As much of Mississippi is reopening there are many asking whether it’s happening too soon.
Former Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood is among them and believes it could lead to a lot of lawsuits..
State officials cede that there will be more covid-19 cases and deaths.
That has a Hood offering a stark warning.
“People are going to get sued because of the actions of politicians who are listening to the insurance companies and the moneyed interest rather than the doctors,” said Hood.
Hood was elected four times as Mississippi’s chief law enforcement officer.
This past November, he ran unsuccessfully for governor.
Now, as a private attorney, he’s talking about what the state needs to do to reopen with no liability.
“It has been crystal clear,” he said. “A state needs to have two weeks of no new additional cases , we need to make sure that we have doubled our testing , make sure that people have proper face coverage for those employees who come back to work and that there’s six foot distancing .”
Hood adds that businesses could be inadvertently hurt worse after the pandemic.
“What’s happening is a lot of these businesses that are believing these politicians are going to wind up getting themselves sued, they’re going to get sued by not only their employees but they’re also going to get sued by customer if they’re not following the standard of care,” Hood said. “There again the standard of care is not what some politician says it’s what the doctors have said.”
However, Governor Tate Reeves says businesses should be protected.
He is calling on the legislature to enact a bill that would prevent lawsuits against small businesses
“I think that we should look into the potential of providing liability protection for a large number of different entities,” Reeves said at a daily coronavirus press conference.
Hood who now works at the Washington D.C. based law firm Weisbrod, Matteis & Copley (with an office in the Jackson area) says it’s not about being litigious instead it’s about saving lives.
“Trying to take the courthouse away from working people one of the last places that a little guy can go fight — people outta instead of protesting in the streets about guns or opening up outta be protesting about that trying to take away our constitutional right by trial by jury,” Hood said.
Hood adds as the Attorney General he tried to warn people not to do certain things to keep down litigation.
“Employers don’t want to have to kill people, but it’s the same thing if you open up prematurely, it’s the same thing as getting drunk in a car and going down the road,” he said. “You didn’t intend to kill somebody, but you did and so people are going to be held responsible litigation is just, there’s going to be a lot of it.”