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Tags: liability | imputed | litigation | civil

Why Congress Must Pass Coronavirus Tort Reform

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By    |   Tuesday, 28 April 2020 03:56 PM EDT

In addition to providing money and support to America’s workforce, Congress has a duty to head off and prevent further harm to our nation such as that witnessed by the bringing of frivolous litigation resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Such litigation emerges in the guise of harm caused to citizens as the result of government or business decisions made in good faith during this time of crisis.

Congress must act now to head off such litigation. This would serve to shield federal, state, and local governments — as well as businesses and individuals from the exposure of liability imputed by certain civil lawsuits, those grounded in coronavirus-related occurrences.

Coronavirus tort reform litigation legislation is needed — now.

A tort, by general definition is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits a tortious act.

A tort can be an act of negligence or gross negligence or — an intentional act.

Torts are civil acts generally calling for a remedy of money damages — car accidents, slip and fall, malpractice, food poisoning. These are common examples of torts.

Coronavirus is a breeding ground of opportunity to wreak havoc on our civil judicial process, government operations and the conducting of business within an environment of national crisis.

You don't have to be a seer to see that without restrictions on tort liability and without indemnification for those who need protection from legal abuses, our economy will be further harmed by predatory lawsuits or the mere threat and exposure to same.

Governments federal, state and local are wrestling with the question of when and how to reopen society in the aftermath of what could be just the first wave of a global pandemic.

As the president has said, we have to make sure the cure is not worse than the disease.

We have to act smartly and with informed decisions.

We are dealing with unprecedented challenges, challenges coming with a "risk versus reward" criteria in and for all decision making.

The fact is that our country is way too diverse and different to provide a "one size fits all" for all 50 states and territories when it comes to the reopening of government and the private sectors.

Thus, what is good for California is not necessarily good for Kentucky.

Federal, state or local governments makes decisions that are either binding or discretionary on its populations; as such these decisions open the door to second guessing, disagreements, and yes lawsuits.

It's foreseeable that some may be "harmed" by the decisions that governments or businesses will make. But, the greater good must be served by the risk involved in making decisions that are in the best interests of a majority of the population.

It's unfair for governments and businesses to bear the burden of liability for policies made in good faith to remediate or prevent further harms much greater to their populations and customers than if such policies are not made and instituted at all.

Now is the time to get America back to work. Time is of the essence.

We must do so in an orderly and informed way.

We need to protect governments, businesses and individuals from abuses to our civil legal system by shielding them from specific types of litigation flowing from the pandemic.

We must also provide specific and targeted indemnification to governments, businesses and individuals to ensure actions will be taken by them without fear of unfair abusive litigation which exposes governments, businesses, and individuals to the costs of expensive litigation as well as unsustainable money damages by multiple litigants.

Governments primary responsibility is preventing harm, not merely responding to it when it does occur.

Pandemic tort reform should be a bipartisan effort to prevent further harm to our fragile economy.

It must be enacted by Congress forthwith.

Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. Read Bradley Blakeman's Reports — More Here.

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Pandemic tort reform should be a bipartisan effort to prevent further harm to our fragile economy. It must be enacted by Congress forthwith.
liability, imputed, litigation, civil
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 03:56 PM
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