Coalition of 20 progressive groups, unions urges Sisolak not to expand business liability protections in possible second session

A coalition of progressive groups and unions is sending a letter to the governor and legislative leadership making a case against adding liability protections for businesses fearful of coronavirus transmission-related lawsuits.

The letter dated Saturday argues that legal liability is one of the strongest incentives for businesses to uphold safe practices, and chipping away at those would jeopardize the health and safety of workers and people patronizing businesses. It says businesses already have protection against careless lawsuits and won’t lose a case if they are following guidelines and being reasonable under the circumstances.

“The pandemic cannot be an excuse for failing to protect workers and the public,” the letter says. “Nevadans and our tourists would suffer needlessly as a result of failing to protect workers. Allowing legal immunity does not align with the administration’s extraordinary actions in past months to keep Nevadans safe.”

Republicans and numerous powerful business associations have argued to Sisolak that frivolous lawsuits blaming businesses for the spread of COVID-19 could devastate those companies. School superintendents, too, testified that they would support efforts to strengthen protections against lawsuits as they enter the uncharted territory of trying to reopen while coronavirus is alive and well.

The new “Nevada Workers Coalition” signed on to the letter includes 20 groups, ranging from the Nevada State Education Association teachers union to the Culinary Union and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

Annette Magnus of Battle Born Progress said the coalition does not want to see liability protection legislation emerge in a potential special session and wants worker safety to be the priority. Sisolak has suggested he would call a second special session after a budget shortfall is addressed, but it’s unclear what topics might be on the agenda, and many interest groups are lobbying him on what to include in the discussion.

Nevada Workers Coalition Letter to Governor by Michelle Rindels on Scribd