H. B. 2810

(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss and Delegates
Michael, Amores, Kominar and Trump)
[Introduced January 31, 2003; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend article two, chapter fifty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated twelve-a, relating to statutes of repose for product liability actions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article two, chapter fifty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section twelve-a, to read as follows:

Statute of repose for product liability actions.

(a) No product liability action concerning a product or durable good as defined in this section may be filed after the eighteen-year period beginning at the time of delivery of the product to the first purchaser or lessee.
(b) A "product" means any object, substance, mixture, in a gaseous, liquid or solid state, which is:
(1) Capable of delivery itself or as an assembled whole, in a mixed or combined state, or as a component part or ingredient;
(2) Produced for introduction into trade or commerce; and
(3) Intended for sale or lease for commercial or personal use.

(c) The term "product" does not include human tissue, human organs, human blood, and human blood products, electricity, water delivered by a utility, natural gas, steam or intellectual property, including computer software.
(d) A"durable" good means any product, or any component of any product which:
(1) Either has a normal life expectancy of three or more years, or is of a character subject to allowance for depreciation under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and
(2) Is either (A) used in trade or business; (B) held for the production of income; or (C) sold or donated to a governmental or private entity for the production of goods, training, demonstration, or any other similar purpose; and
(3) Is used in a workplace and is alleged to have caused harm that is covered under chapter twenty-three of this code.
(e) Subsection (a) of this code section does not prohibit a product liability action against a defendant who made an express warranty in writing as to the safety or life expectancy of the specific product involved which was longer than eighteen years, except that subsection (a) shall apply at the expiration of that warranty.
(f) This section supersedes, invalidates and repeals all other state laws which conflict with its provisions.
(g) This section applies to all causes of action arising on or after the effective date of its enactment.
(h) The provisions of this section shall be severable from the provisions of each other subparagraph, paragraph, subdivision, subsection, section, article, or chapter of this code so that if any provision of this section be held void, the remaining provisions of this act, article, section and this code shall remain valid.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a statute of repose for product liability actions for products and durable goods.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.