Panel OKs bill to limit COVID-19 lawsuits in Georgia

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

A proposal to protect businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits for another year cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The House Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System approved House Bill 112. The bill would limit the ability of people to sue businesses and health care providers if they are diagnosed with the disease. Lawmakers approved such limits last summer, but they expire in July. HB 112 would extend the lawsuit protection until July 2022.

Under the law, companies are shielded from legal liability unless they show “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.”

Supporters say the protections are needed so businesses can remain open during the coronavirus pandemic while following social distancing and other safety protocols outlined by public health officials. Critics said the law leaves people who get sick little recourse if their employers or the businesses they frequent are at fault.