Lawsuits on Covid Vaccine Mandates Next Liability Threat

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Recent webinar analyzed covid litigation trends and more

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) recently hosted a webinar analyzing COVID-19 litigation trends, employer vaccine mandates, and the surge in legislative activity.

“One of the biggest fights on the horizon is over vaccination mandates and demands for exemptions,” ATRA President Tiger Joyce said.

Businesses and other organizations were concerned with potential lawsuits related to COVID-19 early in the pandemic – lawsuits concerning exposure to the virus on their premises, related to efficiency of products, and much more. However, ATRF says, even as COVID-19 diagnoses fall, the threat of liability is far from over.

Legislators in some states have introduced bills creating new private actions against employers that require their employees to be vaccinated.

“If these bills are enacted, employers will be subject to statutory, compensatory, and punitive damages, in addition to paying attorneys’ fees even if they follow federal law or believe vaccinations are needed to protect the safety of their workers and others,” Joyce said. “This type of sued-if-you-do, sued-if-you-don’t legislation puts employers in an untenable position.”

In its just-released annual report, Judicial Hellholes®, the American Tort Reform Foundation included a “Closer Looks” special section on covid litigation, legislation, and what’s still to come.

The report states that as more employees return to their workplaces, lawsuits will emerge from disputes over vaccination mandates and demands for exceptions, work-from-home requests, safety concerns, and mask and other policies.

The webinar was co-hosted with Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. and included ATRA President Tiger Joyce, ATRA Director of Legislation Matt Fullenbaum, SHB Partner Cary Silverman, SHB Partner Carrie McAtee, SHB Practice Managing Partner Kristen Page, and SHB Co-Chair, General Liability Litigation Practice Paul Williams.

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