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Kentucky Enacts ‘Essential’ Business Covid-19 Liability Shield

April 12, 2021, 5:33 PM

Kentucky businesses designated “essential service providers” gained immunity to Covid-19 related negligence suits when a state bill quietly became law Sunday.

The bill, S.B. 5, protects manufacturers, health care institutions and other service providers such as funeral homes from suits alleging the businesses are liable for infecting an employee or customer with Covid-19. However, the law doesn’t block claims that a defendant spread Covid-19 either intentionally or through malicious actions.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) didn’t sign the measure, which cleared the GOP-controlled legislature on mostly-partisan line votes. Instead, the bill automatically became law over the weekend under a state rule under which bills become law if a governor fails to act on them after 10 days.

The state has recorded 433,085 coronavirus cases and 6,250 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, according to Bloomberg News data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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