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Tue May 5, 2020, 02:28 AM

Wrongful death lawsuits?

Are there any lawyers here? I am honestly confused why the owners of almost all businesses are not scared sh*tless over the prospect of wrongful death claims against them if they reopen before the virus is under control.

It looks like reopening too soon will cost an enormous number of lives. Do business owners now have the right to kill their staff and customers to make a profit? Or does the virus count as some kind of "act of god" that gives everyone immunity from being incredibly stupid and reckless with other people's lives?

In a just world, the politicians would be held culpable as well, but I can imagine how they'd have some protection from the consequences of their stupidity. But business owners? I don't get it.

All I can think of is that it's not been a focus of the news, and those few that do consider it assume that the almighty GOP will hold them blameless.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Tue May 5, 2020, 03:44 AM

1. Mitch has that covered

Mitch McConnell's new coronavirus plan: Make sure you can't sue a company that gets you sick

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/mitch-mcconnell-s-new-coronavirus-plan-make-sure-you-can-ncna1194226

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Response to OhioChick (Reply #1)

Tue May 5, 2020, 05:23 AM

2. I saw that too.

Chuck Schumer was on Rachel Maddow and filled her/us in on Mitch's latest evil legislation.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #2)

Tue May 5, 2020, 05:38 AM

3. I hope they can vote him out n/t

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Response to OhioChick (Reply #1)

Tue May 5, 2020, 01:20 PM

11. So they literally want to kill us!

Got it, thanks. And here I thought that all the Magats refusing to wear masks would eventually increase the average IQ of the country. So now there's a war on the working class. "Front lines" indeed.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Tue May 5, 2020, 05:40 AM

4. Legal Eagle has covered some of this:



At least in terms of whether politicians or the news media could be held liable for spreading misinformation about miracle cures.

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #4)

Tue May 5, 2020, 01:33 PM

12. Interesting thanks!

Thanks! It doesn't mention lawsuits against business owners, but it's useful info.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Tue May 5, 2020, 06:02 AM

5. Laws protecting businesses from coronavirus lawsuits will be created mostly on the state level.

For example, right now the organization representing the nursing home industry is actively lobbying governors and state legislatures across the country to create legislation protecting their clients from CV lawsuits.

https://time.com/5831388/nursing-homes-coronavirus-lawsuit-protection/

Expect to see many of these lobbying efforts on the state level seeking protection for a variety of specific industries, like restaurants, hotels and any other businesses likely to face lawsuits if/when they reopen.

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Response to sop (Reply #5)

Tue May 5, 2020, 06:05 AM

6. I wonder if businesses will be allowed to sue states for damages

Employees suing employers, businesses suing governments; the real winners will be the lawyers

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Response to Amishman (Reply #6)

Tue May 5, 2020, 06:19 AM

7. That's prevented under sovereign immunity.

The federal government as well as state and tribal governments generally enjoy sovereign immunity, also known as governmental immunity, from lawsuits. Local governments in most jurisdictions also enjoy immunity from some forms of suits.

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Response to sop (Reply #7)

Tue May 5, 2020, 09:29 AM

9. that mainly applies to suing in federal court (11th amendment)

I would imagine this would be at the state level. There are restrictions there as well, but those I'm finding do not appear to apply.

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Response to Amishman (Reply #9)

Tue May 5, 2020, 09:53 AM

10. From the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) regarding the state's immunity:

"Under the doctrine of 'state sovereign immunity,' a state cannot be sued in federal and state court without its consent. Many academics and judges struggle to make sense of modern U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence on sovereign immunity. While the Eleventh Amendment limits immunity to two specific situations in federal court, the Supreme Court held that immunity derives not from the Amendment, but 'from the structure of the original Constitution itself.' Thus, the Court not only has expanded federal court immunity from suit well beyond the Eleventh Amendmentís explicit directives, but also has enshrined state sovereign immunity in state courts.

As a result, in its own court, a state can invoke immunity even when sued under an otherwise valid federal law and has full authority to define the scope of their immunity from suits based on its own law. This has prompted the creation of a variety of sovereign immunity regimes among the states."

https://www.naag.org/publications/nagtri-journal/volume-2-issue-4/state-sovereign-immunity.php

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Response to sop (Reply #7)

Tue May 5, 2020, 01:44 PM

14. I dream of a world without sovereign immunity.

Just imagine if politicians could be sued for gross negligence and could be held responsible for their official acts. Perhaps we'd get people running for office that knew what they were doing! Wouldn't it be nice if we had reason to trust our officials? There's got to be a middle ground of giving enough immunity to let people do their jobs, and holding them responsible for completely screwing it up.

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Response to sop (Reply #5)

Tue May 5, 2020, 01:38 PM

13. "Most make exceptions for gross negligence and willful misconduct."

Thanks for the link! I have no problems giving protection to businesses that are doing their best, but they need to be held liable for behavior that would normally be considered gross negligence. E.g. reopening a business without reasonable protection before the virus is under control.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Reply #13)

Tue May 5, 2020, 03:26 PM

15. That's called Qualified Immunity

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields government officials from being sued for "discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violate clearly established federal law or constitutional rights." Qualified immunity only protects officials who "make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions," but does not protect "the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law."

Qualified immunity may also be applied to private businesses, specifically not shielding them from liability if their actions are grossly negligent or violate the law in some way. It will be interesting to see how the various pieces of legislation being considered now to immunize certain industries from coronavirus liability are written by Congress and state legislatures.

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Response to CloudWatcher (Original post)

Tue May 5, 2020, 06:53 AM

8. they are hard at work cutting out the trial lawyers.

one of the few industry lobbies that is mostly dems.
period.

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