Ohio Governor DeWine Signs Law Providing Civil Immunity to Employers Facing COVID-19 Related Lawsuits

On September 14, 2020, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 into law which provides civil immunity to employers facing COVID-19 related lawsuits.  HB 606 provides, in part:

SECTION 2. (A) No civil action for damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property shall be brought against any person if the cause of action on which the civil action is based, in whole or in part, is that the injury, death, or loss to person or property is caused by the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, or SARS-CoV-2, or any mutation thereof, unless it is established that the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of, any of those viruses or mutations was by reckless conduct or intentional misconduct or willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person against whom the action is brought.

HB 606’s immunity extends to lawsuits for injury, death, and loss to person or property as a result of the alleged exposure to, transmission of, or contraction of COVID-19 and other defined coronaviruses, unless reckless conduct, intentional misconduct, or willful or wanton misconduct is established on the part of the employer against whom the action is brought.

In addition, HB 606 carves out a reprieve from professional disciplinary action and immunity to tort liability for health care providers providing medical services in response to a disaster or emergency in certain circumstances.

Notably, HB 606 applies retroactively, from March 9, 2020 through September 30, 2021.

Hahn Loeser’s Labor and Employment group is available to work with employers as part of their COVID-19 response team. Please reach out to any of our attorneys as questions arise regarding how to manage your workforce in these unique times.