Durbin: "Tsunami" Of COVID-19 Lawsuits Never Arrived

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today defended the American Rescue Plan and Democrats’ decision to keep the bill focused on helping families and small businesses, rather than including Republican proposals for a massive handout to big businesses in the form of liability immunity.  Durbin referenced a proposal pushed by Republicans last year that would have given corporations sweeping federal immunity from accountability—both in court and from regulators—for conduct that could be considered negligent under current state laws.

“I argued against these corporate immunity proposals. Granting corporations legal immunity gives them an incentive to cut costs and cut corners when it comes to the health and safety of workers and consumers. It gives a pass to unreasonable and irresponsible behavior that puts people at greater risk,” Durbin said.

Despite repeated claims by Republican Senators that a “tsunami” or “tidal wave” of COVID exposure and malpractice lawsuits was on the horizon, data compiled by a COVID lawsuit tracker database shows that has not happened.  The law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth maintains a list of COVID-related legal complaints filed across the nation, tracking them in categories such as “medical malpractice” and “personal injury, i.e., from exposure to COVID-19 in a public place.”

“You may be asking how many medical malpractice cases have been filed in the United States over the last year related to COVID-19. The number: Twenty…And how many cases alleging personal injury from exposure to COVID-19 in a public place have been filed? Sixty. In the entire United States. That's not a flood. That's not a tsunami. It’s a trickle,” Durbin said.

Durbin concluded by calling on the Senate to focus on targeted relief that invests in areas where Americans really need support.

“Like President Biden said last month, we've got to build our economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. Giant corporations don't need another handout like immunity. They already have all the help they need. I hope we can work together to deliver real relief to the American people,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.