NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (1080 KRLD) - Gov. Abbott is in North Richland Hills touting a bill aimed at protecting small businesses.
SB6 aims to protect small businesses who have operated in good faith during the COVID-19 pandemic from frivolous lawsuits.
“Business owners and their employees — they went above and beyond to open and operate safely during the time of the pandemic,” Gov. Abbott said during a news conference following a roundtable discussion at the headquarters of Bison Coolers; “and yet, those very same businesses now face the threat of lawsuits.”
Abbott says many who file frivolous lawsuits these days allege that small businesses exposed them to COVID.
“It's hard for anybody to really know where they may have been exposed to COVID, and that's one thing that would make a lawsuit like this be so frivolous.”
Abbott says with many small businesses hurting financially, one frivolous lawsuit could force a small business to close, given the money needed to defend itself even if the defense is successful.
“Their money needs to go towards creating jobs in growing their business, not towards attorneys defending the fact that they were trying to do things properly,” says State Sen. Kelly Hancock, one of the authors of the bill.
Abbott and Hancock stress, however, that this bill does not afford small business blanket immunity.
“We didn’t want to infringe on someone's ability to actually file a claim that was legitimate within the proper parameters of protecting those individuals,” says Hancock.
A companion House bill, HB 3659, was filed by State Rep. Jeff Leach.