Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm, impacting every sector of the economy across the country. This includes the legal industry, where a flood of lawsuits has been filed related to the pandemic. It is important to take a look at the various types of arguments plaintiffs are making in these cases, as they might give people a window to look through as the legal system tries to set some sort of precedent as it relates to the pandemic.
First, there are lawsuits being filed against cruise lines. Numerous plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against these companies, alleging that they unnecessarily exposed people to the virus. During the past few months, there have been a few cruise ships that have been prevented from docking as local authorities tried to figure out how to handle the situation. Meanwhile, there might have been positive cases on board the ship. Given the demographic of cruise line passengers, particularly during this time of year, passengers are saying that they were particularly vulnerable to the virus and if the cruise line had taken better actions to try to get them off of the ship, infections could have been prevented.
Another category of lawsuit involves video conferencing technology. Many people are being forced to work from home and communicate remotely. Zoom has come under fire recently for breaches of data privacy. The practice has even been called “Zoombombing.” Anyone with the URL link to a meeting can join (under the default settings), so the plaintiffs are alleging that this exposes them to people who are trying to steal their data. Since this practice became widely known, people are taking better actions to protect their virtual meetings.
Finally, there are class action lawsuits being filed against universities as well. Students are alleging that they should be reimbursed for tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses because they are no longer physically on campus. Therefore, they are not able to access the facilities for which they are paying fees. Given the number of lawsuits that have been filed, we are standing by to see how these cases are decided. It could impact how higher education is handled in the future.