COVID-19 Safe Harbor Bill Fails to Clear Tennessee Legislature
For the past several weeks, the Tennessee Legislature has extensively discussed and debated the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. This Act would protect Tennessee businesses, schools, churches, health care providers, and other entities from certain lawsuits related to alleged exposure to COVID-19. The House and Senate each passed their own versions of the bill, and then conferred in an attempt to resolve their differences.
A key sticking point was whether the Act should be retroactive to March 5, 2020 — the day of the first confirmed positive COVID-19 test in Tennessee. The Senate version was retroactive; the House version was not. The two chambers were unable to clear this hurdle, and the Act unfortunately was four votes short of passage.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
This is a key development, as the Act would have insulated many entities from lawsuits for alleged COVID-19 exposure. Although COVID-19 cases will be inherently difficult to prove, without the heightened standards and other procedural requirements of the Act, Tennessee businesses that either stayed open or have reopened could be subject to time-consuming and expensive litigation from individuals claiming to have contracted COVID-19 because of exposure at their facility.
If you are concerned about measures to take to reduce your potential exposure to COVID-19-related liability, please contact Justin Furrow or your relationship attorney.
Visit our COVID-19 Insight Center for our latest legislative and legal updates, articles, and resources.
The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings, and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. In some cases, the underlying legal information is changing quickly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Please contact your legal counsel for advice regarding specific situations.