Civil immunity related to COVID-19

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 1 on civil immunity related to COVID-19 authored by Sen. Messmer and Koch.  The bill provides civil tort immunity for damages arising from COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by a person, on any premises on which the person or an employee or agent of the person provided property or services to the individual, or during an activity managed, organized, or sponsored by the person.  The bill specifies that the immunities do not affect the duty of care owed by a nursing home to a patient.  The bill defines “COVID-19 protective product” and provides civil immunity for harm that results from the design, manufacture, labeling, sale, distribution, or donation of a COVID-19 protective product, except for an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct (including fraud and intentionally tortious acts). The bill also limits certain immunities to tort actions, prohibits class action suits, and exempts fraud and intentionally tortious acts from specified immunities.

The Committee adopted amendment #9 to remove the reference to the standard of care owed by a nursing facility or nursing home.  The following testified in support of the amended bill:  Indiana School Board Association, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Healthcare Association, Indiana Manufacturing Association, Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, and National Federation of Independent Business.  The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and AARP offered neutral testimony.  The amended bill passed 9-4.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/senate/1