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Public Justice Comment on Reports of Administration Invoking DPA and Ordering Liability Shield for Meat Corporations

Public Justice Comment on Reports of Administration Invoking DPA and Ordering Liability Shield for Meat Corporations

To news that the Trump Administration is preparing to invoke the Defense Production Act for the sole purpose of keeping meatpacking plants open no matter their safety measures, and intends to draft an executive order shielding agribusiness corporations from many lawsuits regarding harm to workers from exposure to COVID-19, Public Justice Food Project Director of Litigation David Muraskin had this to say:

“The Defense Production Act – which, by all accounts, the President has never properly implemented for its true purpose – is meant to protect the public’s safety and the availability of essential supplies that ensure that safety is possible. Instead, President Trump is turning that purpose on its head and using a well-intentioned law to jeopardize the well-being of workers and protect the pocketbooks of corporate executives.

Our pending case against Smithfield doesn’t seek monetary damages; it only asks for life-saving relief for workers. That’s a moral and legal right that even the President, regardless of his motivation, has no authority to deny or erase. Workers, their families and their communities are in grave danger. Now, to add insult to injury, the President appears to be attempting to shield those responsible for causing that danger in the first place. This is a time to show leadership, not a time to be passing around ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards to campaign contributors and corrupt corporations in an attempt to protect their bottom line.”