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A Discussion on Tort Liability for Businesses During COVID-19

June 18, 2020

Thursday, June 18, 2020

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

View the event video below. Listen to the event as a podcast here

Risks of the COVID-19 spread create substantial uncertainty for businesses when deciding whether to open up and conduct business, especially as they try to identify their duties in preventing COVID-19 related injuries to employees and customers. Likewise, individuals are uncertain about what level of care they should expect from businesses. Debate has begun about whether laws should be drafted which limit or expand the traditional rules of tort liability in light of the unique risks of doing business during a public health crisis.

Co-sponsored by the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School’s Law & Economics Center and the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, the live webinar examined the economic and legal arguments for and against COVID-19-related business liability reform.

Speakers explored the following questions:

      • What types of limitations, if any, should be placed on the liability of businesses for COVID-19 related injuries to their employees, customers, and the general public?
      • Are limitations on business liability necessary to incentivize businesses to open up? Or, do traditional rules of tort liability need to be maintained or perhaps even duties enhanced in order to incentivize businesses to take prudent precautionary measures?
      • Is a uniform or federal standard for COVID-19 related tort liability necessary in order to create predictability and manage risk, or should states be encouraged to experiment with divergent policies?
      • Should businesses be required to prove that they have put in place certain safeguards against COVID-19 transmission before being eligible for legislative protections from tort liability?

The event featured the following panel of experts:

      • Timothy Lytton, Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development; Distinguished University Professor & Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
      • David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, BakerHostetler
      • Adam J. White, Assistant Professor and Executive Director, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University
      • ModeratorDonald J. Kochan, Incoming Professor of Law and Deputy Executive Director of the Law and Economics Center, Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University


June 18, 2020