Chamber Litigation Blog

September 9, 2020

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

The pace of new COVID-19-related filings slowed a bit leading up to Labor Day weekend, but there were still many noteworthy new cases.

September 3, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation focused on a possible coming wave of age- and disability-discrimination lawsuits, tuition-refund litigation, cruise-line class actions, and China’s potential response to the lawsuits against it in U.S. courts.

August 31, 2020

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

This week’s new filings were dominated by a slew of suits by and against governments over mask ordinances, business regulations, price-gouging claims, and closure orders—including a creative new claim asserting that the shutdown of a “family fun center” amounted to inverse condemnation, for which the business is entitled to compensation.

August 28, 2020

Tara S. Morrissey, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

The threat of liability continues to dominate headlines in COVID-19 news and commentary.  Schools and college football conferences weigh liability risks, while more states move toward liability protections.  As businesses get back on their feet, a recent report shows that the pandemic is disproportionately impacting female small business owners. 

August 24, 2020

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

The top three developments this past week: many more challenges to regulations and government enforcement; decisions in several cases seeking insurance coverage; and a major new securities lawsuit.

August 21, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation focused on a new coronavirus relief proposal, policy and litigation trends, legal risks for employers, insurance litigation, and liability waivers.

August 17, 2020

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

New cases related to COVID-19 surged last week, driven primarily by new filings against governments over pandemic-related restrictions and school reopening plans.  Workplace litigation also continues to grow.  And there were important developments in workplace and refund cases we’ve previously covered.

August 14, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation primarily focused on the debate over the Senate GOP’s proposed lawsuit protections, the liability risks facing reopening schools and college-sports programs, and the growing wave of business-interruption insurance litigation.

August 10, 2020

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

It’s been a busy week for coronavirus-related litigation.  We’re all familiar with suits arguing either that masks should be required or that they should not be required.  Here’s a new one: a suit complaining about other people wearing masks.  Store customers are arguing that employees violated the law by wearing masks because the masks prevented lip reading.  In the meantime, employees continue to pursue failure-to-protect suits against their employers for not doing more to implement and enforce mask mandates.  This legal chaos continues to strengthen the case for liability protection.

Beyond masks, this past week saw considerable litigation challenging government health measures, government actions against businesses and others to enforce those measures, an increase in Americans With Disabilities Act suits, and much more.

August 7, 2020

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

COVID-19 litigation was a hot topic this week.  Most of the reporting and commentary focused on the first wave of tort suits over worker deaths, debate over the Senate GOP’s proposed liability protections, and an MDL panel hearing to consider the consolidation of hundreds of business-interruption insurance lawsuits.  Here’s a summary (I read the full articles so you don’t have to!) along with links.

August 3, 2020

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

This week saw a noteworthy uptick in workplace-related litigation and suits against federal, state, and local governmental entities. 

July 31, 2020

Daryl Joseffer, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

Reporting this week focused on the Congressional debate over federal liability protection; the potential for litigation even if legislation passes; back-to-school requests for liability waivers; BigLaw suits for rent abatement; and a court ruling against cruise ship passengers who did not contract COVID-19 but sued anyway.

July 27, 2020

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

As COVID-19 infection rates in many parts of the country spiked upwards this past week, government and workplace lawsuits continued to occupy center stage.  Many of these suits are now at cross-purposes, such as suits seeking to require or prevent reopenings, or to enforce or impede mask mandates. 

July 24, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation primarily focused on the debate over federal liability protections: the highlights of the Senate GOP’s proposal (expected to be released next week), the Democrats’ alternative proposal, a possible compromise, and a letter from 21 state governors urging Congress to act.  Other interesting articles took a closer look at state liability protections, liability waivers for independent contractors, and the CFPB’s latest enforcement priorities amid the pandemic.

July 20, 2020

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

After a brief slowdown around July Fourth, the COVID-19 litigation machine has cranked back into high gear, with a number of important opinions, a high-profile retreat by the federal government, and scores of new filings. 

July 17, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation focused on forthcoming proposals in Congress for liability protections, the limits of existing federal and state lawsuit shields, undeterred plaintiffs’ attorneys pursuing litigation and advertising despite such protections, the surge in workplace class-actions, and the debate over masks.

July 13, 2020

Shay Dvoretzky and Jeffrey Johnson

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is one of the most abused statutes in the United States Code.  Plaintiffs’ lawyers have leveraged uncapped statutory damages, relatively easy class certification, and widespread judicial uncertainty into massive settlements in nearly every sector of the economy.

Two issues have dominated recent litigation surrounding the TCPA: the constitutionality of the statute in light of its exemption for calls made to collect government-owned or government-backed debt, and the scope of its restriction on calls made from an “automatic telephone dialing system.” In Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, the Supreme Court (largely) resolved the first question by severing the content-based exemption, leaving every caller subject to the TCPA’s demands. And in Facebook Inc. v. Duguid—granted for review just a few days after Barr was decided—the Supreme Court will resolve the second issue, deciding (once and for all?) the kinds of equipment subject to the TCPA.  

July 13, 2020

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

Many of last week’s interesting COVID-19 related lawsuits involved the government.  While litigation continued over state stay-at-home orders, Harvard and MIT challenged a new federal policy that would force foreign students on visas to return home if their classes are entirely online.  In the meantime, some landlords and tenants took a break from suing each other by suing city governments, arguing the cities are required to either ban or permit evictions for unpaid rent.

July 10, 2020

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

This week’s reporting and commentary on COVID-19 litigation focused on an “exponential” increase in workplace litigation, a potential wave of False Claims Act lawsuits related to CARES Act funds, the continuing debate over federal liability protections, and the complexities of liability waivers.

July 8, 2020

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

This past week saw noticeably fewer new COVID-19-related lawsuits, but we expect this is attributable to the long Independence Day weekend.  And the week did bring with it several noteworthy developments.