Gov. Wolf intends to veto COVID liability protection bill, calls protections “overly broad”

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have been asking state lawmakers for liability protection to avoid being sued while following COVID-19 protocols. On the last session day, state Republicans pushed it through–but the victory was short-lived.

Steve Keener, Little League International President and CEO, says unforced errors–specifically ones made off the field–are his biggest concerns. The Little League World Series hopes to return next August.

“We’re subjected to nonsensical lawsuits all the time so we understand everything we do is put under a spotlight,” Kenner said.

Despite Little League following strict COVID guidelines and state protocols, Keener fears a fan or player getting sick could result in an attorney throwing a high, hard one.

“As long as they’re making a good faith effort to do all of those things, I don’t think they should be subjected to somebody trying to capitalize on that,” Keener said.

Keener supports Pa. House Bill 1737 which offers protections from lawsuits if coronavirus guidance is followed. Nursing homes, hospitals, schools and daycares have been calling for liability protection since the pandemic began. Chambers of Commerce are pushing for protection, as well.

“We have a member company whose been sued 36 times simply for enforcing the mask mandate,” explains Gene Barr, president for the Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry.

Sud Patel, a past president of Pa. Trial Lawyers, says liability protection rewards and promotes careless conduct by protecting bad actors and blocking good people from getting justice.

“Immunity is not a good thing. It’s never been a good thing, and it just keeps eroding away at your basic rights of accountability,” Patel said.

Barr disagrees.

“It is not immunity. What it is, is a temporary safe harbor, temporary protections for people who do the right thing,” Barr said.

Keener is not interested in playing politics. He wants to play ball and take aggressive attorneys out of the game.

“I don’t want to call them frivolous, but unwarranted lawsuits would give everyone peace of mind going into the 2021 season,” Keener said.

On Wednesday, ABC27 learned the governor intends to veto the bill saying the protections are overly broad. His critics will pounce saying he is caving to trial lawyers who have contributed mightily to his campaigns.

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