Hundreds of Covid 19 Lawsuits Being Filed

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“Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.” International law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth indicates that 771 such claims have been filed as of Friday. The Post adds, “Complaints reach across industries and state lines. Some seek significant monetary damages. Others ask for a judge to correct actions alleged to be harmful or in violation of contractual agreements.” In New York, “the global pandemic’s epicenter, more than 250 lawsuits have been filed – the most of anywhere in the nation by far.”

McConnell and McCarthy demand pandemic liability protection for businesses. Reuters (5/1) reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “displayed a united front on Friday in their drive to include coronavirus-related liability protections for businesses, saying such measures will be crucial to talks about future relief legislation.” McConnell and McCarthy “issued a joint statement redoubling their demands that ‘Americans on the front lines of this fight must receive strong protections from frivolous lawsuits.’” According to Reuters, “The statement marks a hardening line of demarcation between Republicans and Democrats over the question of business liability as the two sides spar over the prospects of a new coronavirus relief package.”

Liability shield for businesses shaping up to be next major fight in Congress. The Washington Post (5/3, Werner, Hamburger, 14.2M) reports that “a huge fight” is brewing over liability protections for businesses as employees return the workplace. Senate Majority Leader McConnell is “insisting that employers be shielded from liability if their workers contract the coronavirus,” and “he appears to have the backing of top White House officials.” On the other hand, “Democratic leaders have declared they will oppose such blanket protections, putting Washington’s power brokers on opposite sides of a major issue that could have sweeping implications for health care and the economy in the coming months.”

“Mitch McConnell should not use this crisis to advance his ‘tort reform’ agenda.” In an editorial, the Washington Post (5/3, 14.2M) warns Senate Majority Leader McConnell against using the pandemic to “pursue preexisting policy agendas.” The Post takes issue with McConnell’s plan to tie state and local government aid to “legislation limiting employee and other lawsuits over alleged coronavirus safety failings at reopening businesses.” The Post asserts that “whatever Congress does should not help companies make excuses for potentially deadly failures, but strengthen their incentives to prevent such failures.”

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