PHOENIX — On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill, SB1377, which is intended to ensure Arizonans acting in good faith during the COVID-19 pandemic are protected against certain civil claims.
Ducey says the legislation fulfills one of his priorities to protect Arizonans from “frivolous lawsuits.” It provides the legal framework for when a liability claim can be brought in relation to COVID-19 while still ensuring that claims based on gross negligence and willful misconduct can be heard.
The legislation applies during the current public health pandemic and protects health care institutions and other service providers for any act or omission that is alleged to have occurred during a person’s screening, assessment or treatment that is related to the health emergency. Providers include educational institutions, school districts or charter schools, property owners, lessees and lessors, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, the State and local governments, health care providers and institutions, and nursing and residential care facilities.
The legislation also provides a presumption for health professionals or health care institutions that they have acted in good faith if they relied on and reasonably attempted to comply with applicable published guidance, while also ensuring that such a presumption can be overcome if there is evidence of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
“Small businesses need certainty under the law that if they act in good faith, they’ll be protected from frivolous lawsuits,” said the bill’s sponsor Senator Vince Leach. “I’m grateful to the organizations and fellow legislators who supported Senate Bill 1377, and to Governor Ducey for signing this important legislation.”