Mealey's Coronavirus

  • October 21, 2020

    Trade Secret Suit Defendant Denied Coronavirus-Related Home Confinement

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — A federal judge in Georgia on Oct. 19 denied a defendant’s request to serve the remaining term of his 70-month prison sentence for his role in a trade secret theft scheme in home confinement due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, ruling that such relief could be granted only by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) (United States v. Craig German, No. 19-cr-069, S.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193097).

  • October 21, 2020

    Seriousness Of Fraud Defendant’s Scheme Weighs Against Compassionate Release

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Oct. 20 denied a man’s request for compassionate release in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, holding that while his medical conditions provide for relief, he should not be released to home confinement because he is not at high risk of contracting the virus at the correctional facility where he is incarcerated and because he still poses a risk to society based on the seriousness of his fraud scheme (United States v. Jeremy Posner, No. 18-CR-631, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194502).

  • October 20, 2020

    COMMENTARY: Conducting A Civil Jury Trial In COVID-19 Times

    By John P. Katerndahl

  • October 20, 2020

    High Court Stays Injunction Of South Carolina Absentee Ballot Witness Requirement

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 granted in part an emergency application of several South Carolina election commission and other state officials for a stay pending an appeal in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a district court injunction enjoining them from enforcing state law requiring that absentee ballots be witnessed by a third party.  After initially staying the injunction, the Fourth Circuit granted rehearing en banc and denied a stay (Marci Andino, et al. v. Kyron Middleton, et al., No. 20A55, 2020 U.S. LEXIS 4832, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 20, 2020

    Protective Order Denied, Counsel Appointed In COVID-19 Ski Resorts Closure Suits

    DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on Oct. 15 issued orders selecting interim lead counsel for 10 consolidated class complaints accusing the owner of multiple ski resorts of breaching its contract with season passholders when it closed in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and failed to issue refunds and denying a motion for protective order and correction action filed after the resort began offering passholders credits (Bernard Han v. Vail Resorts, Inc., No. 20-1121, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190784, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190785).

  • October 16, 2020

    Judge: Denial Of Coronavirus-Related Payments To Inmates Violated The APA

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Oct. 14 declined to stay a preliminary injunction in a class complaint filed by two prisoners who allege that they and others have been wrongfully denied economic impact payment (EIP) benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, certified a litigation class and partially granted the prisoners’ motion for summary judgment as to one claim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), writing that the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have not provided any reasons for excluding incarcerated individuals from receiving payments (Colin Scholl, et al. v. Steven Mnuchin, et al., No. 20-5309, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191400).

  • October 16, 2020

    Royal Caribbean Latest Cruise Line Hit With COVID-Related Shareholder Suit

    MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and certain of its senior executives violated federal securities law by failing to disclose that the cruise line had been experiencing a decrease in bookings for cruises outside of China in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak and that the company lacked adequate policies and procedures to combat the spread of COVID-19 on its ships, a shareholder alleges in an Oct. 7 complaint filed in Florida federal court (City of Riviera Beach General Employees Retirement System v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., et al., No. 20-24111, S.D. Fla.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Restaurant, Hospitality Franchise Owners File $41M Coronavirus Coverage Lawsuit

    NEWARK, N.J. — The owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton on Oct. 12 sued their all-risk commercial business insurer in a federal court in New Jersey for breach of contract and reformation, alleging that physical loss and damage caused by the novel coronavirus “directly led” to their subsequent $40,798,390 in economic damages (Manhattan Partners LLC, et al. v. American Guaranty and Liability Insurance Company, No. 20-cv-14342, D. N.J.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Insured Seeks Coverage For COVID-19 Damages Under Environmental Policy

    NEW YORK — An insured real estate development company contends in an Oct. 9 complaint filed in New York federal court that its environmental insurer breached its contract by denying coverage for losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and state shutdown orders because the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, constitutes a pollutant under the policy (JEMB Realty Corp. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 20-8537, S.D.N.Y.).

  • October 14, 2020

    Fraud Defendant’s Health, Threat To Society Weigh Against Compassionate Release

    SPOKANE, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 13 denied an insurance fraud defendant’s request for a reduction of her 70-month prison sentence, holding that she still poses a risk to society and that her medical conditions do not present a compelling reason for compassionate release because of the COVID-19 pandemic (United States v. Sandra Victoria Talento, 18-cr-0232, E.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189564).

  • October 14, 2020

    Remand Of COVID-19 Death Suit Against Nursing Home, Doctor Appealed

    LOS ANGELES — A nursing home, its owner and a doctor on Oct. 9 filed notices alerting a California federal court that they are appealing to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals the court’s order remanding a COVID-19 wrongful death and negligence suit against them to state court (Emma Martin, et al. v. Serrano Post Acute LLC, et al., No. 20-5937, C.D. Calif.).

  • October 14, 2020

    Briefing Stayed On Nursing Home’s Motion To Dismiss COVID-19 Wrongful Death Suit

    FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California in an Oct. 9 text-only order stayed briefing on a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit against it until he has ruled on the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case, noting the “considerable overlap” of the motions, specifically, that both “address the question of the extent to which plaintiffs' state law claims of elder abuse and negligence implicate the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (‘PREP Act’)” (Jaime Gonzalez, et al. v. Redwood Springs Healthcare Center, et al., No. 20-1260, E.D. Calif.).

  • October 14, 2020

    5th Circuit Stays Injunction In Inmates’ COVID-19 Response Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 13 granted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) emergency motion to stay a permanent injunction that had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 14 following a district court’s findings in a class complaint that insufficient actions were taken to protect inmates housed in a Texas prison primarily for elderly individuals and those with health issues from the novel coronavirus (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20-20525, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32325).

  • October 14, 2020

    Catholic University Student Argues Against Dismissal Of Coronavirus Closure Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Catholic University of America student who filed a putative class complaint against the school over the mid-March transition to online learning due to the novel coronavirus filed an opposition to dismissal on Oct. 9 in a District of Columbia federal court, arguing that she has alleged cognizable claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment (Daniella Montesano, et al. v. The Catholic University of America, No. 20-1496, D. D.C.).

  • October 14, 2020

    Supreme Court Grants Stay So Government Can End COVID-Delayed Census

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unsigned order Oct. 13, over the dissent of one justice, allowing the 2020 census to end now rather than having the count continue to the end of the month as a lower court had ordered due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., et al. v. National Urban League, et al., No. 20A62, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 14, 2020

    Citing ‘Noncompliance,’ Judge Modifies Injunction In ICE Detainee Class Suit

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 7 modified and clarified a preliminary injunction issued in April in a class complaint by individuals being held in federal immigration detention centers who are seeking release of high-risk individuals due to the novel coronavirus pandemic due to “noncompliance” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (Faour Abdallah Fraihat, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, et al., No. 19-1546, C.D. Calif.).

  • October 13, 2020

    Michigan Judges Differ In Holdings In University COVID-19 Response Cases

    LANSING, Mich. — In two of the latest rulings in putative class complaints by students accusing multiple Michigan universities of breach of contract and unjust enrichment in connection with their responses in mid-March to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Michigan judge on Oct. 1 issued two similar opinions partially granting the universities’ motions for summary disposition, finding that no express contracts existed regarding tuition, room and board and fees but permitting the students to proceed with alternative claims for unjust enrichment (Annissa Stenger v. Ferris State University, et al., No. 20-84, Mich. Clms., 2020 Mich. Ct. Cl. LEXIS 5, James Allen v. Michigan State University, et al., No. 20-57, Mich. Clms., 2020 Mich. Ct. Cl. LEXIS 6).

  • October 08, 2020

    COMMENTARY: Asbestos Litigation Amid The Covid-19 Pandemic: New Developments In 2020

    By Peter Kelso, Joseph Cagnoli Jr. and Marc Scarcella

  • October 12, 2020

    Virtual Washington Jury Trial Results In $1.35M Award To Woman For Cruise Ship Fall

    SEATTLE — Following what a plaintiff’s attorney said may be the first federal civil jury trial conducted entirely over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Washington jury awarded a woman $1.35 million on Oct. 7 for a head injury she suffered when she fell in a cruise ship hallway.  The jury also held the woman 20 percent responsible for the accident, which reduced the original award (Margaret Dallo v. Holland America Line N.V. LLC, No. 19-865, W.D. Wash.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Judge: Discrepancy In Furlough Application Warrants Fraud Defendant’s Release

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 30 granted an insurance fraud defendant’s motion for compassionate release after he contracted COVID-19, finding that the government was unable to show that the warden denied the man’s request for furlough after the defendant was told that the federal correctional institute (FCI) was shutting down (United States v. Raymond R. Pellegrino, No. 18-cr-496, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181052).