Immunity Bills Debated at Statehouse

This week, manufacturers joined a chorus of business interests in support of Senate Bill 308, legislation to provide temporary legal immunity during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The bill has three components:

The OMA provided proponent testimony highlighting the importance of the manufacturing provision, citing hundreds of firms who have generously repurposed operations to make needed masks, gowns, ventilator components, and other protective equipment.

Pete Huggins, president of ITEN Industries in Ashtabula, testified in support of SB 308, telling lawmakers how his company has been producing face shields. He urged lawmakers to promptly pass the bill, saying, “We undertook this activity because we were able to help and there was an immediate need. We did this without consideration of legal liability.”

A representative of the influential plaintiffs’ bar attended the hearing and presented opponent testimony.

Meanwhile in the Ohio House of Representatives, House Bill 606 contains similar immunity provisions for businesses, but it does not include liability for manufacturers of protective equipment and supplies. 5/15/2020