Client Alert: Governor DeWine Signs COVID Immunity Bill | Brouse McDowell | Ohio Law Firm

Client Alert: Governor DeWine Signs COVID Immunity Bill

By Elizabeth G. Yeargin on September 15, 2020

On Monday, September 14, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill (Ohio House Bill 606) providing immunity to individuals, schools, and businesses from lawsuits arising due to COVID-19. The bill limits legal exposure to Ohio businesses. Absent a showing of reckless, intentional, or willful or wanton misconduct, such Ohio businesses would not be liable to customers, employees, or others for actions or omissions resulting in the exposure to, or transmission or contraction of, COVID-19. The bill is applicable to all Ohio entities, including schools, nonprofit and for-profit entities of any size, governmental entities, churches, colleges, and universities.

Conditional on a few specific exceptions, the law also protects health care providers from liability in tort actions arising from the “provision, withholding, or withdrawal” of health care services resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the foregoing safeguards, the bill bars class actions lawsuits based in whole or in part on allegations that a health care provider, business, government entity, or person caused “exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of” COVID-19.

The immunity is temporary and is set to last from March 9, 2020, the date of the emergency declaration, through September 30, 2021. The legislation will become law after 90 days.

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