A multi-industry coalition that includes the Auto Care Association is urging Congress to enact temporary liability protections against COVID-19 exposure claims. “The need for liability protections and relief is clear,” the coalition stated in a recent letter. “Several governors and state legislatures have already implemented COVID-19-related liability protections for key sectors in their states, but a uniform national response is necessary.
“Now is the time for Congress to take strong action to stop a growing wave of lawsuits from getting in the way of what we all want and need: healthy citizens and a strong economy.”
The coalition believes liability protections “should be limited in scope and preserve recourse for those harmed by truly bad actors who engage in egregious misconduct.”
Liability protections “should safeguard businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, as well as healthcare providers and facilities, from unfair lawsuits so that they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective recovery from this pandemic. Right now, countless healthcare workers and facilities, as well as businesses and non-profit organizations of all types and sizes, are working around the clock to get our nation through this pandemic.
“Our members and constituencies are concerned that, despite doing their best to follow applicable guidelines, they will be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits. The prospect of such litigation and associated exorbitant legal costs are a deterrent to reopening.
“Further, this litigation could devastate those entities that are just beginning to reopen their doors or have kept them open throughout the crisis. Indeed, past surveys have shown that many small businesses are one lawsuit away from closing for good. Absent a targeted safe harbor for those that work to follow applicable guidelines, the fear and uncertainty from boundless liability threatens to impede our country’s social and economic recovery.
“In the wake of prior crises, Congress came together to pass timely and targeted liability protections with strong bipartisan support because lawmakers understood the acute economic threat of lawsuits at moments of maximum economic vulnerability. And while Congress has acted to provide some limited COVID-19-related liability protections for volunteer healthcare providers and some manufacturers of PPE in the CARES Act, much more must be done.”