CUNA Calls for COVID-19 Liability Protection for Credit Unions

The Credit Union National Association has joined the chorus of business groups calling for temporary liability protection related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, more than 200 groups, which also includes the American Bankers Association, said that as businesses open, they need protection against unfair lawsuits from people who may claim they became ill after visiting their locations.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) is not listed as one of the groups signing the letter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that the next major bill that Congress considers in response to the coronavirus crisis must include liability protections. Democrats and consumer and civil rights advocates contend that would be unfair to consumers who visit businesses that have not been diligent in disease mitigation efforts.

In their letter, the business groups said that “Our members and constituencies are concerned that, despite doing their best to follow applicable guidelines, they will be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits.” They added that without a targeted safe harbor, the fear and uncertainty from “boundless liability” threatens to impede the social and economic recovery.

The business organizations said that the liability protection should be temporary, limited in scope and preserve the rights of people who are injured by “truly bad actors who engage in egregious misconduct.”

Last month other groups, including major labor unions, the Consumer Federation of America and the NAACP said that such immunity would be extremely dangerous to the economic recovery. “When workplaces are not properly protected, patients, customers, clients, and the community are all at risk,” they said, in their own letter to congressional leaders.

Democrats have voiced their opposition to the plan pushed by CUNA and the other business groups. “We would not be inclined to support such immunity from liability,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a news conference last month.

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