On May 1, 2020, TCH partner Brett Turnbull was featured in a Daily Report article regarding Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's executive order to re-open the Georgia economy. The article focuses on whether businesses are really immune from COVID-19-related liability under Governor Kemp's order and the implications of such immunity.
As Brett explained to the Daily Report: “First, this is an unprecedented circumstance, and we're in a unique time in evaluating executive power, state power, and the authority the president has bestowed on these governors."
“The thing is," Turnbull said, "when the governor put out that order to reopen, that essentially makes these businesses immune for negligence in how they've handled the reopening; it grants blanket immunity to businesses acting in conformity with the order.”
Citing an “extreme hypothetical, if [a business owner] were made aware that somebody had coronavirus, and they brought them in and served them, they are entitled to immunity from liability as long as they were one of the businesses allowed to be open at that time,” Turnbull said.
“That's the difficulty with immunity; it doesn't allow for circumstantial or case-by-case analysis. It can go too far,” he said. “It's like tort reform—you can throw the baby out with bath water.”
“As attorneys, we recognize this is uncharted territory for the governor and the businesses,” he said. “What we don't want is a situation where people are damned if they do and damned if they don't.”
For a full review of the article, please visit the Daily Report Online.
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