Alabama Act No. 2021-4 was recently signed into law by Governor Ivey. The law provides limited immunity against civil lawsuits for covered entities, and individuals associated with a covered entity, for certain damages related to the COVID–19 pandemic.
The law does not provide complete immunity from claims but is designed to reduce the number of frivolous suits from individuals who claim they contracted or were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 because of the covered entity’s wrongdoing. Claimants must be able to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that the covered entity acted with “wanton, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct” in failing to comply with applicable public health guidance.
Liability and damages are limited; however liability is still possible if the covered entity fails to “reasonably attempt to comply with the then applicable public health guidance.”
During the pandemic, businesses are advised to follow CDC guidance in order to protect their employees, patients, students and clients. Following this guidance will help us draw closer to the end of the pandemic and allow businesses to operate more safely. Businesses are also encouraged to review their related insurance policies to determine how their insurance carrier might respond if such a suit is filed.
Regarding compliance, CDC guidance has changed over the last many months and may continue to change, but workers are still advised to wear masks (unless respirators or facemasks are required), distance from others and follow other guidance of the CDC, OSHA and any state or local requirements. This law provides some protection as long as the organization is protecting employees, clients and the public when in close contact with them.
|Check out our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources and information.|