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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]