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Families File First Wave of COVID-19 Lawsuits Against Companies Over Workers Deaths (Wall Street Journal article, July 30, 2020)

8.01.20

On July 30, 2020, the Wall Street Journal published an article about employees (and their families) filing lawsuits against their employers for COVID-19 exposures. The article is at https://apple.news/AqZPQlaT6SQaw3tYrXqDcYA. This article is curious and likely misleading. As a general rule, workers’ compensation laws shield businesses from lawsuits by their employees, like those discussed in this article. The article even concedes there have only been 69 cases nationally–that’s only 1.38 cases in each of our 50 States–all of which likely will face possible dismissal because of the exclusive remedy of workers’ compensation. We also question the article’s reliance on “legal experts” who are never named.

As big of fans as we are of the 7th Amendment’s right to a jury trial for our communities to resolve civil disputes, the article seems more of an attempt to scare people about getting sued. The simple truth is our courts have handled these cases efficiently for the past century, ever since workers’ compensation legislation first appeared in the United States. There is no need to stir up this type of fear. Not when workers and the businesses they work for have enough to worry about.

After all, 1.38 cases in each State is hardly a “pandemic” of litigation, don’t you think?