Texas Space Liability Act

May 11, 2011 at 10:10 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Texas Space Alliance issued a press release noting the passage of the SB115: Relating to limiting the liability of space flight entities. The bill was signed by the Texas Governor on April 21, 2011.

S.B. No. 115

AN ACT
relating to limiting the liability of space flight entities.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Title 4, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is
amended by adding Chapter 100A to read as follows:
CHAPTER 100A. LIMITED LIABILITY FOR SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES
Sec. 100A.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) “Launch” means a placement or attempted placement
of a vehicle or rocket and any payload, crew, or space flight
participant in a suborbital trajectory, earth orbit, or outer
space, including activities involved in the preparation of a launch
vehicle or payload for launch.
(2) “Reentry” means a purposeful return or attempt to
return a reentry vehicle and the payload, the crew, or a space
flight participant from earth orbit or from outer space to earth.
(3) “Space flight activities” means activities and
training in all phases of preparing for and undertaking space
flight, including:
(A) the preparation of a launch vehicle, payload,
crew, or space flight participant for launch, space flight, and
reentry;
(B) the conduct of the launch;
(C) conduct occurring between the launch and
reentry;
(D) the preparation of a reentry vehicle,
payload, crew, or space flight participant for reentry;
(E) the conduct of reentry and descent;
(F) the conduct of the landing; and
(G) the conduct of postlanding recovery of a
reentry vehicle, payload, crew, or space flight participant.
(4) “Space flight entity” means a person who has
obtained the appropriate Federal Aviation Administration license
or other authorization, including safety approval and a payload
determination. The term includes:
(A) a manufacturer or supplier of components,
services, or vehicles used by the entity and reviewed by the Federal
Aviation Administration as part of issuing the license or other
authorization; and
(B) an employee, officer, director, owner,
stockholder, member, manager, or partner of the entity,
manufacturer, or supplier.
(5) “Space flight participant” means an individual,
who is not crew, carried aboard a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.
(6) “Space flight participant injury” means an injury
sustained by a space flight participant, including bodily injury,
emotional distress, death, property damage, or any other loss
arising from the individual’s participation in space flight
activities.
Sec. 100A.002. LIMITED LIABILITY. (a) Except as provided
by Subsection (b), a space flight entity is not liable to any person
for a space flight participant injury or damages arising out of the
space flight participant injury if the space flight participant has
signed the agreement required by Section 100A.003 and given written
consent as required by 49 U.S.C. Section 70105.
(b) This section does not limit liability for an injury:
(1) proximately caused by the space flight entity’s
gross negligence evidencing wilful or wanton disregard for the
safety of the space flight participant; or
(2) intentionally caused by the space flight entity.
Sec. 100A.003. WARNING REQUIRED. (a) A space flight
participant must sign an agreement and warning statement before
participating in any space flight activity. The agreement must
include the following language and any other language required by
federal law:
AGREEMENT AND WARNING
I UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT A SPACE FLIGHT ENTITY IS NOT
LIABLE FOR ANY INJURY TO OR DEATH OF A SPACE FLIGHT PARTICIPANT
RESULTING FROM SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES. I UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE
ACCEPTED ALL RISK OF INJURY, DEATH, PROPERTY DAMAGE, AND OTHER LOSS
THAT MAY RESULT FROM SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES.
(b) An agreement under Subsection (a) is considered
effective and enforceable if it is:
(1) in writing;
(2) in a document separate from any other agreement
between the space flight participant and the space flight entity
other than a different warning, consent, or assumption of risk
statement;
(3) printed in not less than 10-point bold type; and
(4) signed by the space flight participant and a
competent witness.
Sec. 100A.004. AGREEMENT EFFECTIVE AND ENFORCEABLE.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an agreement between a
space flight entity and a space flight participant limiting or
otherwise affecting liability arising out of space flight activity
is effective and enforceable and is not unconscionable or against
public policy.
(b) An agreement described by this section may not limit
liability for an injury:
(1) proximately caused by the space flight entity’s
gross negligence evidencing wilful or wanton disregard for the
safety of the space flight participant; or
(2) intentionally caused by a space flight entity.
SECTION 2. The change in law made by this Act applies only
to a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of
this Act. A cause of action that accrues before the effective date
of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before the
effective date of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for
that purpose.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

______________________________ ______________________________
President of the Senate Speaker of the House

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 115 passed the Senate on
March 15, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.

______________________________
Secretary of the Senate

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 115 passed the House on
April 12, 2011, by the following vote: Yeas 147, Nays 0, one
present not voting.

______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House

Approved:

______________________________
Date

______________________________
Governor

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