UPDATE: Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 359, the COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act yesterday, August 5th, 2020. SB 359 says that no healthcare facility, healthcare provider, entity, or individual, shall be held liable for damages in an action involving a COVID-19 liability claim unless the claimant proves that the actions of the healthcare facility, healthcare provider, entity, or individual, showed: gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.
The bill also provides for a rebuttable presumption of assumption of risk by the claimant where a business owner posts a warning in at least 1 inch Arial Font at a point of entry and set apart from any other text and state: Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises.
These legal protections will sunset on July 14, 2021. You can access SB 359 by clicking HERE.
Prior to Gov. Kemp’s signature, on June 26, 2020, the General Assembly passed the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act.” The Act would give a greater flexibility to healthcare workers by providing liability protections in actions related to treating COVID-19 patients. It also provides for additional protections to business owners and entities, including non-profits, facing lawsuits by plaintiffs who contracted COVID-19 on business’ premises.
The amended Title 51 of the Official Code of Georgia states that a claimant may recover damages in an action involving COVID-19 liability claim against a healthcare provider or a business entity only if he/she proves gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.
The statute raises the bar for plaintiffs trying to bring claims for:
1) transmission, infection, exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19,
2) injury or death caused by COVID-19 or where the response to COVID-19 reasonably interfered with providing care for the claimant,
3) injury or death caused by personal protective equipment or sanitizer.
Please reach out to Robert A. Luskin if you have any questions about how this may be applicable to your business or location.
Thank you to our Law Clerk Milosz P. Alberski for the research on this very important piece of legislation
GOODMAN MCGUFFEY LLP