VICTORY: Legislature Passes COVID Liability Protection Against Frivolous Lawsuits

Date: April 22, 2021

NFIB priority legislation now on way to governor’s desk

The battle was long and arduous but, in the end, NFIB and its allies in the business community prevailed in its fight to get small-business owners the liability protection they deserved against unfair COVID-19 lawsuits.

S147 passed the South Carolina House of Representatives April 22 on an 89-18 vote after sailing out the State Senate, 40-3. It now heads to Gov. Henry McMaster for his signature into law.

As stated in Section 2 of the bill, “The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that providing businesses and health care providers with reasonable protections from the risk and expense of lawsuits related to actual, alleged, or feared exposure to or contraction of the coronavirus will help encourage them to reopen and remain open and will help to protect those who provided services or goods that were novel or altered in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Providing such immunity to businesses and health care providers that operate consistently with applicable public health guidance will help ameliorate the adverse impacts of a closed economy and the resulting unemployment.”

South Carolina joined a growing number of states racing to hold their business owners at a safe distance from unfair and almost unprovable COVID lawsuits claiming contract with the disease occurred at a place of business, after Congress failed to come up with a national standard last year.

Winning liability protection for small-business owners was NFIB’s top priority in the Legislature this year. Testimony and comments can be read in the stories below.

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