Senior Housing News interviewed Shook Partner Matt Keenan about the fallout from the pandemic and the potential for lawsuits for the long-term care industry in the article “Fight Intensifies Over Covid-19 Legal Immunity for Senior Living.” Advocates and legal experts are conferring if providers should be granted immunity due to the historic, unprecedented nature of Covid-19. Through executive order, at least six states have passed legislation shielding providers from lawsuits.
“The vast majority of these [executive orders] are not talking about blanket immunity. The parties will have an opportunity to make their case the suits can be filed, but the evidentiary standard is one that reflects the unique circumstance of a disease that was not capable of being diagnosed in asymptomatic patients,” Keenan said. “Even when the tests became available, in some cases, they weren’t reliable and in some [other] cases, PPE was not accessible. So it is a highly unusual set of circumstances that have come together where even the best owners saw infections.”
Discussion is also underway at the federal level. The president of the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) said that there is support for liability protections for American businesses.