, Gov. Daugaard believes the move will eventually do what he hopes -- attract jobs to South Dakota.