The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, also known as Division C of P.L. 109-148 (2005) limits liability with respect to pandemic flu and other public health countermeasures. A Congressional Research Service Report for Congress by Henry Cohen, Legislative Attorney notes the following:
1. The ONLY circumstance in which a shielded person could be held liable for a death or serious injury requires that the action was done “intentionally to achieve wrongful purpose” and “knowingly” –disregarding a high probability of harm.
2. However, the HHS Secretary “shall promulgate regulations…that further restrict the scope of actions or omissions by a covered person that may qualify as ‘willful misconduct.'” In other words, HHS is directed to raise the bar even higher on lawsuits than the bill has already done.
3. And no matter how bad the misconduct, federal employees have a special protection: under no circumstances will you be able to bring action “against a federal employee.”
There is more: mandatory sanctions for lawyers who bring frivolous claims, for instance. It’s antidemocratic provisions are astonishing.