State Sen. Arthur Orr drafts bill protecting businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits
State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) has drafted a bill that would provide businesses in Alabama civil immunity against lawsuits where an individual alleges they caught COVID-19 on the premises of the business.
Orr says he will file the bill once the Alabama Senate returns from recess.
“We should not let lawyers seek to profit on tenuous claims of infections that allegedly occur at Alabama businesses when patrons choose to be there on their own free will,” said Orr in an emailed statement.
He added, “If a business chooses to remain open to the public in these desperate days, it is fearful of potential lawsuits based on COVID-19. This bill, providing immunity in most scenarios, seeks to address that fear.”
The bill does not extend immunity to a business that ignores any government-issued health rules.
Orr’s bill comes at a time when as much of the state that can be has been shut down until April 6.
As of Friday at 8:45 a.m, there are 78 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Alabama.
In a press conference Thursday, Alabama’s State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, said that the number of cases will continue to go up for a while.
Harris said that Alabama is experiencing “community transmission,” which means that most people catching the disease now have not left the state and are getting it from someone else in their area.
Orr believes that “any such lawsuits founded on COVID-19 infection claims would be defeated in a court of law, the cost of litigation is enough to force businesses to make settlements to dispose of any such dubious claims.”
The state senator from North Alabama concluded, “Businesses and commerce are the lifeblood of our economy. As such, helping keep companies open and employees working should be important to every Alabamian”
The full text of the bill can be read here.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.