March 12, 2020
Authored by: Susan Brice, John Kindschuh and Tom Lee
COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, is disrupting world economies, day-to-day business operations, and even everyday life. We are watching these developments closely and are analyzing the legal implications involving various sectors, including employers, manufacturers, retailers and property owners/operators. Among other issues, we are specifically focusing on what, if any, legal duties might exist with respect to warnings as well as developments surrounding any standard of care. Those issues have been litigated in the context of prior contagion events (e.g. Zika and Legionnaire’s disease), and may become the focus of new cases related to COVID-19.
In the meantime, litigation involving this outbreak has already begun. A case alleging false and deceptive advertising as well as misrepresentation with regard to a product’s ability to fight the virus has been filed. Additionally, cruise ship passengers have filed a lawsuit regarding how a ship handled its response to the virus.
If you have any questions concerning environmental, premises, or product liability issues (including warnings) involving COVID-19, please reach out to a member of our Emerging Contaminants/Emerging Solutions Team noted below. Also, please visit coronavirus.gov, which contains “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers” from the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html