Attorney General Curtis Hill is urging Congress to enact specific liability protections that help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-related lawsuits pertaining to much-needed goods and services.
“As we reopen our economies, the need for a stable, predictable legal environment has never been greater,” reads a letter to congressional leaders signed by Attorney General Hill and 20 other states attorneys general. “The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a surge in civil litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures.”
One key to addressing this issue, the letter states, is “a common-sense framework to provide liability protections” to “businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers, healthcare facilities, and members of law enforcement, among others.”
The letter notes that 23 states already have enacted their own liability protections for first responders and healthcare workers. It states: “In the wake of this unprecedented crisis, the extension of appropriate post-pandemic liability protections is needed at both the state and federal levels.”
The measures advocated by Attorney General Hill would still ensure individuals are able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate.
“Civil liability protections should not, however, be extended to businesses engaging in willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm or intentional infliction of harm,” the letter states. “We believe criminal penalties, regulatory fines and agency oversight should be able to capture bad actors and civil lawsuits should be available for any citizens hurt by a business or individual acting with disregard for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.”