The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation to strengthen penalties against corporations convicted of manslaughter by raising the fine from $1,000 to no less than $250,000 and including the possibility of corporate debarment for up to 10 years, Senator Patricia Jehlen announced.
“The new legislation ensures that the accountability of corporations is suitable to the criminal action committed,” said Senator Jehlen. “The update makes it clear to corporations that negligence is not tolerated and will have a significant impact, not only on the victims, but on the corporation itself.”
“The law on corporate manslaughter was put in place in 1819 and the legislation we passed today is a necessary and common sense update,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “This change will bring meaningful penalties against corporations convicted of manslaughter and ensure that corporations are held accountable for their actions.”
“I applaud the Senate for passing this common-sense update to our manslaughter statute which will enable us to hold corporations accountable when found guilty of criminally negligent behavior,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “While no monetary sum can compensate for the loss of a loved one, the current $1,000 penalty is woefully inadequate. I appreciate the leadership of Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Jennifer Flanagan, Senator Katherine Clark and Representative Eugene O’Flaherty on this important issue, and hope the House will similarly pass this legislation in a timely fashion.”
The statute instituting the $1,000 fine was signed into law by Governor John Brooks on February 19, 1819 and has not been amended since. Currently, the only penalty faced by corporations is a monetary fine.
The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives.
- Information from State Senator Patricia Jehlen’s office