As the country gradually opens up the state of Florida has officially shed light on protection for Florida businesses and healthcare providers. As of March 29, Senate Bill 72 is officially effective.
SB 72 is in place for civil liability for damages relating to COVID-19; specifying requirements for civil actions based on COVID-19-related claims; requiring the court to make certain determinations in such actions; providing that plaintiffs have the burden of proof in such actions; providing preliminary procedures for civil actions based on COVID-19-related claims; requiring COVID-19-related claims to commence within specified timeframes.
This means that all COVID-19 related lawsuits must provide proof and specific statements as a verified complaint.
Any lawsuits brought against businesses will require a physician’s affidavit attesting that the particular business did in fact cause injuries or damages.
Upon those complaints, if a court determines that the particular business made a good-faith effort to substantially comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued health standards then they will be immune from liability.
Some employees and health care workers are on the fence about this aggressive bill because it may cause more harm than good. SB 72 will directly apply to all scenarios dating to the beginning of the pandemic with a one-year deadline to file any claims.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis claims this bill should provide some certainty to people in hopes that they no longer have to fear being sued for doing ‘normal things’.
While Republicans rush to open up to full capacity measures they argue this bill should have been placed to protect businesses and health care workers from the theories of how the viruses initially spread and the lack of supplies to fully protect them since the beginning of the pandemic.
This bill does a disservice to those who were affected physically or lost loved ones due to COVID-19 by enabling businesses to get away with negligence.
Corey Landen, leasing agent at West 10 apartments, claims that this bill does nothing but mask the negligence Florida has done towards COVID restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic.
“As someone who has no choice but to attend my job face to face I fear for those who work alongside highly contagious people that will now have a bill set in place to disregard proper safety measures going forward as a claim for a lawsuit,” said Landen.
Democrats argue this bill is worded in favor of negligence and should be revised otherwise it will be difficult to bring any case forward given the bill covers all measures relating to the beginning of the pandemic.