H. B. 2207
(By Delegate Manypenny)
[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §19-2H-1, §19-2H-2
and §19-2H-3, all relating to creating the "Genetically
Engineered Organism Liability Act"; making legislative
findings; creating liability for injuries arising from the
release of genetically engineered organisms into the
environment; providing that liability is nonwaivable; and
defines a term.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §19-2H-1, §19-2H-2 and
§19-2H-3, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2H. GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ORGANISM LIABILITY ACT.
§19-2H-1. Short title.
_____This article may be cited as the "Genetically Engineered
Organism Liability Act."
§19-2H-2. Legislative findings.
_____The Legislature finds the following:
_____(1) The negative consequences of genetically engineered crops
may impact farmers who grow these crops, neighbor farmers who do
not grow these crops and consumers;
_____(2) Biotech companies are selling a technology that is being
commercialized ahead of the new and unknown science of genetic
_____(3) Farmers may suffer from crop failures, neighbor and nearby
farmers may suffer from cross pollination, increased insect
resistance, and unwanted volunteer genetically engineered plants
and consumers may suffer from health and environmental impacts; and
_____(4) Biotech companies should be found liable for the failures
of genetically engineered crops when they arise.
_____(a) Cause of action. -- A biotech company is liable to any
party injured by the release of a genetically engineered organism
into the environment if that injury results from that genetic
engineering. The prevailing plaintiff in an action under this
subsection may also recover reasonable attorney's fees and other
_____(b) Nonwaivable. -- The liability created by subsection (a) may not be waived or otherwise avoided by contract.
_____(c) Definition. -- As used in this section, the term "biotech
company" means a person:
_____(1) Engaged in the business of genetically engineering an
_____(2) Obtained the patent rights to such an organism for the
purposes of commercial exploitation of that organism.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the "Genetically
Engineered Organism Liability Act." The bill makes legislative
findings. The bill establishes liability for injuries arising from
the release of genetically engineered organisms into the
environment and that liability is nonwaivable. The bill also
defines a term.
This article is new; therefore, it has been completely