NFIB State Director Ben Homeyer today called on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to pass S. 1259, legislation that would protect South Carolina’s small business owners from baseless legal claims stemming from the pandemic. The subcommittee meets today at 2 p.m.
Here is the complete text of Homeyer’s letter to the subcommittee:
On behalf of our members throughout the state, I am asking the subcommittee to vote “yes” on S. 1259, the COVID-19 Business Liability Bill.
This pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on South Carolina’s small businesses. When my association, the National Federation of Independent Business, surveyed its members last month, 16 percent said they would be able to operate their businesses only three to six months under current economic conditions, while 19 percent said they could last seven to 12 months.
Small business owners are resilient and determined, and they are doing everything they can to keep the doors open and protect the welfare of their customers and employees, but these are difficult times, and many of our members are concerned about increased liability because of the coronavirus.
This is why I am asking the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to help South Carolina’s small businesses by voting to protect them from trial attorneys who might try to exploit the pandemic for profit.
People tend to think all businesses are alike, but small businesses aren’t the same as large corporations. Small businesses do not have teams of lawyers, and they do not have unlimited funds to make their problems go away. The cost of defending itself against even one unwarranted claim can be enough to put a small business out of business.
South Carolina’s economy was devastated when businesses had to close temporarily to help contain the coronavirus. Unless the Legislature takes steps to protect employers from unscrupulous lawsuits, some of our small businesses could end up closing for good.