South Carolina Governor Signs COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act Into Law
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed the “South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act” into law, providing legal immunity to certain businesses that reasonably adhere to public health guidance in effect at the time an applicable COVID-19-related claim arises.
Entities covered by the new law include for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, as well as South Carolina state agencies, healthcare facilities, and individuals who are directors, officers, employees, and representatives of these businesses or state agencies.
The immunity covers claims against a business that stems from the actual, alleged, or feared exposure to COVID-19 and that arise between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, or 180 days after the final state of emergency is lifted for COVID-19 in South Carolina. (For more details about the scope of the law and the potential exceptions, see our article, South Carolina Senate Passes COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act.)
The law, which was first introduced in the South Carolina legislature in 2020, passed with overwhelming support in the House by a vote of 89 to 18. Passage of the law has been hailed as a major success for South Carolina businesses as many face potential legal issues and risk amid varying states of reopening and as the number of COVID-19-related lawsuits continues to rise.
Employers with operations in South Carolina, and especially those facing legal claims related to the pandemic, should discuss with their Jackson Lewis counsel what implications the new law will have on their business, as well as the applicability of defenses to potential claims.