With more people getting infected across Nevada, some casinos and small businesses are worried that their business could be shut down based on frivolous lawsuits. Businesses have asked lawmakers to revise legislation that limits liability.
Mounting Coronavirus Cases Put Casinos at Danger of Frivolous Lawsuits
With tampers frayed as the novel coronavirus death toll continues to soar, the Nevada Resort Association has urged lawmakers to pass legislation that protects casinos from frivolous coronavirus lawsuits that could shut down a property without sufficient evidence of violation or wrongdoing.
Writing to the state’s governor, Steve Sisolak, the association explained that it sought “targeted and limited safe harbor from liability for companies that implement strict public health guidelines related to the transmission of COVID-19.”
In the letter, the association has warned that the risk of frivolous lawsuits against hospitality and casino brands grows every day. Specifically, industry representatives asked Gov. Sisolak and lawmakers to look into ways to protect business and avoid further economic hit.
Most casinos in Nevada restarted in early June, with some schedules subject to changes as Gov. Sisolak’s reopening plans have also evolved. All venues that reopened earlier in and throughout June implemented safety protocols, including social distancing, reduced capacity of operation, temperature checks, sanitization stations, mandatory face masks, no smoking, drinking or dining at casinos, and others.
The Resort Association confirmed that they were doing their best and “working responsibly and in good faith,” and that casinos should not become a victim of costly litigation without proof.
The association urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow plaintiffs to focus only on bad actors, i.e. companies breaking governor-issued safety plans and fail to protect their customers and employees.
Casino bosses have been in tatters, too. According to many executives, Nevada was bleeding and bleeding fast. Shutdowns were killing the industry, precipitating it deeper in stagnation while making the path to recovery even harder.
Battle Born Progress executive director Annette Magnus has said that her organization is working with the Nevada Workers Coalition to limit liability at the workplace.
Why Sound the Alarm Now?
The association has had to act, because there have already been several lawsuits filed against casino properties in the state. However, there was little evidence to back them, the association said.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that casino workers and their families have been hospitalized. At least 352 members or family members of workers who are part of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 have been hospitalized, and estimated 28 have passed away as a result of COVID-19 infection, increasing the death toll.
The National Federation of Independent Business has joined arguing that small businesses must have some legal grounds to argue against cases trying to shut them down outright. According to the federation, liability protection was essential to guaranteeing that small businesses would continue to tick over. Here’s what Randi Thompson, a state director for the federation, had to say in a statement:
“Quite frankly, nothing else the Legislature will consider is as important as making it as easy as possible for Silver State small-business owners to reopen, rehire and regenerate our economy — nothing.”National Federation of Independent Business – Randi Thompson
The issue with COVID-19-related lawsuits is that there is very little chance to prove that a person got infected on the premises owned by a business or a casino. Nevertheless, lawyers would not hesitate to take legal action on the behalf of their clients and seek a way to settle.