INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill joined a letter signed by 20 other attorneys general asking Congress to pass liability protections to protect businesses from what they termed "frivolous lawsuits" as the country reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter, which was addressed to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), was sent Monday. It said the need for a "stable, predictable legal environment has never been greater" as states begin to loosen restrictions on businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a surge in civil litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures," the letter said. "Therefore, this country is in need of a common-sense framework to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress and compensation where appropriate."
The letter said civil liability protections should not be extended to businesses engaging in willfill misconduct or intentional infliction of harm.
“We believe criminal penalties, regulatory fines and agency oversight should be able to capture bad actors and civil lawsuits should be available for any citizens hurt by a business or individual acting with disregard for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter read.
In addition to Hill, the letter is signed by the Republican attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. No Democratic attorneys general signed the letter.
"On the one hand, our economy will only recover if customers and employees have the confidence to return to the marketplace, and, on the other, businesses need clearly defined expectations for the safe and appropriate continuance of operations while being protected from devastating civil liability litigation concerning baseless COVID-related claims," the letter read.