The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected every aspect of our lives and left an indelible mark on the legal profession. It ushered in new terms, technologies, and even societal norms. Lawyers used Zoom and other teleconference applications to attend hearings and conduct depositions . . . all without leaving their homes. It also brought about new laws, including Senate Bill 6 – the Pandemic Liability Protection Act.
The Act, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 14, 2021, created Chapter 148 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The law became effective immediately and applied to cases pending at the time it was signed. Section 148.003 – Liability for Causing Exposure to Pandemic Disease applies a “knowing” standard with respect to liability. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §148.003(a). Perhaps more importantly, it also included a requirement wherein the plaintiff was required to serve an expert report within 120-days after a defendant file an answer. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §148.003(b).
The expert report must set forth a factual and scientific basis for the assertion that the defendants’ failure to act caused the individual to contract COVID-19. The defendant may object to the sufficiency of the report. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §148.003(d). If a court determines the report is insufficient, it may grant the plaintiff a one-time, 30-day period to cure any deficiencies. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §148.003(e). If a report is not timely served, the court shall enter an order dismissing the claim with prejudice and awarding reasonable attorney’s fees. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §148.003(f). These requirements, and associated deadlines, are critically important to preserve your COVID-related claim. The lawyers at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner are experienced in handling these cases and are ready to help.
The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz, & Stogner is the longest-standing personal injury firm in Texas, and Our attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to obtain just compensation for their clients. Call us today at 713-222-7211 or visit our website for your free in person or virtual consultation.