Aug 06, 2020 | Tom Teodori
This week, Congress continues negotiations for another economic relief package benefiting millions of Americans. One aspect of the legislation concerns liability for COVID-19 related illnesses. Republican leaders have proposed a law that, if enacted, would be bad for consumers, workers and patients. We all want and expect safe schools, workplaces and medical facilities. However, the proposed law would make it extremely difficult for those injured by COVID-19 to hold negligent parties responsible. Rather than benefit corporate America, we encourage Congress to protect the health and welfare of the American public.
The American Association of Justice has outlined the key points of this destructive legislation. We stand with the AAJ in their battle against the Corporate Liability Immunity bill.
A Danger to America’s Workers and Consumers
Senators Cornyn and McConnell want to remove liability—the most effective, and often the only protection that workers, patients, and consumers have to encourage businesses to act reasonably and promote safety.
If Congress gives corporations broad liability immunity, workers and families will have no remedy when corporations act negligently or recklessly or fail to protect them from the virus.
The bill would essentially wipe out medical malpractice cases for the next five years, and:
- moves all COVID-19 exposure, injury, or death claims to federal court;
- plaintiffs must prove that a business acted with conscious disregard because of an extremely heightened gross negligence standard;
- plaintiffs would have to meet raised evidentiary burdens including proving their cases by “clear and convincing evidence;”
- preempts all state laws including tort law but for those that are LESS protective of individuals;
- suspends federal employment and disability rights statutes such as the ADA, the Civil Rights Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act for five years;
- eliminates joint and several liability in most COVID-19 cases; and
- eliminates or severely limits non-economic damages in many health-related claims including nursing home claims.