Chamber Litigation Blog

July 7, 2020

Andrew J. Pincus, Mayer Brown LLP

​The Supreme Court’s decision last week in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resolves a decade-long controversy about the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s single-director structure. The Court held that “the CFPB’s leadership by a single individual removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance violates the separation of powers.” (The Court’s constitutional analysis largely paralleled the approach advocated in the Chamber’s amicus brief.) 

July 1, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation focused on the prospects of a litigious summer, the risks of liability waivers, and disputes over business-interruption insurance coverage.

June 29, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Gillian H. Clow, Debolina Das, Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LLP

Last week’s slew of new COVID-19 lawsuits included many more workplace actions, challenges to stay-at-home and reopening orders, and government enforcement actions.  We also saw several court orders as suits that we’ve reported on for many weeks have continued to mature. 

June 26, 2020

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

Discrimination and personal-injury lawsuits, the debate over federal liability protections, the use of liability waivers, and lawsuits against China highlighted this week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation.  The National Law Review also has an updated and very comprehensive report summarizing “the shifting state, territorial and local government policies and guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening of the economy.”

June 22, 2020

Daryl Joseffer and Jonathan D. Urick, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

As Congress continues to debate federal coronavirus liability protections, reopening businesses are increasingly turning to liability waivers to minimize their legal risk.

June 22, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Gillian H. Clow, Debolina Das, Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LLP

This week in COVID-19 litigation features claims involving a televangelist and a movie star-turned-producer, enforcement actions by EPA, private enforcement efforts by 3M, several interesting suits against business closure orders, and colorful defamation and failure-to-protect complaints.

June 17, 2020

California State Courts More Permissive Than Federal Courts

Lauren De Lilly and Alexandria Ruiz, Sidley Austin LLP

In purported class actions, precertification discovery requests to obtain information about similarly situated individuals are often nothing more than burdensome fishing expeditions designed to identify additional clients for plaintiffs’ counsel. The potential for abuse is especially high when a case has devolved into a “headless” class action, i.e., when a court has determined that the named plaintiff is ineligible to represent the purported class. 

Federal courts understand and have generally barred discovery that seeks only to identify a replacement class representative.  But California state courts—a hot bed of class action litigation—have been more permissive, making it all the more important to remove purported class actions from state to federal courts in California.

June 16, 2020

Kelly Dunbar and Thomas Sprankling, WilmerHale LLP

In response to the spread of COVID-19, a number of state governors and other executive branch officials claimed emergency powers to enact comprehensive shelter-in-place policies.  We wrote a post last month on potential intergovernmental litigation, i.e., litigation between different States or between States and the federal government, over these stay-at-home orders.  This post covers intragovernmental litigation.  Unable to shape the scope of emergency orders through normal political processes, state legislators and local governments alike have filed lawsuits trying to strike down the orders in full or in part—with mixed success.

June 15, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Gillian H. Clow, Debolina Das, and Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston Bird LLP

Welcome to our tenth litigation roundup post!  Over the past several months, we have tracked over 1,000 business-related COVID-19 cases, and the filings show no sign of abating.  On the contrary, they continue to pile up at remarkable speed.  This past week had a major legal development involving OSHA and particularly colorful cases involving the Chicago Transit Authority, a fraudulent scheme to “sell” 900 billion N95 masks, and actress Reese Witherspoon. Par for the course in the world of COVID-19 litigation. 

June 12, 2020

Daryl Joseffer and Jonathan D. Urick, US Chamber Litigation Center

As always, the Chamber Litigation Blog ran an update this week on COVID-19 related business litigation, which continues to grow rapidly. Reporting elsewhere has focused on the push for limited liability protections, the budding use of “public nuisance” doctrine in COVID-19 suits, the increased volume of landlord-tenant litigation, 3M’s assertion of intellectual property rights to block price gouging and counterfeiting of N95 masks, the battle over whether to send insurance disputes to an MDL, and whether the Chinese Communist Party (along with China itself) can be held liable for the pandemic.

June 10, 2020

Jeff Bucholtz, Nikesh Jindal, and Jeremy Bylund, King & Spalding LLP

The misuse of public nuisance law to attempt to regulate worker safety from the bench in the midst of a pandemic

How to safely “reopen” the American economy has been at the forefront of public debate for weeks. And although efforts to resume or continue business operations amid the ongoing pandemic will generally follow government guidance and (perhaps even more critically) consumer demand, this will not stop private attempts to dictate these decisions through the legal system.

June 8, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Gillian H. Clow, Debolina Das, and Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LLP

As many local economies begin reopening, the number of workplace suits alleging failure to protect workers, or alleging actual coronavirus exposure, has steadily increased.  This past week, a district court denied McDonald’s motion to dismiss one such suit alleging public nuisance.  We expect the number of such filings to continue climbing as more workplaces reopen. 

June 5, 2020

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

Growing litigation, novel theories of liability, the debate over liability protection, and the pandemic’s impact on settlement values highlighted this week’s reporting on business litigation related to COVID-19.

June 4, 2020

Shay Dvoretzky and Elizabeth B. McRee, Jones Day

Many states are lifting stay-at-home restrictions.  Employers face tough calls about whether and when to re-open; which employees to bring back; and how to respond to employees’ requests for flexible schedules or other accommodations. 

June 1, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Gillian H. Clow, Debolina Das, and Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LLP

It was another busy week for litigation related to COVID-19, with scores of new filings – including interesting new variations on several old themes – and courts deciding several important cases. 

May 29, 2020

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

As states slowly ease restrictions, coronavirus litigation continues to grow, as do calls for business liability protections.

May 26, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Fiona O’Carroll and Gillian H. Clow, Alston & Bird LLP

New COVID-19 related filings continued to pour in last week, along with some interesting decisions.  The filings demonstrated both expansion and maturation of COVID-19 related claims. 

May 22, 2020

Daryl Joseffer and Jonathan D. Urick, US Chamber Litigation Center

The debate continued this week over the wave of COVID-19 related lawsuits and the need to provide a safe harbor for businesses that comply in good faith with guidance from public health authorities.

May 19, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Alex Akerman, Fiona O’Carroll and Gillian H. Clow, Alston & Bird LLP

The wave of litigation related to the COVID-19 pandemic grew this past week, with surging volume in most of the categories we’ve been tracking.  The most important developments involved challenges to statewide stay-at home orders.

May 15, 2020

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

Protecting businesses from an onslaught of COVID-19 litigation remains front and center in the debate over reopening the economy and new legislation to speed up the recovery.