“The Only Good Thing about the Bill Is Its Title” – Nina Kohn Sounds the Alarm on The Safe to Work Act’s Liability Shield

Nina Kohn (‘03), Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law and a faculty affiliate with the Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute, was quoted in a Law360 Analysis signaling the dangers of the liability shield’s overreach and definition of gross negligence (“GOP’s Coronavirus Biz Liability Shield Plan Raises Eyebrows,” July 31). “It is the kitchen sink of tort reforms. It’s possibly the kitchen bathtub, though, because there are things in here that are unscrupulous and extraordinary. Not only is this an incredible amalgamation of every tort reform wish list, there are things in here that, to the best of my knowledge, are unprecedented.” Nina also pointed to the bill’s definition of gross negligence as reckless disregard of both legal duty and applicable government standards and guidance. “The ‘and’ does incredible mischief here. Things that we would consider gross negligence [under common law] would not be considered gross negligence here. … If you have chronically understaffed your facility and that’s why people are dying, by [the bill’s] definition that is not gross negligence. If you are siphoning profits for your corporate owner, and have a resource shortage, that is not willful misconduct.”