News of Interest
Search

Updated: Apr 7

There are more developments with Immunity from Covid-19 than just the latest vaccines. Florida law now provides legal immunity to healthcare providers, business and others.

Recently the Florida Legislature passed bills to provide legal protections to businesses giving them immunity from liability for claims associated with Covid-19 unless gross negligence can be shown. On March 29, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 72 into law which provides that in order to bring a claim for liability arising out of Covid-19, the claimant must present sworn testimony from a physician in the form of an affidavit attesting that the damages complained of was caused by the business. Click on the link to view the law entitled CS/SB 72: Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19.

Below is a brief summary of the legislation provided courtesy of the Florida Justice Association’s electronic newsletter:

  • It applies to any civil action not commenced before the effective date of the bill, which is March 29, 2021.

  • A COVID-19 related claim is any claim for civil liability arising from COVID-19. This includes claims against businesses, and medical malpractice and nursing homes claims. Given the very broad definition there are also concerns that this legislation could be argued to apply to business interruption claims by business owners against their insurance company, claims related to elective medical procedures and injuries that the defense alleges are caused by staffing and supply shortages.

  • Creates Additional Procedures Applicable to “COVID-19-related Claims” in addition to the procedures in Ch. 400, 429, 766, and 768, and supersedes any conflicts in those chapters.

  • The new procedures include a “physician affidavit” to determine causation at the time a non-health care claim is "led, and then provides complete immunity for non-health care claims upon a showing of that the defendant made a good faith effort to substantially comply with any authoritative or controlling government issued health standards or guidance.

  • Statute of Limitations is reduced to 1 year from the effective date of the legislation and applies to all future COVID-19-related claims.

  • Requires a plaintiff in a COVID-19 non-health care claim to prove gross negligence by clear and convincing evidence.

  • Requires a plaintiff in COVID-19 claims against healthcare providers and nursing homes to prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct and outlines affirmative defenses that if proven would immunize defendants.

More detail addressing this law can be found on their website under FLORIDA JUSTICE ASSN LEGISLATIVE UPDATES