Underscoring the need for urgent action, more than 500 Missouri businesses, organizations and individuals have signed a letter asking Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session and address the growing problem of opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits. Collectively, the co-signers represent Missouri’s diverse economy including small and medium sized businesses, local chambers of commerce, statewide associations and major employers. See all the co-signers.
This broad support for a special session shows that there is widespread concern in Missouri over the fact that employers can be sued over potential COVID-19 transmission. Today, these lawsuits can move forward in Missouri regardless of whether businesses are taking proper precautions against virus transmission. The potential for these lawsuits is a rising concern for businesses that are seeking to follow public health recommendations, safely reopen their doors and return Missourians to work.
“Missouri employers are desperate to reopen and get our economy back on track. But right now, there are serious concerns that businesses may simply be opening themselves up to COVID-19 lawsuits regardless of the precautions they take to keep employees and customers safe. This is not an isolated problem. We are seeing businesses in every industry, large and small, stand up and say that the threat of COVID-19 lawsuits is a real barrier to their recovery. Missouri needs a solution that provides a safe harbor for all businesses during this time,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “I want to make it clear that we are not asking lawmakers to protect businesses that ignore government orders and defy public health recommendations. But companies that are taking the necessary precautions should not be subject to crippling COVID-19 litigation. There is strong support for calling a special session on this topic and we urge Gov. Parson bring legislators back to Jefferson City so they can take action.”