Congress Should Outlaw Contract Clauses Waiving Liability for Negligently Exposing People to COVID

by Jeff Sovern

That's the title of my post over at the ContractsProf Blog virtual symposium on contracts and COVID. Here's an excerpt: 

The argument behind liability waivers as to normal risks is that people should be able to arrange their private affairs as they wish, but COVID liability waivers are not purely private.  Virus liability waivers are very different from, say, a ski resort’s form disclaiming liability for negligently causing a skier a broken leg. A skier on crutches will not cause others to break their bones. When a business fails to take adequate precautions against infecting its customers with COVID, it increases the likelihood that not only the consumer but also others with whom the consumer comes into contact will be afflicted by the virus. Even if the consumer knowingly signed a waiver form—a dubious proposition that I discuss below–those others did not. Liability disclaimers that protect people in private contractual relationships in which others do not have an interest are a far cry from COVID liability waivers.

I look forward to the forthcoming posts from other contributors to the virtual symposium.

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