AGC pursues immunity from COVID lawsuits for contractors working safely

AGC pursues immunity from covid lawsuits for contractors working safely

AGC of America is pursuing legislation to provide immunity to businesses, including construction companies, operate or reopen during the pandemic.

“We have had a lot of folks in the field, some jobsites are reopening, and everybody is worried about liability and what possibility there may be for the trial lawyers bar to come after them based on who is following what rules, said Jimmy Christianson, AGC of America vice president of government relations during a recent podcast. “This is absolutely concerning from the standpoint that you have many members following guidelines be it CDC or state and local safety guidelines, trying to do what’s right by their employees to get this done in a safe and effective manner.  What we’re focused on is ensuring that construction companies that are doing the right thing and following guidelines and requirements like social distancing, even as they change, to give them the protections they need to keep doing the good things without risking their company of the jobs of their employees due to a tort lawsuit.”

Christianson emphasized that this would not be a “liability shield” for everyone, but protection for those who are doing the right thing, and not those who are being negligent. 

There had been hope that such protections would be included in the next round of COVID response legislation, known as the HEROES Act.  However, the House-passed version did not include the immunity language.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not consider any additional Coronavirus relief legislation unless it includes liability protections for businesses and employees coming back to work. It’s a “red line” in any negotiations over additional Coronavirus legislation, McConnell said.  President Trump has also indicated his support for such protections.

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