Chamber Litigation Blog

March 31, 2021

By Sue Reisinger | March 31, 2021, 3:58 PM EDT

The U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, which represents businesses on leading-edge issues before the courts and federal regulatory agencies, has shaken up its legal department by adding four prestigious lawyers to its in-house team. This group is so experienced that all four have worked at name law firms in Washington, held high positions as attorneys in the federal government, and clerked for federal appeals court judges. The new hires this month, who are replacing others, include two deputy chief counsel, Paul Lettow and Andrew Varcoe. They were joined by associate chief counsel Jennifer Dickey and senior counsel for litigation Stephanie Maloney. The center’s legal team totals eight lawyers.

Read more: https://www.law360.com/pulse/articles/1370758/chamber-adds-four-star-attys-to-its-litigation-center

March 29, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Stephen Tagert

This week’s top COVID-19 litigation developments are: Amazon’s settlement with the NLRB over an employee walkout; a class action against New York City over its use of a “secret” maximum price list in price-gouging enforcement; a securities suit against a biotech company over misstatements regarding a COVID-19 test it was developing; and a class action against Walmart by hourly employees claiming they improperly lost pay during mandatory COVID screenings.

March 22, 2021

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

This week’s top COVID-19 litigation developments are all decisions on motions to dismiss.  Courts dismissed a privacy class action against Zoom, a refund class action against Ticketmaster, a business interruption lawsuit based on a virus exclusion in the insurance policy, and a tuition refund class action against NYU.  In the one bright spot for plaintiffs this week, a court also denied a motion to dismiss a different business interruption suit based on “standing” grounds.

March 15, 2021

Jason A. Levine, Ryan Martin-Patterson, Stephen Tagert

This week’s top COVID-19 litigation developments involve: the dismissal for mootness of a refund class action filed against Capital One Bank; a guilty plea in a large price-gouging case; a new business-interruption insurance suit filed by Madison Square Garden entities; and Wisconsin’s new COVID-10 liability shield for businesses, government entities, and tribes.

March 8, 2021

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

The top developments in COVID-19 litigation this past week were: the dismissal of a workplace exposure suit filed by the infected employee’s spouse; the partial survival of refund class actions against Columbia University and Pace University; and a $100 million business interruption coverage suit filed by In-N-Out Burgers.

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.