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State Law Provides Broad Immunity for COVID-19 Liability

On February 25, 2021, Wisconsin enacted a new law designed to help reduce ambiguity regarding COVID-19-related liability. The statute, which became effective on February 27, 2021, gives certain entities broad immunity from civil liability related to COVID-19. To have “immunity” essentially means these entities are shielded from being sued even if they are responsible for giving someone COVID-19—unless they acted recklessly or engaged in wanton conduct or intentional misconduct. The immunity applies to lawsuits filed after February 27, 2021, asserting claims that accrued on or after March 1, 2020. The immunity is in addition to any other applicable immunities that may be provided by law.

The immunity applies not only to employers with respect to workplace incidents of COVID-19, but also in many other contexts, including, for example, COVID-19-related lawsuits against long-term care providers (e.g., by their patients and/or patients’ families), retail establishments (e.g., by their customers), and universities (e.g., by their students). Read the full article here.

At this time, Oregon has not yet enacted liability shield legislation, although businesses are urging for a similar law granting limited liability protection.

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