Virus Threatens to Unleash Lawsuit Wave Against Global Business

March 04, 2020

The coronavirus has upended markets, disrupted supply chains and forced quarantines. It’s all fertile ground for lawsuits.

Hospitals, restaurants, day care centers, nursing homes and hotels may face claims that they didn’t take adequate steps to protect people. Shareholders can sue if companies fail to act effectively in response to the epidemic. Businesses are scrambling to see if their insurance policies cover disruptions caused by the virus. Governments are reviewing their quarantine powers.

“What can they and can’t they ask their workforce about their potential exposure to the virus, travel activities and medical history?” said David Newman, a partner at Morrison & Foerster in Washington, who is leading the firm’s task force on advising clients about the outbreak.

Domenique Camacho Moran, a partner with Farrell Fritz who represents employers, said she has been contacted by clients with these very concerns, including one who said an employee caused a brief panic after disclosing a diagnosis of coronavirus — but not the one that’s raising the global alarm.

“This is a fluid situation,” Camacho Moran said. “The right answer on Monday may be different by the time we get to Friday.”

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  • Related Practice Areas: Insurance, Labor & Employment
  • Featured Attorneys: Domenique Camacho Moran
  • Publications: Bloomberg