Today's Law As Amended


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AB-1759 Institutions of higher education: liability for COVID-19-related injuries.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to clarify the legal standard of liability for institutions of higher education, designated as part of the critical infrastructure, related to COVID-19 as they plan to return to campuses.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 99400) is added to Part 65 of Division 14 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:

CHAPTER  7. Limitation of Liability for COVID-19-Related Injuries
99400.
 (a) As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) “COVID-19 guidance” means any of the following issued in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic:
(A) Federal or state regulations, orders, or guidance.
(B) Presidential or gubernatorial executive orders.
(C) Orders or guidance provided by applicable local public health agencies, cities, or counties.
(2) “Institution of higher education” means an institution of public higher education or an independent institution of higher education as defined in Section 66010.
(b) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damage shall arise against, an institution of higher education, or its officers, employees, or governing bodies, that meets the conditions of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) for injury relating to COVID-19 infection, illness, or death, notwithstanding any law that might impose that liability, including, but not limited to, any provision contained in Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code, and Section 1708 of, and subdivision (a) of Section 1714 of, the Civil Code.
(c) (1) Subdivision (b) shall not apply to a claim for damages caused by intentional misconduct, wanton or reckless misconduct, gross negligence, or willful and wanton negligence committed by an institution of higher education, its officers, its employees, or its governing bodies.
(2) (A) Subdivision (b) shall only apply if the institution of higher education complied substantially with, or operated in a manner that was consistent with, applicable public health and safety COVID-19 guidance.
(B) If two or more sources of conflicting COVID-19 guidance are applicable, subdivision (b) shall only apply if the institution of higher education complied substantially with, or operated in a manner that was consistent with, the most rigorous public health and safety COVID-19 guidance.
(d) This section shall apply to a cause of action for injury or claim alleged to have been sustained or to have occurred only during the time period in which a federal, state, or local declaration of emergency exists that is related to the outbreak and spread of the illness commonly referred to as COVID-19 is in effect.
(e) (1) This section shall not modify or affect any employment law claim by an employee, including a student employee, of an institution of higher education for an injury sustained in the course and scope of employment.
(2) Subdivision (b) shall apply to a claim by an employee of an institution of higher education, including a student employee, that did not arise out of and in the course of the employment, but would otherwise be encompassed by subdivision (b) as a COVID-19-related claim.
(3) Except as otherwise expressly stated in this section, this section shall not apply to an institution of higher education’s existing duties to employees or any remedies that an employee may have under a collective bargaining agreement.