The current pandemic has set the stage for litigation of epic proportions. In response to COVID-19, many manufacturers and retailers rushed products to market with far less than normal levels of testing and quality assurance. Medical professionals and facilities labored endlessly to handle floods of patients with skeletal staffs, while hospitals eliminated access to procedures deemed elective. And businesses have been forced to operate with an ever-changing array of new rules and guidelines.
Even with the greatest level of care, mistakes are inevitable under such circumstances. A phalanx of lawyers stand at the ready to blame every bad outcome on someone with deep pockets. All too often, they hurt families who are comfortable but far from wealthy, small businesses forced to close, bigger businesses who must lay off employees and insurance companies that must raise rates for everyone. Tort lawyers are already salivating at the thought of suing those who helped America navigate the COVID emergency.
Without the protection of tort reform, many of those who tried to help America navigate this crisis will get sued, and those who risked reopening to feed their loved ones or their employees’ families will think twice before sticking their necks out in the future. Litigation run amok will punish the very risk-takers we need to reopen America. In the future, fewer companies will respond to emergency needs. Medical staff will pull back. Aggressive litigation targeting these Good Samaritans will erode our sense of community even further than it has been already. The need for tort reform is now greater than ever.