Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a controversial law granting nursing homes and other essential businesses immunity from lawsuits. The law, known as “Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act” shielded these organizations from negligence claims related to COVID-19.
The act was originally tucked into the state budget last year, granting massive immunity to companies running nursing home operations.
Tremendous controversy has haunted Governor Cuomo and his administration, as they are being federally investigated for allegedly covering up 9,000 COVID-related deaths.
Governor Cuomo signed the law on April 6, 2021.
Bronx State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, one of the sponsors of the bill repealing the immunity, is quoted as saying “[t]his blanket immunity prevented thousands of families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 from seeking legal recourse, and potentially incentivized nursing home executives to cut corners — endangering staff and residents.” The New York Democratic Senator had previously indicated to the New York Post “the corporate immunity provision was a license to kill.”
As noted by Assemblyman Ron Kim, “we’re going back to normal standard liability where patients and nursing home residents and families have their rights restored.”
The bill was originally written, in part, by the state’s hospital lobby group and was supported by nursing home associations.