Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has joined a 21-state coalition in a letter urging Congress to enact liability protections to help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits against those providing needed goods and services.
A May 12 statement from Clarkson’s office says the extension of post-pandemic liability protections is critical at both state and federal levels for businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers and facilities, members of law enforcement and others.
As we reopen our economy, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses…
“Our economy will recover if businesses, customers and employees have the confidence to return to the marketplace,” Clarkson noted. “As state attorneys general, we are calling on Congress to ensure businesses have clearly defined expectations for the safe continuance of operations while being protected from devastating civil liability litigation concerning baseless COVID-related claims.”
To date more than 20 states have enacted liability protections for first responders and healthcare workers, the statement notes.
“As we reopen our economy, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures,” Clarkson observed. “This country needs a common-sense framework to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress when appropriate.”
The letter argues that businesses engaging in willful or reckless misconduct should not be protected, and states should be able to impose criminal penalties, regulatory fines and agency oversight to capture bad actors.
Clarkson joined the following states’ attorneys general in signing the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.