U.S. consumer groups urge lawmakers against shielding businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

U.S. consumer advocates are urging Congress to resist growing demands by companies for protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits as states start to ease pandemic restrictions and businesses begin to reopen.Led by Public Citizen and the Center for Justice and Democracy, the groups said in a letter sent on Wednesday to U.S. House and Senate leaders that “legal liability is one of the most powerful incentives we have to ensure that businesses operate safely.

“Any recovery requires the public to have confidence that businesses are operating as safely as possible,” said the letter, signed by more than 100 groups. “Establishing legal immunity for businesses that operate unsafely would do the opposite of instilling public confidence.”

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump ordered meat-processing plants to stay open to protect the food supply. The move was designed in part to give liability protection to the operators of the plants, which have been hit by outbreaks of COVID-19.

The letter, signed by large unions such as the AFL-CIO and Teamsters, highlights the sharpened focus on legal liability as Congress and the Trump administration weigh a fourth stimulus bill to support an economic recovery from the pandemic.

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