Ohio Governor Signs Bill Providing Broad COVID-19 Liability Protections

September 21, 2020


In June, we noted that the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill to temporarily provide immunity to health care and emergency services, and to include COVID-19 as an “occupational disease” under Workers’ Compensation. On September 14, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed H.B. 606, which temporarily provides legal immunity from COVID-19-related lawsuits to Ohio businesses, schools, and health care workers.  

This law applies from March 9, 2020, the date of Ohio’s state of emergency, through September 30, 2021. It provides state-level immunity from lawsuits filed under Ohio law for “injury, death, or loss to person or property” arising from exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19. It also protects health care providers from civil lawsuits regarding the care and services they provide to patients during the pandemic—including services to patients not being treated for COVID-19. 

The immunity applies to conduct (or omissions) occurring between March 9, 2020 and September 30, 2021. It does not affect the statute of limitations on applicable tort or medical malpractice actions. While this law provides broad protections from inadvertent or incidental coronavirus spread, it does not provide protection from lawsuits where someone is accused of intentional misconduct or is acting recklessly. It also prohibits class actions claiming that a health care provider, organization, or individual caused exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19. 

If you would like assistance in determining how this bill affects your business or organization, please contact a member of our Labor & Employment Group.  

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