NEWS29 May 2020

Insights Association calls for lawsuit protection from US Congress

Covid-19 News North America

US – The Insights Association has called on the US Congress to provide greater protections against Covid-19 lawsuits as businesses try to reopen after the lockdown.

US Congress

letter from the association’s chief executive, Melanie Courtright, says that it is a “top priority” for the insights industry to reopen in-person qualitative research facilities, but said liability protection was needed for the industry to “return to anything approaching prosperity”.

The letter says a thousand Covid-19-related lawsuits have already appeared in the US, and it is expected many more will follow.

“Concerns about such lawsuit liability, whether from a business’ own staff or from potential marketing research and data analytics participants, are impeding many people’s return to work in our industry,” writes Courtright.

“Those businesses that do manage to reopen could be temporarily side-lined or put permanently out of business by even a single unwarranted lawsuit, despite any good faith and practices on the part of those businesses.”

Congress should instead introduce temporary and targeted liability limitations to help prevent such lawsuits, the letter says, if organisations are making a “reasonable effort” to follow government and public health guidelines.

The letter says protection could be put in place by passing or expanding the following laws:

  • The Employer and Employee Covid Protection Act, which the letter says would provide limited immunity from civil lawsuits to reopening businesses if an employee gets Covid-19, and create a structure for fairly handling employees’ safety concerns about resuming work
  • H.R. 6601 would instruct juries in federal court trials for Covid-19-related negligence lawsuits to treat the reopening of businesses as “reasonable”
  • The Service Assurance Act 2020 would protect well-intentioned non-profits, following reasonable procedures, from coronavirus-related civil suits and pre-empt state and local laws.

The Insights Association has already published guidelines for reopening insights businesses during the pandemic.

It is also supporting liability-limiting bills in the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Minnesota, with similar laws already passed in Utah and Oklahoma.