Instead of Liability Waivers, Reduce the Spread of Covid-19

by Jeff Sovern

My latest Bloomberg Law Insight piece. Excerpt:

No doubt the same people who want to free businesses of accountability for sickening people would oppose the outlawing of Covid-19 liability waivers as an infringement on liberty. But practically no one reads contracts—not even consumer law professors. And if consumers do read them, they probably can’t understand them. A study I co-authored found that few consumers grasped the meaning of a clause that took away their right to sue in court.

In short, the liberty involved is almost certainly only that of the companies, not the consumers.

Covid-19 cannot be blocked by a signature on a piece of paper. Congress should make sure that the same is true of responsibility for spreading it. Otherwise, we will have lots of legal documents but more people will die of the virus.

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