The legislation, Senate Bill 1377, is needed to ensure responsible businesses and employees, particularly those on the front lines of the pandemic, are not targets of meritless lawsuits, said the sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrooke, who testified at the hearing.
As federal lawmakers have failed to pass protective legislation, about half of U.S. states have taken the matter into their own hands and passed COVID liability protection bills, Leach said.
“In other words, they are seeing the effect of ‘sue and settle’---going after entities from schools to businesses to the medical community,” he said.
Judiciary committees from both houses have approved the legislation. The bill offers protection from reckless litigation for businesses and others who act in “good faith” to implement reasonable policies to protect their customers, clients and patients.
SB 1377 also offers protection for injuries that result from indirect causes, such as a patient who was unable to be admitted to a hospital when health care facilities were barred from performing non-elective surgeries during the public health emergency.
Under the legislation, plaintiffs would have to prove “clear and convincing evidence that a person or provider failed to act or acted with wilful misconduct or gross negligence” in order to win a civil suit.
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Source: Arizona Chamber of Commerce