Thursday, 03 September 2020 18:00

Ohio Legislature Sends COVID-19 Liability Protection Bill to Gov. DeWine

Written by Todd DeFeo, The Center Square


The Ohio House on Sept. 2 signed off on legislation giving businesses, schools and workers liability protections from COVID-19 lawsuits.

House Bill 606, the Good Samaritan Expansion Bill, now goes to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.


The bill grants civil immunity to individuals, schools, businesses and health care providers from lawsuits stemming from the pandemic. For example, health care providers would be immune unless their actions constitute “reckless disregard” for a patient’s life or health. 


“Months ago when I introduced this legislation, I stated how important this was for our front line workers that they should not have to worry about lawsuits while helping Ohioans amid the pandemic,” state Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, said in a news release. “Now this bill is even more vital as the start of the academic year is here and we must ensure teachers and school faculty have the peace of mind they will not be sued as they work hard to safely teach our kids this year as schools reopen.


“House Bill 606 has been described as the single most effective bill in the Ohio House regarding COVID-19,” Grendell added. “Every industry in our state will benefit from this legislation. Giving businesses, schools and individuals a chance to return to normal while granting them peace of mind is necessary for our continued success.”


However, on the House floor, state Rep. Jeffrey Crossman, D-Parma, said, “even a first-year law student would know that this is bad tort law,” and it sends a signal that Ohio lawmakers do not care about the safety of residents across the Buckeye State.


“This bill ... (will) only prolong the pain that Ohioans are going to suffer,” Crossman said. “It does not encourage best practices; it actually lowers the bar and encourages worse practices. Negligence law exists for a reason. It encourages bad actors to get out of the marketplace, and it encourages good actors to stay in the marketplace.

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