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Buchanan is counseling colleges and universities on ways to be insulated from—or minimize—risks associated with COVID-19-related class action lawsuits (see “Tuition Refund Class Actions Abound: How Institutions Can Prevent of Minimize Lawsuits in the Coming School Year”).

While these important actions can mitigate liability, Buchanan’s Federal Government Relations team offers additional help to higher education entities in shaping legislation that may insulate them from liability.

On May 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, “Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The hearing examined the need to provide businesses and institutions with liability protections from COVD-19 related claims to ensure they do not face the threat of a lawsuit—even if they have taken reasonable precautions.  On June 4, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held its own hearing, “Going Back to College Safely.” Similar to the Judiciary Committee, this hearing focused on the need to provide colleges and universities with liability protection from being sued if a student, faculty member or a member of the staff becomes sick from COVID-19.

In addition to the Committee activity, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Cornyn (a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee) are drafting COVID-19 liability protection legislation for inclusion in the next economic Stimulus package.

Action

Given that Congress could act as early as July, Colleges and universities are mobilizing to ensure Congress understands the critical need to pass COVID liability protections and to ensure the final legislation is written in a manner that protects their interests. 

Buchanan's Federal Government Relations Team

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s federal team is well-positioned to assist with shaping the COVID-19 liability protection legislation by working with key Congressional members and staff to ensure your voices and interests are heard. Our team in Washington has decades of experience working with clients to advance their legislative and appropriations objectives. Related to this issue, Buchanan’s federal government relations team has strong relationships with members of the Senate Leadership, members of the HELP and Judiciary Committees and their staff who are advancing the legislation pertaining to COVID-19 liability protection. Please contact Edward Hild, Principal, and Michael Strazzella, Federal Government Relations Practice Group Leader, for further information.

For more cutting-edge perspectives on legal and business implications of COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 resource center.