The California Pool and Spa Association opposes a state bill that, it says, would change warranty and product liability law in the Golden State.
CPSA and other industries are opposing the measure and what CPSA calls "the fundamental restructuring of product liability." SB 1188 also was named in the California Chamber of Commerce list of 26 "job-killer" bills.
Authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), the bill proposes that the definition of consumer fraud or deceit be broadened to include the omission of a so-called material fact, or an important one that could affect a consumer's purchasing decision. The bill also proposes that facts not only be considered material if they pose a threat to health or safety.
SB 1188 is still working its way through its house of origin. It has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and next will be heard by the full Senate before moving to the next house.
"Essentially, this bill would allow a person to later sue, claiming he or she was not told about some element of a product down the road when they were dissatisfied with the item," the CPSA stated in a press release. "Existing law already has extensive safeguards in place that protect consumers from product malfunctions through express warranties."
The law currently allows lawsuits post-warranty if a defect or fraudulent representation could affect health or safety. This legislation, CPSA said, could open the door to frivolous lawsuits.
As an example, the organization said, a consumer could sue an inground pool contractor for plaster discoloration by claiming they were never advised that surface materials fade or stain with age. "Perhaps the plastering degrades prematurely and the consumer blames the builder despite various other elements that can exacerbate such a problem," the organization said.