COVID-19 Reading List

December 4, 2020

Jonathan D. Urick, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

Some highlights of recent reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation include: renewed negotiations over stimulus and liability protection, analysis of pandemic-related securities litigation, and the continuing rise in all tort claims.

Congressional Negotiations Resume Over Stimulus and Liability Protection

The Wall Street Journal reports that congressional negotiations over coronavirus stimulus and liability protections have resumed.  On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers unveiled a new proposal, which includes “a short-term suspension of liability lawsuits related to Covid-19 . . . , giving states time to put in place their own protections.”  Per the New York Times, top Democrats have endorsed that proposal as a basis for talks, while the Chamber has strongly supported it.

Pandemic Securities Litigation

Writing on JD Supra, three Dechert LLP attorneys thoroughly analyze COVID-19 related securities litigation.  “Pandemic-related events have formed the basis for numerous securities litigation filings since March,” the lawyers explain.  “Such suits are not only hitting those in the health care and travel industries,” but also “cut across other industries, such as the education, financial and technology sectors.”  What’s more, the coronavirus securities litigation includes Securities Act claims, M&A suits, and SEC enforcement actions.  The attorneys conclude that COVID-driven litigation is part of a broader “significant problem with the current securities litigation system, currently being ‘plagued’ with frivolous event-driven litigation—an issue which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attempted to address with its recent petition” for SEC rulemaking on the topic.

Tort Suits Continue to Grow

According to statistical analysis by LexisNexis’s Lex Machina, tort lawsuits filed in federal court continue to grow, with most of the new cases arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.  After a dip in late 2019 and early 2020, tort filings rose again in the third quarter of 2020.