Coalition Letter on Liability Relief Legislation In Response to the Pandemic

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 9:30am

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

            The undersigned organizations urge you to quickly enact temporary and targeted liability relief legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These crucial protections should safeguard businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, as well as healthcare providers and facilities from unfair lawsuits so that they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective recovery from this pandemic.

            Right now, countless healthcare workers and facilities, as well as businesses and non-profit organizations of all types and sizes, are working around the clock to get our nation through this pandemic. From front-line medical professionals treating the afflicted and pharmaceutical companies racing to develop treatments and cures, to distillers producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers and manufacturers transforming their operations to construct vital personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, to those providing a stable food supply, American businesses have rallied to help our country endure and emerge from this crisis. Many businesses also have had to shut their doors and absorb enormous losses for the sake of public health and are now looking for a path to reopen.

            However, as those workers and businesses keep our communities safe and provide for the American people, our members and constituencies are concerned that, despite doing their best to follow applicable guidelines, they will be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits. The prospect of such litigation and associated exorbitant legal costs are a deterrent to reopening. Further, this litigation could devastate those entities that are just beginning to reopen their doors or have kept them open throughout the crisis. Indeed, past surveys have shown that many small businesses are one lawsuit away from closing for good.

            Absent a targeted safe harbor for those that work to follow applicable guidelines, the fear and uncertainty from boundless liability threatens to impede our country’s social and economic recovery. In the wake of prior crises, Congress came together to pass timely and targeted liability protections with strong bipartisan support because lawmakers understood the acute economic threat of lawsuits at moments of maximum economic vulnerability. And while Congress has acted to provide some limited COVID-19-related liability protections for volunteer healthcare providers and some manufacturers of PPE in the CARES Act, much more must be done.

            We ask that you quickly enact temporary liability protections for: (1) businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions that work to follow applicable public health guidelines against COVID-19 exposure claims; (2) healthcare workers and facilities providing critical COVID-19-related care and services; (3) manufacturers, donors, distributors, and users of vaccines, therapeutics, medical devices, as well as PPE and other supplies (such as hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies) that are critical to the COVID-19 response; and (4) public companies targeted by unfair and opportunistic COVID-19-related securities lawsuits. In addition to being temporary, we believe that these liability protections should be limited in scope and preserve recourse for those harmed by truly bad actors who engage in egregious misconduct.

            The need for liability protections and relief is clear. Several governors and state legislatures have already implemented COVID-19-related liability protections for key sectors in their states, but a uniform national response is necessary. Now is the time for Congress to take strong action to stop a growing wave of lawsuits from getting in the way of what we all want and need: healthy citizens and a strong economy.

                                                                        Sincerely,

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

ABC Central California Chapter

ABC Southern California Chapter

Aeronautical Repair Station Association

Aerospace Industries Association

Airlines for America

Airports Council International - North America

Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Association

Alaska Hotel & Lodging Association

Alliance for Automotive Innovation

America’s Health Insurance Plans

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing

American Bankers Association

American Beverage Licensees (ABL)

American Business Conference

American Car Rental Association

American Chemistry Council

American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF)

American Council of Engineering Companies

American Council of Life Insurers

American Dental Association

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Forest and Paper Association

American Foundry Society

American Gaming Association

American Gas Association

American Health Care Association (AHCA) & National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL)

American Hotel & Lodging Association

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

American International Automobile Dealers Association

American Medical Association

American Mold Builders Association

American Property Casualty Insurance Association

American Rental Association

American Resort Development Association (ARDA)

American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)

American Staffing Association

American Supply Association (ASA)

American Tort Reform Association

American Trucking Associations

American Veterinary Medical Association

AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

Argentum

Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association

Arkansas Hospitality Association

Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)

Associated Builders & Contractors – South Texas Chapter

Associated Builders & Contractors Greater Tennessee

Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated Builders and Contractors New Mexico

Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego

Associated Builders and Contractors of Western PA

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

Associated Equipment Distributors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM)

Association of American Publishers

Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry

Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA)

Auto Care Association

Bank Policy Institute

Biocom – Life Science Association of California

Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Business Roundtable

California Hotel & Lodging Association

CCIM Institute

Chamber of Shipping of America

Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association

Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN)

Community Associations Institute

Connecticut Lodging Association

Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT)

Consumer Bankers Association

Consumer Technology Association

Convenience Distribution Association (CDA)

Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers

Credit Union National Association

CTIA – The Wireless Association

Delaware Hotel & Lodging Association

Direct Selling Association

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Edison Electric Institute

Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance

Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA)

Equipment Marketing & Distribution Association (EMDA)

Federation of American Hospitals

Financial Executives International

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association

FMI – The Food Industry Association

Forum for Community Leaders

Gases and Welding Distributors Association

Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association

Global Business Travel Association

Global Cold Chain Alliance

GPA Midstream Association

Graphic Media Alliance

HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ)

Healthcare Leadership Council

Hospitality Maine

Hospitality Minnesota

Hotel Association of New York City

Hotel Association of Washington DC

Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association

Independent Bakers Association

Independent Electrical Contractors

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America

Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Alliance

Independent Petroleum Association of America

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association

Institute of Real Estate Management

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD)

International Council of Shopping Centers

International Foodservice Distributors Association

International Franchise Association

International Sign Association

International Warehouse Logistics Association

International Wood Products Association

ISSA › The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association

Job Creators Network

Lawyers for Civil Justice

LeadingAge 

Leading Builders of America

Manufactured Housing Institute

Manufacturer & Business Association

Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association

Massachusetts Lodging Association

Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA)

Metals Service Center Institute

Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association

Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association

Motion Picture Association

Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association

National Air Carrier Association

National Apartment Association

National Association of Broadcasters

National Association of Chain Drug Stores

National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)

National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED)

National Association of Fastener Distributors

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

National Association of REALTORS®

National Association of Security Companies (NASCO)

National Association of Theatre Owners

National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

National Automobile Dealers Association

National Business Aviation Association

National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)

National Cotton Council

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Demolition Association

National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

National Grocers Association

National Limousine Association

National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association

National Marine Distributors Association

National Mining Association

National Multifamily Housing Council

National Ocean Industries Association

National Office Products Alliance

National Propane Gas Association

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Roofing Contractors Association

National RV Dealers Association

National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

National Small Business Association

National Tooling and Machining Association

National Waste & Recycling Association

NCTA – The Internet & Television Association

Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

Nebraska Hotel & Lodging Association

Nevada Hotel & Lodging Association

Nevada Resort Association 

New Jersey Hotel & Lodging Association

New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association

NFIB

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)

North American Die Casting Association

North American Meat Institute

North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association

Office Furniture Dealers Alliance

Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association

Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association

Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association

Pacific-West Fastener Association

Paperboard Packaging Council

Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform

Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association

Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA)

Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA)

Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI)

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association

Portland Cement Association

Precision Machined Products Association

Precision Metalforming Association

PRINTING United Alliance

Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA)

Professional Beauty Association (PBA)

Reinsurance Association of America (RAA)

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Rhode Island Hospitality Association

S Corporation Association

Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART)

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)

Security Hardware Distributors Association

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Society for Human Resource Management

Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS)

Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®

South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)

St. Louis Area Hotel Association

Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI)

TechNet

Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association

Texas Civil Justice League

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)

The American Waterways Operators

The Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution

The Hardwood Federation

The Real Estate Roundtable

The Transportation Alliance

The Travel Technology Association

Truck Renting and Leasing Association

U.S. Travel Association

USTelecom Association

Utah Tourism Industry Association

Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association

Washington Hospitality Association

Washington Liability Reform Coalition

West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association

Western Equipment Dealers Association

Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association

Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA)

Wine Institute

Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association