Legal Funding Blog

Lawmakers move to extend protections for health providers against COVID lawsuits

For all that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s Republican leaders play up their “freedom” agenda at the expense of COVID-19 mitigation, an average Floridian might conclude the coronavirus isn’t such a big deal anymore.

So why are the state House and Senate advancing legislation extending the liability shield enacted last year, to protect health care providers against medical malpractice lawsuits arising from the COVID pandemic?  The shield is scheduled to expire on March 21.

That’s what Democrat Kelly Skidmore of Palm Beach County wanted to know during a House Health and Human Services Committee hearing Friday on a new bill, PCB 22-01, to extend that protection through June 1, 2023.

Skidmore couldn’t help remarking on the “contradictory narrative” between the COVID danger the bill ostensibly recognizes and coolness to mask-wearing and vaccinations expressed by the state’s GOP leaders.

“We keep pushing out that this is over, that we need to be back to normal, and yet we sponsor legislation and we have legislation that extends these liability protections,” she said.

In the end, Skidmore joined the 15-5 majority in approving the legislation.

Colleen Burton, chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, who presented the bill, had this explanation:

“Optimistically, I think we all hoped that the pandemic would be in its final stages by this coming March but, unfortunately, we also are quite aware that mutations of the COVID-19 virus continue to prolong the pandemic. It is vitally important that we continue to protect our front-line workers as they fight the pandemic,” Burton said.

Identical legislation (SB 7014) has cleared both the Judiciary and Rules committees in the Senate.

Both versions would make it harder for people injured by medical providers to win compensation in court if the provider can attribute the harm to COVID.

Will Fired Unvaccinated Employees Get Their Jobs Back After SCOTUS Blocks Biden Mandate?

Employees who were terminated from their job because of their refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19 aren’t guaranteed to get their jobs back just because the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s vaccine or testing mandate.

The mandate, which required millions of employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, sparked questions about the legality of terminating employees over their vaccination status. However, in the majority of the United States, businesses can terminate employees for not complying with company policies and that doesn’t necessarily change because of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Dorit Reiss, a University of California Hastings College of Law professor, told Newsweek that unless employees can claim religious discrimination or disability-based discrimination, employers are free to terminate employees for not being vaccinated. Employment in the United States is “at-will” so employers can implement whatever policies they want within the confines of the law and the default is that if employees don’t like the policy, they can find a new job.

Given that private employers can require employees to be vaccinated, Reiss said wrongful termination lawsuits are “unlikely to succeed.”

Judge blocks hospital from taking COVID-19 patient off ventilator

An Anoka County judge has ordered that Mercy Hospital must leave a Buffalo, Minnesota, man on a ventilator.

Scott Quiner was diagnosed with COVID-19 last fall and hospitalized in Waconia in October. His wife Anne told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Scott was transferred to Mercy Hospital in November where he remains sedated and on a ventilator.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against the hospital alleges that doctors at the hospital were planning to take COVID-19 patient Scott Quiner off the ventilator Thursday.

“I have advised the doctors that I vehemently disagree with this action and do not want my husband’s ventilator turned off,” Anne Quiner states in the filing.

On Thursday, Judge Jennifer Stanfield ordered that Mercy Hospital cannot turn the ventilator off. A hearing is set for Feb. 11. In the meantime, Stanfield told both parties to put together their legal arguments on the authority to remove someone from life support in Minnesota.

Allina Health, which operates Mercy Hospital, said it was “unable to comment on specific patient care” for privacy reasons.

“We will follow the court’s order in this case and continue to work through the legal process. In the meantime, our care teams remain committed to providing exceptional care to all our patients

Michigan auditor general says COVID deaths 30% higher than reported

The State of Michigan says of roughly 28,000 deaths related to COVID-19, a little more than 6,000 of them were in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. But a new report coming out on Monday will reportedly show that number is higher. So why the discrepancy?

The state says their data is right, even as the data was released following a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, on behalf of former FOX 2 reporter Charlie LeDuff. The suit was to force MDHHS to turn over numbers and the department settled.

Steve Delie from the Mackinac Center says that the public has a right to know how many people in these facilities that house the elderly have passed away from COVID-19.

Facilities that have fewer than 13 beds are not counted in the state’s data – and that includes adult foster care, homes for the aged, and skilled nursing facilities. If those were included, the number would be at least 30% higher.

It may all come down to the definition of long-term care facilities.

“It seems to be a lot of definitional fighting,” he said

‘Gel’ biomaterials may help treat spinal cord injuries

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are leading an international effort to develop a new way to treat spinal cord injuries which they hope will lead to increased motor function and a better quality of life for patients.

They’re looking at the use of biomaterials, or soft gels, to repair the gap that’s created when a person’s spine is injured.

The high-tech gel would be injected into the site of the injury, which can be a few centimetres wide, and conform to the shape of the area while acting as a bridge for growing nerve fibres.

Canada research chair in spinal cord injury and UBC orthopaedics professor Dr. Brian Kwon said spine surgeons are treating newly paralyzed patients every week in Vancouver and across the country.

“It’s one of the hardest things we do as spine surgeons, is to talk to patients that have had a spinal cord injury about the fact that we really don’t have treatments to improve their neurological function,” he said. “We want a therapy that has the least chance of causing any damage, because these are patients that have had a catastrophic injury in the first place. We want to make it as safe as possible.”

Still have questions?

Call (877) 932-2628 and speak with one of our legal funding experts.

* Word-Use Disclaimer

Legal funding is not a loan. It is the non-recourse purchase of an equitable lien in plaintiffs’ legal claims. Words such as ‘loans,’ ‘lending,’ ‘borrow,’ etc., are used for marketing purposes only.
More info

TriMark Legal Funding LLC
1056 Green Acres Rd #102
Eugene, OR 97408