South Carolina Implements COVID-19 Liability Shield
Update Applicable to:
All employers operating within South Carolina.
On April 28, 2021, Governor McMaster signed South Carolina’s COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act into law.
What are the details?
Under the law, any claim arising from any actual, alleged, or feared exposure to COVID-19 on the premises of a business or from the operations, products, or services provided by a business would be barred by immunity unless a plaintiff can show by clear and convincing evidence that the business: (1) engaged in conduct that was grossly negligent, reckless, willful, or intentional; or (2) failed to make any attempt to adhere to public health guidance. Healthcare providers are also covered entities under the Act, but a different standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) applies to certain acts or omissions in the healthcare setting.
To invoke immunity for acts or omissions related to COVID-19, covered entities would need to show “reasonable adherence” to applicable public health guidance.
The liability protection applies retroactively, meaning, employers are protected from claims arising between March 13, 2020 (the date of the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency) and June 30, 2021, or 180 days after the state of emergency is lifted in the future, whichever is later.
The bill can be read here.
What do employers need to do?
South Carolina employers should ensure they are making a good-faith effort to comply with all regulations placed on them by local and statewide entities, to take full advantage of the protection offered by this legislation.