Gov. Parson emphasizes need for action on COVID-19 lawsuits
Gov. Parson again emphasized the need for a special legislative session to limit COVID-19 lawsuits during a legal reform bill signing event on July 1.
He pointed out that workers across many industries are at risk for opportunistic lawsuits.
“Whether it’s a convenience store, truck drivers, grocery store clerks — we’ve got to make sure to protect them too, that we don’t open them up to lawsuits for simply just trying to do their job and save people’s lives,” Parson said.
While Parson has not yet called a special session, he has spoken several times about the possibility during his regularly scheduled press briefings.
“That’s got to be something that’s on the table. We’re seeing other states do it,” Parson said at a June 9 briefing. “I’m not interested in a bunch of people taking advantage of good, hardworking people that are trying to do a job.”
COVID-19 lawsuits are a growing threat in Missouri. Business leaders are concerned they could be targeted in lawsuits that allege someone contracted the virus on their premises. As the law stands today, such cases can move forward in Missouri regardless of whether businesses are taking proper precautions against virus transmission.
“We are not asking lawmakers to protect businesses that ignore government orders and defy public health recommendations,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “But companies that are taking the necessary precautions should not be subject to crippling COVID-19 litigation.”
Led by the Missouri Chamber, more than 700 businesses, organizations and individuals have signed a letter asking Parson to call a special session and address this problem.
Meanwhile, many states are acting to limit COVID-19 lawsuits. All but one of Missouri’s neighboring states have already enacted some form of COVID-19 liability protections.