Protecting Innocent Sellers in Product Liability Cases

Innocent Sellers protects distributors from being included in unfounded lawsuits in which the distributor has no role in the manufacture or modification of the product.

Preserve victims’ access to courts while holding sellers harmless when they have not acted negligently in the design, manufacture, sale, or installation of a legal product.


A Harris poll of small business owners and managers found that 61% increased the cost of products and services due to the threat of lawsuits, and 73% said their businesses suffered from the time associated with litigation.

It is estimated that in 2011 small businesses would lose $152 billion to tort costs. Of this $35.6 billion was paid out of pocket as opposed to insurance.

The bill will protect distributors who follow the rules from being part of lawsuits that should not affect them. This bill will provide uniformity for distributors who work in multiple states compared to current state-by-state laws. The bill maintains liability for distributors who are negligent in the sale of their products.

The bill does not preempt state law. It will only apply to federal litigation. 

Download the Issue Brief.