Legislature limits civil liability related to COVID-19

Healthcare facilities that followed applicable public health guidance in good faith in treating patients are now immune from civil liability for COVID-19-related lawsuits, under recently enacted legislation.

Senate Bill 3049, authored by former Senator Sally Doty, also extends protection to first responders, schools, or other educational entities, non-profit organizations, and businesses.  Businesses that manufactured personal protective equipment in response to the virus are also covered.

“The last thing our hospitals and others, many of whom have employees who have put themselves at great personal risk, need is to be faced with unfounded legal claims,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said. “Right now, we need our healthcare workers, businesses, and communities focused on health and safety, and recovery.”

The legislation includes a two-year statute of limitations for any legitimate claim, and backdates to March 14, 2020—the date the Governor’s original emergency declaration was issued.

The provisions do not apply where there is clear and convincing evidence of actual malice or intentional behavior.