You’ve heard from us about the rising tide of nuisance lawsuits flooding our civil litigation system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But a survey conducted on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is bringing some good news: of 800 registered voters polled, more than 60 percent support the idea of protecting employers from frivolous COVID-19 litigation.
The new poll, ILR National Survey: COVID-19 Liability, was conducted in late April and released on Tuesday, May 5th by the ILR. Among its findings, it signals an overwhelming show of support (84 percent) for protecting essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, whose continued operations during the pandemic have been vital to the public good. The survey also shows that respondents were strongly in favor (82 percent) of protecting restaurants and retail outlets that open back up in compliance with local directives.
Better still, these sentiments even cut across party lines – among those surveyed, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike showed similar levels of support for shielding employers from excessive liability. Here at the NC Chamber, these findings only reaffirm what we already know: all businesses are essential to the lifeblood of their communities; and they all deserve protection from undue presumptions of liability, whether we’re fighting a pandemic or conducting business as usual.
Recently, we made legislators aware that we are committed to safeguarding our state’s job creators against nuisance lawsuits stemming from COVID-19. The NC Chamber and the NC Chamber Legal Institute are thankful that legislators enacted provisions – as part of the coronavirus relief package signed by the Governor this week – designed to shield health care facilities, health care providers, essential businesses, and personal protective equipment manufacturers from certain lawsuits likely to arise as we move beyond this pandemic.
Now, as our NC Chamber team works together with our members, allies, and elected leaders on a strategy to relaunch North Carolina, we aim to shape a comprehensive and fair approach to coronavirus liability that protects both the rights of employers and the health of workers in our state. We look forward to your strong support in this effort – stay tuned.