As the nation has grappled with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, class action lawyers have remained busy. As of today’s webinar, at least five class actions have been filed in the U.S. that relate to the pandemic, with many more surely in the pipeline. Corporate decisions, practices and policies, and acts and omissions undertaken now—under the most difficult circumstances and time pressures—will have far-reaching consequences in these class actions for many months and years into the future. By previewing some of these early claims and legal theories, companies can mitigate potential risks and consider how corporate policies and practices will be scrutinized in litigation.
Class actions relate to four categories of claims:
- Shareholders: Claims have been asserted regarding corporate policies that allegedly resulted in losses reducing shareholder value. These include allegations that corporations failed to act to prevent significant losses and other claims that statements made on matters relating to the coronavirus deceived investors.
- Employees: As employees are being asked to work remotely, many for the first time, policies and practices relating to wage and hour laws are being adapted. In addition, companies adapting their business plans and making decisions on downsizing, furloughs and layoffs will need to consider laws governing termination of employees.
- Customers and Patrons: Claims are being filed based on companies’ alleged violations of consumer protection laws with respect to cancelling events and services and how requests for refunds are being handled.
- Purchasers of Consumer Products: At least one company has been sued relating to the efficacy of its product in fighting the virus. FDA and state regulators have been proactive in issuing warnings to sellers and marketers of products based on these types of claims.
Click here to view the materials from the webinar.
Kent Schmidt, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Jaime Stilson, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
**NOTE: Watching this recording does not allow the user to obtain CLE, CPD, CPE or HR credits.