Title: New federal relief bill includes liability protections during COVID-19 pandemic; ‘An important improvement to the litigation landscape’
By: Sarah Downey
Federal lawmakers last week unveiled a stimulus package of COVID-19 relief legislation that includes further payments to unemployed workers and liability protections for health care workers, schools and businesses as they reopen amid the pandemic.
Under the HEALS (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools) Act, businesses would be presumed to be operating in good faith, following “applicable government standards” for virus mitigation, and compel plaintiffs to show willful misconduct or gross negligence in any legal action.
“The HEALS Act increases the cost of filing a frivolous lawsuit, while still protecting the right of plaintiffs to bring meritorious litigation,” Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D., senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, told the Northern California Record by email.
“By striking a better balance that removes the incentive to file litigation in the hopes of extracting a large settlement, capping litigation exposure, when combined with establishing standard health protocols, is an important improvement to the litigation landscape,” Winegarden said.
Under the provisions of the bill, class-action trials would be prohibited unless all parties consent, the National Law Review reported. . .