On May 6, 2020, Hart Research, a well known research company with such clients as Boeing, Citi, Disney, Ely Lilly, General Motors, Coca Cola, Travelers, AARP, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, released its findings concerning the public’s opinions concerning the idea of blanket immunity for all businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits.
In summary, voters across party lines say that it is a bad idea to guaranty businesses blanket immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits. The Hart Research survey included 42% Democrats, 38% Republicans and 20% Independents.
By 64% to 36% voters oppose giving guaranteed immunity to companies from lawsuits in cases involving COVID-19. Over half of the voters who support President Trump over Joe Biden oppose lawsuit immunity in COVID-19 cases (46% favor, 54% oppose).
Opposition to blanket lawsuit immunity in COVID-19 cases is correlated with the view that if the economy starts to reopen within the next few weeks some companies will try to cut corners with regard to precautions to protect workers and customers from the virus.
Overall, 61% say that giving business blanket immunity would result in more people getting the virus.
Voters were asked which of the following two statements they find more convincing:
- It is a good idea to give corporations and businesses guaranteed immunity from Coronavirus lawsuits, because businesses could reopen and put people back to work without being liable if their customers or workers are exposed.
- It is a bad idea to give corporations and businesses guaranteed immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits because some companies would not take the proper precautions if they knew they could not be held accountable.
After seeing both arguments, 69% of the voters came down on the side that giving corporations and businesses guaranteed immunity from Coronavirus lawsuits is a bad idea.
In the final reading, according to the Hart Research polls, 60% of Republicans and 58% of Trump supporters are more convinced that lawsuit immunity in these cases would be a bad idea.
Some Senators are now insisting that in exchange for additional stimulus money, any legislation must include immunity provisions.
Before any state or federal action is taken on this issue, it is hoped that the issues will be fully debated. Business owners who comply with all state and federal guidelines need protection. Similarly, workers who must go back to work where the safety guidelines are ignored also need protection.