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Lobbying on admissability of evidence



One quarter's Congressional lobbying disclosure report is much like another, as issues and legislation often carry through an entire two-year Congress. In reviewing the reports, you keep an eye out for the few additions or omissions in each new filing.

Here's an addition in the American Association for Justice's disclosure for the first quarter of 2010: "H.R. 2136 (Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones College Fire Prevention Act); specific interest in provision relating to the admissibility of evidence."

The bill, H.R. 2136, is sponsored by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Jones' former chief of staff who won election to the seat after the Congresswoman died in 2008. The legislation would establish a demonstration grant program in the U.S. Department of Education to promote installation of fire sprinkler systems, or other fire suppression or prevention technologies, in qualified student housing and dormitories.

The provision the AAJ is lobbying on:

SEC. 3. ADMISSIBILITY AS EVIDENCE.

(a) Prohibition- Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to subsection (b), any application for assistance under this Act, any negative determination on the part of the Secretary with respect to such application, or any statement of reasons for the determination, shall not be admissible as evidence in any proceeding of any court, agency, board, or other entity.

(b) Exception- This section does not apply to the admission of an application, determination, or statement described in subsection (a) as evidence in a proceeding to enforce an agreement entered into between the Secretary and an eligible entity under section 2.

We infer that trial lawyers want to maintain the ability to cite applications for financial assistance as evidence of an institution's liability in the case of fire-related personal injury lawsuits.

The bill, which has 57 bipartisan cosponsors, doesn't seem to be going anywhere.


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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.