Mealey's Coronavirus

  • August 13, 2022

    NHL Insureds State Claim Based On Communicable Disease Coverage, Calif. Judge Says

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California judge on Aug. 8 held that the National Hockey League (NHL) and 19 league clubs stated a claim based on their insurance policies’ communicable disease coverage, overruling an insurer’s demurrer to the insureds’ second amended complaint seeking coverage for their losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • August 12, 2022

    Restaurants Insureds Seek N.C. High Court Review Of Coronavirus Coverage Dispute

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Restaurant insureds on Aug. 8 filed a petition asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s July 5 reversal of a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in their favor in a coronavirus coverage dispute, challenging the appeals court’s finding that governmental orders that temporarily restricted the scope of the insureds’ restaurant operations did not constitute direct physical loss or property damage to trigger coverage under their “all-risk” insurance policies (North State Deli, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al., No. 225P21-2, N.C. Sup.).

  • August 12, 2022

    D.C. Circuit Panel Orders Parties To Brief As To Whether TSA Mask Rule Case Is Moot

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In six largely identical cases brought by would-be airline passengers challenging the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) enforcement of the federal transportation mask mandate, a per curiam panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 11 ordered that the parties file supplemental briefs addressing whether the cases were moot in light of the expiration and recission of the TSA’s mask directives.

  • August 12, 2022

    4th Circuit Rejects Golden Corral Franchisor’s Appeal In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    RICHMOND, Va. — Finding “no reversible error,” the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of Golden Corral Corp. and Golden Corral Franchising Systems’ bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for their financial losses arising from the suspension of their restaurant operations in response to the government orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • August 12, 2022

    S.C. High Court Answers ‘No’ To Certified Question In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Aug. 10 held that the presence of COVID-19 and the subsequent government orders prohibiting indoor dining do not fall under a commercial property insurance policy’s “direct physical loss or damage” language to trigger coverage, answering “no” to a question certified from a federal district court.

  • August 11, 2022

    Parties File Stipulation Of Dismissal In Long COVID, Disability Benefits Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A disability insurer and a disability claimant suffering from symptoms of long COVID following a battle with COVID-19 have settled the claimant’s suit seeking a reinstatement of short-term disability (STD) benefits and a finding that she is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits, according to an Aug. 8 stipulation of dismissal filed by the parties in California federal court.

  • August 11, 2022

    Car Dealer Challenges Default Judgment For DOL In Pandemic Firing Suit

    AUSTIN, Texas — Operators of an Austin, Texas, luxury car dealer who are accused in a federal court in Texas by the secretary of Labor of retaliating against an employee who warned others about potential COVID-19 hazards in the workplace moved on Aug. 9 to set aside entry of a default judgment one day earlier and argued that the circumstances surrounding a recent settlement with the National Labor Relations Board were not properly presented in the secretary’s motion.

  • August 10, 2022

    University Defends Vaccine Mandate Requirement In 6th Circuit Appeal

    CINCINNATI — A COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for Michigan State University (MSU) faculty, staff and students who have what some describe as “naturally acquired immunity” is constitutional and does not “run afoul of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” the MSU president and board of trustees argue in an appellee brief filed Aug. 3 in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • August 09, 2022

    Court Officer Safety Pandemic Suit Dismissed With Prejudice For Lack Of Standing

    NEW YORK — A second amended complaint alleging failure to keep court security officers (CSOs) safe from the spread of COVID-19 was dismissed for a second time, this time with prejudice, after a federal judge in New York on July 8 found that the plaintiff, the CSOs’ union president, again failed to establish representative standing.

  • August 09, 2022

    Majority Refuses To Disturb Finding That Policy Is Ambiguous In COVID-19 Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — A majority of a Louisiana appeals court on Aug. 8 refused to disturb its June 15 finding that an insurance policy is ambiguous and capable of more than one reasonable interpretation as to coverage for a French Quarter restaurant insured’s lost business income arising from the coronavirus pandemic, standing by its reversal of a lower court’s judgment against the insured and its holding that coverage exists for the insured’s loss or damage caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to” its premises as a result of COVID-19 contamination.

  • August 09, 2022

    11th Circuit: Cruise Line Can’t Arbitrate Claims Of Crew ‘Trapped’ During COVID-19

    ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 5 reversed a district court’s order compelling arbitration of putative class claims for false imprisonment brought by two Filipino ex-crewmembers who allege that a cruise company “trapped” them on a ship for months after the outbreak of COVID-19, finding the crewmembers’ claims for intentional torts outside the scope of their arbitration agreement.

  • August 09, 2022

    Food Service Outfit And Pizzeria Settle Payment Claims Arising From COVID Lockdowns

    NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 8 dismissed with prejudice all remaining claims and counterclaims in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by a pizza shop against a food service company seeking payments under a food service contract during lockdowns necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic after the parties reached a settlement and filed a stipulation of dismissal.  The judge previously dismissed a breach of contract counterclaim by the food service company but left intact its counterclaim for unjust enrichment.

  • August 09, 2022

    DOL Seeks Default Judgment In Pandemic Firing Suit After NLRB Settlement

    AUSTIN, Texas — The secretary of Labor on Aug. 8 filed a motion for default judgment in a federal court in Texas against two of the three defendants in a case accusing the operators of an Austin luxury car dealer of retaliating against an employee who warned others about potential COVID-19 hazards in the workplace, based on their failure to answer the complaint and noting that despite a recent settlement between the National Labor Relations Board and the defendants, back wages, compensatory and/or punitive damages and injunctive relief should still be awarded.

  • August 08, 2022

    Montana High Court: Virtual Visitation During COVID-19 Was Valid Family Treatment

    HELENA, Mont. — A five-justice panel of the Supreme Court of Montana on Aug. 2 affirmed the judgment of a state judge terminating the parental rights of a mother and father because of the parents’ drug abuse and other instances of inadequate parenting, finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) made reasonable efforts at reunifying the children with their parents even though one aspect of the parents’ treatment employed “virtual” parenting via videoconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • August 05, 2022

    Florida Majority Affirms Dismissal Of Wedding Designer’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    MIAMI — A majority of a Florida appeals court panel on Aug. 3 affirmed dismissal of a wedding designer company insured’s lawsuit seeking commercial property insurance coverage for its loss of business income caused by the suspension of its operations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the recent case Commodore, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London is “indistinguishable” from the present case.

  • August 05, 2022

    Federal Judge Rejects Former Employee’s Claims To Proceeds Of PPP Loan

    PHILADELPHIA — A former employee of a tourism-based business in Philadelphia that received two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can’t lay claim to those funds after being fired as the employer “had discretion to spend the proceeds of its PPP loans as it saw fit, as long as it faced the consequences,” a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Aug. 3, granting the motion for partial dismissal in the lawsuit that also brings claims for age bias.

  • August 05, 2022

    5th Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc In Fracking Employment Termination Case

    NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 19 issued the mandate in which it reversed a lower court and held that a hydraulic fracturing company violated federal law when it terminated the employment of three workers during the COVID-19 pandemic without providing advanced notice, denying the fracking operator’s petition for rehearing en banc.

  • August 04, 2022

    Citing Dismissal Of Underlying Suit, 2nd Circuit Tosses COVID Death Suit Appeal

    BROOKLYN, N.Y — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 granted a nursing home’s motion to dismiss its appeal of a wrongful death suit filed by the son of a man who contracted COVID-19 and died there, finding that because the son voluntarily dismissed the underlying state court suit, the Second Circuit cannot order “any effective relief.”

  • August 04, 2022

    5th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Restaurants’ Bad Faith Suit Stemming From COVID-19

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 affirmed a federal court’s ruling that no coverage is owed to insured restaurant owners for business losses incurred as a result of the governmental shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the restaurants did not sustain a direct physical loss to their properties, affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit seeking coverage and penalties for the insurers’ alleged bad faith denial of their coverage claim.

  • August 03, 2022

    Chicago-Area Health System Agrees To Settlement Of $10.3M, Vaccine Program Revision

    CHICAGO — NorthShore University HealthSystem and certain workers filed a joint motion in a federal court in Illinois on July 29 seeking preliminary approval of a class settlement including a payment of more than $10.3 million and the revision of its vaccine program to enhance accommodation procedures to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs in order to end a complaint by the health care workers that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine policy violated their religious beliefs.