Lessening Liability Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Supported by ATRA
-UPDATE- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020. MEDIA STATEMENT Last night, the U.S. House […]
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020.
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes liability protection for manufacturers of some respiratory masks.
Last Thursday, 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.
ATRA is encouraged to see federal agencies and Congress recognize the importance of allowing manufacturers to develop lifesaving devices without fear of retaliation by trial lawyers who look to capitalize on national emergencies, as so often is the case. While we are disappointed the House version of this bill includes liability protection only for disposable masks, we urge the Senate to consider an amendment that provides liability protection for all types of respirator masks certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Lessening liability both on healthcare workers and companies manufacturing lifesaving devices are commonsense measures as the country bands together to find the best solutions to move forward. 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. Similarly for manufacturers, protection from lawsuits allows 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. However, in the unlikely case that a manufacturer practices gross negligence, such companies will be held accountable under the current provisions.