KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Retailer insureds on May 22 sued their all-risk commercial property insurers for breach of contract in a federal court in Kansas, alleging that the insurers are part of an industry that has taken a “uniform approach” to the novel coronavirus pandemic by denying coverage even when the policy does not include an exclusion for losses related to a pandemic or virus (RPR Enterprises, Inc. et al. v. Continental Western Group, LLC, et al., No. 20-02256, D. Kan.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Restaurant owners on May 4 moved for expedited summary judgment the same day they filed a lawsuit against their all-risk insurer in a District of Columbia court, arguing that the loss of use of their properties due to the novel coronavirus and related governmental orders constitutes “direct physical loss” under their insurance policies and asserting that this “is clearly a case in which justice delayed is justice denied” (Rose’s 1, LLC, et al. v. Erie Insurance Exchange, D.C. Super.).
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two Native American tribes sued the U.S. government May 29 in Montana federal court seeking to stop construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline, saying that recent approvals for the work were granted improperly and that pipeline worker-filled “man camps” are a threat to Indian women and could spread the novel coronavirus to the tribes’ members, including its sacred elders and many with health problems (Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 4:20-cv-00044, D. Mont.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — In-N-Out Burgers sued its commercial property insurer for breach of contract in a California federal court on May 29, arguing that the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused “direct physical loss of or damage to” its insured properties and seeking coverage for time element losses, contingent time element losses, decontamination costs, civil authority losses and extra expenses (In-N-Out Burgers v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 20-01000, C.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE — An “all risk” businessowners property insurer on May 28 moved to strike and dismiss all class allegations brought by a dentist insured seeking business interruption coverage for losses and expenses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A rental car company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act when it terminated its employees without cause and without advance notice as part of a shutdown caused by the economic impact from the novel coronavirus pandemic, a former employee alleges in a May 27 class complaint filed in a federal court in Florida (Elva Benson, et al. v. Enterprise Holding, Inc., et al., No. 20-891, M.D. Fla.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on May 29 denied a health care fraud defendant’s motion to convert the remainder of his 50-month prison sentence to home confinement and probation in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic, ruling that the defendant’s medical history of obesity and hypertension does not put him at a higher risk of contracting the virus and that his role in the $3.5 million fraudulent billing scheme does not support his release from prison (United States v. Brian Catanzarite, No. 18-0362, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94478).
DENVER — The Colorado governor and Department of Corrections (DOC) must prioritize the release of vulnerable prisoners who present no threat to society to protect them from contracting COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, five prisoners allege in a class complaint filed May 28 in the Denver County District Court seeking an emergency order (Gary Winston, et al. v. Jared Polis, et al., No. 2020CV31823, Colo. Dist., Denver Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 28 heard oral arguments on injunctive relief granted by a trial court, which was stayed by the appellate court, to Texas prisoners who allege in a putative class complaint that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) response to the novel coronavirus pandemic was insufficient (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20-20207, 5th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — An insurer on May 27 moved for a federal court in Pennsylvania to dismiss a manufacturing facility insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses following its shutdown due to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insured fails to allege a “direct physical loss of or damage to property” to warrant coverage (C.A. Spalding Company v. Selective Insurance Group, Inc., et al., No. 20-01967, E.D. Pa.).
LOS ANGELES — The people of California on May 26 sued a wellness company, seeking to enforce California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) for the company’s alleged sale of fraudulent “at home” COVID-19 tests and “disinfectants” “designed to take advantage of, and profit from, the fear, anxiety, and misinformation arising from the global pandemic” (The People of the State of California v. Wellness Matrix Group, Inc., et al., No. 20-19955, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The owners of a nursing home filed suit on May 26 in a federal court in North Carolina to compel arbitration and pause state court claims that the facility’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak violated the North Carolina Nursing Home Patients’ Bill of Rights (Accordius Health, LLC, et al. v. Thomas Del Marshall, et al., No. 1:20cv464, M.D. N.C.).
SAN DIEGO — A biopharmaceutical company and two of its senior executives misrepresented to investors that the company had discovered an antibody that would serve as a “cure” to the novel coronavirus in violation of federal securities laws even though the company’s collaborative partner disputed such claims, a shareholder argues in a May 26 securities class action filed in California federal court (Wasa Medical Holdings v. Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., et al., No. 20-966, S.D. Calif.).
DALLAS — Alleging that an insurance broker was fraudulently joined, a commercial property insurer on May 26 filed notice in a federal court in Texas removing its restaurant owner insured’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for business losses and extra expenses “resulting from the actions taken by civil authorities to stop the human to human and surface to human spread of the COVID-19 outbreak” (Vandelay Hospitality Group LP v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-01348, N.D. Texas).
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — An emergency room doctor who claims that he was fired by St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Bellingham after reporting insufficient safety measures in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak sued the center’s owner and operator, a limited liability company and two individuals in the Whatcom County, Wash., Superior Court on May 28 (Ming Lin v. PeaceHealth, et al., No. 20-2-00700-37, Wash. Super., Whatcom Co.).
LAS VEGAS — Insurers on May 26 moved to dismiss restaurant insureds’ class action seeking coverage for suspension of business operations, business income losses and extra expenses following the governor’s emergency directives that suspended all on-site dining for Nevada restaurants in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic (Egg and I, LLC, et al. v. U.S. Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-00747, D. Nev.).
MIAMI — Carnival Corp. and two of its senior executives misrepresented to investors that the cruise line had taken necessary health and safety steps to protect its passengers in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic in violation of federal securities laws and, instead, aided in facilitating the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and violated port-of-call regulations, a profit sharing plan argues in a May 27 securities class action lawsuit filed in Florida federal court (Service Lamp Corp. Profit Sharing Plan v. Carnival Corp., et al., No. 20-22202, S.D. Fla.).
PHILADELPHIA — Asserting 16 affirmative defenses, an insurer on May 26 answered a restaurant owner insured’s complaint asking a Pennsylvania federal court to declare that its all-risk insurance policy covers any current and future civil authority closures of Philadelphia County restaurants due to physical loss or damage from the novel coronavirus and provides business income coverage if the coronavirus causes a loss or damage at its restaurant (LH Dining L.L.C. v Admiral Indemnity Company, No. 20-01869, E.D. Pa.).
AMERICAN FORK, Utah — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened a case into a Utah nutritional supplement manufacturer on May 14, one day after an employee, her daughter and her roommate sued the company in a Utah court alleging that reckless operations and disregard for employees’ safety left them exposed to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 (Juana Victoria Flores, et al. v. Built Brands, LLC, et al., No. 200400681, Utah Dist., Utah Co.).
GREENBELT, Md. — Creative Hairdressers Inc. (CHI), doing business as Hair Cuttery, BUBBLES The Color Salon, Salon Cielo and Salon Plaza, will pay nearly $1.15 million in back wages after 750 salon locations were closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and employees were not given their final paychecks, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in a May 11 press release, citing an April 28 order by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland (In re: Creative Hairdressers, Inc., et al., Nos. 20-14583 and 20-14584, D. Md. Bkcy.).