5 Types of Lawsuits in Post-Pandemic Business Litigation
While in-person services in Florida courts remain limited and all jury trials in the court system were postponed through July 2, 2020, American businesses are consulting with lawyers as they prepare for a potential wave of coronavirus-related lawsuits in the post-pandemic world.
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted almost all aspects of our lives, and there are five ways the pandemic will change business litigation even after coronavirus is gone.
Understanding the types of lawsuits that you – as a business owner – can expect in the post-coronavirus world will help you prevent or minimize liability risks associated with COVID-19. However, you should also talk to an attorney to find out how to reduce legal risks.
- Failure to Provide a Safe Environment
Your employee may sue for the failure to ensure a hazard-free workplace, while customers may file a lawsuit over the alleged failure to provide a safe environment. In fact, lawsuits alleging that businesses and employers failed to ensure a safe environment and protect from COVID-19 exposure are already appearing all across the nation, and more are expected to come as Florida’s businesses continue to reopen.
- False or Misleading Advertising or Improper Pricing
As the global search for a coronavirus vaccine continues, certain products, items, and tests used to protect against the virus have been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as some manufacturers decided to profit off the deadly virus by making false claims or misleading advertisement, the efficacy of products related to COVID-19 have been facing increased scrutiny. Meanwhile, as the pandemic created an exceptionally high demand for certain products, the manufacturers or sellers who drove up the prices could face litigation over improper pricing.
In May 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with a seller of CBD oil products in a lawsuit over the company’s false claims that its vitamin C and herbal extract supplements could treat coronavirus, according to Top Class Actions.
- Using COVID-19 As an Excuse Not to Perform Contractual Obligations
Force majeure clauses and other defenses to failure to perform contractual obligations have been widely discussed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what many do not realize is that force majeure, frustration of purpose, impossibility, impracticability, and other defenses can be asserted only when specific requirements are met. When these contractual defenses are used improperly, they may trigger lawsuits alleging that your business is using COVID-19 as an excuse to suspend or terminate the performance of contractual obligations.
- Collecting Fees Despite Not Providing Services
Many businesses stopped providing their services to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of these companies did not stop collecting fees. This is especially true for businesses that charge monthly fees.
However, many customers may not be thrilled about the fact that a business continues to charge fees despite not providing services even during unprecedented times such as these. Businesses should consider offering alternative services or lowering, canceling, or delaying their fees to avoid lawsuits.
- Not Providing Refunds for Cancelled Travel, Services, or Events
Businesses in various industries have refused to provide refunds to their customers for canceled events, services, and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of refunds has triggered lawsuits demanding monetary refunds.
If your employee or customer filed a lawsuit against your business, speak with a West Palm Beach business litigation attorney. Contact our lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to defend your business against a coronavirus-related lawsuit or explore your options to minimize the risk of litigation. Call at 561-291-8298.