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'Some suits will be filed': New risk looms for businesses that choose to reopen

A law expert says Texas choosing to be one of the first states to begin reopening makes the immediate future hard to predict.

SAN ANTONIO — If last weekend was any indicator, Texas is officially (partially) reopened for business. But being a trailblazer in this sense may actually set some shops up for failure.

Vincent R. Johnson, a law professor at St. Mary's, says businesses should be aware of the risks they're taking in flipping the lights on and welcoming back customers in these unprecedented times.

"I think the fact that Texas was early on has put businesses in a less certain position as to exactly what steps should be taken," Johnson told KENS 5 via Zoom. 

With little direction, Johnson says businesses are vulnerable to a slew of lawsuits from potential employees or customers who are at risk of contracting the virus.

"I think some suits will be filed," he said. "I think they will attract attention. I think businesses will pay attention and they will do the things that will minimize transmission and that's going to be good for the community and good for themselves, because they're going to be avoiding risk for a lawsuit."

But businesses may be able to avoid it altogether. Johnson says there are talks of legislation that could immunize businesses from these very lawsuits.

It's something he anticipates owners would love to see, but also something he said he would find unfortunate. 

"Because so many people in Texas lack health insurance and there's inadequate testing for the disease, we have to create incentives for safe practices to make up for all the deficiencies in the testing system," he said. 

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