On January 19, 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Statement of Interest (SOI) in a Middle District of Tennessee case involving a long term care provider to address the preemptive effect of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act.
The recent development of the submission of the DOJ SOI is considered a positive development as trial attorneys continue to sue senior living, long term care, and other health care providers for circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the SOI, the DOJ addresses its interest in a uniform application of the PREP Act across all jurisdictions and public health emergencies. In doing so, the DOJ asserts its position that the PREP Act affords complete preemption of state law claims furthering support of the removal of claims that fall within the purview of the PREP Act to federal court. This is an important statement as it underscores the importance of federal courts deciding if immunity under the PREP Act is invoked, rather than a state court.
If you have a COVID-19 claim or lawsuit filed against you, it is important for you to work with your defense counsel to analyze the potential application of any federal and/or state laws, including the PREP Act. Click here for the full memo from Argentum on this issue.