LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Indiana General Assembly has sent a bill to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office that would provide civil liability protections for businesses from COVID-related lawsuits. Greater Louisville Inc. strongly supported this legislation, working with a coalition of business organizations throughout the state and urging Hoosier lawmakers from the Greater Louisville region to vote in favor of it. The Kentucky General Assembly is considering similar legislation to support Kentucky employers.
Senate Bill 1 in Indiana provides businesses with a reasonable level of civil immunity from alleged damages arising from COVID-19 except in cases in which “clear and convincing evidence” can illustrate gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. The bill seeks to protect businesses that have followed public safety guidelines to keep employees, customers, and vendors safe from the virus. The protections apply to a wide range of different business types and organizations, and special protections are afforded to businesses that have produced PPE throughout the pandemic. Senate Bill 1 is retroactive to March 1, 2020.
GLI is also backing key legislation in Kentucky that would provide a similar level of protections for Kentucky businesses. Senate President Robert Stivers has filed Senate Bill 5, which aims to ensure that the threat of lawsuits would not slow down Kentucky’s economic recovery. Senate Bill 5 passed out of committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.
“This legislation is critical for protecting jobs and advancing Kentucky’s economic recovery,” GLI said in a press release. “Opportunistic litigation is already being pursued in other states throughout the country, threatening to slow down the nation’s recovery. Numerous states have already taken action to establish protections for responsible employers, including neighboring states like Tennessee and Ohio.”
Senate Bill 5 would protect:
- Individuals who own, lease, manage or control a facility that the public enters to obtain goods, services or conduct activities
- Public and private schools, churches, entertainment and sports venues, government agencies and homeowners
- Individuals and businesses called into public service because they were deemed “life sustaining” with the same immunity that other state agents enjoy.
Senate Bill 5 would not provide protection for any business or other organization that acts in a malicious or grossly negligent way to ignore executive orders or guidance.
The coalition in support of Senate Bill 5 includes businesses organizations, industry groups, and city and county advocacy groups.
Information provided by Greater Louisville Inc.