ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Legal Issues Forum 2007: Tort Liability for Standards Developers

New York, Sep 21, 2007

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is pleased to present the ANSI Legal Issues Forum: Tort Liability in the Standards World as part of the World Standards Week 2007 series of events. To be held Wednesday, October 17, at the Fairmont Washington in Washington, DC, the forum will focus on tort liability and its impact on the standards and conformity assessment community.

The narrow focus of this year’s conference make it a must-attend event for anyone -- developers, conformity assessment bodies, manufacturers and service providers -- interested in protecting his or her organization from tort liability. Presenting case studies from recent litigation, legal experts will provide guidance on how a standards developing organization (SDO) or a conformity assessment body can mitigate the risk of being sued in a products liability or negligence lawsuit, how it might defend itself if it did, and how manufacturers may embrace standards affirmatively to establish product safety in the face of allegations of negligence.

“Legal issues relating to negligence and product safety arise in all aspects of the the standards development and conformity assessment process,” said Patricia Griffin, vice president and general counsel of ANSI. “The forum provides an opportunity for any organization involved with standards to profit from the knowledge of several well-respected legal experts ."

The opening panel will offer an overview of the current legal landscape, highlighting key rulings addressing liability for negligent standards development, theories of liability against SDOs, as well as cases alleging negligence by certification bodies for allowing third-party use of their logo on allegedly defective products. The panel will feature interactive dialogue by lawyers with demonstrated success in defending SDOs and conformity assessment bodies against claims of negligence.

The second panel will focus on the use of standards in the courtroom with a leading plaintiffs lawyer and a leading defendants lawyer discussing their views on the strategic use of standards in litigation. Dissecting each side of the litigation coin, they will examine both the prosecuting and defense lawyers’ approach to establishing or disproving liability through voluntary consensus standards.

The forum’s final panel will take a look at what is happening in the trenches today, as developers seek to write safety standards ever mindful of the growing threat of tort liability. This panel will focus on efforts underway within the ANSI-Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP). The panel will engage in a thought-provoking session examining the legislative “safe harbor” provided by the recently enacted Safety Act and how concerns over tort liability are impacting standards development in the area of homeland security.

The conference is open to standards developers and conformity assessment bodies; industry and government representatives; manufacturers; service providers; consumers and other standards stakeholders.

For more information or to register for this and other World Standards Week events, visit

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