O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is urging Mike Parson to call a special session so lawmakers can take action to protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. In a letter to the Republican governor on Wednesday, the chamber called coronavirus liability an “emerging problem in Missouri.” The organization cites lawsuits involving those who believe they contracted the virus at a business. The chamber says that under current state law, the lawsuits can move forward regardless of whether businesses were taking precautions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
Missouri Chamber asks Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session on COVID-19 lawsuits
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has delivered an urgent letter to Gov. Mike Parson requesting that he call lawmakers back to Jefferson City to address the growing problem of opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits.
Coronavirus liability is an emerging problem in Missouri. It relates to a scenario where someone believes they may have contracted the virus on the premises of a business and now wants to sue that organization. Today, these lawsuits can move forward in Missouri regardless of whether businesses were taking proper precautions against virus transmission. The potential for these lawsuits is a rising concern for businesses that are seeking to follow public health recommendations, safely reopen their doors and return Missourians to work. Providing a safe harbor from these lawsuits will help ensure the state’s economy recovers as much as possible during this reopening phase.
“We greatly appreciate Gov. Mike Parson’s leadership during this challenging time. Now, we are asking him to stand up for our struggling business community as companies seek to reopen, get Missourians back to work and reignite our economy,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “As we encourage businesses to reopen, we also need to make sure we are protecting them from the growing threat of opportunistic COVID-19 litigation. I want to be clear: We are not calling for protections for businesses that defy government orders and ignore public health recommendations. However, companies that are making a good faith effort and taking the necessary precautions should not face crippling COVID-19 litigation. Missouri can’t afford to wait on this. We are urgently asking Gov. Parson to bring lawmakers back to Jefferson City to pass these necessary protections.”