NEWS & ANALYSIS

Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill To Protect Florida Businesses From 'Frivolous’ COVID-19 Lawsuits


In yet another random act of federalism, Florida governor and potential GOP 2024 frontrunner Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that protects businesses and healthcare centers from “frivolous” COVID-19 related lawsuits. 

The bill lays out the guidelines for lawsuits that allege pandemic-related damages and will “deter unfounded lawsuits against individuals, businesses, healthcare providers, and other entities while allowing lawsuits deemed credible to proceed,” BizPacReview reports. 

“Today I was pleased to sign SB 72 to protect Florida’s businesses and healthcare providers against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits,” DeSantis tweeted. 

“This is the most aggressive COVID liability bill in the United States of America,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls said. “What this bill does is says, ‘If you’re doing the right thing, you’re protected.’” 

DeSantis, who has become wildly popular over the last year for his handling of the virus, is one of the first governors in the country to completely open up his state and do away with masks. He has also left regulatory decisions concerning the virus up to businesses. 

According to the new law, healthcare workers “must be able to remain focused on serving the healthcare needs of their respective communities and not on the potential for unfounded lawsuits.” 

“One of our top priorities since day one of the pandemic, with your signature, [Florida]’s job creators no longer have to fear frivolous lawsuits as we continue relaunching [Florida]’s economy,” the Florida Chamber of Commerce said. 

Under the new law, individuals in the Sunshine State cannot sue businesses, health or government entities if a judge concludes that an establishment conducted “a good faith effort to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government-issued health standards.” 

Any individual who files a lawsuit will have to provide signed affidavits from physicians who can prove a connection between a specific entity and harm caused by the virus, BizPacReview reports. 

“We don’t want to be in a situation where people are scared of being sued just for doing normal things,” DeSantis said. “I hope that this will provide some certainty for folks.”