The Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, applauded the signing today of a bill that protects businesses and others from predatory lawsuits over outbreaks of COVID-19.
The new law creates a civil liability exemption for individuals as well as entities like businesses and schools that are acting carefully to protect others. The exemption, part of a bill Gov. Tony Evers signed to improve the state’s unemployment insurance system, had bipartisan support.
The lawmakers taking the lead on the liability issue as early as last year were Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, and Reps. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Dan Knodl, R-Germantown.
DBA President Amy Penterman said the pandemic has created a host of challenges for businesses, which are balancing health precautions and financial survival.
“The priority for our dairy farmers and other members is always to keep employees safe as they do the essential work of producing food. But we know that sometimes things can be beyond our control. Lawsuits seeking to exploit the situation could be damaging for everyone. Our guard against the virus will remain up as we hope to see this extraordinary circumstance come to end.
“It is encouraging to see the bipartisan support for this measure. We thank the governor and lawmakers in both parties for recognizing its significance.”
From the bill:
Beginning March 1, 2020 (retroactive), an entity is immune from civil liability for the death of or injury to any individual or damages caused by an act or omission resulting in or relating to exposure, directly or indirectly, to (COVID-19) in the course of or through the performance. (The exemption) does not apply if the act or omission involves reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct.