Mealey's Coronavirus

  • August 09, 2022

    Court Officer Safety Pandemic Suit Dismissed With Prejudice For Lack Of Standing

    NEW YORK — A second amended complaint alleging failure to keep court security officers (CSOs) safe from the spread of COVID-19 was dismissed for a second time, this time with prejudice, after a federal judge in New York on July 8 found that the plaintiff, the CSOs’ union president, again failed to establish representative standing.

  • August 09, 2022

    Majority Refuses To Disturb Finding That Policy Is Ambiguous In COVID-19 Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — A majority of a Louisiana appeals court on Aug. 8 refused to disturb its June 15 finding that an insurance policy is ambiguous and capable of more than one reasonable interpretation as to coverage for a French Quarter restaurant insured’s lost business income arising from the coronavirus pandemic, standing by its reversal of a lower court’s judgment against the insured and its holding that coverage exists for the insured’s loss or damage caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to” its premises as a result of COVID-19 contamination.

  • August 09, 2022

    11th Circuit: Cruise Line Can’t Arbitrate Claims Of Crew ‘Trapped’ During COVID-19

    ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 5 reversed a district court’s order compelling arbitration of putative class claims for false imprisonment brought by two Filipino ex-crewmembers who allege that a cruise company “trapped” them on a ship for months after the outbreak of COVID-19, finding the crewmembers’ claims for intentional torts outside the scope of their arbitration agreement.

  • August 09, 2022

    Food Service Outfit And Pizzeria Settle Payment Claims Arising From COVID Lockdowns

    NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 8 dismissed with prejudice all remaining claims and counterclaims in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by a pizza shop against a food service company seeking payments under a food service contract during lockdowns necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic after the parties reached a settlement and filed a stipulation of dismissal.  The judge previously dismissed a breach of contract counterclaim by the food service company but left intact its counterclaim for unjust enrichment.

  • August 09, 2022

    DOL Seeks Default Judgment In Pandemic Firing Suit After NLRB Settlement

    AUSTIN, Texas — The secretary of Labor secretary on Aug. 8 filed a motion for default judgment in a federal court in Texas against two of the three defendants in a case accusing the operators of an Austin luxury car dealer of retaliating against an employee who warned others about potential COVID-19 hazards in the workplace, based on their failure to answer the complaint and noting that despite a recent settlement between the National Labor Relations Board and the defendants, back wages, compensatory and/or punitive damages and injunctive relief should still be awarded.

  • August 08, 2022

    Montana High Court: Virtual Visitation During COVID-19 Was Valid Family Treatment

    HELENA, Mont. — A five-justice panel of the Supreme Court of Montana on Aug. 2 affirmed the judgment of a state judge terminating the parental rights of a mother and father because of the parents’ drug abuse and other instances of inadequate parenting, finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) made reasonable efforts at reunifying the children with their parents even though one aspect of the parents’ treatment employed “virtual” parenting via videoconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • August 05, 2022

    Florida Majority Affirms Dismissal Of Wedding Designer’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    MIAMI — A majority of a Florida appeals court panel on Aug. 3 affirmed dismissal of a wedding designer company insured’s lawsuit seeking commercial property insurance coverage for its loss of business income caused by the suspension of its operations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the recent case Commodore, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London is “indistinguishable” from the present case.

  • August 05, 2022

    Federal Judge Rejects Former Employee’s Claims To Proceeds Of PPP Loan

    PHILADELPHIA — A former employee of a tourism-based business in Philadelphia that received two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can’t lay claim to those funds after being fired as the employer “had discretion to spend the proceeds of its PPP loans as it saw fit, as long as it faced the consequences,” a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Aug. 3, granting the motion for partial dismissal in the lawsuit that also brings claims for age bias.

  • August 05, 2022

    5th Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc In Fracking Employment Termination Case

    NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 19 issued the mandate in which it reversed a lower court and held that a hydraulic fracturing company violated federal law when it terminated the employment of three workers during the COVID-19 pandemic without providing advanced notice, denying the fracking operator’s petition for rehearing en banc.

  • August 04, 2022

    Citing Dismissal Of Underlying Suit, 2nd Circuit Tosses COVID Death Suit Appeal

    BROOKLYN, N.Y — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 granted a nursing home’s motion to dismiss its appeal of a wrongful death suit filed by the son of a man who contracted COVID-19 and died there, finding that because the son voluntarily dismissed the underlying state court suit, the Second Circuit cannot order “any effective relief.”

  • August 04, 2022

    5th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Restaurants’ Bad Faith Suit Stemming From COVID-19

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 affirmed a federal court’s ruling that no coverage is owed to insured restaurant owners for business losses incurred as a result of the governmental shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the restaurants did not sustain a direct physical loss to their properties, affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit seeking coverage and penalties for the insurers’ alleged bad faith denial of their coverage claim.

  • August 03, 2022

    Chicago-Area Health System Agrees To Settlement Of $10.3M, Vaccine Program Revision

    CHICAGO — NorthShore University HealthSystem and certain workers filed a joint motion in a federal court in Illinois on July 29 seeking preliminary approval of a class settlement including a payment of more than $10.3 million and the revision of its vaccine program to enhance accommodation procedures to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs in order to end a complaint by the health care workers that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine policy violated their religious beliefs.

  • August 02, 2022

    Class Suit Over Pennsylvania School Board’s Revocation Of Mask Policy Dismissed

    PHILADELPHIA — A putative class complaint by disabled students who attend schools within a Pennsylvania school district challenging the school board’s decision to rescind its universal masking requirement put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic was dismissed in a two-page order July 26 by a federal judge in Pennsylvania.

  • August 02, 2022

    Illinois PPP Loan Recipient Denied Forgiveness Challenges SBA Exclusion Rule

    CHICAGO — A Paycheck Protection Program loan recipient that was denied eligibility for loan forgiveness because of the nature of its business filed suit in Illinois federal court on July 28 seeking a declaration that the Small Business Administration (SBA) Interim Final Rule, enacted on the day the recipient’s loan funds were disbursed and pursuant to which it was denied loan forgiveness, is contrary to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and an injunction preventing the SBA from applying the rule against the recipient.

  • August 02, 2022

    PPE Retailer Ordered To Refund Up To $14.6 Million For Violations Of FTC Act

    ST. LOUIS — Upon reconsideration of a motion by the Federal Trade Commission for summary judgment against a personal protective equipment (PPE) retailer in the commission’s action alleging that the retailer violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) and the Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (Merchandise Rule) in failing to fulfill orders within the retailer’s advertised timeframe during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic after the parties failed to reach an agreement as to equitable monetary relief, a Missouri federal judge on July 14 granted the motion in all respects and ordered $14,651,185.42 to be placed in escrow to satisfy customer refund requests.

  • August 02, 2022

    COVID Test Provider Appeals Dismissal Of CARES Act Suit For Insurer Reimbursement

    SAN FRANCISCO — A health care provider on July 15 appealed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking reversal of a California federal court’s dismissal for failure to state a claim the provider’s five complaints seeking full reimbursement for COVID testing services from a medical insurer under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

  • August 01, 2022

    Navy SEAL Seeks Reversal Of Preliminary Injunction Denial In COVID-19 Vaccine Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A trial court erred in denying a preliminary injunction sought by four Navy SEALs in a case over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse the ruling and remand for entry of the injunction, one of the four SEALs argues in a July 29 appellant brief.

  • August 01, 2022

    Relatives Of Tyson Foods Employees Waive Response To Petition In COVID-19 Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Family members of deceased workers who accuse Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. and executives (together, Tyson) in two state court lawsuits of disregarding worker safety during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic on July 27 waived their right to respond to a July 22 petition for writ of certiorari filed by Tyson in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a remand order.

  • August 01, 2022

    Coronavirus Is Not A Pollution Condition, Insurer Tells 4th Circuit

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A district court properly found that no coverage is owed to insureds for business interruption losses sustained as a result of the coronavirus because the virus does not qualify as a pollution condition under the premises pollution liability policy, the insurer maintains in a July 27 appellee brief filed in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • July 29, 2022

    Federal Government Argues Against Vaccine Injunction In 5th Circuit En Banc Brief

    NEW ORLEANS — An executive order (EO) requiring federal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain an exemption should not be enjoined as the trial court that issued the nationwide injunction lacked jurisdiction, there’s been no showing that the EO exceeded the president’s authority and the equitable factors for preliminary relief have not been satisfied, the federal government argues in an en banc appellant brief filed July 27 in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.