Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, plaintiffs are taking legal action against individuals, corporations, and institutions that are alleged to have compromised public health and safety by partaking in predatory conduct and behaving irresponsibly during the global pandemic.
COVID-19 originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. The first known death from the virus was reported on January 11, 2019. It then began to spread across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11. President Donald Trump announced the Coronavirus outbreak as a national emergency two days later. As of March 22, 2020, there were an estimated 292,000 global cases, according to WHO, including around 39,000 U.S. cases.
Legal investigations are one response to a pandemic that continues to infect thousands, causing untold health and economic damage. Lawsuits could provide help to impacted consumers, workers, homeowners, and others. For the latest in coronavirus legal news, follow Sanders Phillips Grossman on Twitter and join us on Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.
Coronavirus Price Gouging Lawsuits
Amazon is facing a price-gouging class-action lawsuit related to their coronavirus selling practices. The plaintiff maintains that the retailer charged exorbitant prices for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, selling a two-pack of 1-liter bottles of hand sanitizer for $199 and a 36-pack of toilet paper for $99. The class-action claims that Amazon took advantage of the public’s fears by raising prices on supplies during a public health emergency.
Gen-X faces a similar price gouging lawsuit for marketing its hand sanitizer as being able to reduce the likelihood of infection from the flu and other viruses. The plaintiffs claim that Gen-X is profiting from deceptive marketing because “there is no proof that a topical alcohol-based hand sanitizer has the ability to prevent coronavirus”.
Coronavirus False Claims Lawsuits
Inovio Pharmaceuticals has been hit with a class-action lawsuit for false advertising following their CEO’s appearance on Fox News, where he informed nationwide viewers about having a vaccine against COVID-19. Moments later, Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ stock price quadrupled. The SEC investigated Inovio’s Pharmaceuticals’ claims and forced the company to admit that they have a “viable approach to address the COVID-19 outbreak,” rather than a vaccine against the virus.
Televangelist Jim Bakker provoked a legal backlash over claims made on his show, The Jim Bakker Show, as well as the Jim Bakker website, that his Silver Solution could cure coronavirus. The televangelist has received cease and desist orders from the New York Attorney General’s office and the FDA. The state of Missouri is suing Bakker for violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and unfairly targeting the elderly.
InfoWars CEO Alex Jones also received a cease and desist order from The New York Attorney General for claiming that his diet supplements and toothpaste could be used to fight the coronavirus.
Coronavirus Negligence Lawsuits
Princess Cruise Lines is facing several lawsuits in response to coronavirus outbreaks on their ships. The lawsuits claim that the cruise company exposed passengers to the virus and failed to properly screen passengers on board.
In one lawsuit, 10 cases were discovered onboard a ship in Japan, allegedly leading to 700 passengers getting infected. The plaintiffs claim that by continuing to operate as normal with 3,000 passengers, Princess Cruise Line placed profits above the safety of travelers.
Another lawsuit targets Princess Cruise Lines with claims of emotional distress. The plaintiffs, a couple, say they found themselves confined to their cabin onboard a ship off the coast of San Francisco. They allege that, despite the presence of 62 passengers who were on a previous cruise with known infected travelers, the company did not take precautions to prevent a coronavirus outbreak on the ship.
The People’s Republic of China is the subject of five Florida residents’ lawsuit. They are suing China for taking insufficient measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak. The plaintiffs claim that China didn’t properly contain the virus, underreported the number of cases, and failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner.
Interested in a Coronavirus Lawsuit? We’re Here to Help.
While many businesses have temporarily shut down during the pandemic, Sanders Phillips Grossman continues to file new lawsuits and work with clients on existing cases. We remain available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about coronavirus litigation or any other legal matter. Get in touch with an attorney.