Louisianans join others across the country and around the world in managing the effects of the novel coronavirus on our families, our businesses and our communities. This is a testament to our resilience, our ingenuity and what we have learned from working together through many crises. We will make it through this one, too.
As we continue to work to control and end the pandemic, we must also move toward the important task of restarting our economy. We cannot weather another storm of plaintiff lawyer-driven litigation as we balance working on both of these fronts. Improperly motivated mass litigation will be detrimental to these efforts by injecting delay and division while running up costs that will further impede the ability of our businesses and industries to recover and return to full employment.
As noted in a recently published white paper by the American Tort Reform Association, there is an opportunity to enact proactive legislation that reduces liability concerns for health care providers, manufacturers and employers during future pandemics or other emergency situations. States should proactively adopt legislation that distinguishes legitimate claims from no-injury lawsuits.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform also recently released a brief noting that limiting litigation abuse is essential to making available the tools and resources needed to combat the virus, and ultimately to spurring economic recovery once the immediate health crisis has been resolved. The prospect of negligence litigation is cause for concern for all businesses and services that remain open during the crisis, as well as for businesses that look to reopen in the future.
Businesses and professionals dealing with these unique and challenging circumstances deserve reasonable protections under the law. Several bills will address these liability protections during the recently reconvened Louisiana legislative session. Taking into consideration the risks undertaken by our health care providers and businesses — not only in response to the virus, but also as we begin the process of restarting our economy — these legal protections should be provided.
Now, more than ever, we need the innovation and adaptability for which Louisianans are known to successfully respond on the health care and economic recovery fronts. Collaboration — not litigation — will get us through this trying time and back on our feet.
LANA S. VENABLE
executive director, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch