Covid-19 Laws Limiting Liability for Businesses – What Your Business Needs to KnowPosted on Monday, June 29th, 2020 | Posted in Resources & Publications, Site Blog
Louisiana Governor Signs Laws Limiting COVID-19 Liability for Businesses
Louisiana has joined a handful of other states in adopting laws that limit businesses’ civil liability for claims relating to COVID-19. Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed into law three legislative bills ensuring that Louisiana businesses and employers will receive state protection from most lawsuits involving deaths and injuries related to COVID-19:
- Under Act 336 (House Bill 826), government agencies, businesses, trade show organizers, and other persons cannot be held liable for civil damages for injuries or deaths from COVID-19 unless such damages were caused by “gross negligence” or “willful or wanton misconduct.”
- Under Act 303 (Senate Bill 491), businesses and persons rendering disaster relief, recovery services, and/or products such as hand sanitizer and protective clothing outside of the typical course and scope of their operations cannot be held liable for civil damages for property damage, injuries, or deaths from COVID-19 unless such damages were caused by “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct.”
- Under Act 305 (Senate Bill 508), restaurant owners, operators, and employees who are deemed in “substantial compliance” with state, federal and local regulations regarding COVID-19 cannot be held liable for civil damages for injuries or deaths from COVID-19 unless such damages were caused by “gross negligence” or “willful or wanton misconduct.”
These law are effective immediately and apply such protections retroactively to March 11, 2020.
Although these laws do not provide complete immunity to businesses and other entities for claims related to COVID-19, these laws significantly raise the standard of proof required to establish liability. A person claiming injury or damage must now prove that a business or employer considerably departed from the use of reasonable care.
To take advantage of these new legal protections, businesses and employers should:
- Make sure that, at a minimum, they are complying with guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and state and local governments. Guidelines provided by government entities can be cited to establish a standard of care in defense of future claims.
- Businesses and other entities should also establish written safety protocols documenting the procedures that are being utilized to keep employees, customers, and third-parties safe.
- Employees should be trained, regularly and recurrently, on these safety protocols, and such training should be documented and enforced.
Amongst other measures, these recommended procedures may help protect businesses and employers against a finding that has acted with gross negligence. Given the complexity of this evolving legal landscape, as well as various employment laws that may be implicated, businesses and employers are encouraged to consult with legal counsel to discuss their options and strategies for implementing COVID-19 protocols and practices.
For More Information
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Amy L. McIntire
Amy L. McIntire