WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alaska Native corporations must wait at least until September to receive the $162.3 million allocated to them in federal coronavirus relief funding so tribes opposed to the allocation can appeal, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled June 7 in staying his decision in favor of the corporations pending an expedited appeal (Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, et al. v. Steven Mnuchin, No. 1:20-cv-1002, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118734).
SAN FRANCISCO — The owner of an Alaskan cannery accused in a class complaint filed in a California court of forcing seasonal seafood processing workers to quarantine in a hotel without pay argues in a July 6 opposition that the release it provided the potential workers was a “fair and noncoercive” settlement offer and did not have a “chilling effect” on participation (Jane Doe, et al. v. North Pacific Seafoods, Inc., et al., No. CGC-20-585097, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A Georgia poultry producer violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when it fired a worker after he took time off to recover from COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus, the former employee claims in his June 18 complaint filed in a federal court in Georgia (Ernesto Lopez v. Fieldale Farms Corporation, No. 20-149, N.D. Ga.).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A mail ballot union election at a Connecticut nursing home was ordered in a June 15 decision and direction of election signed by the National Labor Relations Board Subregion 24 officer-in-charge based on the continuing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at the facility (Elm Hill Nursing Center, Inc. and New England Healthcare Employees Union, No. 01-RC-260957, NLRB).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The operator of prisons and halfway houses and two of its senior executive officers violated federal securities law by misrepresenting the company’s response procedures to the novel coronavirus pandemic at its facilities, which caused significant health risks to the residents of the facilities, a shareholder alleges in a July 7 securities class action filed in Florida federal court (Steve Hartel v. The Geo Group Inc., et al., No. 20-81063, S.D. Fla.).
LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan judge granted an insurer’s motion for summary disposition during a July 1 hearing broadcasted on the judge’s personal meeting room on YouTube, finding that an insured’s complaint alleging loss of business due to shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus contains “no allegations of direct, physical loss of or damage to” its restaurants (Gavrilides Management Company LLC, et al. v. Michigan Insurance Co., No. 20-000258-CB, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of two San Francisco restaurants have failed to state any claim for relief in arguing that their insurer breached the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for losses the restaurants suffered as a result of stay-at-home orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic because they have failed to sufficiently show that their losses fall within the policies’ business income or civil authority additional coverages, the insurer argues in a June 29 motion to dismiss in California federal court (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH — A restaurant and tavern operator filed a class action against its “all-risk” commercial property insurer for breach of contract and declaratory relief in a federal court in Pennsylvania on June 11, arguing that its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders “arise from direct physical loss or damage” and that the policy’s virus exclusion does not apply (1 S.A.N.T., Inc. v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., et al., No. 20-862, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A Manhattan law firm on June 29 filed a class action in a federal court in New York alleging that its “all risk” commercial property insurer breached their contract by refusing to pay claims related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insurance policy “exemplifies the broken promise from insurance companies across the country” (Siegel & Siegel, et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-04993, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on July 6 denied motions from two fraud defendants serving prison sentences of 25 years and 15 years, respectively, finding that while their diagnoses of hypertension and other medical conditions may put them at a higher risk of suffering severe complications if they contract COVID-19, the risk does not present a compelling reason to convert their sentences to home confinement (United States v. Michael Danilovich, No. 12-CR-171-02, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118069, United States v. Mikhail Zemlyansky, No. 12-CR-171-01, S.D. N.Y, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118098).
LOS ANGELES — A law firm insured on July 6 replied to a business owners insurer’s opposition to its earlier motion asking a federal court in California to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that the presence or suspected presence of the novel coronavirus does not constitute “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage for the insured’s claimed loss of income (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, No. 20-03619, C.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE — A Tennessee couple filed a putative class action on June 24 against cruise ship operators in a Washington federal court, alleging that the defendants failed to implement any of the promised enhanced screening during boarding and other measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, which resulted in one of the plaintiffs testing positive for the disease (Leonard C. Lindsay, et al. v. Carnival Corp., No. 20-00982, W.D. Wash.).
PHILADELPHIA — A property insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith in using a pollution exclusion to deny coverage for business interruption and extra expenses arising out of the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an insured contends in a June 24 complaint filed in Pennsylvania court (Fegley Management & Energy, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 200601426, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
NEW YORK — A point-of-care diagnostics company and certain of its senior executives were hit with a second securities class action on July 3 in New York federal court, alleging that the defendants misrepresented the accuracy of the company’s antibody test used to determine current or past exposure to COVID-19 in violation of federal securities law (Anthony Bailey v. Chembio Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 20-2961, E.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA — A lead plaintiff in a class action accusing the Pennsylvania Department of Health and its secretary of not taking proper precautions for nursing home staff and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic voluntarily dismissed her claims on June 30, just days after the department opposed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the ground that the plaintiffs’ proposed plan is an attempt to usurp its authority and alter its currently effective plan (Jodi Gill, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Health, et al., No. 20-cv-2038, E.D. Pa.).
SEATTLE — A dentist insured argues in a June 26 reply that stay of his class action seeking coverage for losses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is warranted in “the interest of judicial economy, potential cost savings, and because there will be little, if any, prejudice” to the insurer “during the anticipated short duration of the requested stay” (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).
PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on July 2 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of their breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).
By Meaghan H. Kent and Danae Tinelli
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania accountant filed a class complaint on June 17 in a federal court in her state accusing The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., PNC Bank N.A. and other unnamed Does of failing to comply with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pay fees to agents assisting small businesses with their loan applications (Denise M. Henning, CPA, LLC, et al. v. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., et al., No. 20-905, W.D. Pa.).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A chiropractor insured filed a class action complaint in a Michigan federal court challenging insurers’ “systematic and uniform refusal to pay insureds” for their losses arising from Michigan’s March 24 executive order and related actions that suspended business operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Turek Enterprises, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-11655, E.D. Mich.).