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HomeUncategorizedCOVID liability bill gets Senate nod

COVID liability bill gets Senate nod

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Legislation that protects business and health care providers from opportunistic COVID-19-related lawsuits has passed the Florida State Senate.

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Filed earlier this year by Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) SB 72, the Civil Liability For Damages Relating To COVID-19 shields business, charities, educational institutions, “governmental entities” and religious institutions from a COVID-19-related claim. The measure passed the State Senate on March 18.

Specifically, the legislation requires a court to dismiss without prejudice any lawsuit bringing a COVID-19-related claim if the complaint is not pled with particularity – that is if the complainant has not included specifics and details of the alleged incident not just general statements – or if the person filing the lawsuit failed to provide an affidavit of a physician attesting that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.

The measure also requires anyone who files a COVID-19-related lawsuit to prove that a health care provider’s conduct constituted gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

It also protects providers when they substantially comply with authoritative or applicable government-issued health standards or guidance related to COVID-19, and if they deny delaying or cancel a medical procedure or surgery due to government-issued health standards or guidance.

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The bill raised the ire of AARP Florida when it was filed, but Brandes said that the measure allows Florida’s businesses and healthcare facility operators to focus on the state’s post-pandemic recovery.

Businesses and medical facilities across our state are trying to survive, reopen, and recover from the pandemic.” he said. “Now is the time for the state, its people, health care providers, and businesses to focus on economic recovery and getting back to normal.”

SB 72 is now under consideration by the Florida House of Representatives.

 

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