Arizona businesses shielded from many COVID-19 lawsuits under new law

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By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday signed a law that protects businesses and other entities from “frivolous” lawsuits related to COVID-19, which he said was needed to protect healthcare providers and other businesses working to stem the pandemic.

Senate Bill 1377 was sponsored by Sen. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrooke, and increases civil liability standards during pandemic emergencies. It applies to health care workers, businesses, schools, governments, nonprofits, churches and property owners.

The law states that a person or business “that acts in good faith to protect a customer, student, tenant, volunteer, patient, guest or neighbor or the public” is not liable for damages based on claims they failed to protect the plaintiff “unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant’s actions showed “willful misconduct or gross negligence.”

The new law presumes that a person or company “acted in good faith” if the person or company relied on and attempted to comply with public health guidance from a state or federal agency.

The new liability standard does not affect claims for workers’ compensation.

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