WASHINGTON—Businesses are seeking liability protection from Congress against what they consider frivolous lawsuits stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution is a signatory on a letter sent by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, calling for "temporary and targeted liability relief legislation" that would "safeguard businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, as well as health care providers and facilities from unfair lawsuits so that they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective recovery from this pandemic."
Other associations signing the letter include American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Associations, Auto Care Association, Automotive Recyclers Association, Specialty Equipment Market Association and National Roofing Contractors Association.
With a lack of ability to traditionally lobby members of Congress in person meetings during COVID-19, associations are teaming up to send letters with many signatures in an effort to gain the attention of law makers. This particular letter created by the Chamber includes the backing of more than 200 trade groups and their members.
"The need for liability protections and relief is clear. Several governors and state legislatures have already implemented COVID-19-related liability protections for key sectors in their states, but a uniform national response is necessary," the letter states.
The trade groups seek temporary liability protections covering businesses, non-profits and educational institutions "that work to follow applicable public health guidelines." The move also seeks to protect "manufacturers, donors, distributors, and users of vaccines, therapeutics, medical devices as well as PPE and other supplies (such as hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies)."
"Public companies targeted by unfair and opportunistic COVID-19-related securities lawsuits" also would need to be protected, the letter states.
Congress has taken such protective action before during past crisis situations. The federal legislature already has provided some liability protection for volunteer health care workers and some PPE manufacturers, but "much more must be done," the chamber letter reads.
"In addition to being temporary, we believe that these liability protections should be limited in scope and preserve recourse for those harmed by truly bad actors who engage in egregious misconduct," the letter states.