A new law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will shield Ohio individuals, schools, healthcare professionals, and businesses from unnecessary lawsuits related to accidental exposure to the coronavirus, while preserving ability of people to sue for workplace malpractice in cases of reckless disregard for health and safety.
The law, originally known as House Bill 606 (H.B. 606), was the brainchild of state Rep. Diane Grendell (R–Chesterland). H.B. 606 was nicknamed the “Good Samaritan Expansion Bill,” and will take effect as a law in December 2020.
Retroactively beginning on March 9, 2020 and lasting until September 30, 2021, health care providers will be considered legally immune for obeying government orders or taking actions in compliance with health orders, unless doing so causes patients unnecessary harm. Likewise, individuals and business owners will be held harmless if employees catch the coronavirus, given that business owners took reasonable precautions to keep their workers afe.
Although the public-health aspect of the war against COVID-19 cannot be ignored, the economic costs of the spring’s lockdowns cannot be ignored. For many people, health care and health insurance is tied to having a job, and if business owners are not able to reopen, people and their families will be left destitute and broken.
Part of the reopening process is assuming business owners want to have workers remain safe and healthy, so it’s only right that Ohio gives them breathing room to get back on their feet without fearing ambulance-chasers beating down their door with lawsuits of dubious accuracy.
Gov. DeWine has said many times we can take measures protect our most vulnerable citizens and get our people back to work at the same, and this is a move in that direction.