FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2020
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Attorney General Steve Marshall Joins 20 Other State AGs in Asking Congress to Enact COVID-19 Liability Protections
(MONTGOMERY) — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined a 21-state coalition of Attorneys General urging Congress to enact appropriate liability protections from frivolous COVID-19-related lawsuits.
“It is imperative that we preserve America’s ability to manufacture and provide vital goods and services, while still ensuring that victims are able to seek appropriate legal remedies,” said Attorney General Marshall. “The people of Alabama and throughout our great nation look to their leaders to provide a responsible framework as we move forward to protect lives and restore our economy.”
In a May 11 letter to Congressional leaders, Attorney General Marshall and 20 other Attorneys General described the legal ramifications. “In the wake of this unprecedented crisis, the extension of appropriate post-pandemic liability protections is needed at both the state and federal levels for businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers, healthcare facilities and members of law enforcement, among others.”
States across the country have recognized the need for timely, targeted and tailored civil liability protections in light of the pandemic, with more than 20 states to date enacting liability protections for first responders and healthcare workers. On May 8, Governor Kay Ivey issued a proclamation to shield healthcare providers and businesses from potential liability related to COVID-19.
“As we reopen our economies, the need for a stable, predictable legal environment has never been greater,” the Attorneys General told Congress. “The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a surge in civil litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures; therefore, this country is in need of a common-sense framework to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate.”
The Attorneys General noted that, these protections “should not, however, be extended to businesses engaging in willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm or intentional infliction of harm. 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.”
In addition to Alabama, the letter is signed by the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
A copy of the letter is linked here.
[Click PDF icon at upper right of release for link]