COVID-19 Coronavirus: Litigation


As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government on 7 May 2020 issued guidance "strongly encouraging" contractual parties to "act responsibly and fairly in the national interest in performing and enforcing their contracts." The Guidance does not override any legal rights or obligations that the parties may have, but raises the question of English law's approach to express and implied obligations of Good Faith and the extent to which the English courts might take the Guidance into account (if at all) when considering parties' conduct.

Read our guidance: Duties of Good Faith Under English law (UK) - June 25, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to impact corporations' operations and financial results, as well as markets in general, we anticipate an increase in securities and derivative litigation. Public U.S. companies should understand how the uncertainties created by the coronavirus may increase the risk of securities and derivative litigation, and steps that can be taken to minimize such risks.

Read our guidance: Securities and Derivative Litigation Update (U.S.) - June 19, 2020

Class action lawsuits over tuition refunds have been filed against universities in at least 15 states. These putative class actions present significant challenges for colleges and universities. We will continue to monitor these actions and hope to periodically share our thoughts, which we hope will be helpful to you and your institutions in these difficult times.

Read our guidance: COVID-19 Tuition Refund Class Actions Against Colleges and Universities (U.S.)
May 26 UpdateMay 8 Update | May 1 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic finds nursing homes and other senior living facilities confronting unprecedented operational challenges and risks. The highly vulnerable population served, combined with the near impossibility of both caring for residents and practicing extreme social distancing, has made them easy targets for the spread of contagion. Owners, operators and administrators can proactively reduce their litigation risk, applying lessons learned from other crises to help navigate these unprecedented times.

Read our guidance: Nursing Homes and Other Senior Living Facilities Can Take Practical Steps to Reduce Litigation Risks (U.S.) - May 1, 2020

A district court decision reveals that, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the federal courts will not second-guess Congressional determinations on how best to administer emergency loan programs.

Read our guidance: Loan Applicants Lack Standing to Sue Lenders for Claimed Violations of the CARES Act (U.S.) - April 17, 2020

As we previously observed, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has created substantial disruption and uncertainty with respect to civil litigation management. Since we last reported on March 19, 2020, federal and state courts have continued to respond in disparate ways.

Read our guidance: Update on Managing Civil Litigation During Coronavirus Shutdown (U.S.) - April 6, 2020

The Russian government has ordered the state courts to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. For example, all regular court hearings scheduled between March 19 and April 10 are automatically postponed to a later date, depending on the schedule of the judge. Also, a new resolution mandates these courts to implement appropriate measures with regard to in-person meetings, types of cases and third-party access.

Read our guidance: Effects on the Operation of Russian State Courts (Russia) – April 1, 2020

In response to the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 virus, over 70 states, counties and cities in the last two weeks have issued orders directing certain businesses limit or stop their physical business operations. Businesses that violate shutdown orders may be subject to an array of penalties, which may include fines, citations, suspension of business or other licenses, equitable relief or even criminal penalties.

Read our guidance: Key Considerations for Businesses Facing Potential Shutdown Orders (U.S.) - March 26, 2020

Governor Cuomo’s recent executive orders are intended to immediately affect litigation and business operations—especially for financial services entities—in New York. Because New York is the center of the financial industry and many financial institutions are governed by New York law and New York regulators, Governor Cuomo’s recent executive orders will have broad implications for the financial industry.

Read our guidance: New York State, Executive Orders 202.8 and 202.9 Impacting New York State Litigation and Businesses (U.S.) - March 23, 2020

The outbreak has created substantial disruption and uncertainty with respect to civil litigation management. Federal and state courts have responded in a variety of ways, with some extending deadlines and others taking a case-by-case approach. 

With courts adopting varied approaches to COVID-19 coronavirus, parties need to remain mindful of pending deadlines and monitor each court independently.

While remote technology might provide alternatives to traditionally in-person discovery and courtroom procedures, it is important to document challenges complying with those deadlines as some courts might not be as sympathetic as others when extensions are sought.

Read our guidance: Managing Civil Litigation During Coronavirus Shutdown (U.S.) – March 19, 2020

The current outbreak of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), recognised by the World Health Organisation as a global pandemic, has already had a significant effect on certain businesses and appears likely to have an even greater impact, raising concerns about parties’ ability to meet contractual obligations and parties’ willingness to perform obligations where it is no-longer commercially beneficial to do so.

This OnPoint discusses some of the key issues around contractual non-performance and termination under English law. This is a highly technical aspect of English law and any party either seeking to rely on force majeure or frustration or in receipt of a notice relying on these concepts should consider its options carefully and take appropriate advice. 

Read our guidance: COVID-19 Coronavirus Business Impact: English Law Considerations on Force Majeure, Frustration and Termination (UK) - March 18, 2020

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