The coronavirus pandemic has led to a wave of class action litigation. This initial phase is bringing numerous suits relating to recurring fees, such as memberships and season passes, and failures to refund for travel and entertainment expenses. As the U.S. re-opens, employee lawsuits and shareholder claims are likely on the horizon. The class action plaintiffs’ bar is also filing sweeping “COVID-19” class actions in the name of the public interest. Specific areas of risk include:

  • Price Gouging. Class action lawyers are filing consumer class actions against companies selling all manner of goods in short supply, such as face masks, pain relievers, disinfectants, eggs, and flour.
  • Reimbursement Disputes. The coronavirus has led to mass cancellations of live events and left consumers unable to use memberships, subscriptions, and season passes. Class actions are being filed seeking full refunds, rather than vouchers or credits.
  • False Advertising. Cases are being filed against manufacturers of hand sanitizers and other products who claim their products kill the coronavirus or making other unsubstantiated claims about their products’ efficacy.  
  • Tuition Disputes. Students have filed dozens of class actions across the U.S. against academic institutions seeking reimbursement of tuition and various mandatory and optional fees. These cases assert breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims on behalf of nationwide classes.
  • Shareholder Claims. Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of investors who bought or acquired stock between February and March 2020. These cases claim the companies made false statements in their SEC filings by touting strong financial performance despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Crowell & Moring is recognized as having one of the premier class action practices in the U.S. Our lawyers represent clients in cutting-edge and high-profile class actions in state and federal courts across the country, as well as in centralized multidistrict litigation proceedings. We have defended certified class actions in jury and bench trials, and possess extensive experience handling class action appeals at all levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Our cases span industries and issues – from automotive consumer class actions for GM, to iPhones and iPad class actions for AT&T, to antitrust class actions for the Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. And while our focus is on devising strategies to defeat class certification, we also excel at crafting creative class settlements and guiding them through the court approval process.

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 550 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm has offices in Brussels, Doha, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

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