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.
EUGENE, Ore. — A federal magistrate judge in Oregon on Aug. 13 partially granted a motion to obtain release of medical records for incarcerated individuals who died following positive tests for COVID-19; the records were requested by individuals who sued on behalf of three proposed classes and accuse Oregon and various officials of failing to properly protect those incarcerated from the coronavirus pandemic.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina’s universal mask mandate is not barred by state law, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled Aug. 17 in a per curiam opinion reached without oral argument that disposed of a university professor’s lawsuit, filed after the state’s attorney general stated that the mandate violated Proviso 117.190 of the 2021-2022 Appropriations Act.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Aug. 9 trimmed putative class claims brought by passengers of a February 2020 cruise who allege that the trip operators failed to warn them of the risks associated with coronavirus and then failed to stop the spread aboard the ship after at least one passenger was known to be suffering from symptoms, resulting in dozens getting sick and two dying after the cruise was over.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 granted an unopposed motion to dismiss an appeal that was filed by vacation property renters who sought reversal of a trial court’s judgment dismissing their putative class complaint seeking refunds for rental plans that could not be completed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania judge on Aug. 4 denied commercial insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a minor league baseball team owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured has sufficiently asserted “‘direct physical loss or damage’ to its property under the ‘physical contamination’ theory as a necessary condition to business interruption coverage."
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 16 granted the motion of a state university and its president to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a complaint filed by two students and the parent of a third student challenging the university’s mandate that they be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus for the fall semester, concluding that no injury could be claimed by students holding exemptions to the mandate or failing to apply for an exemption.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 10 ordered to arbitration two putative class complaints accusing JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. of failing to properly process applications for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was established to help small businesses suffering from shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, finding that an enforceable arbitration agreement existed in the deposit account agreement and that arbitrability was delegated to the arbitrator.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge on Aug. 13 denied the motion of a group of landlords and real estate trade associations to vacate a stay pending appeal of an order setting aside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19-related eviction moratorium in the wake of an extension of the moratorium set to run until Oct. 3.
NEW ORLEANS — Taken together, the provisions of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act “manifest the ‘extraordinary preemptive power’ that the Supreme Court has identified as the hallmark of a complete preemption statute that creates a basis for federal question jurisdiction,” the owners and operators of a nursing home say in an Aug. 5 brief urging the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s order remanding a COVID-19-related negligence suit against them to Texas state court.