The GOP-led West Virginia House of Delegates voted 59-38 Tuesday to scale back deliberate intent lawsuit protections. When there’s a known unsafe working condition that hurts or kills someone, the lawsuits are available, in addition to making workers’ compensation claims.
Bill proponents, largely Republicans, said the proposal would help businesses, but still be fair for plaintiffs.
Opponents, mostly Democrats, said changes would make the burden of proof so high that wrongdoing companies and executives could more easily get off the hook. Several lawmakers mentioned mine disasters, including the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 men.
One provision says employers would be liable for actual knowledge, not what they should have known, about unsafe conditions.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
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