Cary Silverman, a partner at the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon, presented a summary of COVID-1
The diagrams below are based on 4,283 complaints which – although not comprehensive – provide a useful snapshot of the types of disputes and their relative frequency. They were updated on November 8.
Contract-related matters accounted for 1,255 suits and the largest proportion . Not far behind are insurance cases – mainly with business interruptions – at 1,054 and employment cases at 910. Employment cases, says Silverman, claim incorrect termination or failure to pay employees properly during the pandemic.
Altogether, the three broad categories – contract, insurance and employment – account for more than 75 percent of COVID-related disputes to date.
Among contract cases, the largest proportion is in the Miscellaneous category (278 cases), which Silverman said are general contract law disputes where performance was affected by the pandemic. The second largest group (262) consisted of lawsuits against schools (mainly higher education) that sought reimbursement of tuition and fees. This is followed by disputes with leases (225) and event, ticket or other repayments (224).
Cases involving actual coronavirus exposure come relatively low, at 343 (8 percent), a fact that Silverman attributes to the economic lockdown.
"As more companies reopen, exposure cases are likely to increase," he said. Cruise ship passengers are responsible for 64 exposure claims and suits related to exposure risk have amounted to 58. At least 44 cases so far have resulted in employee injury or death.