News & Insights
May 18, 2020
With pandemic-related legal filings on the rise across the country, the Waller Government Relations team has worked closely with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry to draft the Tennessee Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. This crucial legislation is designed to provide broad civil liability protection from “health emergency claims” for a wide array of covered entities in Tennessee, including many businesses, healthcare providers, educational entities, governmental entities, cultural institutions and churches.
The Waller team is currently engaging with various stakeholders and members of the General Assembly to prepare a vehicle and strategy for passage of the bill when the legislature reconvenes on June 1. While this legislation remains subject to revision throughout the legislative process, the Waller Government Relations team will be working diligently to enact critical liability protections for covered entities as Tennessee moves forward in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions. If you have any questions regarding the Tennessee Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Act, please contact Nicole Watson or James Weaver.
Covered Entity Protection
Under the Tennessee Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Act, a covered entity would not be liable for damages, injury, court costs, subrogation or death suffered or claimed by any person or entity as a result of, or in connection with, a health emergency claim related to the Coronavirus that results from any act or omission of the covered entity attempting to follow or respond to applicable public health guidance.
The Act defines a “health emergency claim” to include any cause of action that is related to the following circumstances:
Burden of Proof
In order to overcome the liability protection afforded by this legislation, a plaintiff would need to demonstrate the following:
In the instance a plaintiff meets this burden of proof, and the acts or omissions do not result in serious physical injury, a covered entity’s liability would be limited to actual economic compensatory damages and in no event would the covered entity be liable for non-economic or punitive damages.
As employers grapple with interpreting the onslaught of federal, state, and local public health guidance issued in response to the coronavirus, many entities have expressed growing concern regarding the threat of frivolous litigation filed in response to safety guidelines implemented for employees and patrons during these unprecedented circumstances. In order to alleviate these concerns, this legislation adopts a comprehensive definition of “applicable public health guidance,” which includes all forms of governmental guidance and direction released throughout the progression of the pandemic.
The Tennessee Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Act offers protection from all health emergency claims accrued on or after the date of the first confirmed Coronavirus case reported by Tennessee Department of Health on March 5, 2020.
Healthcare Provider Protections
In addition, this legislation provides vital protection from health emergency claims for Tennessee healthcare providers, including:
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO Coronavirus CONTENT
Whether a current or prospective client, we are here to help your business thrive. Please send us a message and we will respond to your needs as soon as possible.
SEND US A MESSAGE