Class Actions in a COVID-19 World

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As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States – and the fallout from the virus is beginning to be felt across industries, by consumers and businesses alike – the first putative class actions relating to COVID-19 have been filed.  Businesses in many industries could face the prospect of COVID-19-related class litigation in the near future.  This article will provide a brief summary of the currently filed putative class actions, other potential areas and industries that could face putative class actions regarding COVID-19, and what businesses can do now to try to prevent potential COVID-19-related class actions.

Recently Filed COVID-19 Putative Class Actions

Thus far, only a few putative class actions have been filed relating to COVID-19, including the following:

Other Potential COVID-19-Related Class Litigation

Presumably, these putative class actions are just the tip of the iceberg for class litigation relating to COVID-19.  Setting aside the merits of claims or whether any potential class is certifiable, below are some industries and types of business and entities that may end up as defendants in COVID-19-related putative class actions, and the types of potential class claims they might face.

Health Care

Travel, Hospitality, and Food Service

The travel, hospitality, and food service industries will be among the hardest hit economically by COVID-19, and businesses within these industries are ripe for potential for class actions. 

Insurance

Governmental Agencies and Officials

Employers and Businesses in General

In addition to the more industry-specific types of claims identified above, employers and businesses in general could face putative class actions relating to COVID-19 for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Steps to Take to Avoid Class Litigation

Of course, the merits of any of these types of claims will vary, and there will likely be significant hurdles to class certification in many of these types of potential class actions, but given the unprecedented nature of COVID-19 and its ever-growing impact on everyday life, it is a fair assumption that more and more COVID-19-related class actions will be filed.  Here are a few basic and easily implementable steps businesses and employers can take immediately to help avoid potential class actions related to COVID-19:

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