A 21-state coalition, led by RAGA Vice-Chairman Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, sent a letter to Congress asking House and Senate leadership to enact liability protections for businesses, non-profits, manufacturers, first responders, health care workers, healthcare facilities, and law enforcement who have been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. The attorneys general insist these protections are needed to restart America’s free enterprise system in a manner that ensures a stable legal and regulatory environment after the pandemic subsides and the economy reopens.
The Republican attorneys general state in their letter that the coronavirus pandemic “is likely to create a surge in civil litigation targeting well intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures.” As a result, the attorneys general are asking for Congress to establish a “common-sense framework” to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while also ensuring that victims are still able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate.
“Our economy will only recover if customers, employees and businesses alike have confidence to return to the marketplace,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “As attorneys general, we ensure our states have a legal and regulatory environment that protects consumers and allows the free enterprise system to thrive. It is in keeping with this mission that we are calling on Congress to ensure that those businesses that have engaged in best practices and followed federal and state guidance for safe and appropriate operations as a result of this pandemic will be protected from baseless litigation regarding COVID-related claims.”
However, the 21-state coalition warns that civil liability protections should not be extended to businesses engaging in willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm. The letter states, “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.”
The attorneys general from the following states signed onto the letter: Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
Read the full letter sent to Congress here.