Senate Stimulus Plan Includes Business Liability Protections

Senate Republicans have unveiled their latest COVID-19 stimulus package designed to kick start the economy while helping Americans affected by the pandemic caused recession. One of the key parts of this package is a liability shield for businesses that reopen during the pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said this provision is a redline in order for any package to pass the Senate.

Many business trade associations have been supporting this liability shield to protect their members from unnecessary lawsuits. According to a recent survey of trade associations, the liability shield was the most important issue they want to see in any upcoming package, more so than extension or expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program which was very popular with small business owners.

This liability shield includes the following provisions:
• Federal Cause of Action: Creates a federal cause of action for coronavirus exposure claims that is the exclusive remedy for all claims against a defendant for personal injury caused by an actual, alleged, feared or potential exposure to coronavirus.
• Requirements for Liability: A plaintiff must satisfy the safe harbor and gross negligence or willful misconduct requirements of the claim by clear and convincing evidence.
• Healthcare Protections: Creates an exclusive federal cause of action for coronavirus medical liability claims.
• Labor and Employment: Protects employers from liability under federal labor and employment laws (OSHA, FLSA, ADEA, WARN, GINA, and ADA) for actions taken to comply with coronavirus-related public health guidance and regulations
• Protections for Products: Limits liability for additional products, such as types of PPE and hand sanitizer, if they meet certain FDA requirements

If these protections become law it will allow businesses to reopen without fear of unfounded lawsuits that drain important capital from a company. AMAC Action is following the negotiations for the next COVID-19 relief package closely and will update you if any important developments.

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