TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, December 11, 2020

COVID-19 Suits, Preemption, and Workers' Compensation

At Law.com, Amanda Bronstad covers suits by employees against Tyson Foods.  The defendants in those cases have argued negligence claims are preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act.  In the cases filed in Iowa, defendants also cited the workers' compensation bar.  Tyson opted out of workers' compensation in Texas, the only jurisdiction in the United States in which that is possible.  Bronstad then discusses preemption as applicable to other industries.  For instance, nursing homes sued for negligence have attempted to argue preemption based on the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act:

At least four federal judges, in New Jersey, Kansas, Pennsylvania and California, have ruled against the nursing homes, granting remand of the cases to state courts.

“The allegations are ‘you didn’t take enough steps to keep us from getting COVID.’ Courts are looking at that, saying that’s not what the PREP Act had in mind,” Robinette said. “Basically, what the PREP Act is talking about is certain drugs, biological products or devices—for instance, once a vaccine has been developed. But the suits are alleging things like your failures to do certain things have led to us getting COVID.”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2020/12/covid-19-suits-preemption-and-workers-compensation.html

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