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Bill Summary Details

COVID-19 Civil Liability Protection (Support)

CS/HB 7 (McClure) and CS/SB 72 (Brandes) provide heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to certain business entities, educational institutions, governmental entities and religious institutions. The legislation defines governmental entity to include municipalities. The legislation requires the plaintiff to make a detailed account to their claim and submit an affidavit signed by a physician collaborating the belief that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury or death occurred as a result as stated. If the plaintiff fails to do either, the court must dismiss the action without prejudice. The court must also determine whether the business or government entity made a good faith effort to substantially comply with the authoritative or controlling government health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action occurred. The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff to prove that the business or government entity did not make a good faith effort. If the business or government entity is found to have made a good faith effort, they are immune from civil liability. If the court finds that a good faith effort was not made, the plaintiff may proceed with the action. The plaintiff must prove gross negligence (a higher standard than negligence). The bills increase the standard of evidence needed on a COVID-19-related claim. If the plaintiff fails to prove these heightened requirements, the business or government entity is not liable for any act or omission relating to a COVID-19-related claim. The civil action for a COVID-19-related action must be commenced within one year of the alleged incident. The bills will apply retroactively but will not apply to civil suits commenced before the effective date of the act. (Cruz)