Coronavirus

Should You Be Able To Sue a Business for Exposing You to Coronavirus?

Renewed wrangling over another relief bill has raised the possibility that Congress will pass sweeping liability protections for businesses accused of contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

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Negotiations over yet another coronavirus relief bill are picking up again. With them comes the possibility that Congress will pass legislation shielding businesses from civil lawsuits alleging they exposed consumers or workers to COVID-19.

Liability protections have long been a demand of the business community, which has said that, absent congressional action, a "litigation wave" could delay economic recovery.

Consumer advocates and Democrats are much more skeptical of liability protections, arguing that they would effectively allow businesses to get away with endangering the public.

In July, Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas) introduced the Safeguarding America's Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy (SAFE TO WORK) Act. Under Cornyn's bill, a plaintiff would have to show by "clear and convincing evidence" that a business was not making reasonable efforts to comply with the government's coronavirus safety regulations and was engaged in gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Plaintiffs would also have to provide a factual basis for why they believed a particular business was responsible for exposing them to coronavirus, as well as a factual basis for why the other places and people the plaintiff visited or interacted with two weeks prior to experiencing symptoms were not the cause of their coronavirus-related injury.

Businesses that have written policy on mitigating the spread of coronavirus are presumed to have made reasonable efforts to comply with public health regulations unless plaintiffs can show they didn't abide by their policy.

The bill also gives federal courts original jurisdiction over coronavirus-related lawsuits, allowing defendants to have lawsuits filed against them in state or tribal courts moved to U.S. District Courts.

The SAFE TO WORK Act also gives businesses protection from lawsuits and regulatory enforcement actions brought under labor and public accommodation laws, provided they are making good-faith efforts to comply with coronavirus safety regulations.

These are pretty sweeping legal protections for businesses. They're also necessary protections, according to proponents of the law, given the risks that businesses face when reopening in the midst of the pandemic.

"As states gradually reopen their economies, frontline health care workers, small businesses, and schools face a second pandemic of frivolous lawsuits threatening to bankrupt them," said Cornyn in a press release when his bill was introduced. "This legislation would protect those acting in good faith from being sued into oblivion while ensuring bad actors who willingly put their patients, employees, or customers in danger will still be held accountable."

Remington Smith, an attorney with the progressive nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, counters that the standards set in the SAFE TO WORK Act are impossibly high for any plaintiffs to meet.

"They put in every single hurdle imaginable to try to prevent people from suing companies," Smith tells Reason. 

He points specifically to the five-year liability shield the bill gives businesses, the onerous standards plaintiffs would have to meet showing they were exposed to coronavirus at a specific business, and giving original jurisdiction of coronavirus lawsuits to federal courts, which are viewed as friendlier to business.

For the industry, of course, imposing hurdles to lawsuits is the idea.

"Litigation is expensive. Many restaurants are closed," Angelo Amador, a vice president with the National Restaurant Association, told Bloomberg Law back in June. "They can survive an inspection from [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] OSHA or the department of health, but not all of them can survive expensive litigation. We want this liability threshold increased in order to stop lawsuits before they even happen."

There's a conceivable libertarian argument against coronavirus liability protections for businesses. On an individual level, lawsuits allow injured parties to vindicate their rights and receive compensation. Systemically, that system of liability would encourage businesses to do everything in their power to mitigate the spread of coronavirus without the need for uniform, micromanaging regulations.

Smith argues that the Trump administration's deregulatory approach combined with the SAFE TO WORK Act's liability protections means businesses have no incentive to try to protect customers and workers from infection.

"Our system is based on two pillars. The first is government enforcement, and the second pillar is the ability to hold people accountable in court," he says. "If you remove the first pillar, and then you remove the second pillar, there is absolutely nothing to hold businesses accountable for doing the right thing and keeping people safe."

It's true that the federal government has issued few binding coronavirus regulations for businesses. States and localities, on the other hand, have not been shy about imposing detailed, onerous regulations on what kinds of businesses can open, and the safety protocols they must follow.

A third way between regulation and litigation, says Walter Olson, a legal expert with the Cato Institute, would be to allow for a system of contracts to sort out coronavirus liability.

"The answer to the uncertainty about who pays if you catch it at a movie theater or a restaurant," would be for businesses to have customers sign waivers relinquishing their right to sue before they could eat their meal or watch a film, notes Olson.

Individuals would set their own standards for how much risk they want to assume when choosing which businesses to patronize. Firms would be left to balance the benefits of virus mitigation measures which would likely attract customers versus the costs of implementing those measures.

Protecting their brand and consumer goodwill would also motivate businesses to create safer environments, argues Olson.

"Whichever is the first theatre chain or whichever is the first chain of restaurants to be associated with an outbreak…that's going to cost millions and millions of bad publicity, regardless of whether anyone sees a dime in litigation," he says.

Over the past several decades, courts have become less willing to uphold liability waivers, however, Olson says. State legislation creating liability protections for businesses, he says, is a roundabout way of creating something close to what a system of contracts would look like.

According to an early August analysis from law firm Holland & Knight, nearly a dozen states have passed legislation offering businesses liability protection from coronavirus-related civil lawsuits. Several others have passed more targeted liability bills protecting healthcare workers or other specific professions from civil suits.

Business interests and Republican elected officials, including state officials, have instead endorsed the predictability and protection that would come with the minimum level of federal liability protection provided by the SAFE TO WORK Act. (The bill explicitly allows states to establish stricter liability protections of their own.)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, alongside a large coalition of business associations, has also endorsed the SAFE TO WORK Act. And in August, 22 Republican state attorneys general signed a letter endorsing the bill, writing that "states across the country have taken steps to address the need for timely, targeted and temporary civil liability protections in light of the pandemic, but the need for a uniform national baseline of liability protection still exists."

Trying to provide liability protection on the national level, however, raises all sorts of constitutional red flags, argues Olson. Federalism gives state courts and state legislatures the primary power to hash out liability standards for civil lawsuits. "The federal government does not have carte blanche to second-guess the outcomes of state courts," he says.

Lawsuits involving the wrongful death of employees have already been filed against large corporations including Safeway, Walmart, and Tyson Foods. A COVID-19 complaint tracker put out by the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth finds that only about 20 lawsuits from consumers alleging personal injury from being exposed to coronavirus in a public establishment have been filed so far. A similar number have been filed by employees alleging unsafe working conditions.

Both Senate Republicans and the bipartisan, moderate Problem Solvers Caucus have included liability protections in their relief proposals. Democrats have voted down one Republican proposal that contained them, however that rejection was largely based on the (supposedly insufficient) size of the GOP bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said liability protection is a non-negotiable item that must be included in any future relief package. With renewed wrangling over another relief bill beginning, we'll see if he gets his way.

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  1. GOP senators seek to ban transgender girls from female sports.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/gop-senators-seek-ban-transgender-girls-female-sports-n1240992

    Call it Title XX – XY.

    1. AJP corrects conclusions from flawed study indicating gender reassignment and hormone therapy provides superior outcomes; concludes interventions offer no benefit.

    2. It’s up to the league. Why congress thinks it needs to get involved in sports has always been stupid in my mind. It’s a private club. Let them make the rules for their private club.

      Frankly I think letting trans-women compete against cis-women is profoundly silly. It will push out the cis-women in most sports. I mean, duh. Just think about it. But if those private clubs want to do it, let them. Let the marketplace go elsewhere with their dollars.

      1. The fact is that allowing transgender girls into all-girls sports amounts to COED, which explodes the entire notion behind sex segregated sports leagues in the first place.

        If Title 9 wasn’t a thing, this wouldn’t even be a discussion. Although, in fairness, it’s also likely that virtually every ‘woman’ in sports would have a dick. Actual female athletes are the only one’s with anything to lose, and so it’s little wonder they’re the most outspoken about this stuff.

        1. Right. The only reason separate female sports leagues exist is that there are actual physical differences between women and men. If you’re going to change the definition of “woman” so that that is no longer always the case, then you also need to redefine who gets to play in what league based on actual physical differences, not how you feel on the inside. Maybe instead of men’s and women’s leagues have XX and XY leagues. Or just stick with what has always worked and accept that the vast majority of people fit nicely into the binary categories and don’t fuck with it. Especially if you think having high level sports leagues for women is a good thing.

          1. My first thought would be that if trans are allowed in women’s sports, it really makes it a minor league of sorts where the participants are ones that can’t make it in men’s leagues unless someone like an olympic winner decides to identify as a trans.

            1. Just think if Bruce Jenner had transitioned in 1978, then went back to compete in the women’s decathlon.

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        2. The female pro athletes are so woke they’re in favor of non-discrimination though. I guess they think it will be only a small number of men who transition and then compete against women.

      2. You don’t need to call women “cis-women”.

  2. Sneezing violates the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) and deadly force is justified when ignorant Rethuglicans don’t wear masks for the public good.

    1. Sneezing on someone is battery (and likely assault, too) because it’s harmful/offensive contact, and, thus, actionable in tort. A sneeze does not, however, violate the NAP, as it does not involve coercion, specifically the use or threat of physical violence. Mask mandates, on the other hand, do in fact violate the NAP because they rely on coercion for compliance.

    2. It does when you know you’re infected and refuse to wear a mask. And that’s just one end of a continuum. When you know there’s a pandemic going on and you refuse to take any precautions against transmission, you’re violating the NAP.

      The NAP does not grant you the right to endanger other people. Typhoid Mary was a violent aggressor.

      That does NOT mean the penalty for not wearing a mask is imprisonment. It does mean you can’t claim the absolute moral right to not wear a mask in all cases. Externalities are still a real thing. We don’t arrest polluters but polluting is still an NAP violation.

      1. So, if it’s flu season I’m morally obligated to wear a mask. When did this become part of the NAP? Because it wasn’t there last year.

        1. No one said anything about the nature of the season.

          If you knowingly expel raw sewage on your neighbors yard without permission, at minimum you’ve violated property rights.

          If you knowingly expel contagions on your neighbor without permission, at minimum you’ve violated individual rights.

          1. So, if you know you are contagious, you are violating the NAP if you don’t wear a mask.
            Unfortunately, no one knows if they are contagious at the current level of understanding of the Chinavirus.
            The latest is that the PCR testing is too sensitive and people are being called infected when the viral load is minimal, thus not transmissible.
            Masks don’t do much, if anything, if you are not carrying a communicable viral load. They don’t protect the healthy.

    3. YOU are the iggerunt one. Go and study some lab tests thata have been made on the various tyipes of masks over the past fifty years or so. yes, well before this virus thing became a thing.

      Then come back and riddle to me how a “barrier” with holes thirty microns in diameter are “able to stop” virus cells that are only 12. to maybe 1.8 microns in diameter. THEN remind me of how, after you’ve been breating through that mug nappie for half an hour, the moisture from your warm exhaling coats the fibres and makes the thirty micron holes even bigger….. and the mask STILL “protects the public good”……….. or so they say.

      When you’re done with all that and still want a bit more fun, go and read some medical professioinal journals and learn about proper mask wearing protocols.. selecting which type and size, FIT.. one MUST learn how to properly FIT the mask before wearing it…. checking, maximum time limits per shirt of day to actually have one spalled across your air holes, and, now educated, begin to survey the folks you see out there in public “wearing” the mug nappies…. I’ve done this, and at times have busted a gut laughing because some prim and prissy creature prances by, mask SO obviously an identity badge, and the silly thing is not even doing any good because it is not FITTING properly, thus leaking like crazy. And Little Miss Smuggett prances merrily along, scowling at me who have no mug nappie installed, but am likley far less a threat to the general population out in public than SHE is.

  3. I did not consent to inhaling your aerosols!

    1. ‘I did not consent to inhaling your aerosols!’

      you’ve been inhaling potentially harmful ‘aerosols’ your entire life, every time you walked out your door; why is it any different now…?

      1. For the same reason they stopped giving patients thalidomide once they discovered it was harmful. As science advances, so do rules about what is permitted and what is forbidden.

        1. So we just now learned that diseases spread via aerosols?

          Or is it that we just now learned that diseases spread at all?

          1. So we just now learned that diseases spread via aerosols?

            Yes. At least when it comes to coronaviruses.

            1. Never heard of the common cold?
              Idiot.

            2. all seven known types of cornoa virus? The one now most feared and coopted by gummit control freaks is the newest one. freshly minted in a US supported research lab in Wunah City China busily working to figure out how to take a virus and modify it making it far more capable of infecting a breand new (to the orignal one0 species,,, man.

              What’s crazy is hundreds of thousands of folks are coing into the uSA evert year with latent tuberculosis, then settling in high density areas and living just like they did when they were back home, and how they caought TB and were able to bring it along for the ride. Given the new conditions here, those latent cases are going active by the thousands… and new people are getting infected in their newly populated foreign communities.
              TB has been killing far more people everyyear than ChinaVirus has been. INI the US. Also in the hoemless camps along the West Coast up and down, typus, cholera,dysentery, hepatitus are all spreading rapidly.. and the Grand PoohBahs controlling the cities where this is aided, abetted, enrouaged, and subsidised, are doing.. NOTHING about it. But get caught out surfing, not one person within half a mile, and they’ll slap you into the clink before your board shorts have had the time to dry out.. AND expose you to whatever diseases are roaming about the lockup, when if they’d left you alone “out there” on yuor board, yo’d never have come wihtin half a mile of anyone, and done that in an area, because of the sunlight so abundant on California beaches, no virus can survive more than half a minute, or, if perfect condtitions, perhaps a minute.

              1. None of those other infections happened when Trump was in office, so they can’t try to infer some kind of blame on Trump for everything that happens, including police action, fines and jail, even if he had nothing to do with their edicts.
                Everything is geared towards blaming the Bad Orange Man.

        2. I’m sorry but the science is settled on the immediate threat of global warming (also known as climate change) and prepubescent gender dysphoria. We need a green revolution NOW and children should be allowed the hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgeries they need to feel comfortable. Stop clinging to your ignorant and intolerant faith!

          1. Allowed?! You mean required. It’s for their own good.

        3. Holding your breath should work.

        4. For the same reason they stopped giving patients thalidomide

          Hey idiot – Thalidomide was re-approved by the FDA back in the 1990s. Turns out the side effects that caused birth defects were beneficial in treating myeloma patients (stopping blood vessel development in tumors inhibits their growth).

        5. It was just pregnant women that thalidomide was banned for use. It is still in use today.

      2. RHW is a parody account. Serenity Now, however, appears to be a sincere idiot.

        1. “Serenity Now” is a call for a second season of Firefly.

          1. I’d legitimate hate to see what a modern day Firefly would be.

        2. “…Serenity Now, however, appears to be a sincere idiot.”

          I hear idiots object to being lumped with such a steaming pile of lefty shit.

    2. You owe me for those aerosols. Cash only.

    3. If you came within six feet of me, you did consent.
      It is up to you to avoid places you think may be hazardous to your health.

      1. But if we can just pass a few more regulations like this, immortality will be within our reach!

      2. Or wear your own N-100 face mask and eye goggles and hazmat uniform, then it doesn’t matter if other people wear a fleece neck sleeve, bandana, loose fitting surgical mask, or N-95 respirator with an exhaust valve, does it.

    4. I did not consent to sheltering in place and wearing a mask. The gov’t is not, and should not be, the ultimate insurer of safety. That said, you’re obviously trolling.

  4. So… if a restaurant employee pops a few ibuprofen to hide her fever and then coughs on you…

    Given the fundamental absence of useful contact tracing in the US, it would seem difficult to prove you contracted corona in any particular place. Fortunately, our tort system is happy to award millions of dollars for partial liability or contributory negligence.

    1. What is a restaurant employee pops a few ibuprofen to hide a fever and then coughs on you, but it turns out it was only a flu? Can I still sue them?

      I feel like if there is not a precedent for this already, its wide open for any disease that can be transmitted through casual contact

      1. One normally needs to prove some harm, but if you live through the virus one might think the ‘harm’ might be difficult to prove. I guess our health costs aren’t nationalized or collectivized enough already, eh?

        Likewise, proving where someone caught the bug would also be difficult to prove unless we’re talking perfect contract tracing. Even with the contact tracing we have it might enable a few suits.

        These cases you could probably ‘prove’ this way would be super low, but making employers even more liable just means they need to introduce machines faster. Machines don’t catch the cold.

        1. “These cases you could probably ‘prove’ this way would be super low, but making employers even more liable just means they need to introduce machines faster. Machines don’t catch the cold.”

          Prolly as good as a $50/hr M.W.!

      2. the flu is harmful (it can cost you a few days of lost productivity, and pain), and potentially lethal for at-risk groups. if there aren’t already lawsuits over flu transmission, it’s hard to see how COVID-19 lawsuits have a firmer footing simply due to a slightly higher risk of adverse consequences.

    2. I think the biggest pool of litigants would be employees. Eg: I saw Dave in accounting not wearing his mask, the company didn’t fire him so now I’m suing.

  5. no. good luck with causation.

  6. What if they seek me out and expose me to a metric shit ton of coronavirus propaganda? Can I sue them then?

  7. “The bill also gives federal courts original jurisdiction over coronavirus-related lawsuits”

    Oh that darn Commerce Clause.

    1. someone sneezed across a state line, didn’t they?

  8. On an individual level, lawsuits allow injured parties to vindicate their rights and receive compensation.

    That sounds good in theory, but the reality is people are going to be suing deep pockets when there’s actually no provable harm and a good case to be made that they voluntarily accepted the risks.

    1. Moreover, this ham-fisted reactionary tort reform only guarantees that the Wal-Mart, Starbucks, TGI Friday’s, and Dominos will be able to defend themselves simply by breathing the word “lawyer” while, once again, every race-, gender-, and sexual-orientation-baiter will be able to stroll into nearest mom-and-pop establishment and claim the evil Christian Fundamentalist pizzeria/bakery/photographer/jeweler/deli refused to serve their wedding *and* gave them COVID.

      1. or they just make you sign a waiver saying you accept the risk to shop there. Costco would have a leg up since they already have a membership agreement.

  9. No, you should be able to sue for wanton disregard for health standards. Laying blame on any business for a virus you can’t for sure say you got there is ridiculous.

    1. But that’s what it’ll be. You’ll see ads on TV for class action lawsuits against any deep pockets business that people thInk they might have been in to catch coronavirus, even if the people have otherwise been violating every safety precaution.

    2. and I will present expert professional witnesses toprove beyond a shadow of doubt that all the ‘health mandates” taken together are worthless in stopping the spread of a virus, and thus the plaintiff has NO PROOF my not enforcing the gummit STAYUNDahds is NOT the proximal or even a possible cause of Charlie catching a bucket of Covid, and he likeluy caught it at the Safeway three days before he came to my bakery to demand I =bake him and his husband an anniversary cake. He’s jut blaming me because I didn’t want to waste my time supporting his perversion.

  10. “Democrats are much more skeptical of liability protections, arguing that they would effectively allow businesses to get away with endangering the public.”

    Does anybody wonder why trial lawyers make large contributions to the DNC?
    Funny how it isn’t mentioned that Cumo protected the nursing homes that he ordered patients to from lawsuits.

    1. Individual freedom means the right to sue. Fuck you and your socialist crony bullcrap.

      1. When you spend your time actively sucking-ambulance chaser dick like that it’s time to call it.

        1. Why is socialism OK when it’s there to punish people in professions you don’t like?

          You are all terrible at your jobs being libertarians.

          1. Tort reform is not socialism.

            1. It’s not reform either.

            2. It sort of is. It’s up to the judges to dismiss frivolous lawsuits, not the government.

          2. “…Why is socialism OK when it’s there to punish people in professions you don’t like?…”

            Why don’t you try your bullshit on an adult near you before you post it here and prove you’re a fucking ignoramus?

            1. Because I will always know I’m at least smarter than you.

    2. Cumo protected the nursing homes that he ordered patients to from lawsuits.

      That was to keep the patients from being delivered to the East River.

  11. Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy (SAFE TO WORK)

    They dropped the E. They should have dropped the R; might have gotten a few unexpected Democrat votes.

    1. Underrated comment. *Golf clap*

  12. Seems to me that this is to stem the tide of nuisance lawsuits. I can imagine the billboards off of the highway now “Get Corona Virus? Call THE HAMMER LAW today to see if you’re entitled to compensation!”

    The plaintiff attorneys collect anyone who tested positive, regardless of symptoms, and then just shotguns out demand letters to ever business that that plaintiff set foot in.

    If anyone’s insurance wants to play hardball (while operating under a reservation of rights, thanks to Communicable disease exclusion of the CGL) rather than tossing out 1k to do away with him, he drops off the stack of summons and complaints at the courthouse.

    We should avoid setting a precedent that these cases should even make it into discovery. If the defense has to press all the way until a motion for summary judgment each time, then the plaintiff attorney’s come out ahead big time. These need to be gone at a motion to dismiss to prevent it from happening. While I doubt it’s constitutionality, I am sympathetic to this being done at the federal level considering the stranglehold that the plaintiff’s bar has on a lot of state legislatures.

    1. What are the damages sustained by the prototypical nuisance plaintiff who alleges that business X negligently failed to implement coronadoom mitigation measures?

      1. Said the guy who has yet to be sued.

      2. The limits of the policy, of course! The amount of pain and suffering the plaintiff experienced can always magically be compensated by the policy limits, and not a dollar less. Send over your dec page now so I can make the determination.

        To clear the tort hurdle (Negligence -> Proximate cause -> Damages) special damages would be loss of work (to include time for testing) and the bill for your one doctor’s visit. General damages would follow.

        1. Not that you are, but we shouldn’t forget duty. One should not have a duty to jump through antiseptic, coronadoom, panic porn, safety, and if it saves just one life hoops to avoid coughing up covid cash.

        2. and then of course the punitive damages, for not caring about my grandma

    2. Here in Michigan, where personal injury lawyer billboards line our streets and highways, advertisements seeking COVID plaintiffs is inevitable. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already.

      Proving proximate causation will be the issue and trying to have cases dismissed on summary disposition (as we call them here) will be impossible because the battle will come down to the respective sides’ experts and will be deemed a question of fact for the jury. Inevitably, this will prove to be a way for PI lawyers to gouge insurance companies by filing these lawsuits in volume and settling them pre-trial. Defense firms will do the same.

      Ultimately, one will get to trial and set the bar for recovery.

      1. That’s why the battle must be won on the question of duty, which, as you know, is a matter for the court to decide.

        1. You make an interesting point. Various business have been fined here based upon alleged failure to implement COVID restrictions such as mandated mask wearing, social distancing, etc. I don’t think that it would be a big leap – particularly in this climate – for a Michigan state court to find that a business has a common law duty to take reasonable steps keep its premises safe from COVID. At that point, it would come down to a battle of the experts over proximate causation.

  13. McConnell has his priorities in order. He must be one of those men who was born so fucking ugly that his revenge on God was to do at least one evil thing every day before bed. You’d think a guy like that would slink away and melt into his furniture like a proper geriatric, but not, not until the last special interest is protected from the last dirty commoner.

    1. If he is ugly, what word or phrase would you employ to describe the lack of pulchritude of the following:

      Al Sharpton

      the Honolulu Ho, Crazy, Hazy Mazie

      Mike Dukakis

      Andrew Cuomo

      Michelle Obama

      Whoopi Goldberg

      Lack of Joy Behar

      Richard “Danang Dick” Blumenthal

      Justice Kagan

      Justice Wise Latina

      Dick Durbin

      Willie Brown’s brown bitch, Kamala Harris

      1. What a small crappy life you live.

        1. What a steaming pile of lefty shit you are.

          1. Where do you get your news from?

            If you think it’s the truth you shouldn’t be embarrassed to say. What’s the first thing you read in the morning?

    2. Are you seriously upset that you’re disgustingly obese and he isn’t?

      Really?

  14. “Smith argues that the Trump administration’s deregulatory approach combined with the SAFE TO WORK Act’s liability protections means businesses have no incentive to try to protect customers and workers from infection.”

    Objection, you Honor. Speculation; assumes facts not in evidence.

  15. “Plaintiffs would also have to provide a factual basis for why they believed a particular business was responsible for exposing them to coronavirus, as well as a factual basis for why the other places and people the plaintiff visited or interacted with two weeks prior to experiencing symptoms were not the cause of their coronavirus-related injury.”

    And why is this not the case at present, for every alleged injury by illness? This is what we boomers call common sense.

    1. My objection too, and for most such laws, such as the California proposition to amend AB 5 for Lyft and Uber only.

      It’s one reason we have such a crazy patchwork of laws and regulations that no one understands.

    2. This is what we boomers call common sense.

      Really? Us GenXers were under the impression that was a null set.

  16. Q: “Should You Be Able To Sue a Business for Exposing You to Coronavirus?”

    A: “No. Next question?”

    Why is there an entire article about this?

    1. JFree, Tony and other brain-damaged lefties believe they should never be at risk of catching anything at all.

  17. Damn. I was hoping to be the representative of a class action lawsuit.

  18. Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, but White Countries for Everybody?
    Massive immigration and forced assimilation is called genocide when it’s done in Tibet.
    When it’s done in White countries it’s called “diversity.”
    Diversity is a code word for White Genocide.

    1. That’s not what genocide is. And there is a pretty big difference between a country that is invaded and annexed by another country and then forcefully assimilated into the external culture and a country that allows immigration (possibly too much of it) and whose culture and racial makeup changes slowly though interbreeding among different groups.
      Culture is what matters, not the continued existence of people of pure European extraction.

      1. Japan and Taiwan and unused areas of Africa are not exempted from mass immigration because of their CULTURE. It’s because they’re NOT White. Massive immigration and forced assimilation is called Genocide (defined by UN convention) when done in Tibet and it’s Genocide when done to White countries. It’s hard to see White Genocide when you are anti-White.

        1. They are exempted from mass immigration because they chose to have policies limiting immigration. Japan and Taiwan are greatly helped by being islands.
          You really think that the US having relatively open immigration policies and long land borders with a poorer country is the same as China sending an army to Tibet and forcefully taking over and forcefully trying to destroy their culture?
          I agree with some of what you are saying (I think), but these false equivalencies are not helpful.

  19. Should You Be Able To Sue a Business for Exposing You to Coronavirus?

    No. Next question.

  20. If you have to ask.

  21. Exposure litigation only makes sense when causality can be plausibly established. Exposure to asbestos and other toxic chemicals, for example, is relatively easy to trace to the source because such chemical tend not be ubiquitously present in our everyday environments.

    Exposure to a widespread viral pathogen that could have originated from any number of sources is nearly impossible to trace within the degree of reliability typically required in a civil legal proceeding.

    Liability protections for businesses are a sensible measure. Opening the litigation floodgates to a variety of effectively unprovable cases is an invitation for abuse.

    1. Whereas letting companies off the hook for future abuse of employees and customers is small government freedom.

      1. I do not follow your argument.

        1. You misspelled “strawman”

        2. Liability protections… Legislatures getting in the way of court-settled disputes by putting their finger on the scale in favor of businesses over consumers (and labor). It’s the thing so-called libertarianism has been a thinly veiled philosophical justification for during its whole existence.

          1. Courts do not exist in a vacuum. Courts resolve legal disputes when the rights of parties come into conflict. Many such rights are derived from, and defined by, specific statutes. Legislatures enact the statutes. Therefore, the notion that legislatures “get in the way” or impede the courts by passing legislation is strange, to say the least.

            Is it your position that statutorily enacted liability protections are in conflict with libertarian principles? Or, something else?

            1. Yes. Well, depends. Is libertarianism about maximizing individual freedom and protecting their general basic rights, or is it about protecting corporate interests from both legal recourse and the marketplace itself? I have my answer.

              1. I am not sure that the right to sue others (be they individuals or corporate entities) is necessarily a measure of individual freedom.

                Limits upon liability have to exist for the simple reason that an ordered society cannot be sustained if any and every perceived transgression becomes fertile ground for litigation. And, remember, the practical outcome of a contested litigation, in the absence of a settlement, is government sanctioned force. Moreover, the process of litigation itself is government sanctioned force, and subject to abuse.

                Generally speaking, it seems that you are opposed to the very existence of corporations, rather than any particular distribution of liabilities in virus exposure cases. That is why I did not really comprehend your argument initially, I think.

              2. “…I have my answer.”

                So do I:
                You.
                Are.
                Full.
                Of.
                Shit.

  22. This seems like another good opportunity to lament the general lack of “Loser Pays” in the US.

    1. Agreed. These sorts of blanket liability waivers would be unnecessary if we had a credible loser-pays system that put some plaintiff attorney skin in the game.

      1. Perhaps that would be a manageable alternative. In other words, a litigant would be free to sue their employer, but would have to foot the bill in the event they do not prevail.

        Unfortunately, most statutory cost shifting penalties are drafted in such a manner so as to permit a recovery by the party being sued only if the underlying case is deemed to be sufficiently frivolous — a finding judges are reticent to make.

        There is also the nagging issue of collectability. Even with an adequate fee shifting provision, an employer can still be tanked by class action litigation — even if they prevail — since the prospects of recovering fees and costs from an army of plaintiffs (most of whom have little to no assets in the first place) are minimal.

        Perhaps some combination of fee-shifting, and a prohibition on class action litigation, may work. Overall, however, my sense is that such a convoluted statutory scheme would likely create far more problems than it solves.

        1. In the US, what you describe is the case. In other jurisdictions, the loser-pays does not require the same finding of frivolousness. While those jurisdictions have their own warts (including the practical aspect of collectability), I think they are generally less bad.

          Note, by the way, that at least a few of those jurisdictions mitigate the collectability problem by putting the attorneys on the hook right with their clients. Class action plaintiffs may have few to no assets but the law firm has plenty.

    2. I’ve always been a fan of the idea. But I think it needs to be hashed out and extended even to uncontested liability cases.

      Essentially make it so that “Offers of Judgment” are the norm, and that failure to achieve the same or better results in the courtroom cause the plaintiff to not only forfeit court costs and expenses incurred after the expiration date of the OoJ, but also defense attorney costs. These would be deducted from the judgment amount until the judgment is exhausted, then the plaintiff would have a judgement entered against them for the difference.

      Nothing was more obnoxious than pricing a case accurately on day one, having the offer rejected, pushing through discovery and trial and having the jury arrive at the exact same value. Everyone’s time and money is wasted, except for the plaintiff. They need more skin in the game.

  23. Should You Be Able To Sue a Business for Exposing You to Coronavirus things that are entirely out of their control?

  24. Hell no. Should you be able to sue someone every time you get a cold? Same question, same answer. Stop acting like this virus is some new thing the likes of which we’ve never seen before. It’s just another virus.

  25. If all regulations were abandoned, civil suit would be the only means of restitution between consumer and business. That should not be revoked.

    However, predatory lawsuits are a thing and litigious warfare can serve the purpose of enacting tyrannical regulation through overuse and judges sympathetic to the cause, turning businesses into hostage policy enforcers for odious rules.

    So, it it turns out that natural freedom moves to reduce mask wearing and we do return to some form of normal and businesses make lax mask wearing in response to the culture shift, particular litigious activist groups could sue those businesses for endangerment, which creates new business policy of masks all the time to avoid lawsuits, enforcing regulation on the population as a whole through a different kind of force.

    Which still isn’t freedom.

    I don’t know how we get freedom from litigious activism and freedom to have wrongs addressed.

  26. Only if you die in a tragic covid related motorcycle accident

  27. If a business owner comes to your house and drags you out at gunpoint to go to their business, and you catch the Wuhan coronavirus there, then yes, you should be able to sue them.

    1. Of course. But they won’t do that when they can do the functional equivalent. Make the job offer (in a perilous environment) negate any possibility for unemployment benefits, so that the only choice is to assume the risk of infection or starve. Then, with liability protection for the employer, only the worker must assume any risk. All of the risk is shifted to the worker, at his choice of course, if choosing to starve is a real choice.

      1. Good old tort reform.

      2. “…Make the job offer (in a perilous environment) negate any possibility for unemployment benefits, so that the only choice is to assume the risk of infection or starve…”

        The world is so unfair, isn’t it, you steaming pile of lefty shit?

        1. This lame talking point you’re lamely mimicking, because stealing the zingers from the IDW yourself is too much work I guess so you just mimic other commenters, is rich coming from people who think having to pay tax is the greatest injustice there is.

          Suck it up you stupid baby and pay your tax bill, life isn’t fair.

          1. The world is so unfair, isn’t it, you steaming pile of lefty shit?

      3. Need to stuff some of that straw back in the strawman.

    2. Now how about if every business in existence has the same exact policies to protect themselves from litigious activists.

      What happens when new business pops up to fill in the void and discovers, by being sued, why all the other businesses have the same exact policies.

      Are you still free?

  28. Giving up access to the courts, as an individual, seems like a great idea until you’re inquired.

    Any individual or other is already at a great power disadvantage. Individuals have already lost access to the courts via forced arbitration. When individuals got crafty and started filing mass arbitration actions collectively, the employers just switched to a different arbitration provider that doesn’t allow mass arbitration filings.

    Corporations will always win this game. But they will always want plenty of access to the courts for themselves.

    1. Fuck off and die, slaver.

  29. There’s literally no way to prove where you got it, so you have no hope of winning. The business that still has to pay for defense still gets fucked, though.

    1. If they win, how bad they still get fucked depends on the size of the business. A large corporation will often have salaried in-house counsel, which represents a fixed expense. A medium corporation will still be able to deduct litigation expense as a loss against profits. An individual worker, on the other hand, will be able to do none of this and probably can’t even afford an attorney.

      As CLM1227 said above, “I don’t know how we get freedom from litigious activism and freedom to have wrongs addressed.”

      Business, and most of the commentators here, seem to just want individual worker and consumer plaintiffs to go away. That is what has mostly happened in the past. And that is what will happen here. Business will get their liability waiver. Sevo can celebrate his renewed freedom when this happens.

      1. It’s what happened in Michigan when product liability, medical malpractice, the definition of “work-related disability,” and the No Fault threshold were gutted under the guise of “tort reform.” The quid pro quo for the latter was the promise of lower auto insurance premiums. Michigan still ranks among the highest in the country for the cost of auto insurance.

  30. Should you be able to sue a business for exposing you to influenza?

    Not sure why its a different question. Because the coronavirus has a somewhat higher, albeit still small, mortality rate among older people, it makes a legal difference?

    When have we been able to sue a business for catching the flu?

    1. You should be able to sue for whatever reason you want, an individual freedom libertarians champion I’m sure.

      Businesses are liable if they are found negligent when it comes to employee safety, but that’s hard to do with “ordinary diseases of life” like the flu. If they offer vaccinations I’m sure their butts are well covered.

      Is covid ordinary? Can you prove negligence? I think if a company flouts safety measures it should be possible. Unless Republicans offer them socialist protection from our right to sue, of course.

      1. Caveat emptor. Unless they intentionally gave you the disease, suing them if you (maybe) contracted it there is frivolous.

  31. Do you sue someone for giving you the flu? How about the business where you both work?

    The only lawsuit that might have a chance is against an individual who knows they have COVID-19, not self-quarantining and going out in public. How is a business owner supposed to know who is an asymptomatic carrier and who is not?

  32. No way. But you should be able to sue the government for shutting down your business or wrecking your life or restricting you for no good reasons…such as the fake pandemic. It is virtually impossible to know from where you contacted a disease or sickness.

  33. I’m going to just sue orange man bad.

  34. Personal injury lawsuits are a huge scam designed to fool the public and enrich the lawyers. Justice is not involved. A business or individual can be held liable if the jury is persuaded (by paid-for “experts” and contingency-motivated lawyers) that it is “more likely than not” that the defendant’s actions were “negligent,” resulting in injury to or suffering by the plaintiff. In other words, completely innocent defendants can be held liable for millions of dollars in cases where they did not actually cause any injury, and in situations where the plaintiff should bear the responsibility for the injury they suffered. No one should be held liable for another person’s misfortune.
    People fighting over damages and liability in lawsuits are often reduced to lying in order to prevail. Judges pretend to “know” right from wrong, negligence from reasonable behavior, truth from fiction, an expert opinion from a biased opinion, and other things beyond their ken. Jurors too often rely on their prejudice, ignorance, and emotion.
    Civil lawsuits are hopelessly unfair and injustice is typically is the outcome.
    The government should not be deciding the rules for how responsibility is to be determined.
    Contract law is a reasonable alternative to many personal injury lawsuits, but cannot address all situations. Legislatures often make contractual agreements governing potential liability legally void or unenforceable.

  35. i feel like the whole liability question is more needless fear mongering. for one thing, in the case of most businesses that have shown some level of what could be called recklessness, those entering the business tend to be willingly entering the building and taking part in said recklessness…… the case where there is deliberate endangerment, the people who catch it did nothing reckless themselves, and you can prove they caught it there…… seems like a unicorn we are letting terrify people.

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