Lawsuit contends man infected by another employee who came to work with COVID-19


As Florida lawmakers move quickly to try to shield businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, a Miami-Dade County circuit judge has refused to dismiss a case against Publix Super Markets that stems from the COVID-19 death of a deli worker.

Judge Carlos Lopez on Friday rejected a motion by Publix to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the estate of Gerardo Gutierrez, a 70-year-old employee of a Miami Beach store who died in April.

The lawsuit, filed in November, contends that Gutierrez was infected in late March by another employee who came to work with COVID-19. It makes a series of allegations, including that Publx at the time prevented employees from wearing masks that could have prevented the spread of the disease.

Publix argued in a motion to dismiss that the dispute should be handled as a workers’ compensation insurance case, rather than as a civil lawsuit in circuit court. Lopez held a hearing Wednesday and issued a one-paragraph order Friday denying the motion to dismiss, though the order does not explain his reasons..

The decision, which clears the way for the lawsuit to move forward, came as Republican leaders of the Florida House and Senate have made a priority of passing legislation to help block coronavirus-related lawsuits against businesses.

Source: Click Orlando