Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation protecting healthcare providers and businesses in the state from lawsuits by customers or employees who blame them for contracting COVID-19. (Read our previous alert here.) The liability shield in that legislation creates a high hurdle for potential plaintiffs, who can only bring a lawsuit in situations involving gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm. The liability protections are set to expire on July 14, 2021.
The House, however, just voted to extend the liability protections for another year – through July 2022. House Bill 112 passed 99-68, largely along party lines. Republican supporters of the liability shield argue that such provisions are needed to protect small businesses at a time in which there is already great economic strain. Democratic critics argue that greater emphasis should be placed on protecting individual workers from businesses who flaunt CDC guidelines or fail to provide necessary protective equipment.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is likely to enjoy enough support to pass. During previous debates, the Senate argued for even stronger liability protections, but compromised on a House bill that provided less vigorous liability protections.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman handle various types of litigation, including. If you need help with a litigation or potential litigation, contact us today.