A current risk concern of businesses involves potential liability related to re-opening or operating businesses during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. What if employees become ill? What if the virus spreads to their families? To their customers? To their communities? Are the businesses liable and to what extent?
As excerpted from the March 18, 2021 online edition of Florida Politics.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that is expected to be the final product for language to create COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and health care providers.
The Chamber OK’d the bill (SB 72) with a 24-15 vote. As amended on the Senate floor, St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes‘ legislation is the product of negotiations with House leadership announced Wednesday.
Brandes’ proposal aims to bolster COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, schools, and health care providers such as nursing homes and hospitals.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls called the bill a “good product.” The House has already passed identical business liability language in its bill (HB 7), and amendments issued to the Senate bill on Thursday completed the negotiation process by putting agreed health care provider liability language into the Senate bill.
Sprowls agreed to the new Senate language during negotiations.
“We anticipate picking up that bill, passing it, and getting it to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible,” Sprowls told reporters.
When asked whether the House had plans to amend the incoming Senate bill, he stressed that his chamber would be “picking it up and passing it.”
The protections would apply if a defendant made a good-faith effort to substantially comply with government health guidelines. Additionally, a plaintiff would need to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant acted with “gross negligence.”
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This legislation, if enacted, will have direct implications for Florida’s business community. More information to come as this liability Bill works its way through the Florida House and to the Governor. To follow Governor DeSantis’ action on this Bill and other legislation visit here
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For more information, call Philip N. Kabler, Esq. of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A. at (352) 332-7688, Gainesville Office, where he practices in the areas of business, real estate, banking, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration and Levin College of Law. He is also the President of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association , and a member of the Greater Gainesville Chamber Board of Directors.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal, financial, or investment advice, and readers should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding their legal matters, as every situation is unique.