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Ohioans Are Better Protected by Juries Than By Immunity Laws

The Ohio Legislature is currently rushing to pass Bills that will provide near complete immunity for almost anything dealing with COVID-19. In essence, this legislation will deny Ohioans of their constitutional right to a civil jury trial and instead provide blanket immunity to companies and individuals regardless of the significance of their negligence. Ohio’s jury system is much better equipped to provide justice to all than a blanket one-size-fits-all immunity statute. Here is just one example of the type of injustice a blanket immunity statute relating to COVID-19 will cause Ohioans to suffer.

A chain of Ohio nursing homes owned by a Wall Street Hedge Fund decides it would hurt profits to pay for personal protective gear for its staff now that increased demand was making that equipment more expensive. Over the objection of the nursing homes’ medical directors and staff, the nursing homes begin requiring staff to care for the elderly residents without proper masks and gloves. As a result, COVID-19 enters a facility when an unmasked caregiver unwittingly brings COVID-19 into the nursing home before he began to feel symptoms. Over the next three weeks, 12 patients and 3 caregivers die from COVID-19. Twice as many spend time in hospital ICUs. The families of the patients and staff who were sickened by the decision that profits were more important than safety would be justified to seek justice in a Court of law. However, if the legislation pending in the Ohio Legislature is passed, the courthouse doors will be barred to these victims and their families.

If you think that this is unjust and unfair, you should let your State Representatives know, as well as advise the Governor’s office. The people of Ohio deserve the protection of the Courts. These rights should not suffer so that large corporations and insurance companies can avoid responsibility for negligently handling COVID-19 precautions.

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