COVID-19 Resources

As you tackle liability threats stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, ATRA hopes to serve as a resource. This page will be updated as we garner new information and navigate the daily changes we face as the nation combats COVID-19.
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White Paper

ATRA’s latest white paper explores tort liability concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and considers potential solutions.

Each day, thousands of people in the United States are contracting coronavirus. The virus is devastating families, stretching the ability of health care providers to help those who become sick, and crippling businesses and the economy. Manufacturers have ramped up production of medical supplies and protective equipment and are investigating treatment options and developing vaccines.

Some personal injury lawyers, however, view individuals exposed to COVID-19 as a large new pool of plaintiffs, and health care providers and businesses that aid in the response effort or provide essential services as defendants to cast blame. Personal injury law firms are already recruiting individuals to “sue now” even if they have not contracted the disease. The first lawsuits targeting health care providers, employers, retailers and other businesses for COVID-related injuries have been filed. Many more are to come.

States should proactively adopt legislation that distinguishes legitimate claims from no-injury lawsuits. States can place reasonable constraints on the types of lawsuits that pose an obstacle to the coronavirus response effort, place businesses in jeopardy, and further damage the economy.

ATRA applauds the nation’s governors who have stepped up to address liability concerns stemming from COVID-19. These executive orders generally rely on the governor’s authority under each state’s emergency powers statute to modify or suspend enforcement of state laws that pose an obstacle to the state’s ability to respond to a crisis. The risk is that this type of executive action has not been tested in court. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are certain to challenge the governors’ authority to provide this liability protection through use of emergency powers.

This paper explores tort liability concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and considers potential solutions.

Federal Legislation/Executive Action

Employer Liability Protection

ATRA is pleased that President Trump and Congress are taking into consideration the issue of employers’ liability concerns surrounding the planned re-opening of businesses across the country while the nation continues to address the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read ATRA’s full statement.

Facilitating Innovation to Fight Coronavirus Act

On March 30, 2020, Sen. Ben Sasse (R – Neb.) introduced the Facilitating Innovation to Fight Coronavirus Act which would limit liability for health care providers who are testing, treating or otherwise countering the effects of coronavirus.

Read ATRA’s full statement.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act includes a “Good Samaritan” provision to protect volunteer healthcare professionals from civil liability while simultaneously providing patient protection in cases of gross negligence or criminal misconduct.

Such a federal provision allows healthcare professionals to travel where they are most needed to combat the deadly coronavirus without fear of liability based on a patchwork of interstate licensing requirements.

Read ATRA’s full statement.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including liability protection for manufacturers of some respiratory masks, was signed into law.

Liability protections for manufacturers allow them to provide an ample supply of masks for healthcare workers and patients to slow the spread and protect immunocompromised individuals without fear of legal backlash should any of those masks fail.

Read ATRA’s full statement.

Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) 

On March 12, 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) that healthcare workers and others working to combat COVID-19 will be offered certain liability protections.

Liability protections will enable those who are on the frontlines in healthcare to work toward combating this outbreak, without fear of legal repercussions in the likely circumstance that they may have to turn some patients away.

Read ATRA’s full statement.

State Legislation

Alaska | FCCS S.B. 241
  • A health care agent or health care provider who takes action based on a standing order issued by the chief medical officer in the Department of Health and Social Services related to essential public health services and functions for COVID-19 is not liable for civil damages resulting from an act or omission in implementing the standing order.
    • “Health care agent” is defined by current law as an official or employee of the Department of Health and Social Services.
    • “Health care provider” is defined by current law as “any person that provides health care services” and includes “a hospital, medical clinic or office, special care facility, medical laboratory, physician, pharmacist, dentist, physician assistant, nurse, paramedic, emergency medical or laboratory technician, community health worker, and ambulance and emergency medical worker.”
    • Does not apply to gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.
    • This section is effective April 10, 2020.
  • A health care provider or manufacturer of personal protective equipment is not liable for civil damages resulting from an act or omission in issuing, providing, or manufacturing PPE in the event of injury or death if the PPE was issued, provided, or manufactured in good faith to respond to the COVID-19 public health disaster emergency.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.
    • A health care provider or manufacturer under this section must notify the user of the PPE that the equipment may not meet established standards and requirements.
    • “Health care provider” has the same definition as above and also includes a nursing home for this section.
    • This section is retroactive to March 11, 2020.
  • A workers’ compensation claim is presumptively compensable as an occupational disease arising out of the course of employment if, during the health disaster emergency, the employee is:
    • A firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, peace officer, or health care provider, is exposed to COVID-19 in the course of this employment, and receives a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician, presumptive positive test result, or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
    • This section is retroactive to March 11, 2020.
  • Increasing a price after the March 11 public health disaster emergency by more than 10% for food, medicine, medical equipment, and fuel sanitation products, hygiene products, essential household supplies, and other essential goods is a violation of the Alaska Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
    • This provision is retroactive to March 11, 2020.
District of Columbia | Act 23-283

Effective: 4/10/2020

  • Authorizes the Mayor, when declaring a public emergency, to issue a public health emergency executive order that:
    • Exempts licensed health care providers, either from the District of Columbia or from other jurisdictions, from civil liability for damages for any actions taken within the scope of the provider’s employment or voluntary service to implement the provisions of the District of Columbia response plan, except in instances of gross negligence, and solely for actions taken during the public health emergency (existing law).
    • Exempts from liability in a civil action, a healthcare provider, first responder, or volunteer who renders care or treatment to a potential, suspected, or diagnosed individual with COVID-19 for damages resulting from such care or treatment of COVID-19, or from any act or failure to act in providing or arranging medical treatment for COVID-19 during a declared public-health emergency;
    • Exempts from liability in a civil action, a donor of time, professional services, equipment, or supplies for the benefit of persons or entities providing care or treatment for COVID-19 to a suspected or diagnosed individual with COVID-19, or care for the family members of such individuals for damages resulting from such donation during a declared public-health emergency; or
    • Exempts from liability in a civil action, a contractor or subcontractor on a District government contract that has contracted to provide health care services or human care services related to a declared public health emergency related to the District government’s COVID-19 response.
  • The limitation on COVID-19 liability applies to any healthcare provider, first responder, volunteer, or District government contractor or subcontractor of a District government contractor, including a party involved in the healthcare process at the request of a health-care facility or the District government, and acting within the scope of the provider’s employment or organization’s purpose, or contractual or voluntary service, even if outside the provider’s professional scope of practice, state of licensure, or with an expired license, who:
    • Prescribes or dispenses medicines for off-label use to attempt to combat the COVID-19 virus, in accordance with the federal Right to Try Act.
    • Provides direct or ancillary health-care services or health-care products, including direct patient care, testing, equipment or supplies, consultations, triage services, resource teams, nutrition services, or physical, mental, and behavioral therapies; or
    • Utilizes equipment or supplies outside of the product’s normal use for medical practice and the provision of health-care services to combat the COVID-19 virus.
  • The limitation on COVID-19 liability does not apply to acts or omissions that:
    • Constitute a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, recklessness, breach of contract, gross negligence, or willful misconduct; or
    • Are unrelated to direct patient care; provided, that a contractor or subcontractor shall not be liable for damages for any act or omission alleged to have caused an individual to contract COVID-19.
  • Applies to acts, omissions, and donations performed or made during the declared public health emergency, and to damages that ensue at any time from acts, omissions, and donations made during the emergency.
  • Requires the Mayor to issue implementing regulations.
Kentucky | S.B. 150

Enacted: 3/30/2020

  • A health care provider who cares for or treats a COVID-19 patient in good faith during the state of emergency is not liable for ordinary negligence for any personal injury resulting from that care or treatment, or in providing or arranging further medical treatment.
    • This protection applies so long as the health care provider acts as an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent health care provider would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. 
    • This protection includes (1) prescribing or dispensing medicines for off-label use to attempt to combat COVID-19 in accordance with the federal or state Right to Try Act laws; (2) providing health care services, upon the request of health care facilities or public health entities, that are outside of the provider’s professional scope of practice; or (3) utilizing equipment or supplies outside of the product’s normal use for medical practice and the provision of health care services.
  • Any business in the Commonwealth that makes or provides personal protective equipment or personal hygiene supplies in response to COVID-19, such as masks, gowns, or sanitizer, is not liable for ordinary negligence and in product liability claims.
    • This protection applies only if (a) the business does not make or provide such products in the normal course of its business; (b) the business has acted in good faith; and (c) the business acted in an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent manner under the same or similar circumstances.
  • Takes effect immediately. Does not address application to conduct prior to enactment.
Massachusetts | S. 2640

Enacted: 4/17/2020

  • Health care professionals and facilities are immune from civil liability for any damages allegedly sustained by an act or omission in the course of providing care during the COVID-19 emergency when:
    • The health care provider or facility is arranging for or providing health care services pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule and in accordance with otherwise applicable law;
      • A “COVID-19 emergency rule” is an executive order, order of the commissioner of public health, declaration, directive or other state or federal authorization, policy, statement, guidance, rule-making or regulation that waives, suspends or modifies otherwise applicable state or federal law, regulations or standards regarding either: (i) scope of practice or conditions of licensure, including modifications authorizing health care professionals licensed in another state to practice in the commonwealth; or (ii) the delivery of care, including those regarding the standard of care, the site at which care is delivered or the equipment used to deliver care, during the COVID-19 emergency.
      • “Health care services” involve the: (i) treatment, diagnosis, prevention or mitigation of COVID-19; (ii) assessment or care of an individual with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; or (iii) care of any other individual who presents at a health care facility or to a health care professional during the period of the COVID-19 emergency.
    • Arranging for or providing care or treatment of an individual impacted by the health care facility’s or professional’s decisions or activities in response to treatment conditions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak or COVID-19 emergency rules; and
    • The health care facility or professional is arranging for or providing health care services in good faith.
  • This liability protection does not apply to:
    • Acts or omissions that constitute gross negligence, recklessness or conduct with an intent to harm;
    • Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity by a health care facility or professional providing health care services;
    • Consumer protection actions brought by the attorney general; or
    • False claims actions brought by or on behalf of the Commonwealth.
  • Volunteer organizations are immune from civil liability for any damages occurring in or at the volunteer organization’s facility where the damage arises from use of the facility for the commonwealth’s response and activities related to COVID-19 emergency.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence, recklessness or conduct with an intent to harm.
  • Effective immediately and applies to claims based on acts or omissions that occur or have occurred during the COVID-19 emergency declared March 10, 2020 and until terminated or rescinded.
New Jersey | S.B. 2333 

Enacted: 4/14/2020

  • A health care professional, facility, or system is immune from civil liability for any injury alleged to have been sustained from an act or omission undertaken in the course of providing medical services in support of the state’s response to coronavirus.
  • This immunity also includes any act or omission undertaken in good faith to support of efforts to treat COVID-19 patients and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the public health emergency, including in telemedicine or telehealth, and diagnosing or treating patients outside the normal scope of the health care professional’s license or practice.
  • The immunity does not apply to acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct.
  • A healthcare facility or system, and its agents, employers, and volunteers, are not criminally or civilly liable for damages for injury or death allegedly sustained as a result of an act or omission during the public health emergency in connection with the allocation of mechanical ventilators or other scarce medical resources, if the health care facility or system adopts and adheres to a scarce critical resource allocation policy that at minimum incorporates the core principles identified by the Commissioner of Health in an executive directive or administrative order.
  • Applies retroactively to March 9, 2020, when Governor Murphy declared a public health emergency.
New York | N.Y. S. 7506 / A. 9506

Enacted: 4/3/2020

  • A health care facility or professional is immune from civil or criminal liability for any harm alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing medical services, if:
    • The health care facility or professional acts pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule or other applicable law;
    • Its care is impacted by the facility’s or professional’s decisions or activities in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and in support of the state’s directives; and
    • The health care facility or professional acts in good faith.
  • This immunity does not apply if the harm was caused by a healthcare facility’s or professional’s willful or intentional criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm. Omissions or decisions resulting from a resource or staffing shortage does not fall within this exception.
  • A volunteer organization is immune from civil or criminal liability for any harm occurring in or at its facilities arising from the state’s response and activities under the COVID-19 emergency declaration and in accordance with any applicable COVID-19 emergency rule. This immunity does not apply if the harm resulted from the organization’s willful or intentional criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.
  • Takes effect on March 7, 2020 and applies to a harm that occurred on or after the date of the emergency declaration until the declaration expires.
North Carolina | S.B. 704

May 4, 2020

Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act

  • Provides immunity to health care facilities, health care providers, and entities that have legal responsibility for the acts or omissions of health care providers when they act in good faith and the arrangement or provision of health care services has been impacted by a decision or activity flowing from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • Does not apply to acts or omissions that constitute gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm. 
    • Acts, omissions, and decisions resulting from resource or staffing shortages do not fall within this exception.
  • Provides liability protections to volunteer organizations that have volunteered their facilities to support the state’s COVID-19 response.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.
  • Essential businesses are not subject to liability for harms to customers or employees who contract COVID-19. 
  • An emergency response entity is not subject to liability with respect to claims from a customer, user, or consumer for injuries or death resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or while doing business with the emergency response entity. 
    • These immunities do not apply to injuries or death caused by an act or omission of the essential business or emergency response entity constituting gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm. 
    • Employees of essential businesses or emergency response entities are not precluded from seeking workers’ compensation benefits for an injury or death alleged to be the result of contracting COVID-19 while employed by the essential businesses or emergency response entity.
  • Application
    • Healthcare and volunteer liability protections apply to acts or omissions after the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
    • The essential business emergency response protections apply to acts or omissions occurring from the issuance of the state’s COVID-19 essential business executive order until the COVID-19 emergency declaration ends.
Oklahoma

OK S.B. 300 – COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Limited Liability Act

Enacted 5/12/2020

  • A health care facility or provider is immune from civil liability for any loss to a person with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission during the COVID-19 public health emergency first declared on March 15, 2020.
  • Applies if the act or omission occurred in the course of arranging for or providing COVID-19 health care services for the treatment of the person who was impacted by the decisions, activities or staffing of, or the availability or capacity of space or equipment by, the health care facility or provider in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Does not apply to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
  • Does not apply to health care services provided to a person who did not have a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Effective immediately and applies to any civil action filed on or after the effective date.
  • Remains in effect until October 31, 2020 or until the Governor affirmatively concludes the public health emergency, whichever is later.

OK S.B. 1946

Enacted 5/21/2020

  • A person is not liable in an action claiming an injury from exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19 if the act or omission alleged to violate a duty of care complied or was consistent with federal or state regulations, a Presidential or Gubernatorial Executive Order, or guidance applicable at the time of the alleged exposure.
  • “Guidance” is defined as written guidelines related to COVID-19 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor, Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, or any other state agency, board or commission.
  • Takes effect immediately and applies to civil actions filed on or after the effective date.

OK S.B. 1947 – COVID-19 Product Protection Act

Sent to Governor 5/15/2020

  • A person that designs, manufacturers, labels, sells, distributes, or donates disinfecting and cleaning supplies or personal protective equipment during and in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency is not liable for injuries or damage caused by the product’s manufacturing or design, or a failure to provide proper instructions or sufficient warnings.
    • Applies only to those who do not make such products in the ordinary course of business.
  • A government entity, health care facility, health care provider, first responder, or any business, or the employer or agent of that business, that utilizes a product meeting the qualifications above is not liable for injuries resulting from the selection, distribution, or use of such product.
  • Does not apply if a person had actual knowledge that a product was defective when put to the use for which the product was manufactured, sold, distributed, or donated, and acted with deliberate indifference to or conscious disregard of a substantial and unnecessary risk that the product would cause serious injury to others, or acted with a deliberate intention to cause harm.
  • Applies to any claim arising on or after the emergency declaration of March 15, 2020.
Utah

UT S.B. 3002

Enacted 4/22/2020

  • This legislation provides several liability protections to health care providers who treat patients during a major public health emergency. The bill is not COVID-19 specific. The protections apply regardless of whether a health care provider is compensated or not.
  • General standard of care during emergency. A health care provider is immune from civil liability when:
    • health care is provided in good faith to treat a patient for the illness or condition that resulted in the declared major public health emergency; or
    • the act or omission was the direct result of providing health care to a patient for the illness or condition that resulted in the declared major public health emergency; and
    • the acts or omissions of the health care provider were not grossly negligent or intentional or malicious misconduct.
  • Acting outside scope of practice. During a major public health emergency is not a breach of the applicable duty of care for a health care provider to provide care that is not within the provider’s education, training, or experience when:
    • acting within the licensed scope of practice;
    • the care is provided in good faith to treat a patient for the illness or condition that resulted in the emergency; or
    • there is an urgent shortage of health care providers as a direct result of the emergency; and
    • the acts are not grossly negligent, or intentional or malicious misconduct.
  • Unapproved use of drug or device. A health care provider is not subject to civil or criminal liability, sanctions against the provider’s license if the provider uses a prescription drug or device to treat a patient diagnosed with the illness or condition that resulted in the emergency that has been approved for sale but not approved (indicated) for the illness or condition at issue. 
    • To qualify, the treatment must be within the scope of the provider’s license, the treatment must be provided in accordance with the most current written recommendations issued by a federal government agency, and the provider must describe the positive and negative outcomes of the treatment with the patient or patient’s representative and document consent.
    • If there are two or more written recommendations of an agency, a healthcare provider qualifies by satisfying the most current written recommendations of any one agency.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence, or intentional or malicious misconduct.
  • Use of investigational drug or device. A health care provider not subject to civil or criminal liability, or sanctions against the provider’s license for any harm resulting from the provider’s treatment of a patient with an investigational drug or device during a major public health emergency for a condition that resulted from that emergency.
    • A physician is not required to make such a treatment available or agree to administer an investigational drug or treat a patient with an investigational device.
    • Does not create a private right of action against a heath care provider for the above or against a manufacturer what refuses to provide a patient with an investigational drug or device.
  • Takes effect immediately upon enactment.

UT S.B. 3007

Enacted 5/4/2020

  • A person is immune from civil liability for damages or an injury result from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by the person, or during an activity managed by the person.
  • Does not apply to willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.
  • Does not modify application of Utah’s Workers’ Compensation Act, Occupational Disease Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, or Governmental Immunity Act.
  • Effective immediately.
Wisconsin | A.B. 1038 (2019 Wis. Act 185)

Enacted 4/15/2020

  • Health care professionals, health care providers, and their employees, agents, and contractors are immune from civil liability for death or injury to any individual if:
    • The act or omission occurred during the COVID-19 state of emergency or the 60 days following the termination of the state of emergency;
    • The acts or omissions relate to health care services provided or not provided in good faith, or are substantially consistent with:
      • Any direction, guidance, recommendation, or other statement made by a federal, state, or local official to address or in response to the COVID-19 emergency; or
      • Any guidance published by the department of health services, the federal department of health and human services, or any divisions or agencies of the federal department of health and human services relied upon in good faith. 
    • Does not apply to reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct. 
  • Any person that engaged in the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of “emergency medical supplies” is not liable for the death of or injury to an individual caused by the products donated or sold. This protection applies only if the products are donated or sold at cost. Charitable organizations that distribute emergency medical supplies free of charge are also covered by the liability protection.
    • Amends an existing law that immunizes persons that sell at cost or donate food or emergency household products to a charitable organization or governmental unit in response to a state of emergency unless the harm was caused by willful or wanton acts or omissions, Wis. Code § 895.51, to apply to “emergency medical supplies” related to COVID-19.
    • “Emergency medical supplies” is defined as “any medical equipment or supplies necessary to limit the spread of, or provide treatment for, a disease associated with the [COVID 19 public health emergency], including life support devices, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and any other items deemed necessary by the secretary of health services.
    • Does not apply to willful or wanton acts or omission, per existing law.
    • Applies only during the period of the public health emergency.
  • Presumes that when a first responder contracts COVID-19 during the public health emergency and 30 days after termination of the emergency that the injury is due to the person’s employment and compensable through a workers’ compensation claim. “First responder” includes an employee or volunteer for any employer that provides firefighting, law enforcement, or medical treatment of COVID-19, and who has regular, direct contact with, or is regularly in close proximity to, patients or other members of the public requiring emergency services.
Wyoming | S.F. 1002

Enacted 5/20/2020

  • A business entity that follows the instructions of a state, city, town or county health officer in responding to a public health emergency is immune from liability arising from complying with those instructions or acting in good faith.
    • Amends existing Wyoming law provides immunity during a public health emergency to any health care provider or other person, who in good faith follows the instructions of a state health officer from any liability arising from complying with those instructions.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
  • From January 1 to December 30, 2020, it is presumed that the risk of contracting illness or communicable disease was increased by the nature of the employment, allowing employees who contract COVID-19 to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Updated 5/28/2020

Gubernatorial Executive Orders

Alabama | Kay Ivey (R)

Date Issued: 5/8/2020

  • A business, health care provider, or other covered entity is not liable for injury, death, or property damage arising from any act or omission related to COVID-19 transmission or a covered COVID-19 response activity, unless a claimant shows by clear and convincing evidence that the injury was caused by wanton, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct.
    • Unless there is a “serious physical injury,” liability is limited to actual economic compensatory damages. Noneconomic and punitive damages are not available. Punitive damages are the only relief in a wrongful death action.
  • For a cause of action that accrued before the Proclamation and where a court finds the liability protections above do not apply, a covered entity is not liable for negligence, premises liability, or for any non-wanton, non-willful, or non-intentional civil cause of action relating to COVID-19 response activity unless the claiming proves by clear and convincing evidence that the business, health care provider, or other covered entity did not reasonably attempt to comply with the then applicable public health guidance.
    • Unless there is a “serious physical injury,” liability is limited to actual economic compensatory damages. Damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, or punitive damages are not available. Punitive damages are the only relief in a wrongful death action.
  • A “covered COVID-19 response” includes activities such as testing and investigating exposures, providing health care services in response to COVID-19 or that was negatively affected by COVID-19, manufacturing or precautionary equipment such as PPE in connection with COVID-19, or any design or manufacturing of testing materials under the direction of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • “Serious physical injury” is defined as “a death or an injury that requires either in-patient hospitalization of at least 48 hours, permanent impairment of a bodily function, or permanent damage to a body structure.”
  • If a court holds the standard of care (wanton, reckless, willful, or intentional misconduct) is invalid, then the standard is (1) failure to comply with or reasonably attempt to comply with applicable public health guidance, or (2) willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith.
Arizona | Doug Ducey (R)

Date Issued: 4/9/2020 | PDF

  • An Arizona-licensed healthcare professional, a registered and recruited volunteer health professional, or an EMT in the course of providing medical services in support of the state’s COVID-10 public-health emergency is presumed to have acted in good faith and is immune from civil liability.
  • A healthcare professional, EMT, healthcare institution, or any other entity operating a modular field treatment facility or other site in support of the state’s COVID-19 response, whether or not it is a licensed healthcare institution, designated by the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services for temporary use is immune from civil liability for triage decisions based on good faith reliance on mandatory or voluntary state-approved protocols.
  • Any entity operating a modular field treatment facility or other site is also immune from civil liability for acts or omissions undertaken in good faith by its agents, officers, employees, representatives, or volunteers while providing healthcare services in support of the state’s COVID-19 response.
  • This liability protection does not extend to gross negligence or reckless or willful misconduct, such as a healthcare professional or volunteer render medical services under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating drug.
  • Expires on June 30, 2020 unless extended.
Arkansas | Asa Hutchinson (R)

Date Issued: 4/13/2020

  • Provides immunity to physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses for injury or death sustained directly as a result of an act or omission by the medical professional in the course of providing services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response or the implementation of measures to control the causes of the COVID-19 epidemic. 
    • Takes this action by expanding the definition of “emergency responder” in the Arkansas Emergency Services Act of 1973, which are protected from liability when complying with or reasonably attempting to comply with that law except  in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith. Ark. Code  § 12-75-128.
  • Does not apply when:
    • The person acted outside the scope of his or her practice unless the person has been redeployed to the extent necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak; or 
    • The person acted with gross negligence, willful misconduct, or bad faith.
  • Runs for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency declared on March 11, 2020.
Connecticut | Ned Lamont (D)

Date Issued: 4/5/2020 | PDF

  • A health care professional or facility is immune from civil liability for an injury or death allegedly sustained allegedly sustained because of an act or omission undertaken in good faith while providing care in support of the state’s COVID-19.
    • Examples are acts of omissions undertaken because of a lack of resources attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic that renders the health care professional or facility unable to provide the level or manner of care that otherwise would have been required in absence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This liability protection does not apply to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, or constitute fraud, malice, gross negligence, willful misconduct, or a false claim.
  • Applies to acts or omissions occurred any time after the declaration of a public health emergency on March 10, 2020, including actions prior to issuance of the Order, and remains in effect for the duration of the emergency.
Delaware | John Carney (D)

Delaware Twelfth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency Due to a Public Health Threat

Date Issued: 4/23/2020

  • The Order designates as “qualified medical personnel” health care volunteers who have held an active license or certification in any state that is now inactive, expired, or lapsed, and who register with the Medical Reserve Corps and work in a hospital that activates a crisis standard of care for COVID-19 that has been granted written approval by the Public Health Authority.
  • This designation provides health care volunteers with immunity for any loss resulting from relief activities under 20 Del. C. § 3129.
  • Does not apply if the death, injury, or damage to property was intentional or caused by the willful or wanton disregard of the rights of others.
Georgia | Brian Kemp (R)

Date Issued: 4/14/2020

  • During the Public Health State of Emergency:
    • Employees, staff, and contractors of healthcare institutions and medical facilities are considered auxiliary emergency management workers.
    • Services provided by healthcare institutions and medical facilities are considered emergency management activities.
  • Ga. Code § 38-3-35 provides that: “[E]xcept in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith, . . . [no] auxiliary emergency management worker . . . engaged in any emergency management activity complying with or reasonably attempting to comply with Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter . . . [or orders, regulations enacted pursuant to this chapter] shall be liable for the death of or the injury to person or for damage to property as a result of any such activity.”
Hawaii | David Ige (D)

Date Issued: 4/16/2020 | PDF

  • Orders all health care facilities, professionals, and volunteers to render assistance in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 disaster recognized by Emergency Proclamations.
    • For health care facilities, rendering assistance includes cancelling or postponing elective surgeries and procedures as each facility determines to be appropriate under the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 emergency if elective surgeries or procedures are performed at the health care facility. In addition, for health care facilities, rendering assistance must include measures such as increasing the number of beds, preserving personal protective equipment, or taking necessary steps to prepare to treat patients with COVID-19. 
    • For health care professionals, rendering assistance means providing health care services at a health care facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, or working under the direction of HIEMA or HDOH pursuant to the Emergency Proclamations. 
    • For health care volunteers, rendering assistance means providing services, assistance, or support at a health care facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, or working under the direction of HIEMA or HDOH pursuant to the Emergency Proclamations.
  • During the Emergency Proclamations, health care facilities, professionals, and volunteers that in good faith comply completely with all state and federal orders regarding the disaster emergency are immune from civil liability for any death or injury to persons, or property damage alleged to have been caused by any act or omission that occurred in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Does not apply to willful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness.
  • Does not preempt or limit any applicable immunity from civil liability available to any health care facility, professional, or volunteer.
Illinois | J. B. Pritzker (D)

Date Issued: 4/1/2020 | PDF

  • During the COVID-19 emergency, health care facilities, professionals, and volunteers are immune from civil liability for any injury or death allegedly caused by any act or omission while that person or entity was engaged in the course of rendering assistance to the state by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • For health care facilities, rendering assistance includes:
    • Cancelling or postponing elective surgeries and procedures;
    • Measures such as increasing the number of beds, preserving personal protective equipment, or taking necessary steps to prepare to treat patients with COVID-19.
  • For health care professionals and volunteers, rendering assistance means working under the direction providing health care services at a health care facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, or working under the direction of IEMA or DPH in response to the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations.
  • This liability protection does not apply to the gross negligence or willful misconduct of a health care facility or professional, or to the willful misconduct of a health care volunteer.
  • Remains in effect for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations.
Iowa | Kim Reynolds (R)

Date Issued: 4/9/2020

Iowa Department of Health, PPE Shortage Order 

  • Following the governor’s declaration of a public health disaster emergency on March 17, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is authorized to control, restrict, and regulate the use, sale, dispensing, distribution, or transportation of PPE.
  • PPE includes protective clothing, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks, respirators, gowns, aprons, coveralls, or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness.
  • Orders all Iowa health care providers, hospitals, health care facilities, clinics, local public health agencies, medical and response organizations, and any other person or facility utilizing PPE in the care or treatment of a patient or resident to cooperate with the Department and local boards of health to assess and monitor the supply of PPE by:
    • Decreasing demand by taking actions such as minimizing patient contacts and banning nonessential medical services, and canceling elective procedures.
    • Implementing contingency capacity strategies, such as extended use of facemasks and respirators.
    • Implementing crisis capacity strategies, such as reusing facemasks and respirators.
  • Iowa Code § 135.147 provides immunity for persons, corporations, and other entities, and their employees and agents who provide medical care or assistance in good faith under the direction of the Department of Public Health during a public health disaster. 
    • This immunity does not apply reckless conduct.
  • A health care provider, hospital, health care facility, and any other person, corporation, or other legal entity or employee of all such entities acting in compliance with this Order, or other guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health or the CDC related to optimizing PPE supply, in good faith is acting at the request of and under the direction of the Department and qualifies for immunity.
Kansas | Laura Kelly (D)

Date Issued: 4/22/2020

  • Healthcare providers making clinical triage decisions and rendering assistance, testing, care, or advice in the care of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are immune from suit.
  • Does not apply to an adverse event or injury caused by the willful misconduct, gross negligence, recklessness, or bad faith. 
  • The order is “not intended to extend to medical treatment or procedures performed in the ordinary or customary course of practice.”
  • Applies beginning April 22, 2020, until the later of May 31, 2020, or the expiration of the statewide COVID-19 State of Disaster Emergency.
Maryland | Larry Hogan (R)

Maryland Declaration of State of Emergency and Existence of Catastrophic Health Emergency – COVID-19

Date Issued: 3/5/2020

  • Issuance of a catastrophic health emergency proclamation automatically triggers liability protection for health care providers.
  • Md. Code Ann. Pub. Safety § 14-3A-06 provides: “A health care provider is immune from civil or criminal liability if the health care provider acts in good faith and under a catastrophic health emergency proclamation.”
    • A “health care provider” includes:
      • a health care facility, including a hospital, a related institution, an ambulatory surgical facility, an inpatient rehabilitation facility, a home health agency, a hospice, any other health institution, service, or program that requires a certificate of need.
      • a health care practitioner includes any individual who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized under the Health Occupations Article to provide health care services.
      • an individual licensed or certified as an emergency medical services provider under Maryland law.
Michigan | Gretchen Whitmer (D)

Date Issued: 3/30/2020 | PDF

  • A licensed health care professional or designated health care facility that provides medical services in support the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is immune from civil claims.
  • This liability protection does not apply if the injury or death was caused by the health care professional’s or facility’s gross negligence. 
  • Remains in effect until the end of the declared emergency.
Mississippi | Tate Reeves (R)

Date Issued: 4/10/2020 | PDF

  • A healthcare professional or facility is immune from civil liability for an injury or death allegedly sustained because of acts or omissions while providing healthcare services.
  • This immunity includes, but is not limited to:
    • Screening, assessing, diagnosing, treating patients for COVID-19 or otherwise acting in support of the State’s COVID-19 response.
    • Acts or omissions stemming from a lack of resources attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic that renders the healthcare professional or facility unable to provide the level or manner of care that otherwise would have been required in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This liability protection does not apply to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, fraud, malice, reckless disregard, willful misconduct, or would otherwise constitute a false claim.
  • Expires on May 15, 2020, unless modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded.
Nevada | Steve Sisolak (D)

Date Issued: 4/1/2020

  • All providers of medical services related to COVID-19 are considered agents of the state for tort liability and immunity purposes.
  • Liability protection does not extend to willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith as provided in the state’s emergency management statute, Nev. Rev. Stat. § 414.110.
  • Effective April 1, 2020. Remains in effect until modified or terminated by a subsequent directive.
New Hampshire | Chris Sununu (R)

Date Issued: 3/13/2020

  • Generally orders all facilities providing residential care to elderly or infirm patients to prohibit visitor access to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
    • Contains exceptions, including for medically necessary personnel.
  • The state’s emergency powers law provides that no “private corporations . . . complying with or reasonably attempting to comply with . . . any order . . . adopted . . . pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision . . . shall be liable for the death of or injury to persons, or for damage to property, as a result of any such activity.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21-P:41(I).
  • As a result of the Executive Order and this existing statute, nursing homes are immune from liability for any injury or death at a nursing home caused by denying access to visitors who are not permitted entrance under the Order.
New Jersey | Phil Murphy (D)

Date Issued: 4/1/2020 | PDF

  • A licensed healthcare professional or individual granted a temporary license to practice in connection with the state’s COVID-19 response is immune from liability in the course of providing healthcare serves in good faith in support of the state’s COVID-19 response. This protection applies regardless of whether the individual’s acts were in the scope of his or her licensed practice.
  • A healthcare facility, modular field treatment facility, and any other site designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Health for temporary use to provide essential services in support of the state’s COVID-19 response, including hotels and student dormitories, are immune from civil liability for any damages allegedly sustained as a result of an act or omission undertaken in good faith in support of the state’s COVID-19 response by its agents, officers, employees, servants, representatives or volunteers.
  • These liability protections do not apply to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, actual fraud, gross negligence, or willful misconduct.
  • Applies to acts or omissions occurring at any time during the State of Emergency or Public Health Emergency, including those occurring prior to issuance of the Order.
New Mexico | Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D)

Date Issued: 4/2/2020 | PDF

Allows certain Canadian nurses to provide care during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic 

New York | Andrew Cuomo (D)

Date Issued: 3/23/2020 | PDF

  • Health care professionals are immune from civil claims for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an act or omission in the course of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Applies to physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses.
  • This liability protection does not apply if the injury or death was caused by the gross negligence of the medical professional.
  • Expires April 22, 2020.
Pennsylvania | Tom Wolf (D)

Date Issued: May 6, 2020

  • Designates licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized health care professionals who is engaged in providing COVID-19 care as “agents of the commonwealth” solely for purposes of immunity from civil liability related to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 disaster emergency response.
  • Covers practitioners providing care at any health care facility, nursing facility, personal care home, and assisted living facility, as well as at an alternate care site, community-based testing site, or non-congregate care facility used for the purpose of conducting emergency services activities or the provision of disaster services activities related to the Commonwealth’s COVID- 19 disaster emergency response.
    • Does not extend to health care “facilities or entities themselves.”
    • Does not extend to “health care professionals rendering non-COVID-19 medical and health treatment or services.”
  • Affirms immunity for any person, organization or authority allowing real estate or other premises used for emergency services without compensation for negligently causing death, injury, or loss or damage to the property of any person who is on the premises for the purpose of those emergency services.
  • Does not include acts or omissions that constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct.
  • Effective immediately and remains in effect for the duration of the disaster emergency.
Rhode Island | Gina Raimondo (D)

Executive Order No. 20-21

Date Issued: 4/10/2020

  • Extends immunity provided to “disaster response workers” under R.I. Gen. Laws § 30-15-15(a) to:
    • Health care facilities, health care professionals and other individuals and organizations assisting in responding to the virus and treating COVID-19 patients, whether delivering services in existing hospitals or surge hospitals, nursing facilities, or alternative nursing care sites.
      • Does not provide immunity for negligence that occurs in the course of providing patient care to patients without COVID-19 whose care has not been altered by the existence of the disaster emergency.
    • Landlord making the surge hospital locations and alternative nursing care sites available to the State, plus their employees, management companies, and contractors providing services to construct, operate or decommission the surge hospital locations.
    • Existing law does not limit liability for willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith.
  • Permits health care workers to provide services beyond or without a license as permitted by R.I. Gen. Laws 30-15-15(b).

Executive Order No. 20-33

Date Issued: 5/8/2020

  • Expands the definition of “disaster response workers” entitled to immunity under Executive Order No. 20-21 to include health care entities, health care professionals and health care workers providing community-based health care, long term care, congregate care, services at alternative hospitals and services in existing hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living residences, home health care, hospice, adult day care and PACE organizations.
  • Renews other provisions of Executive Order No. 20-21, including immunity for landlords that make alternative hospital sites available to the state.
  • Effective May 8, 2020 and remains in effect until June 7, 2020, unless renewed, modified or terminated by a subsequent Executive Order.
Tennessee | Bill Lee (R)

An Order Suspending Provisions of Certain Statutes
and Rules in Order to Facilitate the Treatment and Containment of COVID-19

Date Issued: 3/12/2020

  • Declaration of an emergency in response to a catastrophic or major disaster automatically triggers civil immunity for voluntary health care providers, including hospitals and community mental health care centers, that participate in the Emergency Management Assistance Compact or Southern Regional Emergency Management Assistance Compact in providing healthcare to victims of the disaster as long as the services are provided within the limits of the provider’s license, certification, or authorization. Tenn. Code Ann. § 58-2-107(l)(1).
  • If additional medical resources are required, the governor may extend this liability protection to certain other health care providers.
  • Does not apply to gross negligence or willful misconduct.
  • The liability protection does not extend for more than 30 days unless extended by the governor for an additional 30 days to ensure the provision of emergency services in response to the catastrophic or major disaster.
Vermont | Phil Scott (R)

Date Issued: 4/10/2020

  • Health care facilities, providers, and volunteers who provide COVID-19 emergency management services or response activities are immune from civil liability for any death, injury, or loss resulting from these services or activities.
    • For health care facilities and providers, an emergency management service or response activity, includes, but is not limited to:
      • Expedited postponement of non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures, in the safest but most expedient way possible, as ordered by Addendum 3 of the Executive Order, if elective surgeries and medical and surgical procedures are performed at the Health Care Facility or by the Health Care Provider;
      • Cancelling or denying elective surgeries or procedures or routine care to the extent determined necessary for the health, safety and welfare of a patient or as necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak;
      • Redeployment or cross training of staff not typically assigned to such duties, to the extent necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak;
      • Planning, or enacting, crisis standard-of-care measures, including, but not limited to, modifying numbers of beds, preserving PPE, and triaging access to services or equipment as necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak; and
      • Reduced record-keeping to the extent necessary for Health Care Providers to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • For health care volunteers, emergency management services or response activities also includes providing services, assistance, or support at a health care facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Does not apply to gross negligence or willful misconduct.
  • Initially effective April 10 through May 15, 2020. Extended to June 15, 2020 by Addendum 14 to Executive Order 01-20.
Virginia | Ralph Northam (D)

Executive Order No. 51

Date Issued: 3/12/2020

  • Issuance of a State of Emergency automatically triggers liability protections related to abandonment for health care providers and credentialing for hospitals under Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-225.01(A).
    • A health care provider who responds to a disaster by delivering health care to persons injured in such disaster is immune from civil liability for any injury or wrongful death arising from abandonment by the health care provider of a person to whom such health care provider owes a duty to provide health care when (i) a state or local emergency has been or is subsequently declared; and (ii) the provider was unable to provide the requisite health care to the person to whom he owed such duty of care as a result of the provider’s voluntary or mandatory response to the relevant disaster.”
    • A hospital or other entity credentialing health care providers to deliver health care in response to a disaster is immune from civil liability for any cause of action arising out of such credentialing or granting of practice privileges if (i) a state or local emergency has been or is subsequently declared and (ii) the hospital has followed procedures for such credentialing and granting of practice privileges that are consistent with the applicable standards of an approved national accrediting organization for granting emergency practice privileges.
    • Does not apply to gross negligence or willful misconduct.
    • Health care provider is defined broadly under Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-581.1.

Executive Order No. 60

Date Issued: 4/28/2020

  • Clarifies application of existing Virginia law that provides liability protection to healthcare providers when responding to a disaster to COVID-19.
  • The liability protection applies to conduct including:
    • Temporary withholding of the provision of procedures, consultations or surgeries performed in an inpatient or outpatient surgical hospital, free-standing emergency department or endoscopy center, physicians’ office, or dental, orthodontic, oral surgeon, or endodontic offices that require PPE, the delay of which was not anticipated to cause harm to the patient by negatively affecting the patient’s health outcomes, or leading to disability or death. 
  • The liability protection also extends to emergency and subsequent conditions caused a lack of resources, attributable to the disaster, rendering the health care provider unable to provide the level or manner of care that otherwise would have been required in the absence of the emergency” including claims arising from:
    • Insufficient availability of PPE, ventilators, or other drugs, blood products, supplies or equipment;
    • Insufficient availability of trained staff; 
    • Having licensed healthcare professionals deliver care that, while included in the scope of their licensure, exceeds the scope of their credentials at the hospital or other health care facility at which they deliver services or exceeds the scope of the services that they normally provide;
    • Implementation or execution of triage protocols or scarce resource allocation policies necessitated by healthcare provider declaration of crisis standards of care; and 
    • Using supplies or equipment in innovative ways that are different from the way that these supplies and equipment are normally used.
  • Does not include injuries resulting from gross negligence or willful misconduct.
  • Remains in effect until the expiration of the State of Emergency.

Updated 5/28/2020

State Legislative Session Schedules Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

StateNotes
AlabamaSession to reconvene May 4th
AlaskaMet on May 18th and then adjourned
ArizonaHouse adjourned May 21st and Senate adjourned May 26th
ArkansasCorona special session adjourned March 28th
CaliforniaSession suspended until May 4th
ColoradoSession to resume May 26th
ConnecticutSession will not reconvene before May 6th adjournment
DelawareHouse to resume May 26th and Senate on May 27th to vote on resolution to allow virtual meetings
FloridaAdjourned 3/19; may hold special session to address coronavirus
GeorgiaSession could potentially resume June 11th
HawaiiSession immediately recessed on March 16th – expected to last 8 weeks
IdahoSession ended per regular schedule
IllinoisSpecial session convenes May 20th – 22nd
IndianaSession ended per regular schedule
IowaSession to resume June 3rd
KansasSpecial session to begin June 3rd
KentuckySession reconvened April 14th
LouisianaSpecial session to begin June 1st
MaineAdjourned early on March 17th (original adjournment date was April 15th)
MarylandGeneral Assembly adjourned early on March 18th
Massachusetts
Michigan
MinnesotaSession resumed April 7th
MississippiSession to resume May 18th
MissouriSession likely to resume April 27th
MontanaNo regular session for 2020
NebraskaSession to resume July 20th – August 13th
NevadaNo regular session for 2020
New HampshireSession to reconvene June 11th
New JerseyAccess to State Capitol Complex restricted; session continues
New MexicoSpecial session to begin June 18th to address budget shortfall and coronavirus relief package
New YorkSession reconvened May 26th
North Carolina
North DakotaNo regular session for 2020
OhioHouse session scheduled to resume April 28th; Senate scheduled to meet April 22nd and will meet again (if necessary) on April 29th and May 6th
OklahomaApril 6th special session on corona
OregonSession ended per regular schedule
PennsylvaniaHouse and Senate to vote remotely
Rhode IslandNo session week of April 6
South CarolinaSession to resume September 15th
South DakotaRegular session ended March 12th
TennesseeAdjourned until June 1st
TexasNo regular session in 2020.
UtahSecond special session starts on April 24th
VermontSession adjourned until March 24th
VirginiaVeto session started on April 22nd
WashingtonSession adjourned March 12th as previously scheduled
West VirginiaSession adjourned as previously scheduled
Wisconsin
WyomingLegislature adjourned as previously scheduled.

Updated 5/28/2020