As discussed above, a provision very important to NCHBA was enacted during the so-called “COVID-19 Session”. In Session Law 2020-3, the General Assembly provided time-limited civil immunity from lawsuits for injuries or death alleging that a customer or employee contracted COVID-19 from any business which the Governor had declared as “essential” (which includes the residential construction industry).
HB 118 extends this same civil immunity protections beyond just essential businesses to protect all businesses, non-profits, schools and universities, and individuals from unwarranted and excessive COVID-19 litigation. NCHBA worked closely with a broad coalition of business associations, college and universities and others to move this legislation forward. The bill passed both bodies with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Key Legislators: Senator Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus); Representatives HarryWarren (R-Rowan) and Destin Hall (R-Caldwell)
HB 902 was amended to include language which limits the liability of owners and operators of community pools and their agents regarding the operation of these facilities during the pandemic. In light of COVID-19, many community pools have chosen to remain closed over concerns of liability over the spread of the virus. While the broad language of HB 118 likely covers this situation, the specific protection afforded to pool owners and operators is no doubt welcome.
Key Legislator: Senator Jim Perry (R-Lenoir)
This legislation, primarily sponsored by House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake), would have created a presumption that an employee who contracts COVID-19 did so on the job site. This burden shifting represented a serious threat to the viability of the workers’ compensation system. While the bill had superficial appeal and appears to be an effort to assist frontline medical personnel and first responders, it also included workers from any industry which was designated by the Governor as “essential” during the pandemic (which includes residential construction).
NCHBA was a leader in the coalition of business and local government associations formed to oppose this bill. The coalition worked hard to educate legislators that current workers’ compensation laws already