FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2013
House Passes Legislation Increasing Penalties for Corporate Manslaughter
(BOSTON) – State Rep. Thomas Golden joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in voting unanimously to update the maximum fine for a corporate manslaughter law from $1,000 to $250,000.
The law in question allows the Attorney General to hold corporations responsible for criminally negligent behavior. It had not been updated since 1819.
State Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty (D – Chelsea), Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, sponsored the bill. He cited recent tragedies such as the 2006 Big Dig collapse that killed a woman and the 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 and originated in a Framingham compounding pharmacy.
“I was happy to sponsor and support this important legislation,” State Rep. O’Flaherty said. “Companies doing business in our Commonwealth need to be held to the highest standards and therefore penalties must be increased accordingly.”
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said, “No amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of a life. However, we must ensure that companies are held to the highest standard of accountability.”
Attorney General Martha Coakley echoed House Speaker Deleo’s comments: “No amount of money can compensate for the loss of an individual’s life, but the threat of a substantial fine can deter irresponsible shortcuts taken by companies that put lives in danger. This is a common sense update to more effectively address corporate responsibility in the wake of criminally negligent behavior.”