There’s a lot to talk relating to Covid-19. Most of it bad news. Except the celebrating stock market, because the rich get even richer if the rest of us go broke. That was certainly true of the Great Depression. But as the virus eventually subsides, we’ll have a whole new pandemic: lawsuits.
It’s already begun, according to USA Today.
Workers are suing companies. Businesses are suing insurers. Prison inmates and migrants in detention, abortion providers and gun shop owners are suing federal and state governments.
Colleges, cruise lines and even China have been among the targets of lawsuits seeking damages for the COVID-19 calamity. And the nation’s notoriously litigious society is just getting started. . .
Type “coronavirus lawsuit” into Google and watch the numbers explode. A recent attempt turned up nearly 3 billion hits in one-third of a second.
As the last article noted, “even China.” China is being sued by Berman Law Group–that includes Joe Biden’s brother, Francis Biden–as the reputation of lawyers continues to drop. . .
I trained as a lawyer at Harvard but am not always proud of the legal profession. From 1973, the year I graduated to 1993, a Harris survey showed people’s confidence in lawyers plummeted from 24% to 7%. In a December 2019 Gallup poll, a mere 4% rated the “honesty and ethical standards” of lawyers as “very high.
Berman hopes to turn people’s suffering in America into cash awards of which Berman would get a huge cut. Their odds in this case, however, are even less than winning the lottery. But they’ve already won by generating millions of dollars in free publicity for their firm, besmirching China’s reputation in the process. . .
Of course, most of the billions (with a “B”) lawsuits will be among government agencies, companies, employees, and customers. The USA Today article, above, also notes that insurance policies carefully exempted coverage of pandemics.
The Washington Examiner begs us to stop the lawsuits. Good luck with that.
Top Class Actions offers what they call a comprehensive guide [so far]. The top two categories are price gouging, and fake cures/preventions.
Amazon Class Action Alleges Massive Price Increases. . . Walmart, Costco Class Action Says Egg Prices Tripled. . . Coronavirus Mask Lawsuit. . . Alaska Sues Man for Profiting. . . . Calif. Doctor Selling Fake Coronavirus Cure Kits. . .Texas Chiropractor. . . LA City At-Home Test Maker. . . Alex Jones. . . Televangelist Jim Bakker. . .Inovio False Coronavirus Vaccine Claims. . . Target Hand Sanitizer. . . Germ-X. . .
The article also noted many failure-to-refund suits, voter rights claims, impact on employees, business interruption (including a strip club), suits against companies and jails that “allowed” the virus to spread, legal rights suits (including LGBT, churches, and the NRA), impact on schools and homeowners. Clearly, we’re in for a ride of finger-pointing.
On the other side of the lawsuits–at a time when many landowners are forgiving or allowing delayed payment from renters–Jared Kusher’s firm has been aggressive in taking legal action against individuals.
At least 15 tenants in New Jersey and Maryland have been on the receiving end of lawsuits from Kushner-owned properties even after both states declared states of emergency. . . a unit of Kushner Companies, filed a lawsuit requesting sheriff services. . . March 19, Oxford Arms, a Kushner-owned apartment complex in Edison, New Jersey, filed six lawsuits. . .
The real estate firm’s debt collection practices, which involve hundreds of lawsuits pursuing tenants often for small amounts of debt, have been detailed in reporting in ProPublica and the Baltimore Sun. In the past, Kushner’s attorneys have gone so far as to pursue civil arrest warrants for at least 105 tenants over unpaid fees and rent. . .Netflix released “Slumlord Millionaire,” a mini-documentary about the abusive practices of Kushner’s real estate companies. The feature describes Kushner as a “tier one predator.”
An interesting battle may also be rising, regarding the intense coronavirus denial by Fox News, early on. Seeing it coming, Vanity Fair says Rupert Murdoch and company are “stockpiling attorneys.”
Former Fox Business host Trish Regan parted ways with the network, ostensibly because she called the coronavirus melee “yet another attempt to impeach…demonize, and destroy the president.” That the comments, which mirrored those of nearly every other Fox host at the time, would result in her termination seemed disproportionate. . .a member of Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch’s front office told the Daily Beast that Regan represented “a sacrificial lamb”—a scapegoat. . .
Public opinion surveys suggest Fox succeeded in swaying the perception of coronavirus among its viewers. Despite COVID-19 deaths mounting to more than 10,000 in the U.S., and case numbers here surpassing 350,000, 79% of Fox News consumers who responded to a Pew Research survey last week believe the media “slightly or greatly exaggerated the risk of the pandemic.”
Note that Regan claimed the virus was a hoax, until she started to worry about her own portfolio, and “economic recession,” not deaths.
The Times of San Diego says a Washington State group is suing, not for damages, but to halt the disinformation.
An obscure Washington state group has become the first in the nation to sue Fox News over its coronavirus coverage, asking a state court to keep the cable network from airing false information about the pandemic. . .
It seeks an injunction to prohibit the conservative-leaning outlet from “interfering with reasonable and necessary measures to contain the virus by publishing further false and deceptive content.”
Then, according to Above The Law Sean Hannity has filed a counter lawsuit, claiming that he never actually uttered the exact word, “hoax.” But. . .he did.
March 9: “This scaring the living hell out of people. . .I see it, again, as like, let’s bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.”
Business Insider notes Fox’s quick change in tone, when it realized the public was getting ahead of it.
Many the conservative network’s most prominent hosts dismissed the threat of the virus, accusing the rest of the media of being “panic pushers” and whipping up mass hysteria. . . Trish Regan move from suggesting the coronavirus is “yet another attempt to impeach” Trump to stating that the US must test for the virus to stop the spread and warning of an impending economic recession. . . Jeanine Pirro on March 7 saying that “all the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly doesn’t reflect reality. . .[but] On March 14, Pirro painted the coronavirus in far more stark terms, calling it an “incredibly contagious and dangerous virus.”. . .
In what was seemingly a reference to Trump, Carlson went on to say, “People you trust — people you probably voted for — have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem.”
In our own pages, we’ve had discussions about the futility of lawsuits against China, because, legally, it’s impossible for them to be won. But, of course, lawsuits against China won’t be filed to be won, but rather, to attract and distract attention—and to rile the base. That includes Biden’s suit, above.
And there will likely be a lot more finger-pointing. We now know that we had at least two Covid-19 deaths in America on February 6.
It may have even been here last year, since a lot of deaths before then, attributed to “pneumonia,” were likely caused by Covid-19. In fact, these early February American deaths occurred in people who had not traveled abroad—and had no apparent contact with any travelers. That means they got the bug from inside the community—and since it takes a couple of weeks for the virus to act, we likely had Covid-19 contagion here in 2019.