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Press Release

Alaska Attorney General Joins 20 State Attorneys General in Calling for COVID-19 Liability Protections

May 12, 2020

(Anchorage, AK) –  Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson has joined a 21-state coalition in a letter urging Congress to enact liability protections that help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-related litigation for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims can seek legal redress where appropriate. The extension of post-pandemic liability protections is needed at both the state and federal levels for businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers and facilities, and members of law enforcement, among others.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson states, “ Our economy will recover if businesses, customers and employees have the confidence to return to the marketplace.”  He adds, “As state attorneys general, we are calling on Congress to ensure businesses have clearly defined expectations for the safe continuance of operations while being protected from devastating civil liability litigation concerning baseless COVID-related claims.”

States across the country have recognized the need for timely, targeted and tailored civil liability protections in light of the pandemic - to date over 20 states have enacted liability protections for first responders and healthcare workers.   Attorney General Clarkson says, “As we reopen our economy, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create litigation targeting well-intentioned businesses for taking pandemic mitigation measures.  This country needs a common-sense framework to provide liability protections for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims are able to seek legal redress when appropriate.”  The letter says that businesses engaging in willful or reckless misconduct should not be protected, and states should be able to impose criminal penalties, regulatory fines and agency oversight to capture bad actors.

In addition to Alaska, the following states’ attorneys general signed onto the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov.