The Supreme Court rejects the first lawsuit against the State for the damages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

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He Supreme Court This Tuesday, it rejected the first of the appeals in which the patrimonial responsibility of the State for the damages suffered by a company in the hospitality sector as a result of the application of the regulations approved to prevent or mitigate the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. These regulations imposed, among other extremes, the temporary suspension of the business activity to which the hotel Alhambra Palace, from Granada. The ruling lays the foundations for the jurisprudence that the High Court will apply when responding to the thousands of lawsuits filed against the State.

The text of the sentence, presentation by the magistrate Carlos Lesmes, begins by briefly stating the milestones that allow the global health crisis to be sequenced, both at the international level, since on December 31, 2019, the Health and Sanitation Commission of Wuhan (China) reported on the first cases of pneumonia of etiology unknown, pointing out the progressive responses given by international organizations, as well as at the national level, starting from the moment, January 23, 2020, when a first protocol prepared by the Presentation on Alerts and Preparedness and Response Plans was published. It is evident how, despite various warnings, various concentrations of people occurred in our country at the same time, until, on March 12, 2020, the Royal Decree Law 7/2020by which urgent measures were adopted to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19.

The regulatory response deployed by public powers to stop the spread of the pandemic is then explained, developing in particular the basic content of the royal decrees relating to the state of alarm, which constituted the basic regulatory instrument used by the Government for this purpose. The ruling also states the specific measures adopted for the business sector to which the appeal being resolved refers, which is that dedicated to the hotel and restaurant industry.

Although the appellant’s arguments are numerous to establish patrimonial liability, the Chamber initially focuses the debate on the fact that the patrimonial damages for which repair is requested are attributed mainly to the regulations that imposed a set of restrictions and containment measures and that were included in the royal decrees of the state of alarm. These norms have the force of law from a constitutional perspective, as both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have previously declared.

If the rules to which the patrimonial responsibility is attributed have the force of law, the patrimonial responsibility will be that of the State-Legislator, so the court must abide by the rules regulating this type of responsibility.

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