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Mississippi AG Fitch, Congressman...

Mississippi AG Fitch, Congressman Palazzo seek to hold China legally accountable for coronavirus

By: Frank Corder - April 22, 2020

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced today in a release that she is preparing to file a lawsuit against China to hold the Communist nation “accountable for the malicious and dangerous acts that caused death, health injuries, and serious economic loss from the COVID-19 crisis.”

“Too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up,” said Attorney General Fitch. “They must not be allowed to act with impunity. Mississippians deserve justice and I will seek that in court.”

General Fitch’s case will seek damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and is similar to a case filed earlier this week by the State of Missouri.

General Fitch also wrote a letter to the Mississippi Congressional delegation to ask their support for legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) that would create a very specific exception in FSIA for Americans to seek such damages, creating an even clearer pathway to victory for the people of Mississippi.

Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) was one of 22 lawmakers in the House to join Indiana Congressman Jim Banks in a letter that was sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr urging them to bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ).

The group claims that China has violated the 2005 International Health Regulations by suppressing information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Wuhan earlier this year and underreporting the number of infections and deaths caused by the contagion, as reported by FoxNews.

General Fitch’s letter to the Mississippi Delegation states:

 “I am writing to urge you to be an original cosponsor for [Representative Dan Crenshaw’s] Senator Tom Cotton’s Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020. This bill would give Americans the opportunity to sue China in federal court to recover damages related to death, injury, and economic loss suffered as a result of the Coronavirus.
“China did the world a great injustice by engaging in a complex cover-up of the dangers of this deadly virus. By silencing journalists, doctors, whistleblowers, and others, China exposed millions to the Coronavirus and kept the world from preparing, leading to higher death tolls and more dangerous public health impacts. They must be held to account for the damage they have done.
“There are ways to sue China under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), and I intend to pursue those on behalf of the people of this great State. But [Representative Crenshaw’s] Senator Cotton’s bill would give Mississippians an even clearer path to victory over China in the courts. The bill, which creates a very narrow exception to the FSIA, is modeled on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support in, and would be specific to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Too many have gotten seriously ill or died. Too many have lost their jobs and suffered the significant and lasting economic consequences that follow. Our State is experiencing tangible fiscal loss now and that will likely continue into the future. Mississippi families and businesses deserve to be made whole for China’s malicious and dangerous actions. I hope you will cosponsor [Representative Crenshaw’s] Senator Cotton’s bill to help them take this step toward recovery.”
About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father.