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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 18, 2021 05:22 PM
From: Representative Torren C. Ecker
To: All House members
Subject: COVID Liability Reform
I plan to introduce legislation that will help provide for the expedited and efficient resolution of lawsuits arising out of exposure to COVID-19.
Our county courts already operate compulsory arbitration programs for lawsuits alleging less than $50,000 in damages.  These arbitrations are meant to provide less formal, more efficient means to resolve smaller cases – thus providing quicker recoveries for injured plaintiffs and lower defense costs for defendants.  I propose requiring that cases alleging personal injury damages as a result of exposure to COVID-19  should be subject to a similar mandatory arbitration program, but on an expedited basis, for those cases where the defendants complied with then-current public health directives during the COVID-19 crisis.  These claims will be first submitted to and heard by a board of three members of the bar of the court.  Any claims subject to his rule shall receive an expedited schedule and will also have the right to appeal for trial de novo in the court.
The purpose of this legislation is to deter frivolous lawsuits that cannot be proven with legitimate evidence at trial but will still cause significant financial strain to the defendant.  Expedited arbitration of the claims will achieve a quicker, more efficient outcome for both sides to the lawsuit. 
I look forward to working with you on this proposal, which is part of the Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback legislative package.  I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as HB605