Arizona House to Push Covid-19 Business Liability Bill

Article originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal on May 19, 2020

The Arizona House of Representatives returned to work Monday with an eye toward passing a bill to protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

The bill was one of several the House planned to take up as leaders looked to finish out a session interrupted by Arizona’s Covid-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, according to Capitol Media Services and the Arizona Capitol Times.

A bill introduced Monday would allow individuals to sue companies regarding Covid-19 issues, but it would require plaintiffs prove there was gross negligence on the part of the business. That higher bar includes proving what the business did was in reckless disregard of an expected outcome.

House Republic leaders acknowledged it may make it more difficult for employees and customers to sue businesses, but said their motivation was to open the economy by giving businesses more assurances on how they could operate.

Opponents of the the bill say it will weaken worker and consumer protections and leave businesses unaccountable.

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