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Op-Ed: COVID-19 Lawsuits Ravage Businesses

This piece was originally published by the Washington Times.

For those across the country who fear potential lawsuits in the wake of the pandemic, hope has reemerged. In the waning days of the 116th Congress, another stimulus package may be delivered in a much-needed holiday miracle. Included in the bipartisan bill are imperative COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, frontline workers and healthcare providers. 

There are 6,449 COVID-19-related lawsuit filings to date, and they don’t seem to be slowing. Of those lawsuits, nearly 60% are in states deemed “Judicial Hellholes” by the American Tort Reform Foundation or on its “Watch List.”  

The ATRF’s annual Judicial Hellholes report highlights places where the civil justice climates starkly contrast the rest of the nation, as evidenced by the high percentage of coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

Some of the first lawsuits filed related to COVID-19 were against manufacturers of hand sanitizers, claiming the product was ineffective. 

In the early days of the pandemic, many distilleries shifted their production to ramp up supply of hand sanitizer which was desperately needed during that critical time. They weren’t alone. Businesses and workers across the country stepped up and stepped into roles they were unfamiliar with or produced products they typically did not manufacture – all to support virus relief. 

Months down the road, with the ability to look back on all this, companies that shifted their businesses overnight — and doctors who didn’t admit patients into the hospital for fear of exposure to COVID-19 — likely will face varying legal claims. Hospitals could be sued due to inadequate staff or resources. 

The realization that there could be a surge of COVID-19 lawsuits, especially in Judicial Hellholes where lawsuit abuse is the norm, is setting in…

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