Class Action Litigation Related to COVID-19: Filed and Anticipated Cases Updated

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Pierce Atwood LLP

Last updated May 4, 2020

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding, class actions related to the coronavirus have already arrived and are on the rise. Despite unprecedented court closures and changing procedural rules, COVID-19 class actions have steadily increased and are expected to expand across industries, jurisdictions, and areas of law. The impact of COVID-19 on business operations, consumer activity, and economic forecasts has made clear that the filings to date are only an early indication of what is to come.

The following is a categorized summary of coronavirus-related class action litigation filed to date, highlighting the core allegations of each complaint. We also note where no recently filed actions have been identified, but we anticipate significant litigation.

We will be updating this list as new class action cases are filed. More information on class action litigation related to COVID-19 and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the firm’s directory of COVID-19 resources.

BANKING AND DEBT COLLECTION

Banks and financial institutions are facing class action litigation aimed at preventing foreclosures and suspending debt collection. These businesses may also encounter class action litigation from commercial clients based on their role in providing access to government relief under the CARES Act and other legislation.

CARES/PPP

Cases filed to date against banks concerning their administration of loans the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program seeking monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief include:

  • A.D. Sims, LLC v. Wintrust Financial Corp., No. 20-cv-02644 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Lowry v. U.S. Bancorp., No. 1:20-cv-00348 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Leigh, King, Norton & Underwood, LLC v. Regions Financial Corp., No. 2:20-cv-00591 (N.D. Ala. Apr. 28, 2020);
  • Sha-Poppin Gourmet Popcorn LLC v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 1:20-cv-02523 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 2020); Ryan M. Kull Licensed Clinical Social Work LLC v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., No. 1:20-cv-03138 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Lincoln Network, Inc. v. PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., No. 20-cv-02824 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Scherer v. Frost Bank, No. 4:20-cv-01297 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 12, 2020); Scherer v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 4:20-cv-01295 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 11, 2020);
  • Profiles, Inc. v. Bank of America Corp., No. 1:20-cv-00894 (D. Md. Apr. 3, 2020) (The court declined to issue a temporary restraining order on April 13, 2020, holding that the CARES Act does not limit the bank from considering criteria that is not in the statute. The court also concluded that private parties do not have a right to enforce the law in court.).

Debt Relief

Cases filed to date against financial institutions seeking the suspension of loan repayment, debt collection, and foreclosure include:

  • Oksenendler v. Northstar Education Finance, Inc., No. 20-cv-00805 (D. Minn. Mar. 26, 2020) (seeks suspension of a student loan repayment program based on changed conditions);
  • Shuff. v. Bank of America, No. 5:20-cv-00184 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 16, 2020) (seeks an injunction to temporarily suspend foreclosure actions).

EDUCATION

Educational programs and institutions, in particular colleges and universities, are facing class action claims by students related to campus closures, access to resources, and future operations. Cases filed to date against educational institutions seeking the refund of university tuition, room, board, and other fees paid by students based on breach of contract and other theories include:

  • Quereshi v. American Univeristy, No. 20-cv-01141 (D.D.C. May 1, 2020);
  • Chong v. Northeastern University, No. 20-cv-10844 (D. Mass. May 1, 2020);
  • Stellato v. Hofstra University, No. 20-cv-01999 (E.D.N.Y. May 1, 2020);
  • Rosado v. Barry University, Inc., No. 20-cv-21813 (S.D. Fla. May 1, 2020);
  • Rocchio v. Rutgers, No. 20-cv-05390 (D.N.J. Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Cox v. Trustees of Boston University, No. 1:20-cv-10834 (D. Mass. Apr. 30, 2020); Dutra v. Trustees of Boston University, No. 1:20-cv-10827 (D. Mass. Apr. 29, 2020);
  • Smith v. University of Pennsylvania, No. 2:20-cv-2086 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Thomson v. Pennsylvania State University, No. 4:20-cv-00725 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Doe v. Brown University, No. 1:20-cv-00191 (D.R.I. Apr. 30, 2020);
  • Shak v. Adelphi University, No. 1:20-cv-01951 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2020);
  • Doe v. Vanderbilt University, No. 3_20-cv-00356 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 28, 2020); Doe v. Vanderbilt University, No. 3:20-mc-09999 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Ritter v. Regents of the University of California, No. 3_20-cv-02925 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2020); Brandmeyer v. Regents of the University of California, No. 4:20-cv-2886 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Miller v. Board of Trustees of the California State University, No. 2:20-cv-03833 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Dieckhaus v. University of North Carolina System, No. 4_20-cv-00069 (E.D.N.C. Apr. 27, 2020); McAllister v. University of North Carolina System, No. 7_20-cv-00078 (E.D.N.C. Apr. 27, 2020); Allen v. University of North Carolina System, No. 3_20-cv-00254 (W.D.N.C. Apr. 27, 2020); Burnett v. University of North Carolina System, No. 1_20-cv-00103 (W.D.N.C. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Friedman v. Drexel University, No. 3:20-cv-05147 (D.N.J. Apr. 27, 2020); Rickenbaker v. Drexel University, No. 20-cv-1358 (D.S.C. Apr. 8, 2020);
  • Dimitryuk v. University of Miami, No. 20-cv-60851 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 26, 2020);
  • Faber v. Cornell University, No. 3_20-cv-00471 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2020); Haynie v. Cornell University, No. 20-cv-00467 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Ford v. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, No. 1:20-cv-00470 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2020);
  • Hassan v. Fordham University, No. 20-cv-03265 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2020);
  • Little v. Grand Canyon University, No. 20-cv-00795 (D. Ariz. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Rynasko v. New York University, No. 20-cv-03250 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Beck v. Manhattan College, No. 1:20-cv-03229 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Student A v. Columbia University, No. 20-cv-3208 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020); Bennett v. Columbia University, No. 20-cv-3227 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Marbury v. Pace University, No. 20-cv-03210 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Kai v. Western Michigan University, No. 20-000062-MK (Mich. Ct. Claims Apr. 22, 2020);
  • Patel v. University of Vermont, No. 2:20-cv-00061 (D. Vt. Apr. 21, 2020);
  • Irizarry v. Long Island University, No. 7:20-cv-03160 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 21, 2020);
  • Burgos v. Pa. State University, No. 20-cv-03143 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Peyton v. Wayne State University, No. 20-000059-MK (Mich. Ct. Claims. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Raftopoulous-Johnson v. Arizona Bd. Of Regents, No. 20-cv-04399 (D.N.J. Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Carpey v. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, No. 20-cv-01064 (D. Colo. Apr. 15, 2020);
  • Student A v. Liberty University, Inc., No. 20-cv-00023 (W.D. Va. Apr. 13, 2020);
  • Kliment v. University of Michigan, No. 20-000056-MK (Mich. Ct. Claims. Apr. 16, 2020);
  • Allen v. Michigan State University, No. 20-000057-MK (Mich. Ct. Claims. Apr. 16, 2020);
  • Church v. Purdue University & Trustees, No. 20-cv-00025 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 9, 2020);
  • Dixon v. Univ. of Miami, No. 20-cv-1348 (D.S.C. Apr. 8, 2020);
  • Rosenkrantz v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, No. 20-cv-00613 (D. Az. Mar. 27, 2020).

EMPLOYMENT

Employers are facing wage and hour, workplace safety, paid leave, WARN Act, ERISA, employee privacy, worker classification, disability accommodation, and discrimination claims. Cases filed to date include:

  • Green v. Hertz Corp., No. 20-cv-01006 (Apr. 30, 2020): asserts a violation of the WARN Act for failure to provide written notice before termination of employees.
  • Evans v. Dart, 20-cv-02453 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 21, 2020): asserts claims under Fair Labor Standards Act for alleged failure to pay employees’ minimum compensation.
  • Miller v. Creative Hairdressers, Inc., 20-cv-00912 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 20, 2020): asserts claims under Fair Labor Standards Act for alleged failure to pay wages for the two weeks preceding closure of the restaurant.
  • Scott v. Hooters III, Inc., No. 8:20-cv-00882 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 16, 2020): asserts a violation of the WARN Act for failure to provide written notice before termination of employees.
  • Allen v. Tableseide Restaurant Group LLC, No. 8:20-cv-843 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 13, 2020): asserts claims under Fair Labor Standards Act for alleged failure to pay wages for the two weeks preceding closure of the restaurant.
  • Olsen v. Hair Cuttery, No. 1:20-cv-03760 (D.N.J. Apr. 7, 2020): asserts claim under Fair Labor Standards Act for allegedly closing hair salons in the middle of a pay period without payment.
  • Siers v. Velodyne Lidar, No. 5:20-cv-02290 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2020): asserts claim under WARN Act for allegedly terminating over 140 employees with insufficient notice and using the pandemic as a pretext for layoffs.
  • Alaska State Employees v State of Alaska, No. 20-5652 (Super. Ct. Ak. Mar. 24, 2020): asserts claim for injunctive relief for public employees to reduce health risks.
  • Burr v. Carnival Corp., No. 20-CA-002640 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Mar. 19, 2020): asserts claims by entertainers hired by cruise ships who claim entitlement to full compensation for canceled events.
  • Verhines v. Uber Technology, Inc., No. 20-583684 (Cal. Super. Ct. Mar. 12, 2020): asserts claim for paid sick leave based on worker classification.
  • Rogers v. Lyft, Inc., No. CGC-20-583685 (Cal. Super. Ct. Mar. 12, 2020): claims that Lyft failed to provide adequate paid sick leave, making drivers feel compelled to drive even if sick.

EVENT CANCELLATION AND SERVICE DISRUPTION

Consumer claims based on the cancellation or disruption of events and services are likely to dominate court dockets in coming months.

Travel Cancellation

Cases filed to date against airlines seeking the refund of payments for cancelled flights based on breach of contract, consumer protection, and other theories include:

  • Bratcher v. Allegiant Travel Co., No. 2:20-cv-00767 (D. Nev. Apr. 28, 2020);
  • Levu v. Air Canada, Inc., No. 20-cv-00703 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Young v. Frontier Airlines, Inc., No. 20-cv-1152 (D. Colo. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Ward v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 20-cv-00371 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 22, 2020);
  • Boucher v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 20-cv-60829 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 22, 2020); Manchur v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 20-cv-10771 (D. Mass. Apr. 21, 2020);
  • Snyder v. Grupo Aeromexico S.A.B. de C.V., No. 2:20-cv-03649 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Alvarez v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., No. 1-20-cv-00175 (D. Haw. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Daniels v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-01664 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Daversa-Evdyriadis v. Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, No. 20-cv-00767 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2020);
  • Bombin v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 20-cv-01883 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2020);
  • Levey v. Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion, No. 1:20-cv-02215 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 8, 2020);
  • Utley v. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-00756 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 7, 2020); Rudolph v. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., No. 20-cv-02142 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 6, 2020).

Cases filed to date against non-airline travel companies seeking the refund of payments for cancelled itineraries based on breach of contract, consumer protection, and other theories include:

  • Tirozzi v. Lakeland Tours, LLC, No. 20-cv-30065 (D. Mass. Apr. 30, 2020) (pre-paid trip);
  • Sides v. Global Travel Alliance, Inc., No. 1_20-cv-00053 (D. Mont. Apr. 24, 2020) (educational tours);
  • Mitchell v. NurseCon at Sea LLC, No. 1:20-cv-21503 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 8, 2020) (cruise);
  • Douglas v. EF Inst. for Cultural Exch., Inc., No. 37-2020-00013374 (Cal. Super. Ct. Mar. 11, 2020); Grabovsky v. EF Inst. for Cultural Exch., No. 20-cv-00508 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 17, 2020) (educational tours).

Event Cancellation

Cases filed to date against event and ticketing companies seeking the refund of payments for sporting, music, theater, and other cultural events based on breach of contract, consumer protection, and other theories include:

  • Bromley v. SXSW, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-439 (W.D. Tex. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Trader v. SeatGeek, Inc., No. 20-cv-03248 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Tezak v. Live Nation Entm’t, Inc., No. 20-cv-02482 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Nellis v. Vivid Seats LTD, No. 20-cv-02486 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Ajzenman v. Office of the Comm’r of Baseball, No. 2:20-cv-03643 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Hansen v. Ticketmaster Entm’t, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02685 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Alcaraz v. StubHub, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02595 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 14, 2020); McMillan v StubHub, No. 20-cv-00319 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 2, 2020);
  • Rutledge v. Do LaB Inc., (Cal. Super. Ct. Mar. 24, 2020).

Memberships and Subscriptions

Cases filed to date against fitness clubs, ski resorts, amusement parks, and other organizations seeking the refund of season passes and membership fees based on breach of contract, consumer protection, and other theories include:

  • Holloway v. Planet Fitness Franchising LLC, No. 1:20-cv-01868 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 30, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Farmer v. Alterra Mountain Co., No. 1:20-cv-01175 (D. Colo. Apr. 27, 2020); Eckert v. Alterra Mountain Co., No. 1:20-cv-01158 (D. Colo. Apr. 24, 2020) (ski resort);
  • McAuliffe v. Vail Corp., No. 1:20-cv-01176 (D. Colo. Apr. 27, 2020); Clarke v. Vail Corp., No. 1:20-cv-01163 (D. Colo. Apr. 24, 2020); Faydenko v. Vail Resorts, Inc., No. 20-cv-01134 (D. Colo. Apr. 22, 2020); Han v. Vail Resorts, Inc., No. 20-cv-01121 (D. Colo. Apr. 21, 2020); Hunt v. Vail Corp., No. 4:20-cv-02463 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2020) (ski resort);
  • Cuenco v. Clubcorp USA, Inc., No. 20-cv-00744 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 23, 2020) (private club);
  • Danforth v. Town Sports International, LLC, No. 7:20-cv-03195 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 22, 2020) (fitness club);
  • McConnell v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., No. 20-cv-03665 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 21, 2020) (amusement park);
  • Hunt v. Fitness Evolution Inc., No. 4:20-cv-02461 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Rezai-Hariri v. Magic Mountain LLC, No. 20-cv-00716 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2020) (ski resort);
  • Delvecchio v. Boston Sports Clubs, No. 20-cv-10666 (D. Mass. Apr. 5, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Jampol v. Blink Holdings, No. 20-cv-02760 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Carisi v. Events and Adventures California, No. 3:20-cv-02260 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 2, 2020) (dating service);
  • Barnett v. Fitness International, LLC, No. 0:20-cv-60658 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 30, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Labib v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, No. 3:20-cv-02134 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2020) (fitness club);
  • Namorato v. New York Sports Clubs, No. 20-cv-02580 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2020) (fitness club).

GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL RIGHTS

Governments and public officials may face a higher risk of class action litigation based on their response to COVID-19 and handling of prison inmates and detainees.

Prisoner and Detainee Release

Cases filed to date against corrections facilities seeking habeas corpus and other constitutional relief for prisoners and immigration detainees based on the risk of exposure to COVID-19 include:

  • Fernandez-Rodriguez v. Licon-Vitale, No. 1:20-cv-03315 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2020) (prisoners);
  • Frazier v. Kelley, No. 4:20-cv-00434 (E.D. Ark. Apr. 21, 2020) (prisoners);
  • Novoa v. The GEO Group, Inc., No. 5:17-cv-02514 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 16, 2020) (prisoners and detainees);
  • Grinis v. Spaulding, No. 1:20-cv-10738 (D. Mass. Apr. 15, 2020) (prisoners and detainees);
  • Hernandez Roman v. Wolf, No. 20-cv-00768 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2020) (detainees);
  • Mays v. Dart, No. 1:20-cv-2134 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 3, 2020) (prisoners);
  • Sanchez v. Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown; No. 20-cv-00832 (N.D. Texas Apr. 9, 2020) (prisoners);
  • National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild v. Executive Office of Immigration Review, No. 1:20-cv-00852 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2020) (detainees);
  • Valentine v. Collier, No. 4:20-cv-01115 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2020) (prisoners and detainees);
  • Savino v. Hodgson, No. 1:20-cv-10617 (D. Mass. Mar. 27, 2020) (prisoners and detainees);
  • Nellson v. Barnhart, No. 1:20-cv-00756 (D. Colo. Mar. 18, 2020) (prisoners and detainees);
  • Dawson v. Asher, No. 20-civ-0409JLR (W.D. Wash. Mar. 16, 2020) (prisoners and detainees).

State and Federal Executive Orders and Government Actions

Cases filed to date against federal and state governments asserting civil rights and constitutional claims based on executive orders and other actions in response to COVID-19 include:

  • Frank v. City of St. Louis, No. 20-cv-00597 (E.D. Mo. May 1, 2020) (seeks relief for unsheltered individuals threatened with punishment under stay at home orders);
  • Barber v. DeVos, No. 20-cv-01137 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2020) (seeks compliance with student loan wage garnishment suspension directive of the CARES act);
  • Gill v. Pa. Dep’t of Health, No. 2:20-cv-02038 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 28, 2020) (alleged failure to complete ADA inspections of long term care facilities during the pandemic);
  • Doe v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-02531 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 2020) (alleged discriminatory purpose and intent in implementing the CARES Act);
  • Beemer v. Whitmer, No. 1:20-cv-00323 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 15, 2020) (challenging the state stay-at-home order as a violation of fundamental rights);
  • CommCan, Inc. v. Baker (Mass. Super. Ct. No. 2084CV00808, Apr. 8, 2020) (challenging classification of recreational marijuana stores as non-essential);
  • Stafford v. Baker, No. 5_20-cv-00123 (E.D.N.C. Mar. 27, 2020) (challenging an executive order limiting the number of gun permits issued during the pandemic);
  • Schulmerich Bells, LLC v. Wolf, No. 2:20-cv-01637 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 26, 2020) (challenging closure orders for failure to compensate for diminution of value in property interests).

Foreign Government and NGO Actions

Cases filed to date against foreign governments and international non-governmental organizations based on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Kling v. World Health Org., No. 7:20-cv-03124 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20, 2020) (asserts claims of negligence for the WHO’s alleged failure in containing the COVID-19 virus and in failing to timely declare the crisis a public health emergency);
  • Aharon v. Chinese Communist Party, No. 9:20-cv-80604 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 7, 2020) (alleging that China has been stockpiling personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis);
  • Bella Vista LLC et al. v. People’s Republic of China et al., No. 2:20-cv-00574 (D. Nev. Mar. 23 2020); Alters et al. v. People’s Republic of China et al., No. 1:20-cv-21108-UU (S.D. Fla. Mar. 12, 2020) (assert claims by small businesses for negligence, strict liability, and public nuisance against Chinese government entities and ministries for failing to take appropriate actions to stem the spread of the coronavirus).

HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AND NURSING FACILITIES

Hospitals, healthcare providers and nursing and residential care facilities may face class action litigation based in contract or tort relating to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless states have laws or orders limiting civil liability, these entities are potentially at risk of class action litigation.

  • The following states have enacted legislation or executive orders to shield healthcare providers from civil liability arising from the pandemic: Connecticut; Illinois; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Jersey; New York.
  • The Pennsylvania legislature rejected similar legislation.

INSURANCE

Insurers face heightened class action litigation risk as insured businesses encounter disruptions and look to their policies for relief and healthcare providers and health insurance subscribers seek coverage for COVID-19 treatments. Cases filed to date asserting breach of contract and declaratory judgment claims against insurers for failure to cover losses from forced business closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and state executive orders include:

  • Alliance Radiology, P.A. v. CAN Financial Corp., No. 20-cv-02218 (D. Kan. Apr. 29, 2020);
  • Geneva Foreign & Sports, Inc. v. Erie Ins. Co. of N.Y., No. 1:20-cv-00093 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 2020);
  • Lina Kim, DDS, P.S. v. Sentinel Ins. Co., Ltd., No. 20-cv-00657 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 30, 2020); Prato v. Sentinel Ins. Co., Ltd., No. 3:20-cv-05402 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 29, 2020); Hair Perfect, Int’l, Inc. v. Sentinel Ins. Co. Ltd., No. 20-cv-03729 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Food for Thought Caterers Corp. v. Hartford Fin. Svcs. Grp., Inc., No. 20-cv-03418 (S.D.N.Y. May 1, 2020); Pigment, Inc. v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 3:20-cv-00794 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2020); GCDC LLC v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 1:20-cv-01094 (D.D.C. Apr. 27, 2020); Lansdale 329 Prop, LLC v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co., No. 2:20-cv-02034 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2020); SA Hospitality Group, LLC v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 20-cv-03258 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2020); Chorak v. Hartford Casualty Ins. Co., No. 2:20-cv-00627 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Atma Beauty, Inc. v. HDI Global Specialty SE, Docket no. 1:20-cv-21745 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Zwillo V, Corp. v. Lexington Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-339 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Studio 417, Inc. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 6_20-cv-03127 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 27, 2020); Milkboy Center City LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 2:20-cv-02036 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2020); Grand Street Dining, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00330 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 23, 2020); Milkboy Center City LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 2:20-cv-02036 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2020); Grand Street Dining, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00330 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 23, 2020); Promotional Headwear Int’l v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 2_20-cv-02211 (D. Kan. Apr. 24, 2020); Troy Stacy Enters. Inc. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 1:20-cv-00312 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 19, 2020);
  • Equity Planning Corp. v. Westfield Ins. Co., No. CV 20 932122 (Ohio Comm. Pleas Apr. 27, 2020);
  • Dino Palmieri Salons, Inc., v. State Automobile Mutual Ins. Co., No. CV 20 932117 (Ohio Comm. Pleas Apr. 26, 2020);
  • Egg and I, LLC v. U.S. Specialty Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00747 (D. Nev. Apr. 24, 2020);
  • Biltrite Furniture, Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins., No. 20-cv-656 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 24, 2020); Torre Rossa LLC v. Liberty Mut. Ins., No. CV-20-931885 (Ohio Comm. Pleas Apr. 15, 2020);
  • JDS 1455, Inc. d/b/a/ West on North v. Society Ins., No. 1:20-cv-02546 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 2020); Rising Dough Inc. v. Society Ins., No. 2-20-cv-00623 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 17, 2020); Billy Goat Tavern I v. Society Ins., No. 1:20-cv-02068 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2020);
  • Windber Hospital v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of Am., No. 20-cv-00080 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Pacific Endodontics, P.S. v. The Ohio Casualty Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00620 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 23, 2020);
  • Marler v. Aspen Am. Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00616 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 22, 2020); Mikkelson v. Aspen Am. Ins. Co., No. 3:20-cv-05378 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 20, 2020); Christie Jo Berkseth-Rojas v. Aspen Am. Ins. Co., No. 3:20-cv-00948 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Stan’s Bar-B-Q LLC v. Charter Oak Fire Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00613 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 22, 2020);
  • Border Chicken AZ LLC v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-00785 (D. Az. Apr. 22, 2020);
  • The K’s Inc. v. Westchester Surplus Lines Ins. Co., No. 20-cv-01724 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 22, 2010);
  • Fox v. Travelers Casualty Ins. Co. of Am., No. 20-cv-0059 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 21, 2020); Nguyen v. Travelers Casualty Ins. Co. of Am., No. 20-cv-00597 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 21, 2020);
  • In re COVID-19 Business Interruption Protection Insurance Litigation, No. 2942 (U.S.J.P.M.L. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Truhaven Enters. Inc. v. Chubb Ltd., No. 2:20-cv-04586 (D.N.J. Apr. 20, 2020); Café Int’l Holding Co. LLC v. Chubb Ltd., No. 1-20-cv-21641 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • Café Plaza De Mesilla Inc. v. Continental Casualty Co., No. 20-cv-00354 (D.N.M. Apr. 20, 2020);
  • PGB Restaurant, Inc. v. Erie Ins. Co., No. 1-20-cv-02403 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 19, 2020);
  • Dakota Ventures, LLC v. Or. Mut. Ins. Co., No. 3-20-cv-00630 (D. Or. Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Bridal Expressions LLC v. Owners Ins. Co., No. 1:20-cv-00833 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 17, 2020);
  • Gio Pizzeria & Bar Hospitality, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, No. 20-cv-03107 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 17, 2020); SA Palm Beach LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, No. 20-cv-80677 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 22, 2020).

PRIVACY AND CYBERSECURITY

Companies are facing privacy and cybersecurity claims by employers and consumers based on the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information and the unauthorized access by third parties in data security incidents. Cases filed to date include:

  • Buxbaum v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02939 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 29, 2020); Simins v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02893 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020); Greenbaum v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02861 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 24, 2020); Henry v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02691 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 17, 2020); Jimenez v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02591 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 14, 2020); Hurvitz v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 2:20-cv-03400 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2020); Kondrat v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 5:20-cv-02520 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2020); Cullen v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 20-cv-02155 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 30, 2020) (assert claims for consumer privacy, consumer fraud, negligence, invasion of privacy, and unjust enrichment based on the collection, misuse, and disclosure to third parties (including Facebook) of user information).
  • Sweeney v. Life of Air, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-00742 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 17, 2020) (asserts claims of negligence, consumer privacy, and breach of contract for collection and disclosure of personal information through the social networking app Houseparty).

PRODUCT PRICING, MARKETING & LABELING

Manufacturers and sellers of products with medical, sanitation, and hygiene applications are facing class action claims related to the pricing, marketing and labeling of their products based on advertising and consumer protection laws. Cases filed to date include:

  • McQueen v. Amazon.com, No. 20-cv-02782 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 21, 2020); Armas v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 104631782 (Cir. Ct. Fla. Mar. 10, 2020): assert claim for consumer fraud based on alleged price gouging of essential consumer products.
  • Fraser v. Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., No. 20-cv-02733 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 20, 2020): asserts consumer protection claims for alleged price gouging of essential groceries.
  • Taslakian v. Target Co., 2:20-cv-2667 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 2020): asserts claims for false advertising, consumer fraud, and misrepresentation based on claims about benefits of hand sanitizers.
  • Miller v. Gojo Indus., Inc., No. 4:20-cv-562 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 13, 2020); Jurkiewicz v. Gojo Indus., Inc., No. 5:20-cv-279 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 9, 2020); Gonzalez v. Gojo Indus., Inc., No. 1:20-cv-888 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 1, 2020); Marinovich v. Gojo Indus., Inc., No. 3:20-cv-747 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2020); Aleisa v. Gojo Indus., Inc., No. 2:20-cv-1045 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2020): assert claims for false advertising, consumer fraud, and misrepresentation based on claims about benefits of hand sanitizers.
  • David v. Vi-Jon, Inc. dba Germ-X, No. 3:20-cv-00424 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2020): asserts claims for false advertising, consumer fraud, and misrepresentation based on claims about benefits of hand sanitizers.

SHAREHOLDER AND SECURITIES LITIGATION

Public companies face class action claims by shareholders concerning statements and omissions concerning the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and performance. Cases filed to date include:

  • Yannes v. Scworx Corp., No. 1:20-cv-03349 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 29, 2020): asserts federal securities law claims based on allegedly false and misleading statements regarding a large deal to supply COVID-19 tests.
  • Banuelos v. Norwegian Cruise Lines, No. 20-cv-21685 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 22, 2020); Atachbarian v. Norwegian Cruise Lines, No. 1:20-cv-21386 (S.D. Fla. Mar 31, 2020); Douglas v. Norwegian Cruise Lines, No. 20-cv-21107 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 12, 2020): assert federal securities law claims based on allegedly false and misleading statements that minimized the health crisis and its impact on the company’s business.
  • Finch v. iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc., No. 1:20-cv-03135 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20, 2020); Riback v. iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc., No. 1:20-cv-03044 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 15, 2020): asserts federal securities law claims based on a company alleged use of the COVID-19 crisis to improperly avoid making interest payments on its loans.
  • Brams v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02396 (N.D. Cal. Apr 8, 2020); Drieu v. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-02353 (N.D. Cal. Apr 7, 2020): assert federal securities law claims based on Zoom’s allegedly inadequate security and privacy measures, which were exposed by Zoom’s increased use during the pandemic.
  • McDermid v. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 20-cv-01402 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 12, 2020): asserts federal securities law claims based on allegedly false and misleading statements about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

TRANSMISSION AND EXACERBATION OF COVID-19

Plaintiffs have filed class actions alleging that businesses negligently promoted the spread of COVID-19 or hid information about the risks of COVID-19 transmission or complications. Cases filed to date include:

  • Molchun v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 1_20-cv-21792 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 30, 2020): asserts admiralty and negligence claims for alleged failure to protect crew members of cruise from exposure to COVID-19.
  • Nedeltcheva v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., No. 20-cv-21569 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2020): asserts claims of negligence for alleged failure to protect crew members of cruise from exposure to COVID-19.
  • In re: Juul Labs, Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices & Products Liability Litigation, 19-md-2913 (Apr. 10, 2020): amends complaint to assert claims based on allegations that vaping product users are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19.
  • Archer v. Carnival Corporation, et al., No. 20-cv-02381 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 8, 2020): asserts claims including negligence and gross negligence based on an outbreak of COVID-10 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
  • Turner v. Costa Crociere SPA, No. 20-cv-21481 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 7, 2020): asserts claims including negligence and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to cruise line’s decision to embark on cruise despite allegedly knowing a passenger was showing symptoms of COVID-19.

WEBSITE AND DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY

Companies are likely to face Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other claims based on the ability of users with disabilities to navigate and understand their websites, mobile applications, and electronic platforms, especially as goods and services that were previously available at brick-and-mortar sites move to the internet.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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