SC Attorney General Alan Wilson Joins 20 Other State Attorneys General in Calling for COVID-19 Liability Protections

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – May 12, 2020 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined a 21-state coalition in urging Congress to enact specific liability protections that help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-related litigation for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate. In the wake of this unprecedented crisis, the extension of appropriate post-pandemic liability protections is needed at both the state and federal levels for businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers, healthcare facilities and members of law enforcement, among others.

Our economy will only recover if customers and employees have the confidence to return to the marketplace,” said Attorney General Wilson. “As state attorneys general, we ensure our states have a legal and regulatory environment that protects consumers and allows the free enterprise system to thrive. It is in keeping with that mission that we are calling on Congress to ensure businesses have clearly defined expectations for the safe and appropriate continuance of operations while being protected from devastating civil liability litigation concerning baseless COVID-related claims.”

States across the country have recognized the need for timely, targeted and tailored civil liability protections in light of the pandemic – to date over 20 states have enacted liability protections for first responders and healthcare workers.

“As we reopen our economies, the need for a stable, predictable legal environment has never been greater,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a surge in civil litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures, and my colleagues and I feel this country is in need of a common-sense framework to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate.”

“Civil liability protections should not, however, be extended to businesses engaging in willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm or intentional infliction of harm,” said the attorneys general in the letter. “We believe criminal penalties, regulatory fines and agency oversight should be able to capture bad actors and civil lawsuits should be available for any citizens hurt by a business or individual acting with disregard for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to Georgia and South Carolina, the following states’ attorneys general signed onto the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

You can read the letter here.

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