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And Then Came the Lawsuits: Pandemic in a Litigious Society

Charles Hugh Smith
March 13th, 2020
Of Two Minds Blog
Comments (7)

This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog.

This is the upside of hyper-litigiousness: prevention is prioritized as the most effective means of limiting future liability.

Never mind prevention or vaccines; the big question is “who can we sue after this blows over to rake in millions of dollars?” Yes, this is pathetic, tragic, perverse and evil, but that’s the reality in a hyper-litigious society like the U.S.

Many people are struck by the apparent over-reaction of Corporate America to the Covid-19 threat, but this is the only rational response in a hyper-litigious society: the number one priority in a hyper-litigious society is to limit liability. Everything–and yes, we mean everything–flows from this obsessive concern with limiting future liability.

Imagine the lawsuit brought by an employee of Corporate America who could have worked from home but was ordered by her employer to come to the workplace, and who was subsequently infected by the virus.

The corporation’s defense team would naturally claim there was no evidence the employee caught the virus at work, but alas, one employee in the building was confirmed as a carrier of Covid-19, so that defense won’t work: the employee could have been infected by this other employee in the workplace, and lacking any solid evidence to the contrary, it’s clear the company failed to protect its employees from exposure to the virus by forcing employees to work in a virus-infected workplace when they could have worked from home.

By forcing an employee who could have worked from home to come to the office, the company is liable for damages. Multiply this case by thousands, and it’s easy to see why Corporate America has proactively moved so aggressively to a “work at home” policy and why corporate legal, HR and risk management teams are quickly issuing press releases and internal memos stressing all the measures the company is taking to lower the risks for employees and customers.

Future court cases will likely come down to basic tests, such as: did the corporation act promptly, prudently and in good faith? Did it pursue its preventative policies rigorously, or in a piecemeal, slapdash manner? Did the management quickly correct flawed execution, or did management fail to provide the necessary oversight, accountability and problem-solving to address the flawed execution of preventative measures? Did the company follow accepted industry protocols and standards? Did it make every available practical effort to reduce the risks to employees and customers?

If the measures are practical, coherent and applied consistently, this is a good thing. In prevention against a highly contagious virus, half-measures and window-dressing will not be effective: the execution of preventative measures must be 100%.

Thus it would be prudent to instruct all employees to wear masks, wash their hands often, conduct digital-online meetings, limit company gatherings, hire crews to regularly disinfect company facilities, etc. Companies that fail to impose and promote preventative policies and execute preventative measures uniformly will be opening Pandora’s Door to lawsuits that could stretch on for years.

This is the upside of hyper-litigiousness: prevention is prioritized as the most effective means of limiting future liability. The downside–extortionist lawsuits seeking quick out-of-court settlements as the cheaper way out of costly litigation–is an ugly reality of conducting commerce in America. But the upside–practical preventative policies that impose “social distancing” and high standards of personal hygiene and the regular disinfecting of common areas–could have a profound impact in lowering the spread of the virus.

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Author: Charles Hugh Smith
Date: March 13th, 2020
Website: https://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html

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  1. Old Codger says:

    Good idea, I blame George Bush for all this mess, AND every other Republican President since 1776.

    They should all be IMPEACHED!

  2. asshat says:

    now that we are all stuck inside with family a problem that will arise right away is food greed. there is always that person that will take 5 slices of pizza and everyone else gets 1. ive never heard this discussed when it comes to shtf. there are people who are gluttons and right now there isnt any shortage of food. its understandable if someone is starving and hasnt eaten in days. its not fair if some morbidly obese glutton is trying to maintain their 6000 calorie diet. anyone care to carry on with this discussion.

  3. Frank Thoughts says:

    For what China has done (incubating and releasing the virus and then dispatching their infected citizens via flights around the world, spreading the virus across Europe and North America) they should be sued into epic bankruptcy. Now, since China would never accept such a thing we can carve back that money via blocked trade channels, wealth and property confiscation and deportations of their citizens, who currently number in the millions in Canada and the US.

    Keep in mind most of the epidemics in the past 30 years have come from China. The lack of good hygiene practices and public health measures have meant China keeps making these virulent viruses, and through global trade and travel, spreading the virus and its cost to other countries. Time to make them pay the true cost for their actions. Lawyers, fire up your litigations and get suing!!!!!!!!

  4. durangokidd says:

    The WUHAN VIRUS is a genetically altered coronis virus with “HIV INSERTS” created at the Wuhan P-4 Bio-Weapons Lab that escaped; probably infecting a researcher at the lab first, who then spread the disease at the live food market 800 feet away during “lunch” or “dinner”.

    No infected bats with a coronis virus were found within 600 km of the live food market. The probability of the HIV Inserts discovered by Indian Doctors deciphering its DNA occurring naturally is virtually impossible, statistically speaking.

    China is responsible for its negligence in unleashing this artificial pathogen on the world. It should be held financially accountable for damages to the victims.

    China’s financial assets in the USA should be seized and distributed to the dead. 🙁

    • Frank Thoughts says:

      Totally agree! ALL Chinese assets in Western countries need to be seized (including bank accounts) and that fund used to compensate victims of the coronavirus pandemic, including bail outs to the world’s airlines and tourism industry. As for those Chinese students who flew back with the virus, spreading it all over the world so they could take up space in universities funded by tax payers and government research grants, they need to have their places swapped out for American, Canadian etc. students – yeah, the ones whose parents did things like fight the Muslims terrorists and whose grandparents fought the Nazis. And ANY politician out there who doesn’t do this needs to be kicked to the curb and thrown out of office and their family members shamed and ridiculed.

  5. Redwinger says:

    The law firm of Dewey, Cheathem, and Howe, will be doing a lot of business soon.

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