To mitigate the risk of future mass tort litigation, we look at some practical steps which businesses can take before re-opening their doors
This is a hypothetical case study. It’s set in the future, and it’s about a Coronavirus mass tort case. Our trial opens like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I represent the family of Mr Smith. The facts of the case are that he died of Covid-19, and that he was in three commercial locations during the infection window. 1) He went to work 2) He stayed at a hotel 3) He shopped in a store, and these are our three Defendants. Mr Smith travelled alone in his car to these locations, and no-one else in his family was sick before he broke home isolation to go to these places. All three of these Defendants reopened for business to make money, and one of them is where Mr Smith was exposed to the deadly virus. These are the facts of the case, and they are not in dispute.”
Aside from borrowing the cadence from Aaron Sorkin, does this sound far-fetched? Well, consider this. Businesses will reopen and people will leave the relative safety of home isolation. Some will get sick, and tragically some will die. The question is not whether there will be litigation, it is what will the ground rules be? So, imagine that you’re a Defendant on this imaginary docket, and ask yourself this, what are my possible defences?