On Thursday, June 11, 2020, Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03) introduced H.R. 7179, the Pandemic Liability Protection Act. If passed, the legislation would protect covered providers who have operated during the Coronavirus outbreak from state and federal lawsuits related to harm that arose from COVID-19. The following would qualify as covered providers: nursing homes, health care clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, outpatient centers, blood donation centers, urgent care centers, farms, fisheries, food processing plants, food packaging plants, restaurants and grocery stores.
However, covered providers would not be protected if their actions or omissions constitute willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct or a conscious flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the covered provider.
The Pandemic Liability Protection Act is similar to legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed interest in passing through the upper chamber.
"Throughout this crisis, I have compared the COVID-19 outbreak to building a plane while flying it. There were so many things that we did not know about this virus in the beginning of the pandemic, and there are still many things that we continue to not understand about it,"
"But despite all of this, our essential workers have showed up to work every day to make sure that we have enough food, resources and medical care. Small businesses are the backbone of America, and they shouldn't need to worry about legal repercussions for inadvertent mistakes that were made because they didn't have enough information or guidance. If we want businesses to confidently reopen, then they need the reassurance that they will not be held accountable for unknowingly causing harm.
"To be clear, this bill does not provide absolute immunity to covered providers. Businesses who deliberately put their employees and customers at risk should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Coronavirus has inflicted much pain and suffering to not only those who have been infected by the virus but also those who have had loved ones succumb to it. Knowingly prioritizing personal gain over the well-being of community members should not be tolerated,"
- Michael Mead
- Communications Director
- Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03)
- Ph: (202) 225-3415