On December 16, 2020, the Supreme Court granted cert. to hear TransUnion v. Ramirez, a Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) class action suit that presents the question as to “whether either Article III (of the Constitution) or Rule 23 (of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) permits a damages class action where the vast majority of the class suffered no actual injury, let alone an injury anything like what the class representative suffered.” In Ramirez, Ramirez was refused the purchase of a car by a dealership when his credit report incorrectly indicated that his name appeared on [...]
College sports have not been immune to the repercussions of COVID-19 and therefore we are seeing a rise of class action lawsuits across the country that many universities will have to address in these coming months. Many claims have been from players themselves with lack of PPE equipment and exposure to the virus, but is there a way to safely play a contact sport with proper precautions to prevent a viral outbreak, and by playing are you assuming the risk of injury? Listen along as attorneys Matthew D. Berkowitz, Samantha Lewis, and Brian O’Shea tackle potential class [...]
With students returning back to school, there has been a large number of reported outbreaks of COVID-19. Many students and parents are filing suits for breach of contracts as it relates to remote learning and the impact that social distancing and campus closures have on students and their learning experience. University staff has also been filing suits saying that schools have not been taking the appropriate measures to protect staff from exposure to the virus. Attorneys, Matthew D. Berkowitz, Brian O’Shea, and Samantha Lewis dive deep into possible causations and significant hurdles for class certification.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act Lives On: SCOTUS Severs the Government Debt Collection Exemption from the TCPA
In July 2020, the Supreme Court in Barr v. American Ass’n of Political Consultants, No. 19-631, upheld the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (“TCPA”) ban on telephone solicitation through the use of automatic telephone dialing systems, but in applying a strict scrutiny analysis, the Supreme Court found that the government debt collection exemption was an unconstitutional infringement of free speech under the First Amendment. Barr v. American Ass’n of Political Consultants was an appeal from the Fourth Circuit. Specifically, the American Association of Political Consultants (“AAPC”) sought to challenge the government debt collection exemption of the TCPA, which [...]
As colleges and universities re-open their doors for the fall semester, the return of students has been closely followed by a substantial increase in coronavirus cases—and significant public scrutiny. Administrators are stuck between a rock and a hard place: Do we remain closed and charge students full tuition for another semester of virtual learning? Or do we welcome students back to campus and attempt to test as many students as often as possible while imposing social distancing rules? Many schools have opted for the latter. The University of North Carolina and the University of Notre Dame, [...]
On August 11, 2020, both the Big Ten and the PAC 12 conferences announced they would “postpone” fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic—the first of the “Power 5” conferences to do so. Their decision came on the heels of several other leagues, including the Mountain West Conference and the Mid-American Conference, postponing their fall sports until the spring. It is unclear whether other conferences, including the SEC, ACC, and Big XII, which are still scheduled to play sports this fall, will follow suit. The danger of serious illness and the possibility of significant spread of the [...]
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.