Two McKenna Long & Aldridge Clients FirstTo Earn Safety Act Certification From Department Of Homeland Security

Monday, December 1, 2003 - 01:00

The Department of Homeland Security recently issued the first ever certifications under the Support Anti-Terrorism By Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) for Teledyne Brown Engineering's (Teledyne) WaterSabreª and Michael Stapleton Associates' (MSA) SmartTechª and Explosive Detection Teams (EDT) anti-terrorism products and services.McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP provided essential assistance related to the SAFETY Act applications filed by Teledyne and MSA to secure certification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"We applaud DHS in making this very important decision.They clearly recognize the significance of this landmark legislation and its role in protecting the homeland," said Raymond B. Biagini, partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge, who authored the original core provisions of the SAFETY Act.

The SAFETY Act, a provision of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, is ground-breaking legislation that provides broad tort reform to encourage the development of safe, effective anti-terrorism products and services critical to national security.This legislation not only protects certified companies, but the customers of these companies.The SAFETY Act is the first ever successful tort reform effort undertaken at the Federal level, having been signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 25, 2002.

Teledyne and MSA are the first to receive the distinction of having "Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies" (QATT) under the SAFETY Act.Teledyne's WaterSabre is an ultra high-pressure water cutting system that is operated remotely to cut through various containers without generating excessive heat or force.WaterSabre can be used to provide entry to investigate suspected explosive or hazardous devices.

Similarly, MSA's EDT services and its innovative SmartTech system will assist screeners and first responders with the rapid detection of explosive material, significantly limiting false alarms and cutting down on travel delays and business disruptions.

Both companies retained McKenna Long & Aldridge to assist in preparing their SAFETY Act applications and to provide coordination as required by the companies in obtaining SAFETY Act coverage.The firm played a leading role in drafting significant provisions of the legislation, and is widely recognized for its expertise on the SAFETY Act and on homeland security, in general.

With SAFETY Act certification, Teledyne and MSA can market their anti-terror products and services to a large commercial and government marketplace while receiving significant tort protections including:

  • Dramatic limitation or elimination of product liability exposure;
  • A complete ban on punitive damages; and
  • A consolidation of all claims in Federal district court.
  • "Companies are navigating new and uncharted waters when it comes to providing products and services designed to fight terrorism," said George Harvey, President of MSA."With the SAFETY Act, McKenna Long & Aldridge helped us secure the protection our company needs so that we can help protect others while limiting our and their liability."

    "The depth of McKenna Long's experience and background with intricacies of the SAFETY Act has been invaluable to Teledyne," said Robert Eastburn, General Counsel for Teledyne Brown Engineering."Their leadership in Homeland Security helped our company reach its goal of mitigating potential tort liabilities," he continued.

    In addition to authoring key provisions of the SAFETY Act legislation, McKenna Long & Aldridge lobbied and testified before Congressional committees on the topic.Since the adoption of the SAFETY Act in 2002, McKenna Long & Aldridge has been retained by 17 clients to complete the extensive and detailed application process involved to secure approval from DHS.The firm expects to file 40 SAFETY Act applications on behalf of its clients in the next two months.

    "MLA's involvement with the SAFETY Act since the inception, coupled with our experience in product liability defense and government contracts, uniquely positions us to offer a thorough understanding of the requirements necessary for companies to secure approval," said John Clerici, also a partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge who testified before Congress as an expert on the SAFETY Act.

    Mr. Biagini and Mr. Clerici have led the firm's efforts on the SAFETY Act and have worked closely with DHS and Congress to successfully implement the Act.