Despite efforts by Republican lawmakers to create stronger liability protections for healthcare workers and small businesses hammered by the pandemic, COVID-19-related lawsuits still are likely to be pursued, New York M&A litigator Martin Lipton told attendees of an Economic Club of New York teleconference on Monday.
“This has not just been a medical pandemic,” said Lipton, a co-founder of powerhouse New York law firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. “It’s a business pandemic as well.”
Lipton noted, however, that most businesses should be able to avoid lawsuits by proving they have been taking steps to protect employees and customers (or residents, in the case of long-term care facilities). That includes providing “appropriate safety equipment” to workers, he added.
Public operators and real estate investment trusts also may have to worry about securities litigation over disclosures they make about the effect of COVID-19 on earnings, Lipton said.
“It’s almost impossible to predict earnings or extent of losses tied to the pandemic, but companies can identify factors that most affect its business, outline how it’s dealing with them and what the company sees as the life of the impact,” Lipton said.