The meth epidemic has become so prevalent that effective September 1, 2001 the Texas Legislature passed a law which says that a person who manufactures methamphetamine is strictly liable for damages for personal injury, death, or property damage arising from its manufacture. CPRC sec. 99.001
The Texas Legislature also passed a law effective September 1, 2001, and later amended it effective August 1, 2005, which says that any person who manufactures methamphetamine is strictly liable for any exposure by an individual to the manufacturing process, including exposure to meth itself or any of the byproducts or waste products incident in the manufacture, for the greater of:
- actual damages for personal injury, death or property damage as a result of the exposure, or
- $20,000 per incident of exposure.
The Legislature said that each person found liable under these laws is jointly and severally liable with any other person who is also found liable. This means that everyone found liable is responsible for the full amount of the judgment.
The Legislature also made it clear that the limitations on punitive damages under CPRC Sec.41.0008 do not apply in an action arising from the manufacturer of methamphetamine. This means the statutory caps which might apply to other cases in Texas do not apply and the only restrictions on punitive damages would be under the US Constitution set forth by the US Supreme Court.
There are a number of theories to add several people to the list of defendants who might be sued together under these laws. For example, aiding and abetting; conspiracy; principal/agent; partnership; and joint enterprise could be considered in advancing a suit against one or more persons who might be sued under these laws.
The list of potential defendants who could be liable would include any person or persons who manufacture methamphetamine; any person or persons who exposes an individual(s) to the manufacturing of methamphetamine process, the methamphetamine itself or any of the byproducts or waste products incident in its manufacture.
Today, many families are divided due to divorce or simply due to the fact that many parents choose not to get married. Frequently, children are exposed to parents who are users of methamphetamine and the parents may also be directly or indirectly involved in its manufacture, thus exposing the child or children to the methamphetamine itself and also the byproducts or waste products incident in its manufacture.
The parent who is not using or exposing the child or children to the methamphetamine itself and also the byproducts or waste products incident in its manufacture, may have a cause of action not only against the other parent but also against persons who expose the child or children to the process of manufacturing of methamphetamine; the methamphetamine itself or any of the byproducts or waste products incident in its manufacture.
Parents whose children, and maybe even adult children, are given or provided methamphetamine and it results in property damage or damages for personal injury or death may have a cause of actions against more than one person depending upon the facts and circumstances.
When someone causes a motor vehicle accident or 18 wheeler accident while operating their vehicle under the influence of methamphetamine could open the door for claims also against any other person or persons who manufacture methamphetamine [supplier] or any person or persons who exposes an individual(s) to the manufacturing of methamphetamine process [supplier].
I think most people are not familiar with these statutes and some of the tools which might be available to someone who has been injured or to family members whose loved ones may have been injured or killed. This article is intended to provide some basic understanding of some of the applicable laws regarding civil liability for damages due to the manufacture and/or exposure to methamphetamine.
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