Tag Archives: litigation

Federal Judge Dismisses COVID-Related College Tuition Refund Claims

Since the global pandemic forced most college campuses to resort to online instruction in March 2020, college students across the country have filed more than 150 lawsuits against their schools seeking refunds of tuition and related fees.

This month, a federal judge in Boston made the first dispositive ruling in such a case against Northeastern University – tossing out most of the claims asserted by the students in a putative class-action matter.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Deanna Lucci, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED Blog.

Consolidation Of All Federal Business Interruption Cases Rejected by Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation

On July 31, the seven-member Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) heard oral argument of extraordinary length on the potential consolidation of all federal cases involving business interruption coverage relating to COVID-19 and/or COVID-19 shutdown orders, totaling approximately 449 such federal cases, roughly 200 of which are putative class actions.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Damon Vocke, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.

Oral Argument on Potential Consolidation of Business Interruption Coverage Cases Related to COVID-19

On July 30, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (the Panel) heard oral argument of extraordinary length on the potential consolidation of all the federal cases involving business interruption coverage relating to COVID-19 and/or the COVID-19 shut-down orders.  There are some 449 such federal cases, approximately 200 of which are putative class actions.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Damon Vocke, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.

COVID-19 “Fear Cases” Against Princess Cruise Lines Dismissed by California Federal Court

On Wednesday, the District Court for the Central District of California granted Princess Cruise Line’s (“Princess Cruises”) Consolidated Motion to Dismiss all 13 “Fear Cases” stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Brittany Wakim, please visit the Duane Morris Products Liability Blog.

Berkshire Hathaway Fights Bid To Invalidate Virus Exclusion

Berkshire Hathaway and one of its units on Monday urged a Pennsylvania federal court to toss a restaurant’s suit seeking insurance coverage for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that a virus exclusion “plainly applies” to the restaurant’s claims.

Berkshire Hathaway and National Fire are represented by Robert L. ByerJulie S. Greenberg and Damon N. Vocke of Duane Morris LLP.

To read the full text of this article, please visit the Law360 website.

When Welcoming Back Students, Colleges Fear COVID-19 Spread, Class Actions Over Tuition

Colleges and universities across the country are beginning to figure out what the fall semester for students will look like. In-house counsel at the schools that have chosen to bring students back to campus full-time need to worry about furthering the spread of the new coronavirus and class action litigation over refunds for tuition, housing and service fees.

It is too early to tell how courts will rule on these kinds of lawsuits, Ed Cramp, a partner at Duane Morris in San Diego said. From his perspective, how education is delivered to a student is not something guaranteed by the university. However, the suits asking for a refund of fees for services not used could be problematic.

“The issue for the institutions is that many of them just don’t have the money. It is not a matter of, ‘Let me just write you a check,’” Cramp said.

To read the full text of this article in Corporate Counsel magazine quoting Duane Morris partner Ed Cramp, please visit law.com (subscription required).

COVID-19, Business Interruption Insurance and Direct Physical Damage under New York Law

To date, approximately 150 business-interruption insurance coverage lawsuits have been filed in federal courts arising from COVID-19 and related government-ordered restrictions. In what appears to be the first substantive ruling on the merits in these cases, the Southern District of New York recently ruled against an insured who could not meet its burden to show a likelihood of success in establishing “property damage” due to the novel coronavirus to support its claim for injunctive relief. Judge Caproni expressed sympathy “for every small business that is having difficulties during this period of time,” but concluded that “New York law is clear” in requiring actual property damage to trigger business interruption coverage. Because the insured’s coverage theory rested on a government shutdown in the absence of any property damage, the Court denied its preliminary injunction motion, reasoning “this is just not what’s covered under these insurance policies.”

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Damon Vocke and David T. McTaggart, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.

Chicago City Council Passes Two COVID-19 Employee Protection Ordinances

On May 20, 2020, Chicago City Council passed two ordinances intended to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic: a COVID-19 anti-retaliation ordinance and an amendment to the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, which provides employers with a six-month delay to the implementation of the private litigation rights provision of the ordinance.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Declares Safer at Home Order Invalid and Unenforceable – Now What?

The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the state’s stay-at-home order on May 13, concluding that Secretary of Health Services Andrea Palm overstepped her statutory authority when she issued the Safer at Home Order on April 16, 2020. The lawsuit, filed by the Wisconsin Legislature, challenged the validity of the Safer at Home Order on technical grounds, arguing that, because Secretary Palm did not comply with the statutory rulemaking procedures, it was unlawful. The Court agreed and struck down the order, which, among other things, prohibited nonessential travel and shuttered nonessential businesses through May 26, 2020.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Congressional Efforts to Compel Coronavirus Business Interruption Insurance

We previously wrote about the growing number of lawsuits by insureds seeking business interruption insurance coverage for business losses in response to the novel coronavirus (here and here), and the constraints that state and federal governments should face were they to compel such coverage. We also previously detailed nationwide efforts aimed at enacting legislation compelling business interruption and contingent business interruption insurance for COVID-19 losses. As of the date of this update, eight states have proposed a number of bills relating to business interruption insurance, and Congress has also waded in.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Dominica C. AndersonPhilip R. Matthews and Daniel B. Heidtke, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.