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The GOP's liability immunity bill would make it impossible to sue negligent businesses, while also flooding the federal courts with lawsuits by businesses against people they infected, plus lawsuits by AG Barr against unions, lawyers, and doctors. A thread:
The Act applies to any personal injury case relating to coronavirus which occurred "on or after December 1, 2019 and before the later of October 1, 2024 or the date on which there is no declaration by [HHS Secretary]" relating to coronavirus. All cases must go to federal court./2
The GOP bill creates a cause of action so businesses can sue (and get attorney's fees from) anyone who makes a claim, even if by letter. AG Barr gets to sue unions, labor activists, lawyers, doctors—everyone involved in coronavirus claims. "Meritless" isn't defined anywhere. /3
To begin their coronavirus lawsuit, the plaintiff must identify everyone they have encountered in the past two weeks, find some way to prove the business's "mindset" (before doing discovery), and have a statement from a medical expert who did *not* treat them. /4
The plaintiff's complaint—the first thing filed in the case—must have "proof" of the defendants' "conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty; the consequences to another party; and applicable government standards and guidance." Lord knows how. /5
If they get past that, the plaintiff must still show, "by clear and convincing evidence" (instead of the typical preponderance) a mish-mash of nonsense about violating government standards. This is included so Federalist Society judges can throw these cases out before trial. /6
The GOP bill is loaded with absurd "safe harbor" provisions that give judges excuses to throw cases out, even if a plaintiff made it to a jury and won. If a business printed out a CDC guideline and called it a policy, voila, they get a presumption they made reasonable efforts. /7
If a plaintiff makes it through, they get *zero* damages for pain, suffering, hospitalization, permanent disability, or loss of a loved one. They get solely "economic" damages, like lost wages—unless they prove "willful misconduct," like a business purposefully infecting them. /8
The GOP also sneaked into the end of the bill that creates total immunity for dangerous or contaminated medical products, so long as there's a "use of enforcement discretion" from HHS/FDA/etc—a process the bill exempts from Administrative Procedure Act review. /9
That's only some of what is wrong with the GOP bill. It is not a serious effort at addressing the claimed issue of SARS-CoV-2 liability; the bill closes the courthouse doors to the American people, while making it profitable for businesses to sue people they infected.
Republicans' absurd liability bill, released just last night, creates a system in which it's easier for a negligent business to sue customers they infected than vice versa. Dems have to call this last-minute bluff or they'll get rolled on every issue.
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