New Jersey state Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove are drafting legislation to prevent the expiration of legal immunity for senior communities from COVID-related lawsuits. Under current law enacted on June 30 of this year, senior communities and other planned real estate developments would lose their legal immunity from COVID-related lawsuits on January 1, 2022.
The 9th District Legislative Delegation issued the following statement:
“A large segment of our constituency is comprised of seniors living in senior communities. For that reason, our Delegation strongly supported the law to protect senior community homeowner associations from COVID-related lawsuits. While the legislation was being debated, our Delegation provided legislative updates to thousands of constituents who had taken an active interest in the issue. We did so with the understanding that many seniors wanted to return to a sense of normalcy, which meant having the ability to use community facilities, such as clubhouses and pools.
“As it would seem that COVID will remain a serious public health concern for longer than expected, we have been contacted by constituents who are concerned that the COVID legal immunity law expires at the start of the new year. Some constituents have informed us that their communities had only recently reopened their facilities. Yet, they face the somber prospect of possibly closing their facilities, once again, for no other reason than fear of potentially costly and baseless lawsuits, even with comprehensive precautions in place to prevent spread of the disease.
“Given the circumstances, our Delegation’s position is that COVID legal immunity for senior communities should stand indefinitely, without expiring, so as not to disrupt the lives of impacted seniors. To that end, our Delegation will introduce legislation to eliminate the expiration date of the law and preserve its legal protections once the Legislature reconvenes.
“The issue of legal immunity for senior communities has already been debated comprehensively by the Legislature. Preserving this legal immunity is a reasonable proposal when considering the factors in play, including the quality of life for impacted seniors. If we want to do what is right for senior communities, then advancing our legislation by the end of the year should not be an issue, provided the majority party legislative leadership which controls the Legislature’s agenda, is ready to act in time.”