W.Va. delegate wants to protect churches, schools and businesses from COVID-related lawsuits

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 12:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A West Virginia delegate wants legislation protecting essential institutions and organizations from potential COVID-related lawsuits to be considered in a special legislative session

Delegate Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam, said Thursday he would like legislation designed to protect teachers, school systems, churches and businesses from the frivolous lawsuits.

“As we push to reopen schools, churches and businesses, we need to protect people who are acting in good faith and following all guidelines from being sued should someone who has used their facilities contract COVID-19,” Delegate Higginbotham said.

Delegate Higginbotham says he has been working with House and Senate leadership and fellow lawmakers to work on a potential bill that would provide safe harbor legal protections for organizations and businesses which would shield these groups from potential legal claims.

“We know that while we have guidelines to help reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, these guidelines cannot completely prevent the transmission of this virus,” Delegate Higginbotham said. “What this bill would do is protect those groups that are doing their best to follow the latest health guidelines from a lawsuit should someone try to sue them for contracting COVID-19.”

Delegate Higginbotham said the bill would not protect businesses or organizations that recklessly disregard guidelines or act in an intentional manner that could result in coronavirus exposure.

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