Mealey's Coronavirus

  • September 20, 2023

    SMU Student Tells Texas High Court That Pandemic Liability Act Isn’t Retroactive

    AUSTIN, Texas — The retroactive provision of the Texas Pandemic Liability Protection Act (PLPA) “is unconstitutional as applied to” Southern Methodist University (SMU) in a putative class complaint over the school’s closure during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a student argues in an appellant brief filed in the Texas Supreme Court addressing a question certified by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • September 20, 2023

    BCBS Employees Fired For Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine File Class Suit

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three workers filed a class complaint against BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. (BCBS) in a federal court in Tennessee alleging that they were fired for their religious convictions after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • September 20, 2023

    EEOC Sues United Healthcare For Denying Religious Exemption From Vaccine Mandate

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — United Healthcare Services Inc. violated a work-from-home employee’s rights when it denied her request for exemption from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and fired her, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a complaint filed Sept. 19 in a federal court in Ohio.

  • September 19, 2023

    Borrowers Allege In Class Action That Lender Wrongfully Denied, Shorted COVID-19 Aid

    PHILADELPHIA — Borrowers filed a class action complaint in federal court in Pennsylvania alleging that their lender violated state and federal statutes when it denied some borrowers COVID-19 aid and approved only a portion of the aid for others claiming to be eligible for more funding.

  • September 19, 2023

    University Tuition Payers Denied Class Cert In Case Seeking Pandemic Refunds

    PHOENIX — A proposed class of individuals who paid Grand Canyon University (GCU) on-campus tuition, fees and room and board for the spring 2020 term failed to show that common questions predominate, a federal judge in Arizona ruled, denying the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.

  • September 19, 2023

    U.S. Recovers Damages Against Trucking Company That Fraudulently Obtained PPP Loan

    OXFORD, Miss. — A Mississippi federal court granted the United States’ motion for summary judgment in a False Claims Act lawsuit stemming from a fraudulently obtained Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan during the COVID-19 pandemic, awarding more than $450,000 in damages and assessing civil penalties against a trucking company and its owner.

  • September 18, 2023

    Government Urges High Court To Uphold ‘Bedrock Principle’ Of Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. secretary of Commerce, two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the government) urge the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 15 brief to not overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference in a challenge to fishery regulations that were upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, writing that doing so could “cause disruption” to complex federal regulatory schemes.

  • September 18, 2023

    Nevada High Court Vacates Ruling Against Insurer In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    CARSON CITY, Nev. — Granting a commercial property insurer’s petition for writ of mandamus in a coverage dispute arising from the forced closure of a shopping mall in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nevada Supreme Court directed the lower court to vacate its order denying the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on the insured’s breach of contract and declaratory relief claims after finding that the insured’s evidence failed to create a genuine dispute of material fact regarding the existence of “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage and that the policy’s pollution and contamination exclusion further barred coverage.

  • September 18, 2023

    Maine Health Centers Argue Against High Court Review Of COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maine health centers accused by employees of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they fired workers who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 filed a respondent brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 15, arguing that high court review is not necessary as the accommodations being sought by the workers is not reasonable, even under the standard clarified in Groff v. DeJoy.

  • September 14, 2023

    9th Circuit: Doctors’ Ultra Vires Claim Against FDA For Ivermectin Tweets Is Valid

    NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of a Texas federal court dismissing the lawsuit of a group of doctors claiming that the Food and Drug Administration exceeded its statutory authority when it created social media and government website posts recommending that people not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, ruling that the posts were agency action and plausibly ultra vires under the Administrative Procedure Act.

  • September 14, 2023

    Securities Fraud Claims Trimmed In Class Suit Against COVID Vaccine Contractor

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland has partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss securities fraud claims leveled against a COVID-19 vaccine contractor that experienced contamination issues at its Bayview, Md., manufacturing facility and several of its executives, dismissing reported-results fraud and internal-controls fraud claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 but allowing business operations fraud claims under Section 10(b) to survive for alleged material misstatements made between July 6, 2020, and May 19, 2021.

  • September 13, 2023

    Claims Over 2 Universities’ Pandemic Closures Largely Reinstated By 3rd Circuit

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a consolidated opinion largely reversed the dismissal of students’ breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims against two Pennsylvania schools over their transition to online-only learning in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that they raised plausible claims.

  • September 13, 2023

    Salon Owners Arrested After Failing To Comply With Orders In Pandemic Dispute

    CHICAGO — The owners of a salon with two locations in Wisconsin were arrested by U.S. marshals for refusing to comply with orders by the National Labor Relations Board and the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stemming from actions they were found to have taken against an employee who raised concerns about the salon’s safety measures at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the NLRB announced Sept. 13.

  • September 12, 2023

    Panel Remands Coronavirus Coverage Suit To Decide Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 11 reversed and remanded a coronavirus coverage lawsuit for an Iowa federal court to determine whether federal diversity jurisdiction exists, finding that it is unable to decide if an insured’s members were diverse based on the insured’s new affidavit.

  • September 12, 2023

    Music School, Student Settle Pandemic Closure Class Suit For $399,999

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York granted final approval of a $399,999 class settlement in a lawsuit brought by a student of The Manhattan School of Music (MSM) after the school switched to online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • September 11, 2023

    North Carolina County Opposes Landowners’ High Court Pandemic Access Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dare County, N.C., property owners suing over a 45-day ban put in place in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic that prevented nonresident property owners from entering the county “have not—and cannot-allege that any physical appropriation or invasion occurred,” Dare County and six towns in the county (together, Dare County) argue in a respondent brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • September 11, 2023

    ADA Claims Against Medical Clinic By Patient Who Refused To Wear Mask Dismissed

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge dismissed without prejudice claims by a former patient against a medical clinic and some of its staff members that their refusal to treat him at the clinic for refusing to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic was in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and led to the exacerbation of a spinal injury that left him unable to work.

  • September 11, 2023

    9th Circuit Panel Affirms That CARES Act Does Not Provide Private Right Of Action

    SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of a California federal court dismissing five complaints brought by a COVID-19 test provider seeking reimbursement from an insurer for COVID testing services, agreeing with the lower court that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act does not provide a private right of action to diagnostic testing providers.

  • September 11, 2023

    Federal Judge Denies Request To Amend NYC Prison Confinement Settlement

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York in a handwritten order that was modified on Sept. 8 denied a letter motion by plaintiffs who say they filed a similar case seeking to amend the class scope in a preliminarily approved $52 million settlement between New York and prisoners who allege that they were housed in “stealth isolation confinement facilities indefinitely” and denied due process.

  • September 11, 2023

    8th Circuit Affirms Remand Of COVID Death Suit Against Care Home

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order that remanded to state court a wrongful death suit filed against a nursing home and related entities by the son of a man who died after purportedly contracting COVID-19 at the nursing home, finding, in part, that the district court correctly remanded the case because the son’s claims are not preempted under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act.

  • September 08, 2023

    DOJ Says New Jersey Violated 14th Amendment Rights Of Veterans Homes’ Residents

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — After conducting an almost three-year investigation into two New Jersey-run veterans homes, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sept. 7 released a 43-page report finding that it has “reasonable cause” to believe that by failing to provide adequate care during the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey violated the 14th Amendment rights of residents at the veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus.

  • September 08, 2023

    11th Circuit Agrees To Hear Class Cert Appeal In University Closure Suit

    ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 7 granted Emory University’s petition for permission to appeal a trial court decision granting class certification in a lawsuit by the parent of a student who seeks money back after classes and services were impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • September 07, 2023

    N.J. Panel Remands Coronavirus Coverage Suit To Allow Insured To Amend Fraud Claims

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on Sept. 6 reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a law firm insured’s fraud-based claims against its insurers in a coronavirus coverage dispute, remanding with instructions for the court to permit the insured to amend its complaint to adequately plead these claims, but affirmed the dismissal of the other claims.

  • September 06, 2023

    University Worker Seeks Rehearing After 6th Circuit Upholds Vaccine Mandate

    CINCINNATI — A Michigan State University (MSU) worker suing on behalf of a putative class that opposes the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate filed a petition for rehearing en banc after a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that the mandate did not violate employees’ constitutional rights and was not preempted by federal law.

  • September 01, 2023

    NLRB Overrules 2019 Test That Narrowed Concerted Activity Determination

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Labor Relations Board released a decision on Aug. 31 in a case by an employee fired after raising concerns about his employer’s protocols during the coronavirus pandemic overruling the 2019 decision in Alstate Maintenance, LLC that the majority says narrowly construed concerted activity and returning to the principle established in 1986 in Meyers Industries.