COVID-19 Pandemic Litigation Update
The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically and drastically impacted many businesses and individuals in various different industries and facets of everyday life. In addition to causing thousands of deaths and illnesses, the pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals and long-term care facilities as well as the dedicated healthcare practitioners that work in those facilities while causing a tidal wave effect on the economy, stock market, supply chain of food and consumer goods, education, travel and tourism industries, election primaries, and criminal justice, among other things. This, in turn, has spawned a flood of litigation in federal and state courts as state and local governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals grapple with the harm caused by the pandemic. Lawsuits have been filed across the nation to litigate disputes in numerous areas of the law including personal injury and wrongful death, employment, construction, housing, consumer protection, business, commercial, and insurance disputes. As the pandemic continues and the deaths, injuries, and losses mount, we expect the flood of litigation to grow significantly as well.
At Lawson & Weitzen, LLP, we take great pride in our ability to provide timely and effective counsel to our clients. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to assist current and prospective clients with COVID-19-related litigation. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice or representation related to your COVID-19 legal matter.
Following are examples of COVID-19 pandemic-related lawsuits that have been recently filed across the nation:
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
- A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Walmart by the family of the retail chain alleging that the company was negligent in its failure to protect the employee from the risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Multiple negligence lawsuits against different cruise ship lines alleging that the cruise lines negligently failed to protect their passengers from the risk of contracting COVID-19, notwithstanding the cruise lines’ knowledge of an outbreak of the illness on the cruise ships.
- A wrongful termination lawsuit by an employee of a national grocery store chain claiming that he was terminated after complaining that the store would not permit him to wear protective gear and did not use procedures to clean and sanitize the store to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- A lawsuit by three nurses against a staffing firm alleging that the firm recruited the nurses to work with COVID-19 patients in New York without protective equipment.
Business Interruption and Insurance Coverage Disputes
- Numerous lawsuits brought by businesses against their insurers to recover business interruption losses sustained due to the COVID-19 outbreak and government closure orders. You can read additional insights into potential Massachusetts legislation here.
- Class action lawsuit brought by a number of small businesses against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for business losses sustained as a result of the PRC’s alleged cover-up of the COVID-19 pandemic and needless global spread of the illness which could have been prevented had PRC timely disclosed and warned of the risks associated with COVID-19.
CARES Act Disputes
- Two separate class action lawsuits against Bank of America and Wells Fargo for violating the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by declining to accept Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications from small businesses which did not have preexisting business accounts with the lenders prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lawsuits against the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) seeking a court order that would require the SBA to provide aid to independent contractor workers under the COVID-19 stimulus package.
State Closure Order Disputes
- Lawsuit by a group of cannabis dispensaries against the Governor of Massachusetts alleging harm suffered as a result of the Governor’s COVID-19 closure order concerning non-essential businesses.
Refund Disputes and Consumer Protection
- Class actions by students of Drexel University and University of Miami seeking a partial refund of tuition and fees due to the University’s cancellation of in-person classes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
- Class action by members of LA Fitness seeking refunds of membership fees following closure of sports clubs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines.
- Class action by customers of Stubhub asserting that ticket reseller wrongfully refused to refund money paid to purchase tickets for events that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Class action by members of Boston Sports Club alleging that the sports club engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices by charging consumers monthly membership fees notwithstanding the inability to provide access to the gyms and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lawsuit against hotel asserting wrongful refusal to refund a deposit paid for a block of room reservations booked for an event that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lawsuit against online seller of goods for engaging in a price gouging scheme relative to the sale of respirators at inflated prices due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lawsuit brought by a church against local government claiming violation of First Amendment rights stemming from the ban of in-person church services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lawsuit against state election commission asserting that change in election process and procedure implemented due to COVID-19 pandemic impaired plaintiffs’ ability to cast votes in election.
- Lawsuits filed by prisoner rights organizations seeking release of prisoners due to COVID-19 pandemic.
No matter what type of legal issue you may be facing related to COVID-19, you can contact Lawson & Weitzen’s attorneys for advice and representation.