Noem signs bill limiting liability for certain COVID-19 exposures
PIERRE, S.D. — On Wednesday, Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill into law that limits civil liability for certain exposures to COVID-19.
House Bill 1046 states that no action or claims for damages relating to COVID-19 exposure or potential exposure can be brought unless the exposure results in a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and the claimant can prove their positive test is the result of intentional exposure with intent to transmit the coronavirus. Similarly, anyone who invites someone onto their property cannot be held liable for COVID-19 exposure without proving the intent was to transmit the virus.
HB1046 also affirms that health care providers are not liable for, “causing or contributing, directly or indirectly, to the death or injury of a person as a result of the health care provider’s acts or omissions in response to COVID-19.” Civil damages constituting gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct are excluded from this decision.
Additionally, anyone who produces, designs, sells, or donates cleaning supplies or personal protective equipment in response to the pandemic cannot be held liable for personal injury, death, or property damage resulting from failure to provide proper instructions or sufficient warnings.
The bill also reaffirms that COVID-19 is not an occupational disease under South Dakota state law. The World Health Organization defines “occupational disease” as, “any disease contracted primarily as a result of an exposure to risk factors arising from work activity.”
The full text of HB1046 can be found here.
Governor Noem has signed sixty bills into law so far this legislative session.