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One less worry for Alabama job creators

The Business Council of Alabama applauds the members of the Alabama Legislature for providing much needed limited liability protections for business and other entities against COVID-related lawsuits. The recently passed law, a priority for the Business Council, provides ‘safe harbor’ for those who followed state health orders and governmental health guidelines. Entities covered under this legislation include businesses, nonprofits, LLCs, health care providers, educational entities, churches, governmental entities and cultural institutions operating in Alabama, as well as individuals associated with these groups.

“BCA is thrilled that this important piece of legislation has passed,” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “Businesses throughout Alabama are continuing to do all they can to keep their employees and customers safe while also allowing hardworking Alabamians the opportunity to provide for their families. This legislation provides the necessary protections for businesses large and small as they continue to revive jobs and restore production throughout our state.”

SB 30 provides civil immunity for covered entities operating in Alabama from certain claims and damages claimed by individuals who allege they contracted or were exposed to COVID-19 as long as those entities make an effort to adequately follow government issued guidelines related to operating in the COVID-19 environment.

Exceptions to this immunity would exist if the covered entity acted with wanton, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct. Such misconduct must be proven under a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard. These protections would apply to businesses, non-profits, LLCs, health care providers, cooperative corporations, educational entities, churches, governmental entities, and cultural institutions operating in the state.

Similar legislation has been adopted in the past year by more than 25 states, including Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Legislation to provide such coverage has been greatly needed as Alabama continues its economic recovery. Throughout the country, over 2,000 lawsuits relating to COVID have been filed in federal and state courts against businesses by employees, customers, and clients.

Legislative leadership, Governor Kay Ivey, and the business and medical communities strongly supported the new law. The bill was sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and carried in the House by Representative David Faulkner (R-Homewood).

This legislation will be retroactive and apply to causes of action filed on or after March 13, 2020, which is the date when the Governor declared a public health emergency.

Earlier in 2020, BCA and other partners in the business community worked alongside Governor Ivey in securing liability protection for businesses and the healthcare community by means of an executive order, making Alabama one of the first states in the nation to secure such a win for business.

The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan, statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.