Chamber Litigation Blog

March 1, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Gillian H. Clow, and Ryan Martin-Patterson

This past week’s top developments in COVID-19 litigation were: a federal court’s invalidation of the CDC’s eviction moratorium; the dismissal of a bias suit against Walmart based on its “exclusive shopping hour” for customers who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus; California’s decision to fine a McDonald’s franchisee for allegedly firing COVID-19 safety whistleblowers; and a novel lawsuit by a doctor claiming that a hospital failed to warn him of potential exposure to COVID-19 while on duty.

February 22, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Giles Judd, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

This week’s top developments in COVID-19 litigation include a securities suit against Inovio Pharmaceuticals and a refund suit against United Airlines that survived motions to dismiss; two new securities suits against biotechnology companies for allegedly overinflated promises during the pandemic; and a legal battle between New York State and Amazon over workplace protections.

February 16, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

This week’s top developments in COVID-19 litigation include the Supreme Court’s injunction against California’s ban on indoor religious services, two insurance lawsuits that each present a new twist on typical “all risk” business-interruption claims, and another insurance coverage suit that alleges bad faith based on a supposed “smoking gun” internal memo.

February 8, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Gillian H. Clow, and Giles Judd, Alston & Bird LLP

This week we cover an important dismissal of a securities class action arising from the pandemic, two new securities cases alleging distinct types of pandemic-related public  misrepresentations, a lawsuit claiming a company’s recall of defective hand sanitizer was inadequate, and the dismissal of a refund lawsuit against Fordham University.

February 1, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

The top 5 developments in COVID-19 litigation this past week were a new class action lawsuit against Amazon, the dismissal of two suits seeking business interruption insurance coverage, lawsuits challenging California and New York’s new limits on in-person dining, settlement of a class action against Nike regarding in-store masking accommodations for deaf customers, and President Biden’s Executive Order impacting worker health and safety during the pandemic.

January 25, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Gillian H. Clow, and Giles Judd, Alston & Bird LLP

This week, we focus on a constitutional challenge to California’s recent shutdown orders and the dismissal of three distinct business interruption insurance coverage cases in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  These cases reflect the surge of business interruption lawsuits filed in 2020, which are now being decided – largely in favor of insurers – and that represent different ways of analyzing the claims, leaving open the possibility for success under certain factual circumstances.

January 19, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

This week’s Roundup covers the dismissal of a putative class action seeking a refund for participant fees paid to the Ironman race organizer, a securities fraud class action over public statements about development of a COVID-19 antigen test, and multiple class actions filed by restaurants in California and New York challenging government orders that forced them to close as “non-essential” but provided no offsetting compensation.

January 11, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, and Giles Judd, Alston & Bird LLP

This week, we focus on four significant decisions in pandemic-related cases.  Courts dismissed putative class actions claiming PPP agent fees and seeking to invalidate Minnesota’s eviction moratorium, and also dismissed a lawsuit by several restaurants seeking business interruption insurance coverage.  Another court denied an employer’s motion to dismiss a complaint for violation of the WARN Act through a layoff necessitated by the pandemic.

January 5, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

COVID-related litigation continued over the holidays, albeit at a slower pace.  The top four developments are:

  1.  California Plaintiffs Sue Amazon Over Working Conditions
  2.  Zoom Hit with ADA Case for Closed-Captioning Service Fees
  3.  Poultry Companies Hit with Lawsuits for Alleged Failure to Follow COVID-19 Regulations
  4.  Federal Judge Rules Against Challenge to Philadelphia COVID Restrictions
December 21, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, and Giles Judd, Alston & Bird LLP

We have been monitoring the proposed “Bipartisan State and Local Support and Small Business Protections Act,” which, if enacted, would dramatically limit businesses’ pandemic-related legal liability and would be critical in shaping the COVID-19 litigation landscape in 2021 and beyond. 

In the meantime, here are the top three litigation developments from this past week:

1. Federal Judge Compels Arbitration in Ticketmaster Consumer Dispute

2. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Combines Suits Against Insurers

3. U.S. Supreme Court Sets Aside Colorado Capacity Limits for Houses of Worship

December 14, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

Below are the Top 4 COVID-19 Litigation Developments from the past week:

1. Cheesecake Factory Settles with SEC

2. Court Requires California to Conduct Risk-Benefit Analysis To Extend Restaurant Closures

3. New Changes to the PREP Act

4. More Takings Claims Against Universities  

December 7, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd, and J. Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

We hope our readers all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday.  During our brief break from our weekly posts, we decided to introduce a new format for the Litigation Roundup.  Now that COVID-19 litigation has generally settled into clear patterns, we felt that it would be more useful for us to provide in-depth discussion of only the most important handful of litigation developments over the past week.  So our posts now will be shorter, but they will provide focused discussion of a handful of “big picture” or high-impact cases.  We hope our readers will value the change. 

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.

December 3, 2020

David Y. Livshiz, Scott A. Eisman, and Christian Vandergeest, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP

On December 7, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Germany v. Philipp and Hungary v. Simon. Both cases are brought by plaintiffs seeking to recover property expropriated during the Holocaust, and concern only the “expropriation exception” to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which governs whether foreign sovereigns are immune from suit in the United States.

November 23, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd, & Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

This past week brought more rulings of interest in pending COVID-19 cases.  While last week’s Roundup described the dismissal of claims brought by plaintiff restaurant owners against their insurers, a court in North Carolina held the opposite this past week, finding that restaurant owners were entitled to summary judgment on claims that their forced closure constituted a direct physical loss under their insurance policies.

November 16, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

As pandemic-related litigation continues to work its way through pre-trial proceedings, we are increasingly seeing new rulings on dispositive motions and other significant events like class certification.  Two insurance coverage cases were dismissed, upholding the virus exclusions found in the policies at issue.  California courts dismissed two putative class actions seeking refunds from the Regents of the University of California, finding that the Eleventh Amendment barred those claims.  And plaintiffs’ proposed class action complaint partially survived dismissal against Walmart concerning its COVID-19 return policy. 

November 13, 2020

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

Recent reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation covered: the U.S. Chamber’s petition for rulemaking concerning pandemic-related securities litigation; research suggesting that defendants will face widespread juror bias in cases related to COVID-19; and more.

November 9, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd, and Stephen Tagert, Alston & Bird LLP

New court filings this past week spanned a wide array of industries, with important developments in pending cases for major companies. 

November 2, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Giles Judd,  and J. Stephen Tagert, Alson & Bird LLP

This week marks a milestone for us: our 30th weekly COVID-19 Litigation Roundup.  This past week saw new COVID-19 related lawsuits in many of the categories we’ve covered in the past, plus new legal theories and important developments in pending cases.

October 30, 2020

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

Some highlights of the past week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation include: overall litigation trends and strategies for businesses to mitigate legal risk, new securities claims, the first plaintiff win in a business-interruption insurance case, and failed challenges to mask and social-distancing requirements.