Governor Mike DeWine Signs H.B. 606 Bringing Protections From Coronavirus Lawsuits

Tuesday September 15, 2020 Published in Corporate and Business, Labor & Employment, Litigation

To bring some certainty to the Covid-19 related tort liability that Ohio business owners may face, on September 14, 2020 Governor DeWine signed Am. Sub. H. B. No. 606 (the “Bill”) into law. The Bill, has made temporary changes granting qualified civil immunity to a wide array of businesses, including schools, for-profit and non-profit entities, religious entities, and governmental and state institutions of higher education, from injury, death or loss caused by exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, or SARS-CoV-2 (the viruses that cause middle east respiratory syndrome, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and coronavirus disease 2019 respectively), or any mutation thereof (collectively, the “Viruses”), unless it is established that such exposure, transmission, or contraction was due to reckless conduct or intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct on the part of the party against whom the action is brought. Under the Bill, “Reckless conduct” means conduct by which, with heedless indifference to the consequences, the person disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk an exposure to, or a transmission or contraction of, any of the Viruses. In addition, should the above immunity not apply, the Bill goes on to prohibit class actions against any person alleging liability for damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property on a cause of action premised on the exposure to, or a transmission or contraction of, any of the Viruses.

The Bill further provides that Virus related orders and recommendations from the executive branch, from counties and local municipalities, from boards of health and other agencies, and from any federal government agency, do not create any new legal duties for purposes of tort liability and are presumed to be irrelevant to the issue of the existence of a duty or breach of a duty. Moreover, any such orders and recommendations are presumed to be inadmissible at trial to establish proof of a duty or breach of a duty in tort actions.

The Bill grants immunity during the time period from March 9, 2020, through September 30, 2021. There may be some question, however, over the actual effective date of the Bill in that, generally, a bill goes into effect 90 days following the date it is signed by the Governor. Nonetheless, this is an important piece of legislation and should bring some peace of mind to businesses navigating their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact one of our attorneys.

Download Now

Wegman Hessler specializes in business law for business leaders, applying legal discipline to solve business problems to help business owners run smarter. For more than 50 years, this Cleveland business law firm provides full-service strategic legal counsel for closely held businesses. Learn more at

Related Stories

Wegman Hessler business lawyer Mary Dennison

Attorney Mary Dennison Joins Cleveland Law Firm Wegman Hessler

Cleveland, Ohio – Mary E. Dennison, Esq., has joined the Cleveland law firm Wegman Hessler as Associate Attorney. Mary is part of the Business Services team at Wegman Hessler joining…

Read More

What business partners need to know about fiduciary duty

The litigation team at Wegman Hessler recently won a case for a small business client, who received a substantial judgment. The individual was a 49% shareholder owner of an LLC…

Read More

Nathan Hessler named Managing Partner of Wegman Hessler

Also recognized as Distinguished Alumni of Lutheran West H.S. Cleveland, Ohio – January 17, 2022 – Members of the board of directors of the Cleveland business law firm Wegman Hessler…

Read More