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Business Liability for COVID-19

No business owner wants to be sued. Litigation is rarely good for the bottom line.  But what are you supposed to do in an international pandemic? There’s no rule book. No fail-safe policy to guide a decision maker. We are in uncharted territory and nervous about the economic outlook until we can put this behind us. 

Many businesses, deemed essential, never closed their doors. Their employees kept showing up when others were sheltering at home and sorting out their first Zoom call and homeschooling. Businesses that stayed open and those that have now reopened, all following the CDC recommendations and/or the Governor’s Executive Orders, still risk being sued by customers or employees.

There has been talk of a special session of the Florida Legislature to deal with the issue, although that seems unlikely as we enter the holidays. The Florida Chamber is actively promoting legislation to limit businesses’ liability for COVID-19 related illness/injury. Businesses are hoping for protections, but they should only expect protections for businesses who followed the Governor’s executive orders at the very least, CDC guidelines, and perhaps also their local emergency orders. 

Expect a fight from trial lawyers representing plaintiffs, as they are actively marketing for clients. Hundreds of cases have been filed in Florida. Making the news most recently, Publix has been sued by the family of a former employee who died of the COVID-19 virus. 

Committee weeks for the Florida Legislature start in January, and Regular Session starts in March. Lacey Lyons Rezanka attorneys will be closely watching this and other issues that could affect their clients. Check back for updates on this and other legislation.

© All Rights Reserved by Robyn Willson Hattaway and Lacey Lyons Rezanka, Attorneys at Law

Related Links:

Lawsuit claims Publix policies led 70-year-old deli worker to contract coronavirus, die

Florida businesses ask for COVID-19 liability protections including exempting essential businesses

Lawmakers Could Limit Covid-19 Lawsuits

Florida businesses ask Legislature for tax cuts, immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits