Rejection of General Assembly’s Covid-19 Safe Harbor Legislation Will Hurt PA Healthcare and Jobs
HARRISBURG, PA – Responding to press reports of a pending veto of HB 1737, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform’s Executive Director Curt Schroder issued the following statement:
The General Assembly understood that in the current environment, businesses and health care providers following government guidelines should be protected from opportunistic lawsuits. HB 1737 was well considered. The bill was drafted, debated and passed to protect the heroes of this pandemic, while still holding accountable bad actors engaged in intentional conduct or gross negligence. This reasonable approach is the right approach for Pennsylvania. It provides temporary, targeted liability relief now when it is needed most: at the height of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The Governor’s office points to his recent Executive Order as providing liability protection. This limited measure appears to only protect businesses, such as retail establishments and restaurants, when action is taken against them for enforcing the mask mandate. Thus far, courts have rejected lawsuits over enforcing mask requirements.
The minimalist protection in his Executive Order does not extend liability protection for Covid exposure, which is needed for businesses to recover and survive the restrictions imposed to protect the public. It does not protect those businesses who have re-tooled to make much needed personal protection equipment and sanitizer. It does not protect our health care facilities, and our front-line heroes taking care of Covid patients, from lawsuits brought by opportunistic lawyers.
A veto of HB 1737 would make us wonder, whose side is Governor Wolf on? With reports of restaurants closing almost daily, the Governor has the opportunity to protect restaurants and other businesses from additional devastation at the hands of lawyers. Governor Wolf should use this opportunity to show businesses and health care that he understands the pressures they are subjected to during this pandemic by signing the bill.
PCCJR asks the Governor to please reconsider any intent to veto HB 1737.
PCCJR thanks all of the members of the House and Senate who recognized the need for real protection from frivolous lawsuits brought by lawyers looking to get rich off the Covid pandemic.
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The Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform is a 501(c )(6), not-for-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization comprised of a diverse group of organizations and individuals committed to bringing fairness to Pennsylvania’s courts by raising awareness of civil justice issues and advocating for legal reform. Additional information is available at https://paforciviljusticereform.org, https://www.facebook.com/paciviljustice/ or https://twitter.com/paciviljustice.
CONTACT: Curt Schroder, 610.389.4293, email@example.com