Can Businesses Be Sued for Trying to Be Good Samaritans During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Kolette Kramer, of Towner, holds a sign at a protest asking Gov. Doug Burgum to allow businesses to reopen on Monday, April 20, 2020. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

Both North Dakota and the nation are grappling with the task of returning our society to some semblance of normal while still keeping in place appropriate measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this episode of Plain Talk, Arik Spencer from the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce talks about some protections his organization feels business owners need to help them get back to employing their employees and serving the public.

He noted that many businesses, like restaurants as one example, are afraid to re-open out of fear they’ll be liable if an outbreak of coronavirus happens in one of their facilities. Similarly, businesses that shifted their work over to producing things needed during the pandemic — breweries, for instance, which started making hand sanitizer — are worried they could be sued if those products, which they don’t typically produce, were faulty.

“Can they be sued for trying to be a good Samaritan?” Spencer asked.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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