Wyoming Lawmakers Approve Limited COVID-19 Lawsuit Immunity
Wyoming lawmakers on Saturday approved a measure giving businesses some immunity from lawsuits arising from exposure to the coronavirus.
The final measure was approved by the House-Senate Joint Conference Committee working on SF 1002 as an amendment to that bill. The amendment reads as follows:
(a) During a public health emergency as defined by W.S. 35-4-115(a)(i), any health care provider or other person, including a business entity, who in good faith follows the instructions of the a state, city, town or county health officer in responding or who acts in good faith in responding to the public health emergency is immune from any liability arising from complying with those instructions or acting in good faith. This immunity shall apply to health care providers who are retired, who have an inactive license or who are licensed in another state without a valid Wyoming license and while performing as a volunteer during a declared public health emergency as defined by W.S. 35-4-115(a)(i). This immunity shall not apply to acts or omissions constituting 2 gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.".
That version of immunity was scaled back considerably from a bill that passed the Senate earlier in the two-day special session.
That bill was referred to the House Rule Committee, which essentially amounted to a death sentence for the measure for the special session since the committee did not take up the bill before the end of the session.
But the compromise measure was hammered out in the Joint Conference Committee and attached to SF1002, which was passed in the amended form by lawmakers. Among other changes from SF1005, the amendment includes the term ''good faith" and mandates that businesses must be following state health orders at the time of the alleged exposure. It also only takes effect during a declared public health emergency.
Those guidelines were not included in SF1005. Governor Mark Gordon still could veto the proposal,