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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
Free Speech and the TCPA: How an Upcoming Supreme Court Decision May Affect the TCPA and Impact Businesses
On January 10, 2020, the Supreme Court agreed to review a Fourth Circuit decision challenging the constitutionality of an exemption to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (the “TCPA”). See Barr v. American Ass’n of Political Consultants, No. 19-631. The TCPA was enacted in 1991 in response to unwanted, automated phone calls that affect many Americans on a daily basis. The TCPA broadly prohibits telephone solicitation through the use of “automatic telephone dialing systems.” See 47 U.S.C. § 227. However, in response to the rapid technological advancements since 1991, Congress has curtailed the provisions of the [...]
The District of Columbia Circuit in the Spotlight: Does Bristol-Myers Apply to Class Action Lawsuits?
The appeal at issue originated from a class action lawsuit filed by Whole Foods Market’s employees in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Molock v. Whole Foods Mkt., Inc., 297 F.Supp. 3d 114 (D.D.C. 2018). Specifically, on June 22, 2017, Whole Foods Market’s employees filed a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages. The class consisted of current and former Whole Foods Market employees from the District of Columbia and several states. The employees claimed that they were not paid their entitled bonuses as a result of managers manipulating certain labor cost and [...]
On March 12, 2019, the United States Department of Justice charged 50 individuals, including celebrities and well-known professionals, with participating in an elaborate multi-million-dollar college recruitment scheme. Under the scheme, administrators and coaches at numerous prestigious educational institutions, as well as ACT and SAT administrators, were bribed in exchange for admitting children with lackluster credentials into such institutions. In light of these charges, current students have “piggybacked” on the government’s case and filed a civil class action complaint alleging punitive and compensatory damages of at least $5 million, which includes the recoupment of the plaintiffs’ admission [...]