April 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 108

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April 16, 2021

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The COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act: Liability Immunity for Health Care Facilities on the Horizon in West Virginia

On February 19, 2021, the West Virginia Senate passed SB 277, the “COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act.” The purpose of the Act is stated to “eliminate the liability of the citizens of West Virginia and all persons including individuals, health care providers, health care facilities, institutions of higher education, businesses, manufacturers, and all persons whomsoever, and to preclude all suits and claims against any persons for loss, damages, personal injuries, or death arising from COVID-19.” The Act further seeks to assure West Virginia’s businesses and health care facilities that “reopening will not expose them to liability for a person’s exposure to COVID-19.”

The liability protections afforded by the Act are broad, and provide unlimited immunity to health care facilities, stating “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, except as provided by this article, there is no claim against any person . . . health care facility, [or] health care provider . . . for loss, damage, physical injury, or death arising from COVID-19, COVID-19 care, or impacted care.” Importantly, the Act does not qualify the civil immunity provided to health care providers or health care facilities, unless the provider or facility distributed a “qualified product” to its patients or residents that they 1) knew to be incorrectly manufactured or designed, or 2) acted with actual malice in distributing an otherwise defective “qualified product.” 

While SB 277 awaits passage by the West Virginia House of Delegates, the Act reflects a strong legislative prerogative by the State of West Virginia to afford broad liability immunity for long-term care facilities relative to the impossible task of ensuring that their patients and residents would not contract COVID-19.

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© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 55
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About this Author

Anders W. Lindberg, Steptoe Johnson, Professional Liability Defense Lawyer, Federal Court Trial Attorney
Member

Anders Lindberg is the Practice Group Leader for the firm's Professional Liability Practice Group.  Mr. Lindberg focuses his practice in the areas of professional liability defense, employment litigation, and general litigation. 

(304) 526-8096
Mitch Moore Insurance Attorney Steptoe Johnson
Associate

Mitch Moore thrives on hard work and is known by his colleagues and clients as an effective communicator and problem solver.  During college, he gained valuable leadership experience by serving as the Student Body President of a Division II university. In law school, Mitch took advantage of every opportunity to gain practical experience. He was on multiple mock trial and moot court teams and practiced law for a year under supervision in the WVU General Litigation Clinic. Mitch represents insurance companies and their insureds, including healthcare facilities, colleges, and universities. ...

304-598-8153
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