Apr. 06, 2021

HARRISBURG – To deter the filing of frivolous lawsuits relating to COVID-19, which would provide protections to small businesses, institutions of education and others, the House approved Rep. Torren Ecker’s (R-Adams/Cumberland) House Bill 605.

House Bill 605 would offer limited civil liability protections to health care providers, schools, small business owners, farmers, restaurants and others that did their part to help keep people safe. The bill does not protect those who put anyone at risk, and anybody who exhibits gross negligence can and should be held accountable.

“Businesses that did their best to provide our communities with safe ways to get essential goods and followed the necessary precautions should not have to worry about the threat of costly litigation,” Ecker said. “Furthermore, my bill does not protect any sort of criminal act or reckless, knowing or intentional misconduct.”

Across the country, 26 states and the District of Columbia have enacted various forms of legislation that provide some sort of targeted and temporary protections similar to Ecker’s bill.

In addition, legitimate actions alleging personal injury or death relating to exposure to COVID-19 would first be heard by a board of three bar members of the court in a compulsory arbitration.

“This is a commonsense approach that won’t tie up our legal system, hamper business growth and stifle our economy even more,” Ecker said.

House Bill 605 is part of a comprehensive package of legislation designed to achieve a better normal. The initiative, “Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback,” would incentivize manufacturers and provide protections to small businesses, as well as offer tax and regulatory reform to bring family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania.

House Bill 605 is now in the Senate for consideration.

Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross
RepEcker.com / Facebook.com/RepTorrenEcker