Florida Adopts New COVID-19 Civil Liability Limitations

On March 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Chapter 2021-1, designed to deter certain COVID-19-related lawsuits against a wide range of individuals, businesses, healthcare providers, and governmental and religious organizations. The legislation, which will be codified as sections 768.38 and 768.381 of the Florida Statutes, implements several new requirements applicable to a plaintiff bringing a “COVID-19-related claim.” This covers “a civil liability claim… which arises from or is related to COVID-19” or, in the case of a claim against a healthcare provider, “a civil liability claim” arising from, among other things, transmission of COVID-19; a diagnosis or treatment of, or failure to diagnose or treat, a person for COVID-19; the provision of a novel or experimental COVID-19 treatment; or delay or cancellation of a surgery or procedure due to a government-issued COVID-19-related health directive or guidance.

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