Chamber Litigation Blog

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.

October 26, 2020

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

Continuing last week’s uptick in the volume of COVID-19 related lawsuits, this week presented us with a plethora of new suits, though most fall into now-familiar categories, including employment and other workplace-related actions. 

October 23, 2020

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

Some highlights of the last two weeks’ reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation include negotiations over including liability protections in the next round of stimulus legislation, more calls for Congress and state legislatures to enact such protections, college tuition refund lawsuits, and an update on employment litigation.

October 22, 2020

Steven Lehotsky
Executive Vice President & Chief Litigation Counsel, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

What we see from Judge Barrett’s highly qualified record is that America’s employers will get a fair shot.

October 19, 2020

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

Pandemic-related case filings jumped noticeably this past week, with significant new litigation across many industries asserting a wide variety of claims.

October 13, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LLP

This past week’s big news centered around MDLs (multi-district litigation).  In Illinois, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized 34 lawsuits alleging denial of coverage by Society Insurance Co., but declined to centralize groups of cases against several other insurers.  And, two different MDLs were formed to centralize cases alleging wrongful refusal to refund canceled ski passes.

October 9, 2020

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

Some highlights of this week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation include the continued increase in state-court suits, legal challenges to state emergency orders, workplace-vaccination polices, the mask-related dilemma facing businesses, and recent decisions on contractual defenses.

October 5, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Kaelyne Wietelman

Alston & Bird LLP

This week continues a recent trend of fewer noteworthy COVID-19 related cases being filed, although there was still a broad diversity of claims raised in new lawsuits.

October 2, 2020

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

Highlights of this week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation include articles on “take home” lawsuits, the need for liability reform, and a possible “middle ground” for handling COVID-19 business-interruption insurance MDLs.

September 28, 2020

Jason A. Levine, Peter E. Masaitis, Gillian H. Clow, Ryan Martin-Patterson, and Kaelyne Wietelman, Alston & Bird LPP

This week brought us several new rulings in long-pending cases, including the dismissal of six class actions against JPMorgan Chase based upon a ruling that banks are not required to pay “agent fees” under the Paycheck Protection Program.  Negligence claims in a suit against Princess Cruise Lines were dismissed on the pleadings because the plaintiffs had not adequately alleged causation.  A Florida judge shot down a plaintiff’s standing in her proposed class action against LA Fitness over club fee refunds.  And many more new cases were filed, including employment, government, derivative, insurance, and landlord-tenant suits.