States Move to Pass Business Protections from COVID Lawsuits

Colorado is one of several states that is contemplating or introduced protections for businesses facing coronavirus liability case. While Colorado Senate Bill 21-080 didn’t have enough support to pass out committee, it’s interesting to note that the bill text would have offered businesses protections against COVID-19 liability unless the claimant could prove the business failed to comply with public health orders or was grossly negligent in its handling of COVID-19 exposure. The bill mirrors what’s happening in many other states, where legislators are working to shore up protections for businesses facing personal injury and workers’ compensation claims from those who contract COVID-19 from exposure while on a business’ premises.  

For example, a North Dakota House Bill (1175) gained support in the state’s Senate last week and appears to have a chance of succeeding. The bill would protect employers from lawsuits brought by employees who may have contracted the virus at work, excluding any intentionally malicious acts. Meanwhile, in Arizona, a bill is making its way through the legislature that protects businesses from litigation who acted in “good faith” in protect customers, clients, and others. And bills in Iowa, Georgia, and Idaho are awaiting their governors’ signatures, while an additional bill in Florida should be heading to the governor’s desk soon.