The hospitality industry is at the top of the list of industries impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With travel having largely come to a standstill, hotels, cruise lines, and airlines are all feeling the pinch and finding their footing in a world gripped by a global pandemic. The hospitality industry, however, like many other industries, has also begun to face COVID-19-related class actions. A lawsuit filed on June 24, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington accuses cruise line Holland America and its parent company, Carnival, of exposing over one [...]
On June 1, 2020 and in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that participants in a defined-benefit retirement plan lacked Article III standing to bring a lawsuit against the plan’s fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. 17-1712. Plaintiffs James Thole and Sherry Smith are retired participants of U.S. Bank’s defined-benefit retirement plan. Under the terms of the plan, plaintiffs are guaranteed a fixed payment each month regardless of the plan’s value or the fiduciaries’ investment decisions with respect to the plan. Plaintiffs have [...]
There are several class actions being filed against major universities across the country in light of COVID-19. Attorneys Matthew Berkowitz, Brian O’Shea, and Samantha Lewis discuss the major types of claims students are filing. For example, students are claiming they are not receiving the same college experience that they are paying for while the universities are trying to follow state guidelines in response to coronavirus. They also dive into class certifications issues that might come up like different expectations of what a college experience is, different majors, and financial aid status with their education.
The government-enforced lockdowns around the country have led to a wave of COVID-19 related business interruption claims. Insurance carriers that denied these claims now face class action suits from their insureds. While it is generally the case that an insured can bring breach of contract actions against carriers that deny claims, insureds seeking to sue their carriers in class action suits face additional obstacles. Case in point, in the pending federal Western District of Washington case Germack DDS v. The Dentists Ins. Co., the insurer, The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) filed a Motion to Strike and Dismiss [...]
Americans over the age of 65 have become more at risk with the spread of COVID-19 than any other age group. As a result, COVID-19 has been going through nursing homes in many states that have been the hotbed to this disease like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Many of them will be facing class actions in the upcoming months for not following CDC guidelines and supplying employees with proper equipment to protect them from COVID-19. Listen to this episode as attorneys Matthew Berkowitz, Brian O’Shea, and Samantha Lewis discuss this trending class action topic and [...]
Attorneys Matthew D. Berkowitz and Brian O’Shea discuss the many class action lawsuits that have the potential to arise out of professional sports during COVID-19. Both the NFL and MLB are planning to reopen soon in certain states and with that comes many legal concerns they need to consider. Many class actions will come out of this with exposure to the players and stadium workers as well as employment issues. Matt and Brian discuss the defenses that these teams can take as they head into their seasons.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to grip communities across the United States, the virus has had a particularly tragic impact on the elderly. Significantly more Americans over the age of 65 have died of COVID-19 than those in any other age group. Nursing homes, as a result, have become ground zero for the spread of, and the fight against, the virus. Both nursing home residents and employees are likely to continue to bear the brunt of this crisis as the virus continues to spread to communities around the country. Recently, the first wave in a likely mushroom [...]
Following up on COVID-cast’s first episode, “Navigating The Class Action Legal Landscape During COVID-19” where attorney’s Matthew D. Berkowitz and Brian O’Shea dove into existing lawsuits and potential lawsuits filed by employees against employers. In this episode, they discuss important things for essential and non-essential business to keep in mind as they start to reopen like PPE, following CDC guidelines, monitoring how many employees are in the workplace, and if considering if work from home is a viable option in the months ahead.
As we gear up to enter back into our new normal, industries of all types will be facing legal issues due to COVID-19 related claims. During this pandemic, grocers and essential businesses are facing class action lawsuits in spite of attempting to mitigate the risk. Employees and shoppers are filing against retailers and grocers alleging that employers took inadequate steps to protect employees and shoppers from COVID-19.
Matt Berkowitz and Brian O’Shea discuss many types of scenarios and positions that the defense and plaintiff might take during a class action lawsuit due to COVID-19 exposure.
In the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, major industries everywhere are attempting to adjust to the challenges in these unprecedented times. The higher education system in the United States is no exception. While many colleges and universities moved to an online learning model for at least the rest of the semester, many students have made it clear that they do not believe that they have gotten what they bargained for. Unsurprisingly, a steady stream of students and parents have already begun to file class action lawsuits. These lawsuits address several different categories of fees that schools already [...]
With the Coronavirus outbreak not letting up, businesses of all sizes face new regulations as federal and state legislation has evolved to provide employees with additional benefits and protections. On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The legislation requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. And, the FFCRA requires companies with less than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of sick leave pay to certain eligible employees. Additionally, states passed similar bills providing paid employee [...]
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, individuals and businesses have gotten creative about how to gather and meet for everything from company meetings to happy hours to high school reunions and weddings. While applications like Skype and FaceTime have been popular for years, Zoom is the program that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue—mainly because it allows numerous people to meet and talk to each other via video link all at the same time. Originally developed as a video-conferencing program for businesses, Zoom, for the first time, is now serving individual users for activities having nothing to [...]