In this edition of Predominant Issues, we have highlighted several recently filed class actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic to identify the types of exposures companies may face in this unprecedented environment. In the coming months, we will report on notable decisions that arise from pandemic-related class litigation.
- Virus Exposure. Several putative class actions have been filed against cruise lines based on allegations of exposure to COVID-19.
- Data Privacy. Companies that offer video-conferencing services are facing class action lawsuits challenging the privacy of their communications and the safety of their data.
- Higher Education. A number of colleges and universities have been sued in putative class actions following their decisions to close campuses and provide remote, online instruction, in lieu of in-person classes. Among other things, these suits seek reimbursement for tuition, room and board, and/or fees related to on-campus services that are no longer available for student use (e.g., health facilities and student centers).
- Dixon v. Univ. of Miami, No. 2:20-cv-01348 (S.C. Apr. 8, 2020).
- Rickenbaker v. Drexel Univ., No. 2:20-cv-01358 (S.C. Apr. 8, 2020).
- Hassan v. Fordham Univ., No. 1:20-cv-03265 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2020).
- Doe v. Vanderbilt Univ., No. 3:20-mc-09999 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 27, 2020).
- Miller v. California State Univ., No. 2:20-cv-03833 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020).
- Brandmeyer v. Univ. of California, No. 4:20-cv-02886 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020).
- Subscription-Based Services. Businesses that offer subscription services are facing class action lawsuits filed by consumers who seek refunds of their subscription fees for services and facilities that are no longer available to customers.
- Ticket Cancellations. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of countless spectator events and travel bookings, and predictably, courts have seen a series of putative class actions seeking refunds for event and travel tickets.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, businesses, universities, and other organizations are presented with new and increasingly complex challenges like the class action lawsuits identified above.