COVID-19 Wrongful Death Suit Against Cruise Line Harbinger of Litigation to Come

On May 4, 2020, Christopher Weidner filed a wrongful death claim against Carnival Corporation and a subsidiary company, Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the companies’ negligence caused his father, 74-year-old Carl Weidner, to contract COVID-19 while on a cruise. Lawsuits of this nature, challenging businesses’ notice of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are already increasing, and will likely grow exponentially once courts resume normal operations across the country.

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

FAR 52.250-1 Indemnity for VA Contracts Responsive to COVID-19

On April 10, President Trump invoked his authority under 50 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. to authorize the VA to indemnify contractors “with regard to transactions directly responsive to the COVID-19 national emergency.”  This statutory authority may provide FAR 52.250-1 contractual indemnity protection for VA contractors against insurance coverage gaps related to COVID-19.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Matthew Freeman and Michael Schrier, please visit the Duane Morris Government Contracts and Litigation Blog.

Steps For Mitigating Litigation Risk Related to Coronavirus

When the current crisis has passed, businesses will reopen and people will leave the relative safety of home isolation. Some will get sick, and tragically some will die. The question is not whether there will be litigation, it is what will the ground rules be? So, imagine that you’re a Defendant on this imaginary docket, and ask yourself this, what are my possible defences?

To read the full post by Duane Morris partners Sharon Caffrey and Alex Geisler, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Class Action Suits Against Single Insurers at Start of Coronavirus Business Interruption Litigation

As the coronavirus cases start peaking in at least some parts of the United States, the American courts are beginning to experience mounting cases relating to claims against businesses for coronavirus infections and against insurers for alleged business interruption coverage. A few weeks ago, some well-known restaurants in the United States commenced litigation against their insurers over claims for insurance coverage stemming from business interruption. These individual cases will raise a number of issues whether there is direct physical loss to covered property and whether the virus exclusions in the policies bar coverage. As a host of other types of businesses have followed by filing a number of individual suits in several states against their insurers. Last week, however, a new form of litigation has been filed with multiple class action insurance coverage lawsuits being brought by alleged representatives against single insures who are claimed to have written business interruption policies to a number of businesses in given areas or nationwide.

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

Taking Depositions During COVID-19 Emergency

With 95% of the country presently subject to stay-at home orders due to COVID-19, many litigators are considering whether and how to take depositions in the coming weeks. Federal court responses have varied, from blanket extensions of civil deadlines to encouraging remote depositions. Whether it is advisable or even permissible to depose a witness under current circumstances will depend on several factors, including the jurisdiction, the deponent, and the anticipated substance of the deposition.

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

Civil Litigation and COVID-19 Implications for the Cannabis Industry Webinar

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020,  Seth A. Goldberg, partner and team lead of the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Group, and Justin M. L. Stern, Duane Morris associate, will present at the webinar, “Cannabis 303: Civil Litigation and COVID-19 Implications for the Cannabis Industry: An Unavoidable Consequence of a Maturing U.S. Cannabis Market.”

Please join the attorneys to review the recent landscape of cannabis-related commercial litigation, discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on marijuana- and hemp-related civil litigation, and learn best practices for businesses with respect to preparing for, and possibly preventing, potentially resource-draining and almost always disruptive civil litigation matters.


Life-or-Death Hospital Decisions Come With Threat of Lawsuits

Doctors and hospitals overwhelmed in the pandemic will have to make their excruciating life-or-death decisions meticulously or they risk being second-guessed by a jury when the onslaught is over.

Lawyers who defend health care providers are already giving advice on how their clients can avoid liability if they’re forced to choose between patients. How they prepare for this battlefield triage now — and how they practice it in the chaos of peak infections — will determine whether negligence cases against them are dismissed or lead to trials or settlements over the death of a parent or spouse.


Hospitals and doctors are focused on care right now, as they should be, said Sean Zabaneh, a lawyer with Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia who represents them in court.

Still, he said, they should be “making sure they have insurance coverage in place that is applicable to the new circumstances that are becoming more normal every day as a result of the pandemic, and staying up to date on the quickly evolving legal standards and legislation.” Lawmakers could pass legislation to protect health care providers that adhere to the standard of care, he added.


To read the full article, visit the Bloomberg website.

Can Philly Use Eminent Domain to Take Over Hahnemann Hospital for Coronavirus Patients?

As Philadelphia officials negotiate to use the former Hahnemann University Hospital as quarantine or isolation space during the coronavirus pandemic, City Councilmember Helen Gym is calling for the city to consider seizing the property by eminent domain. […]

The city or state would have the power to use eminent domain, through which the government can take ownership of property that is needed for public use. […]

Whether the city can benefit from using eminent domain may depend on whether it’s able to seize the temporary use of the property — such as through a lease — rather than having to buy the property outright. […]

But George Kroculick, an attorney specializing in eminent domain cases at law firm Duane Morris in Philadelphia, said the practice does not require public bodies to take ownership of property that they condemn.

To read more of Mr. Kroculick’s comments, please visit the Duane Morris website.

Nonessential New York State Court Litigation Put on Hold in Response to COVID-19

On March 22, 2020, New York’s Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts issued Administrative Order AO/78/20 providing that, until further notice, no filings―paper or electronic―would be accepted by New York courts, except in “essential matters.” This order prohibits any new cases from being filed―and any open cases from going forward―unless they fit the narrow list of “essential matters” annexed to the Administrative Order. This means that, absent a compelling showing of a need for emergency relief such as an injunction, routine business litigations―including breach of contract, employment disputes, corporate disputes, etc.―are on hold indefinitely. The court system has since clarified that, consistent with a prior Administrative Order, discovery can continue in ongoing cases where the parties agree that the discovery will not present any health concerns.

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

Mexico’s Judicial System Responds to COVID-19 with Partial Shutdown

On March 19, 2020, a Mexican district court judge issued an order to the federal government to take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and detect people who have the infectious disease.

Furthermore, Mexico’s Supreme Court said in a March 17 statement that it would suspend its regular court activities from March 18 to April 19 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The country’s other federal courts followed suit with a similar preventative announcement later on March 17, suspending activities over the same time period “with the aim of avoiding the concentration of people,” the courts said in a separate statement.

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

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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