On March 29, 2021, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 72, which provides, in part:
(3) In a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim:
(a) The complaint must be pled with particularity.
(b) At the same time the complaint is filed, the plaintiff must submit an affidavit signed by a physician actively licensed in this state which attests to the physician’s belief, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury, or death occurred as a result of the defendant’s acts or omissions.
(c) The court must determine, as a matter of law, whether:
1. The plaintiff complied with paragraphs (a) and (b). If the plaintiff did not comply with paragraphs (a) and (b), the court must dismiss the action without prejudice.
2. The defendant made a good faith effort to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government-issued health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action accrued.
a. During this stage of the proceeding, admissible evidence is limited to evidence tending to demonstrate whether the defendant made such a good faith effort.
b. If the court determines that the defendant made such a good faith effort, the defendant is immune from civil liability. If more than one source or set of standards or guidance was authoritative or controlling at the time the cause of action accrued, the defendant’s good faith effort to substantially comply with any one of those sources or sets of standards or guidance confers such immunity from civil liability.
c. If the court determines that the defendant did not make such a good faith effort, the plaintiff may proceed with the action. However, absent at least gross negligence proven by clear and convincing evidence, the defendant is not liable for any act or omission relating to a COVID-19-related claim.
(d) The burden of proof is upon the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant did not make a good faith effort under subparagraph (c)2.
Florida’s COVID-19 immunity law further provides:
(4) A plaintiff must commence a civil action for a COVID-19-related claim within 1 year after the cause of action accrues or within 1 year after the effective date of this act if the cause of action accrued before the effective date of this act.
Those granted civil immunity from COVID-19-related civil claims is very broad under the new law:
(b) “COVID-19-related claim” means a civil liability claim against a person, including a natural person, a business entity, an educational institution, a governmental entity, or a religious institution, which arises from or is related to COVID-19, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus. The term includes any such claim for damages, injury, or death. Any such claim, no matter how denominated, is a COVID-19-related claim for purposes of this section. The term includes a claim against a health care provider only if the claim is excluded from the definition of COVID-19-related claim under s. 768.381, regardless of whether the health care provider also meets one or more of the definitions in this subsection.
If you or a loved one may be the victim of COVID-19 medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly contact a COVID-19 medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your COVID-19 medical malpractice claim for you and represent you and/or your loved one in a COVID-19 medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find COVID-19 attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.