WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 3 granted motions to certify interlocutory appeals filed by two universities challenging the denial of their motions to dismiss two related putative class complaints filed after in-person instruction was halted in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 31 dismissed an insured’s amended complaint seeking coverage for business interruption losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic after determining that the insured failed to show that it sustained a direct physical loss to any of its properties as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 31 dismissed an insured’s suit seeking coverage for business income losses sustained as a result of the shutdown orders issued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic after determining that no coverage is afforded because the insured did not sustain any direct physical loss or damage as required by the policy.
NEW YORK — A complaint alleging failure to keep court security officers (CSOs) safe from the spread of COVID-19 was dismissed Aug. 30 by a federal judge in New York, who determined that the plaintiff, the CSOs’ union president, lacked organizational and representative standing to file the lawsuit.
COVINGTON, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Aug. 26 dismissed as moot putative class claims brought in April 2020 challenging Kentucky officials’ decision to ban in-person church services and impose a two-week quarantine on individuals who attended an Easter 2020 service at Maryville Baptist Church.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A trial court properly dismissed a putative class complaint by George Washington University (GW) students and parents seeking refunds after in-person classes and services were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic as there were no allegations of “a binding promise to provide in-person instruction no matter the circumstance,” GW and its board of trustees argue in an Aug. 26 appellee brief filed in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
ALAMEDA, Calif. — A McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland, Calif., has agreed to improve its COVID-19 safety protocols in a settlement announced Aug. 5 to resolve a public nuisance lawsuit filed by its employees.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court majority in a per curiam opinion issued on Aug. 27 ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide eviction moratorium temporary prohibiting certain evictions in counties with high transmission of COVID-19 is unlawful and, if it is to continue, authorization must come from Congress.
DENVER — The U.S. Department of Defense can’t force servicemembers who are documented survivors of COVID-19 to get vaccinations as they already “have natural immunity” and “should be granted a medical exception,” two servicemembers argue in their putative class complaint filed on Aug. 17 in a federal court in Colorado.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 17 denied a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by United Airlines Inc. pilots who argue that their medical experts have opined that the COVID-19 vaccines, mandated by United, “pose particularized, life-threatening dangers to pilots and those in the airline industry.”
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and various officials being sued by a class of individuals held in federal immigration detention centers filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 23, one month after a federal judge in California issued an order accepting a special master’s first report and recommendation concerning possible detainee releases due to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccinations.
CHICAGO — An Illinois judge on Aug. 23 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by automotive dealerships after finding that their alleged business losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown orders are not covered, noting that unlike asbestos, “COVID-19 dissipates on its own without intervention.”
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A University of California (UC) professor who says he already had COVID-19 and is “naturally immune” filed for a preliminary injunction on Aug. 23 in a California federal court seeking to prohibit the university from enforcing its vaccine mandate for in-person teaching and learning as to those who already had the virus.
ATLANTA — An insured on Aug. 17 defended its appeal asking the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses that were “directly caused” by government “stay-at-home” orders in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, contending that as much as the insurer “would like Florida law to support its arguments, the fact remains that it does not.”
NEW YORK — Amazon.com Inc. filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 17, one week after a federal judge in New York dismissed its lawsuit accusing the New York attorney general of lacking the authority to investigate the online retailer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
PHOENIX — One year after Arizona State University (ASU) filed suit against a John Doe defendant who created an Instagram account that was critical of the university’s policies and practices related to COVID-19, an Arizona federal judge on Aug. 17 denied the university’s motion for default judgment and dismissed its trademark-related claims, finding that no reasonable consumer would have mistaken the account as being affiliated with the university.
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Aug. 19 denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings of a woman’s claim that an insurer and underwriter violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by not refunding her post-departure travel insurance premiums for a policy on a cruise that was canceled due to COVID-19 but granted the defendants’ motion as to some of her state law claims.
SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Independent School District’s vaccine mandate for school district employees violates the governor’s July 29 executive order, GA-38, barring governmental entities from compelling any individual to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while it is being administered under an emergency use authorization, the State of Texas alleges in its original petition and application for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction filed Aug. 19 in a Texas court.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist who was charged along with his wife for allegedly defrauding health insurance companies by billing cosmetic procedures as medically necessary was denied compassionate release on July 21 after a federal judge in California ruled that the man had “little risk . . . of contracting COVID-19” and committed a crime in which he showed “utter disregard” for the safety of his patients.
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Aug. 18 held that lower federal courts erred in weighing factors that are relevant to the exercise of discretion pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA), vacating the lower courts’ orders denying insurers’ motions to remove restaurant insureds’ coverage lawsuits arising from the coronavirus and remanding for renewed consideration of all relevant factors.