Universities and Colleges Face Class Action Lawsuits Amid Reopening

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 Sam 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 [...]

Colleges and Universities Face Flurry of New Coronavirus Cases As They Re-Open for Fall Semester

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, [...]

By |2020-08-21T09:45:49-04:00August 21st, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action|Topics: , , |

COVID-19 and a Potential Fall Without College Sports

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 [...]

By |2020-08-12T09:40:33-04:00August 12th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, General|Topics: , , |

Hospitality Industry Begins To Feel The Brunt of COVID-19 Related Class Action Lawsuits

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 [...]

By |2020-06-29T17:02:47-04:00June 29th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action|Topics: , , |

SCOTUS Restricts Rights of Defined Benefit Retirement Plan Participants Under ERISA

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 [...]

By |2020-06-17T14:35:55-04:00June 17th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

Students Seek Tuition and Fee Reimbursement in Light of COVID-19

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.

Insurance Carriers Face COVID-19 Class Action Claims

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 [...]

By |2020-06-05T10:27:44-04:00June 5th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, General|Topics: , |

Long-Term Care Facilities Being Hit With Class Action Lawsuits

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 [...]

By |2020-06-02T18:50:20-04:00June 2nd, 2020|Practice Areas: Podcast|Topics: , |

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

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.  

By |2020-05-23T13:28:07-04:00May 22nd, 2020|Practice Areas: Podcast|Topics: , |

Nursing Homes Facing Potential Wave of COVID-19 Class Action Lawsuits

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 [...]

By |2020-05-21T11:49:52-04:00May 21st, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action|Topics: , |

Reopening The Workplace During COVID-19

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.

By |2020-05-15T14:16:25-04:00May 15th, 2020|Practice Areas: Class Action, Labor & Employment, Podcast|Topics: |