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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
COVID-19 Brings New Demands to Essential Retailers and Grocers to Avoid Potential Class Action Lawsuits
Recently, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order requiring all customers entering Washington DC grocery stores, foodbanks, and convenience stores to wear masks or protective face coverings when entering. The legislation, aimed at stopping the spread of Coronavirus also requires grocery store limit the amount of people within a store and provide additional self-checkout lanes. Similarly, many Washington DC area grocery stores have taken additional measures to protect their employees during the coronavirus, including installing glass partitions at check-out counters, increasing the availability of self check-out lanes and permitting employees to wear personal protective [...]
Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, state and local governments across the country have ordered almost all businesses to close. Tens of millions of employees in all fifty states have had to adapt to a new reality of working from home. But this new reality is not the reality for every business. Many “essential” businesses, including certain manufacturers and retailers, providers of emergency services, grocery stores, and sanitation companies, have continued their operations during the crisis. Their employees are expected to report to work. Just because a business qualifies as “essential,” however, does not mean that business [...]