February 11, 2021

Senate COVID-19 Liability Protections Passes House, House Version Still Moving Through

Article origination IPBS-RJC
The Indiana Statehouse - Brandon Smith/IPB News

The Indiana Statehouse

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Legislation to protect businesses and institutions from COVID-19 lawsuits is one step closer to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 1 would limit legal action from Hoosiers against companies, hospitals, schools and other organizations for damages related to COVID-19. It’s one of two COVID liability protection bills proposed this session. 

A large number of COVID-19 deaths in Indiana have been in long-term care facilities. Advocates have raised concerns that language in both the Senate and House versions is too broad and creates unnecessary barriers to have a case qualify to be heard in court.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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House co-sponsor Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) said most lawsuits against nursing homes don’t go to court, but are settled in mediation.

“So this is just one small tool to help a little bit with an unfortunate circumstance where – in some cases business, nursing homes, hospitals, retailers, whoever – had no control over what was going on, especially early on, but even now,” said Torr.

The bill passed out of the House Thursday 72 to 21. It now goes back to the Senate for a vote after a number of changes in the House.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

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