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Thomas Kane Quoted in “New Jersey Regulation and Legislation to Watch in 2021”

Law360 Employment Authority

Thomas Kane, Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the firm’s Princeton office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “New Jersey Regulation and Legislation to Watch in 2021,” by Bill Wichert. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is entering 2021 with an eye on winning a second term while his administration imposes restrictions on businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak and crafts regulations for selling adult-use recreational marijuana and implementing an environmental justice law, even as mandatory minimum sentencing reform remains stalled.

The Democratic governor's reelection bid will likely be shaped by his handling of a pandemic that has led to more than 400,000 total cases in the Garden State and over 18,000 confirmed and probable deaths. New Jersey restaurants and other businesses also have been forced to close their doors in the wake of state restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus. …

Here's a roundup of legislation and regulation to keep an eye on in 2021. …

COVID-19 Suit Immunity

As businesses navigate those restrictions, they also are eyeing pending state legislation that would grant them immunity from lawsuits related to workers' or customers' exposure to COVID-19.

Some bills — which were introduced over the summer but have not made it out of legislative committees — would shield businesses from those lawsuits if they complied in "good faith" with health and safety measures based on guidance and regulations from federal and state officials in order to "prevent or mitigate a person's exposure" to the virus.

While proving causation in such cases would be challenging for plaintiffs, immunity would give businesses greater certainty and the sense that, if they follow certain measures, they won't "get hit with a big verdict down the road," said Thomas Kane, a member of the litigation and health care and life sciences practices at Epstein Becker & Green PC.

"It's always the uncertainty and the fear of what could come down that creates the biggest problem for businesses as they're trying to plan," Kane said. "If everybody knew what they had to do, if everybody knew the right steps to take, most businesses are going to do it. Nobody wants to see their employees or their customers get this disease."

This article also appeared in Law360’s New Jersey Pulse. (Read the full version – subscription required.)