Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

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Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#1

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... ility.html
Liberty University Could Face Liability for Failure to Shut Down for Coronavirus
By JOHN CULHANE


The public health crisis created by the novel coronavirus has spun off myriad related problems—most notably, the accelerating collapse of the national economy. One story that’s not gotten the attention it deserves, though, is what will happen to those who acted irresponsibly during this challenging period. After we’re past the crisis stage of this pandemic, we could see a flurry of court cases on behalf of those sickened or killed through exposures that could have been avoided. To take one dramatic example: What if, for instance, an employer places workers at risk of infection by ordering them to work on-site when there are other, safer alternatives available?

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, may find himself an unwilling participant in answering that question. In contrast to the approach taken by most universities—send everyone home and move to an online program—Falwell has “welcomed” students returning from spring break and initially told the faculty to return to campus unless they had a sound medical reason to stay away. Although they will now teach online rather than in front of classes, many instructors remain on campus. Those who do, of course, might need to travel to and from their offices, in apparent defiance of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s order for nonessential businesses to shut down. Falwell and those who follow a similar path have set themselves up for possible negligence lawsuits.

Placing people in a dangerous position is the kind of careless—even reckless—behavior that fills first-year torts casebooks. Universities can be liable for failing to safeguard the health and safety of their students and for coercing their employees (faculty and staff) to assume needless risks. While the risk of COVID-19 infection is unavoidable for hospital employees during this pandemic (even if reasonable sanitation measures are followed), there’s no sound reason for a university to defy sensible public health directives by encouraging faculty and students to return to campus. (This is especially true since this return is taking place right after spring break, when it’s a sure thing that at least some students were congregating in massive, unsafe numbers.) Such defiance of public health messaging, as well as the contrary decisions of seemingly all other institutions of higher learning, could add up to compelling evidence of negligent conduct—failing to act like a reasonable person under the circumstances. And a jury that got its hands on such a case might even find that Falwell’s conduct went beyond negligence and was reckless—meaning that it could find that he consciously disregarded a known risk. If so, Falwell and Liberty University could be saddled with punitive damages too, because Virginia, like most states, allows punitive damages for cases involving reckless conduct (but not “mere” negligence). Other employers who present their workers with such choices could be similarly called to account.


Another major obstacle to coronavirus transmission lawsuits is the requirement that any litigant prove that the defendant’s action was the likely cause of the infection and subsequent illness or death. With claims against state governmental entities or employers who place workers at risk, that hurdle might prove challenging to clear. A potential claimant generally must trace an injury back to the action that supposedly led to the infection, which might prove difficult since transmission might have occurred by other means. Yet a court might look askance at such an argument in these cases. As one court memorably stated, even where an injury might have occurred without the defendant’s negligence, when that action “greatly multiplies the chances of [harm] to the plaintiff, and is of a character naturally leading to its occurrence,” that will suffice to establish the causal link. This 19th century case, which involved a woman who was injured while falling in a negligently maintained train station, may seem far afield from this situation, but the underlying principles are remarkably similar. Those who act irresponsibly, fail to act, or negligently misstate the science are increasing the risk. They shouldn’t then be able to rely on lack of proof of direct causation when the very risk they propagated materializes.
A 19th Amendment Centennial Moment:
The 19th Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1878, yet it was not approved by Congress until 1919 – 41 years later.
- https://legaldictionary.net/19th-amendment/

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#2

Post by Foggy »

Yeah, Falwell might lose a few lawsuits. Worth it to own the libs! :dance:
For more information, read it again. || When science is outlawed, only outlaws will have science.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#3

Post by pipistrelle »

We turned off employee badges. No one gets in except the required.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#4

Post by Volkonski »

Hotze, pastors ask Texas Supreme Court to rule Harris County stay-at-home order unconstitutional

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/h ... =headlines#
The emergency petition for a writ of mandamus, filed by anti-LGBTQ Republican activist Steven Hotze and pastors Juan Bustamante, George Garcia and David Valdez, contends that Hidalgo’s order undercuts the First Amendment by limiting religious and worship services to video or teleconference calls. Pastors also may minister to congregants individually.

:snippity:

Throughout the petition, Hotze and the pastors argue that “the circumstances presented by coronavirus do not excuse unlawful government infringements” and “the free exercise of religion...should not be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.” They also contend that Hidalgo’s order “picks winners and losers.”

“People of faith are prohibited from worshipping in person, most private busionesses are prevented from operating, gun shops are ordered closed, and people are not allowed to associate together in groups — these are some of the individual freedoms Judge Hidalgo has chosen to sacrifice,” the petition reads.

It goes on to list several exempted businesses, including liquor stores, yard maintenance crews, furniture suppliers and bicycle repair shops.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
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Jeffrey
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#5

Post by Jeffrey »

ACLU claims PR lockdown unconstitutional:

https://t.co/WNUAtTV5je

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Slim Cognito
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#6

Post by Slim Cognito »

Jeffrey wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:47 pm
ACLU claims PR lockdown unconstitutional:

https://t.co/WNUAtTV5je
I picture a cartoon cemetery with a speech bubble above one tombstone saying, "At least i didn't lose my 1st amendment rights."
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#7

Post by Volkonski »

Erik De La Garza
@eidelagarza
·
3m
At least 22 Covid-19-related lawsuits were filed nationwide Friday, involving contracts, employment, insurance, prisons and other matters, including one from a beauty parlor that claims to be an essential business.
@CourthouseNews
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#8

Post by bob »

TPM: Falwell Accuses NYT, ProPublica Of Criminal Trespass While Covering COVID:
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., announced Wednesday that he is pursuing criminal charges against a New York Times freelancer and ProPublica for trespassing on campus while covering COVID-19.

“We actually went to the local magistrate, we’ve sworn out warrants for their misdemeanor arrest,” Falwell said on right-wing radio show, the “Todd Starnes Show.”

He added that there were “no trespassing” signs posted on every entrance to campus that warned off everybody except students, faculty, staff and people with “official university business.”

* * *

The partial photos of the warrants appear to be signed by Sgt. Alan Wilkins, a detective with the Liberty University Police Department. Wilkins did not respond to a request for authentication.

* * *

Falwell also promised coming “civil action” on defamation charges against [a] New York Times reporter [ . . . ] along with two [NBC] reporters . . . . He said that he attempted to get a warrant for [the NYT reporter] as well, but that the magistrate said there was not enough evidence.

* * *

“They forced us into a corner,” Falwell said. “I don’t think God wants Christians to just sit back and not protect what they believe in and protect the people they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect.”
The (applications for) warrants*:



* Generally, a person cannot be arrested for a misdemeanor without a judge-signed arrest warrant unless its commission occurred in the presence of the arresting officer.
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#9

Post by Addie »

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Southwest Virginia man sues Northam, saying executive orders have 'chilling effect' on religious freedom

A Russell County man is suing Gov. Ralph Northam, saying Northam's executive orders limiting religious services to no more than 10 people violates the Virginia Constitution.

Larry Hughes filed the suit Monday in Russell County Circuit Court and is looking for an injunction that would allow churches and other faith communities to hold limitless group assemblies. Northam has barred groups of 10 or more from meeting in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 75 people in the commonwealth, according to the state health department.
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#10

Post by Sam the Centipede »

Addie wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:39 pm
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Southwest Virginia man sues Northam, saying executive orders have 'chilling effect' on religious freedom :snippity:
I've no issue with large religious meetings … if the doors are locked and the congregation stay in the building for a 14 day quarantine lockdown. Food could be supplied to them, although I hope the faithful would insist that their deity will provide sustenance and protect their welfare.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#11

Post by RTH10260 »

Sam the Centipede wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:18 am
Addie wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:39 pm
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Southwest Virginia man sues Northam, saying executive orders have 'chilling effect' on religious freedom :snippity:
I've no issue with large religious meetings … if the doors are locked and the congregation stay in the building for a 14 day quarantine lockdown. Food could be supplied to them, although I hope the faithful would insist that their deity will provide sustenance and protect their welfare.
If they are on the path of the righteous, shoudn't it be raining manna form the sky?

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#12

Post by Notorial Dissent »

RTH10260 wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:32 am
Sam the Centipede wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:18 am
Addie wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:39 pm
I've no issue with large religious meetings … if the doors are locked and the congregation stay in the building for a 14 day quarantine lockdown. Food could be supplied to them, although I hope the faithful would insist that their deity will provide sustenance and protect their welfare.
If they are on the path of the righteous, shoudn't it be raining manna form the sky?
I agree with both of you, but in the real world I do think they should be quarantined in the church for 14 days with the church paying ALL the costs.
The fact that you sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the “Law of Gravity” is unconstitutional and a violation of your sovereign rights, does not absolve you of adherence to it.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#13

Post by Volkonski »

Stay-at-Home Orders and Travel Bans Spur Constitutional Fights

https://www.courthousenews.com/virus-dr ... al-fights/
Civil litigation followed on the heels of Beshear’s order. Kentucky resident Allison S. Alessandro – located immediately across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Campbell County, Kentucky – sued the governor and Secretary of State Daniel Cameron three days later.

Alessandro argues the order violates her 14th Amendment rights and has prevented her from traveling to Ohio to visit friends and family, and has also deprived her of the use of Hamilton County, Ohio’s public parks.

:snippity:

In Greensboro, North Carolina, a group of anti-abortion advocates who routinely stand and pray outside an abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit against Mayor Nancy Vaughan and the Greensboro Police Department after several protesters were arrested and cited for violating a stay-at-home order.

Four Mocksville, North Carolina, residents claim the city continues to violate their First Amendment rights by refusing to allow them to congregate outside the clinic, even though the Greensboro order includes an exception for outdoor activities that comply with social distancing guidelines.
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#14

Post by Sterngard Friegen »

:violin:

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#15

Post by Volkonski »

Hotze challenge to Harris County stay-home order moves to state district court

https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texa ... 191228.php
The Texas Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Harris County’s stay-at-home order, though the legal fight is set to continue in state district court.

The Wednesday ruling came at the request of the suit’s plaintiffs, including longtime conservative activist Steve Hotze and the pastors of three Houston-area churches.

Earlier this week, Jared Woodfill, the group’s attorney, filed a new case in Harris County that similarly claims County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s stay-at-home order violates the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights because it allegedly continues to restrict church services even after Hidalgo revised it to align with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order deeming churches “essential businesses.”

The governor’s March 31 directive, akin to the stay-at-home orders issued by counties across Texas, came one day after Hotze and pastors Juan Bustamante, George Garcia and David Valdez filed a petition arguing that Harris County’s order violates the Constitution by ordering the closure of churches and failing to define gun shops as “essential” businesses.
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#16

Post by Volkonski »

Travis Bubenik
@travisbubenik
·
26m
Pandemic-related lawsuits are really piling up nationwide.
@CourthouseNews
database shows more than 200 cases citing Covid-19 filed since March 1st - contract disputes, habeas petitions, insurance claims, challenges to business closures, you name it.
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#17

Post by Jeffrey »

ACLU challenge to Puerto Rico lockdown/curfew dismissed. Lack of standing apparently.

https://t.co/H5RjlFj31K

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#18

Post by bob »

Courier-J.: Judge allows drive-in service at Louisville church, says Fischer 'criminalized' Easter:
A federal judge has rebuked Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's call on churches to forego drive-in services this Easter weekend to slow the spread of the coronavirus, calling the move overly broad and unconstitutional.

"On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter," wrote U.S. District Judge Justin Walker in a temporary restraining order issued Saturday.

On Fire Christian Church, in Louisville, sued Fischer and the city on Friday, arguing the mayor's direction on drive-in religious services violated Constitutional rights and their religious liberty.

Walker, who was appointed to the bench last October,[*] banned the city from "enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire."

Churchgoers there "face an impossible choice," the judge wrote: "skip Easter Sunday service, in violation of their sincere religious beliefs, or risk arrest, mandatory quarantine, or some other enforcement action for practicing those sincere religious beliefs."

* * *

Addressing Walker's order, Fischer said he hasn't directed law enforcement activity against churches holding drive-in services.
:doh:

* Walker, who is not yet 40, is a HLS alum, and clerked for Judge (not Justice) Kavanaugh and Justice Kennedy. Last week, the impeached president said he intended to nominate Walker for a seat on the D.C. Cir. The ABA had rated Walker "not qualified" for the district court, but he's a Mitchell protege.
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#19

Post by Sterngard Friegen »

:oops:

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#20

Post by MojoSapien »

How many of these "churches" have been stockpiling weapons?
Fearing that Jones, Manson and Koresh will both rise from the dead on Monday.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#21

Post by bob »

Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:14 pm
:oops:
Wait until you read the 18-page opinion granting the request for a TRO. The introduction:
W.D.Ky. [footnotes omitted] wrote:On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter.

That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion. But two days ago, citing the need for social distancing during the current pandemic, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer ordered Christians not to attend
Sunday services, even if they remained in their cars to worship – and even though it’s Easter.

The Mayor’s decision is stunning.

And it is, “beyond all reason,” unconstitutional.

* * *

According to St. Paul, the first pilgrim was Abel. With Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sara, they “died in faith, not having received the promises” of God’s promised kingdom. But they saw “them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
(Inside baseball: Because TROs serve as stop-gap solutions, the opinions are usually terse (with just enough meat for appellate review) and decided quickly. Entire cases are often disposed of in fewer than 18 pages.)

Bonus:
Nothing in this Opinion should be read to impugn the Mayor’s motives or his faith.
:roll:
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#22

Post by pipistrelle »

At my original fundamentalist, evangelical church, the pastor often preached the church is the body of worshippers, not a building.

A Lutheran friend has been attending virtual services.

Ginned up outrage.

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bob
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#23

Post by bob »

pipistrelle wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:15 pm
At my original fundamentalist, evangelical church, the pastor often preached the church is the body of worshippers, not a building.

A Lutheran friend has been attending virtual services.

Ginned up outrage.
The opinion itself is outrageous because it is really a sermon.

The opinion is also outrageous because, once the rhetoric is stripped away, there's actually a decent argument to be made in support of the order, i.e., the city's order doesn't survive strict scrutiny because it classifies religious and non-religious activities differently (other drive-through businesses remain open). But the opinion -- intentionally and to great excess -- doesn't choose the plain, neutral route to which a court is supposed to aspire.
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pipistrelle
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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#24

Post by pipistrelle »

bob wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:25 pm
pipistrelle wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:15 pm
At my original fundamentalist, evangelical church, the pastor often preached the church is the body of worshippers, not a building.

A Lutheran friend has been attending virtual services.

Ginned up outrage.
The opinion itself is outrageous because it is really a sermon.

The opinion is also outrageous because, once the rhetoric is stripped away, there's actually a decent argument to be made in support of the order, i.e., the city's order doesn't survive strict scrutiny because it classifies religious and non-religious activities differently (other drive-through businesses remain open). But the opinion -- intentionally and to great excess -- doesn't choose the plain, neutral route to which a court is supposed to aspire.
Yeah, I took all that for granted since it seemed less of a reliance on law than a judge being preachy. But Ammon Bundy and all these others who are claiming religious curtailment . . . pure BS.

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Re: Coronavirus: Get yer lawsuit here!

#25

Post by Slim Cognito »

Saw this on twitter today.


Elizabeth Williamson
@NYTLiz
NEW:
@LibertyU
students file class action suit against Liberty University alleging LU/ Falwell placed “students at severe physical risk and refused to refund thousands of dollars in fees owed to them for the Spring 2020 semester.”
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