WASHINGTON, D.C. — A frequent flyer challenging the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mask mandate on July 5 filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling rejecting the flyer’s contention that the mask mandate exceeded the statutory authority Congress granted to the TSA.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 6 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a business consulting company insured’s bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insureds have failed to assert the existence of a qualifying “communicable disease event."
LOS ANGELES — A California appellate panel July 13 reversed a trial court’s grant of an insurer’s demurrer to claims that it violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and breached an insurance policy by denying a claim for physical damage from the COVID-19 virus brought by a business forced to shut down during the pandemic, finding that the court improperly ruled based on its “disbelief” of the plaintiffs’ allegations.
BANGOR, Maine — Maine health care workers who as Does sued their employers and several state officials challenging the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate filed an amended complaint on July 11 in a federal court in Maine revealing their names after the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 denied their request for an emergency stay of the trial court’s disclosure order.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 12 affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Food and Drug Administration actions involving two COVID-19 vaccines, agreeing that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring claims on behalf of the military.
NEW ORLEANS — A hydraulic fracturing services company on June 29 filed a petition in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking rehearing en banc of a ruling that reversed a lower court and held that the company violated federal law when it terminated the employment of three workers during the COVID-19 pandemic without providing advanced notice.
CINCINNATI — A Michigan State University (MSU) employee challenging the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for faculty, staff and students who have what the plaintiff describes as “naturally acquired immunity” argues in an appellant brief filed July 6 in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the trial court that dismissed her claims erred in subjecting the vaccine mandate to a rational basis review.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on July 5 issued an order approving the voluntary dismissal of a putative class complaint by four hospital employees who were suspended or terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine as required by a New York regulation.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals panel on July 5 reversed a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of restaurant insureds in a coronavirus coverage dispute, 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.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower federal judge’s grant of insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract and bad faith coverage lawsuit arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insureds limited their dental services as a precautionary measure and not because the coronavirus was present on their insured premises.
MINNEAPOLIS — A radio host who was one of more than 100 iMedia Brands Inc. employees terminated in March 2020 with no prior notice due to the “financial impact” of the coronavirus pandemic can’t proceed with class claims brought under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act as she has not shown that her proposed class of 15 meets the numerosity requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(1) or that she is an adequate class representative because she has an individual age bias charge also pending, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled July 1.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed the remand to state court of a wrongful death suit filed against a nursing home by the family of a woman who died there from COVID-19, finding that there are no claims for willful misconduct under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act and no longer “any federal claims, but only negligence claims under Louisiana law.”
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi federal court on Jul. 5 denied a testing laboratory’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a health insurer seeking to enforce a settlement agreement that the insurer alleged the parties had reached concerning reimbursement for COVID-19 tests administered by the laboratory.
LOS ANGELES — A disability insurer agreed to pay long-term disability benefits to a claimant suffering from post-COVID syndrome, according to a June 24 notice of settlement filed by the parties in California federal court.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on July 6 a conciliation agreement with a Florida medical practice accused of violating the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) by collecting employees’ family members’ COVID-19 testing results.
ATLANTA — A trial court correctly held that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) must accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of service members when it comes to their opposition to COVID-19 vaccines pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, service members argue in an appellee brief filed June 10 in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, opposing the federal government’s appeal of a preliminary injunction granted to two military officers.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel said on June 20 that although it recognizes that the coronavirus pandemic “has caused overwhelming economic losses to untold businesses and individuals dependent on those businesses in our state, nation, and the world,” insureds’ claims at the center of six coverage lawsuits are restricted by their insurance policies’ “clear and plain meaning.”
PHOENIX — In a case in which nursing students successfully won a preliminary injunction to prevent an Arizona state community college district from enforcing its policy that they satisfy the COVID-19 vaccination requirements of its member colleges’ clinical partners and complete their assigned in-person clinical rotations in order to graduate, a federal judge on June 30 denied both the students’ motion to amend their complaint to seek compensatory and punitive damages and a motion to intervene by their former attorneys and dismissed without prejudice the case as moot.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A petition by health care workers challenging the New York Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 vaccination requirements was denied June 30 by a divided U.S. Supreme Court, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch joining in the dissent.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut judge on June 27 held that an insurance policy’s contamination exclusion precludes coverage for a private real estate investment management company insured’s more than $12 million in damages arising from the coronavirus pandemic, granting the insurer’s motion to strike the insured’s complaint.