Lawmakers are back in session, and bills relating to the coronavirus pandemic have already been pre-filed.
Senate Bill 30 would protect businesses from having frivolous lawsuits slapped against them because of the pandemic, but it's not a free pass.
"There hasn't been an explosion of Covid-related lawsuits, but this will prevent that going forward," said Attorney Tommy James.
James practices law all over the state and has some cases here in North Alabama. He said Senate Bill 30 protects churches, businesses, government entities, health care providers and educational and cultural institutions from being sued civilly over coronavirus.
"There is some accountability. It's not a free pass if these businesses, schools, churches, if they are willful or intention or extremely reckless. If they violate the CDC guidelines for policy and procedures and Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines, then they do open themselves up for liability," said James.
James said when the pandemic started, some people approached him about various coronavirus-related lawsuits. He said even without this bill, those claims are hard to prove.
"They would be so hard anyway to prove where someone contracted it, where they were exposed to it, so they are really tough cases anyway," said James.
James said he believes the bill will be passed into law because it's supported by trial lawyers, lawmakers and businesses.
"There's not much opposition I've seen to this legislation because businesses and other entities don't need to be worried about frivolous lawsuits with this pandemic," said James.
Senate Bill 30 now goes to the Senate judiciary committee. It's also retroactive going back to March 13, 2020, so any lawsuit filed against a business about coronavirus since that date can be overturned by this bill if it becomes law.
Another bill filed has to do with the coronavirus and providing more privacy and protections to people who are questioned by contact tracers. That's Senate Bill 1.