Jesse Coleman, partner in Seyfarth's Litigation department and co-chair of the firm’s Health Care, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals industry group, will co-present a Strafford Webinar titled, “Personal Injury Immunity and the PREP Act: Asserting Immunity and Understanding Its Limitations,” on February 24, 2021.
Individuals who have become sick from COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines, or who are otherwise harmed when individuals and entities administer COVID-19 countermeasures, and decedents' survivors and estates are expected to pursue compensation based on the alleged acts or failure to act of others. In doing so, they will have to address the defenses and immunities in the PREP Act.
The PREP Act authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to unilaterally immunize certain government and private actors from suit and legal liability related to "countermeasures" during a declared public health emergency. But like all other laws promising immunity, counsel must parse the actual language of the statute and related declarations and advisories to truly understand the precise scope of the immunity, to which defendants it is available, and for what acts. Moreover, although the PREP Act has been on the books since 2005, only now has a discreet body of case law informed future litigants on how the PREP Act may apply to claims related to COVID-19.