Mealey's Coronavirus

  • February 27, 2024

    Judge: PREP Act Applies To Class Action Alleging Injuries From COVID-19 Drug

    LOS ANGELES — Patients and their family members who allege injuries after being prescribed and ingesting an antiviral drug used to treat severe COVID-19 symptoms saw their putative class action dismissed by a California federal judge who found that the manufacturer has immunity under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act).

  • February 23, 2024

    Clinic That Denied Treatment To Maskless Patient Files Direct Threat Defense Brief

    PORTLAND, Ore. — In a lawsuit by a former medical clinic patient against the clinic and some of its staff members alleging that their denial of treatment for his refusing to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic was in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the defendants on Feb. 22 submitted a brief as requested by an Oregon federal judge on whether it is appropriate to consider — on the defendants’ motion to dismiss — their defense that the accommodation sought by the patient presented a direct threat to clinic occupants and was not required to be provided.

  • February 23, 2024

    $5.5 Million Settlement Reached In Amazon COVID-19 Screenings Cases

    FRESNO, Calif. — California employees who brought class complaints that were later consolidated accusing Services LLC of failing to pay workers for time spent undergoing COVID-19 symptom screenings before their shifts filed a motion in a federal court in California seeking preliminary approval of a $5.5 million settlement.

  • February 23, 2024

    Walmart’s $2.5M Settlement In COVID-19 Screening Case Preliminarily Approved

    PHOENIX — A federal judge in Arizona granted preliminary approval of a $2.5 million settlement to be paid by Walmart Inc. and Wal-Mart Associates Inc. (together, Walmart) to end a class complaint seeking compensation under Arizona law for time spent undergoing mandatory COVID-19 screening before each shift.

  • February 22, 2024

    New Jersey Panel Affirms No Coverage Owed To YMCAs For Losses Arising From Pandemic

    TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Feb. 21 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of commercial property and casualty insurers in a coverage dispute arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that YMCA insureds’ business interruption claims are restricted by their policies’ clear and plain meaning that the court cannot rewrite to cover the “unfortunate losses” they incurred.

  • February 21, 2024

    U.S. Representatives’ Petition Over Mask Violation Fines Deducted From Pay Denied

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by three members of the U.S. House of Representatives who argued that the deduction of fines from their pay after they refused to follow a resolution adopted in response to the coronavirus pandemic that required the wearing of masks violated the U.S. Constitution.

  • February 21, 2024

    Maskless Resort Patron Denied Entry Appeals Dismissal Of Discrimination Suit

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A would-be resort patron denied access to a New Jersey resort during the COVID-19 pandemic because of his physical inability to wear a mask filed a notice of appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of the decision of a New Jersey federal judge who granted the resort’s motion to dismiss the patron’s lawsuit claiming disability discrimination, determining that the resort was not required to accommodate a maskless patron because of the threat posed to the health of resort staff and other patrons.

  • February 16, 2024

    New York High Court: Restaurateur Fails To Allege Direct Physical Loss Or Damage

    ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 held that the owner and operator of numerous restaurants failed to allege persistent contamination or total uninhabitability of its restaurants to trigger coverage for “direct physical loss or damage,” affirming the First Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division’s affirmation of a lower court’s dismissal of the insured’s coverage lawsuit arising from an alleged tens of millions of dollars in revenue loss prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • February 15, 2024

    Magistrate Judge Denies Stay Of Attorney Withdrawal In PPP Loan Forgiveness Case

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal magistrate judge on Feb. 14 denied the request for an indefinite stay of an order that the attorney representing a mental health treatment facility withdraw from a case seeking de novo review of a decision of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection with its denial of forgiveness for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, finding that such a stay would cause undue delay in the proceedings.

  • February 13, 2024

    No Coverage For City’s Tax Revenue Losses Arising From Pandemic, Panel Affirms

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 found that a commercial property insurer owes no coverage for a Missouri city’s tax revenue losses due to governmental closure orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, affirming a lower court’s ruling in favor of the insurer.

  • February 12, 2024

    Order Compelling Arbitration Reversed For COVID Death Claims Against Care Home

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois appellate court reversed in part and remanded a lower court’s order compelling arbitration in an estate administrator’s suit against a nursing home after a former resident contracted COVID-19 and died, finding that the claims under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act cannot be arbitrated because the beneficiaries of the estate did not consent to arbitration.

  • February 12, 2024

    English Justice Upholds Tribunals’ ‘Catastrophe’ Application In COVID-19 Cases

    LONDON — Ruling in part that arbitration tribunals in two cases concerning the COVID-19 pandemic correctly concluded “that there had been a catastrophe for the purposes of the relevant Reinsurances,” a justice of the High Court of England and Wales on Feb. 9 dismissed an appeal in one case and allowed an appeal in the other case only as to the operation of an “Hours Clause.”

  • February 09, 2024

    LTD Benefits Owed For Post-COVID-19 Syndrome, Claimant Says In Complaint

    NEW YORK — A former regional sales manager filed suit in New York federal court, seeking a ruling that he is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits for post-COVID-19 syndrome under a disability plan sponsored by his employer because the plan administrator’s denial of benefits was contrary to the weight of the medical and vocational evidence.

  • February 08, 2024

    3rd Circuit: Going Maskless Not Expressive Conduct Protected By 1st Amendment

    PHILADELPHIA — In an opinion addressing two related appeals, a panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that not wearing a mask was not constitutionally protected speech and thus affirmed the dismissal by a New Jersey federal court of a lawsuit by a parent alleging that New Jersey school board members and police violated her free speech rights under the First Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. I, by retaliating against her for not wearing a mask to a school board meeting.

  • February 07, 2024

    Texas Panel:  Exclusion Bars Coverage For Baylor College Of Medicine’s COVID-19 Losses

    HOUSTON — A Texas appeals court on Feb. 6 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of insurers in Baylor College of Medicine’s lawsuit seeking commercial property insurance coverage for its lost business income arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the Pollution and Contamination exclusion unambiguously bars coverage.

  • February 06, 2024

    Justice Kagan Denies Firm’s Petition To Enjoin Apple’s ‘Censorship Of Software’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A software company that pursued monopolization claims against Apple Inc. after its coronavirus tracing app was rejected from distribution at Apple’s App Store saw its bid for injunctive relief from the U.S. Supreme Court denied without comment on Feb. 5 by Justice Elena Kagan.

  • February 06, 2024

    9th Circuit Panel Rules PREP Act Immunity Extends To State Vaccine Prioritization

    SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in related appeals reversed an Oregon federal court decision denying the motions to dismiss of Oregon’s governor and other state officials in a class action by prison inmates seeking damages for alleged constitutional violations resulting from the officials’ decision to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination for prison workers over the inmates.

  • February 06, 2024

    Objectors To 6th Circuit: Reverse Approval Of Vaccine Mandate Settlement

    CINCINNATI — Objectors to a $130,000 nationwide settlement in a class case by hospital employees who challenged their employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy filed an appellant brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the amount as inadequate and arguing that the agreement was not sufficiently scrutinized given that “the case did not involve the assertion of nationwide class claims at the time settlement was agreed to and submitted for approval.”

  • January 31, 2024

    State Officials: Doctor COVID Misinformation Suit Is Moot After Repeal Of Statute

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Having completed briefing on mootness ordered by a California federal court in related lawsuits by California physicians claiming that a state statute allowing medical boards to discipline physicians for disseminating misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutionally vague, California state officials moved to dismiss the cases after the statute was repealed.

  • January 30, 2024

    7th Circuit: School Workers Can’t Sue In Both State, Federal Court Over Vaccine

    CHICAGO — School workers suing over COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements can’t sue in both state and federal courts, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 29, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of the federal case where the workers sought damages, opining that all claims could have been included in their state court case and “Illinois does not tolerate sequential litigation against a single order, whether or not the plaintiffs made a strategic blunder.”

  • January 30, 2024

    BYU, Student Stipulate To Dismissal Of Pandemic Closure Case With Prejudice

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Brigham Young University (BYU) student and the school stipulated to the dismissal of a class complaint in a federal court in Utah over the school’s failure to provide partial refunds of tuition and fees after classes were switched to online-only during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • January 29, 2024

    U.S. Supreme Court Seeks Defense Secretary Response In COVID-19 Vaccine Appeal

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The secretary of Defense and other federal government officials on Jan. 26 were asked by the U.S. Supreme Court to respond to a petition by military chaplains who sued over the denial of their religious accommodation requests when it came to the COVID-19 vaccine and argue that their lawsuit remains live despite the revocation of the mandate.

  • January 29, 2024

    Former Employee Alleges Termination For Refusing COVID Vaccine Was Discrimination

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Alleging that her employer failed to make a good faith effort to accommodate her religious beliefs and medical disability, both of which led her to decline a company-mandated COVID-19 vaccination, an Idaho woman filed suit against the employer in an Oregon federal court, seeking compensatory and punitive damages after the company terminated her employment.

  • January 25, 2024

    Amazon’s $950,000 Pandemic Home-Based Expenses Class Settlement Approved

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California granted final approval of a $950,000 settlement between Services LLC and a class of California-based workers who alleged that they were denied reimbursement for internet expenses they incurred while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and approved a motion for attorney fees and costs.

  • January 25, 2024

    N.J. High Court: Casino Fails To Allege ‘Direct Physical Loss’ In COVID-19 Suit

    TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Supreme Court on Jan. 24 affirmed an appeals panel’s finding that a lower court erred in denying insurers’ motion to dismiss an insured’s lawsuit seeking property and business interruption insurance coverage for its alleged loss of income during the closure of its Atlantic City casino in response to COVID-19 pandemic shutdown orders, finding that the insured has failed to plead that its business losses were caused by direct physical loss or damage under the policy and that the contamination exclusion further bars coverage.

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