Mealey's Coronavirus

  • May 24, 2024

    California High Court: Presence Of COVID-19 Does Not Constitute Direct Physical Loss

    SAN FRANCISCO — Answering “no” to a certified question from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court held May 23 that the “actual or potential presence of the COVID-19 virus on an insured's premises generally does not constitute ‘direct physical loss or damage to property’ for purposes of coverage under a commercial property insurance policy.”

  • May 24, 2024

    N.C. High Court Agrees To Review Clothing Retailer’s Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court on May 23 granted a clothing retailer insured’s request to review an appeals court’s ruling that affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of its lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • May 23, 2024

    Judge: Consolidation Needed To Address Settlement In Related Mortgage Class Suits

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an order filed in the wake of a status hearing on a joint motion for preliminary approval of a $185 million settlement to resolve two related suits accusing Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and Wells Fargo and Co. (together, Wells Fargo) of violating state and federal law by engaging in a scheme to place borrowers into a forbearance program during the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal judge in Ohio on May 22 notified the parties that unless they filed a brief in opposition within seven days, the court “will sua sponte consolidate these cases into a single case for settlement purposes only, appoint both counsel as interim class counsel for settlement purposes only, and consider the pending motion for preliminary approval.”

  • May 23, 2024

    $5.5M Amazon COVID-19 Screenings Pay Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval

    FRESNO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on May 22 granted preliminary approval of a $5.5 million settlement after supplemental briefing and a revised class notice was filed in two consolidated cases by California workers who accuse Services LLC of failing to pay them for time spent undergoing COVID-19 symptom screenings before their shifts.

  • May 20, 2024

    5th Circuit Refuses To Rehear Dispute Over $1M Settlement Of Canceled Music Festival

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied an insurer’s petition to reconsider its reversal of a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in its favor in the insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying $1 million class action settlement arising from the insured’s refusal to refund ticket sales for the South by Southwest festival that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, refusing to disturb its finding that the policy’s contract and professional services exclusions do not bar coverage.

  • May 20, 2024

    Massachusetts Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Restaurants’ Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts appellate panel on May 20 affirmed a lower court’s grant of an insurer’s motion to dismiss a coverage lawsuit arising from the coronavirus pandemic, concluding that the restaurant insureds failed to demonstrate that the coronavirus physically altered or affected their insured property in any way.

  • May 20, 2024

    Judge Denies TRO Barring Foreclosure Sale By Servicer Accused Of Violating UCL

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on May 17 denied a borrower’s application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the imminent foreclosure sale of his home, finding it unlikely that he will succeed on his claims against a borrower for violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by allegedly misinforming him about his ability to obtain a COVID-19 forbearance plan.

  • May 16, 2024

    Panel Amends Opinion After Insureds Seek Clarification In COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 15 filed an amended memorandum indicating that its reversal of a lower federal court’s denial of leave to amend a claim under an insurance policy’s Crisis Event provision applied to two sets of insureds in a coronavirus coverage dispute.

  • May 15, 2024

    SBA Says PPP Borrower Cannot Get Relief Sought Without Seeking Loan Forgiveness

    MIAMI — The administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) on May 14 moved a Florida federal court to dismiss the lawsuit of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipient seeking to force the SBA to determine its eligibility for the loan, arguing that there was no relief to be obtained by the loan recipient in the absence of a loan forgiveness application, which the recipient has not submitted.

  • May 15, 2024

    Insurers Say ERISA, CARES Act Preclude Suits Seeking Reimbursement For COVID Tests

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A group of health insurers from several related cases filed a consolidated motion to dismiss the second amended complaints of a testing lab in the lab’s multiple lawsuits seeking reimbursement for COVID-19 testing it claims the insurers should have paid for on behalf of its insureds during the pandemic.

  • May 14, 2024

    PREP Act Immunity In Swab Patent Row Not Ripe For Appeal, Federal Circuit Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Denial by a federal judge in Maine of a swab maker’s motion to dismiss patent infringement allegations on grounds that it is immune from suit as part of the federal coronavirus response will not be reviewed, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 14.

  • May 13, 2024

    High Court Declines To Review 9th Circuit COVID-Related Qualified Immunity Rulings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 13 declined to review three panel opinions from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirming federal court decisions denying state prison officials qualified immunity for their conduct in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic after 26 inmates and a prison employee died from COVID-19 and also denied a conditional certiorari petition filed by representatives of some of the inmates and the employee.

  • May 13, 2024

    Supreme Court Rejects Petition Over Apple’s ‘Censorship Of Software’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — After twice denying an application for a writ of injunction by the creator of a coronavirus tracking app, which Apple Inc. declined to carry in its App Store, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 13 denied the creator’s petition for certiorari in which it raised seven questions related to Apple Inc.’s purported anticompetitive behavior.

  • May 10, 2024

    3rd Circuit Denies Ralph Lauren’s Motions To Remand Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 9 denied Ralph Lauren Corp.’s motions seeking to vacate and remand a New Jersey federal court’s ruling in favor of its insurer in a coronavirus coverage dispute.

  • May 10, 2024

    Air Force, Space Force Members Appeal Dismissal Of Vaccine Mandate Class Case

    CINCINNATI — Members of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons, filed a class complaint challenging the vaccine mandate and were granted a classwide preliminary injunction that was vacated as moot in December by the U.S. Supreme Court filed a notice of appeal after a federal judge in Ohio dismissed their case as moot.

  • May 07, 2024

    Claimant Files Complaint, Says LTD Benefits Owed For Long COVID Diagnosis

    PHOENIX — A denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion because the disability insurer failed to properly consider the restrictions and limitations set by the claimant’s treating physicians as a result of the claimant’s diagnosis with long COVID, the claimant contends in a complaint filed in Arizona federal court.

  • May 07, 2024

    Justice Dismisses COVID Death Suit Against Care Home, Cites Health Law Immunity

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York state court justice dismissed a negligence and wrongful death suit filed against a nursing home by the estate of a former resident who died from COVID-19, finding that the New York state Legislature intended the repeal of a liability-limiting statute for health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic to be prospective rather than retroactive.

  • May 03, 2024

    Insureds Defend Their Appeal To N.C. Supreme Court In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Restaurant insureds defended their appeal asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court’s reversal of a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in their favor in a COVID-19 coverage dispute, asserting that a “careful examination makes clear that its policy as interpreted under North Carolina’s specific laws provides coverage for its losses.

  • May 03, 2024

    Judge: Insured’s Attachments To Complaint Contradict Physical Dispossession Claims

    CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s lawsuit alleging that the insurer wrongfully denied coverage for losses that its predecessor-in-interest incurred from governmental shutdown orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured’s physical dispossession allegations are contradicted by its own attachments to its complaint that demonstrated that the shutdown orders did not completely bar employees from accessing the company’s facilities.

  • May 03, 2024

    COVID-19 Contact Tracing Staffing Company Will Pay $2.7M To Settle Privacy Claims

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A company hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide staffing for COVID-19 contact tracing will pay $2.7 million to settle claims pending in a federal court in Pennsylvania that it failed to implement sufficient cybersecurity measures to protect collected data, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

  • May 02, 2024

    Borrowers’ Class Suit Alleging Lender Wrongfully Denied COVID Relief Dismissed

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 1 dismissed without prejudice borrowers’ putative class action alleging that their lender violated state and federal statutes when it denied some borrowers COVID-19 aid and approved only a portion of the aid for others, finding that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) or the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

  • May 01, 2024

    PPP Borrower Says It Is Suing SBA For Loan Eligibility Decision, Not Forgiveness

    MIAMI — After the administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) moved a Florida federal court to dismiss the lawsuit of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipient seeking to force the SBA to come to a decision on the forgiveness of its loan, claiming that the loan recipient never applied for loan forgiveness, the recipient on April 30 filed an amended complaint seeking a determination of a loan eligibility review instead of a loan forgiveness application it sought in the original complaint.

  • May 01, 2024

    California Chick-fil-A Delivery Price Class Suit Dismissed After Settlement In Ga.

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chick-fil-A Inc. and a customer who brought a class complaint over the fast food company’s delivery prices filed a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice in a federal court in California after the claims were resolved as part of a settlement approved by a Georgia court in February; the California case had been stayed pending settlement since October 2022.

  • April 30, 2024

    California Nursing Home Chain Settles COVID-Related Medicare Fraud Claims For $7M

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a California-based chain of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and two of its executives agreed to pay  $7,084,000 to settle a federal False Claims Act (FCA) suit related to alleged fraudulent billing for a higher level of skilled care than needed under Medicare Part A for facility residents who did not test positive for COVID-19 but were near a person who did, thereby fraudulently increasing the SNFs Medicare revenue.

  • April 30, 2024

    Employee Who Refused COVID Tests Appeals Dismissal Of Constructive Discharge Case

    MINNEAPOLIS — A former Minnesota county public defender filed a notice of appeal to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 29, seeking review of a Minnesota federal court’s dismissal of the public defender’s complaint alleging that she was constructively discharged from her position and resigned under duress after she refused to submit to COVID-19 testing in lieu of vaccination as the county transitioned back to an in-office working environment.

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