Huge Victory for Montana Businesses
State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Ronda Wiggers reported on what was a “huge victory for NFIB and all small businesses in Montana” —the liability protection against unfair COVID lawsuits.
NFIB lobbied and testified extensively for passage of Senate Bill 65, which Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law on February 10. Quite simply, the new law states, “a person is not liable for civil damages for injuries or death from or relating to exposure or potential exposure to covid-19 unless the civil action involves an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, or intentional tort.”
With his signature, the governor made Montana the 17th state to have some form of liability protection against lawsuits accusing small businesses of being the source of someone’s contracting COVID-19, which could have been contracted anywhere.
Wiggers said, “Montana’s Main Street businesses breathed a collective sigh of relief after Gov. Gianforte signed SB 65 into law . . . The Governor’s action sends a clear message that he will not allow Montana small businesses to become victims of frivolous lawsuits. I commend Senator Fitzpatrick for shepherding this vital piece of legislation through the Legislature, and thank the Governor for signing it into law. Small businesses can now turn back to their normal, everyday struggles of keeping their doors open and working towards Montana’s economic recovery.”
Eight more states are racing to enact similar laws after Congress failed to come up with a national standard.