Covid Lawsuit Industry

Discussion in 'West Mall' started by theiioftx, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. theiioftx

    theiioftx 2,500+ Posts

    We just received our first legal action regarding Covid. We converted an employee to 50% pay because our facility was doing no cases for the next 30 days. So we are paying him $100,000 to sit at home while he generates no revenue.

    We employ one of the top healthcare law firms who say we are totally within our rights given the contracts they wrote.

    I see a whole new asbestos or 911 industry forming. What do our legal experts think?
  2. SabreHorn

    SabreHorn 5,000+ Posts

    Depends on your lawyer & his, and the venue.

    Jefferson or Hidalgo Counties, get the appeal ready

    Three lawyers I know that can slam dunk it. It would be cheaper to give him the full $200 and a $50,000 bonus.
  3. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    I'm not saying your lawyers are wrong. I haven't seen the contract you have with the employee, so I can't have much of an opinion on the matter. However, there obviously is another lawyer who thinks they are wrong, and he's willing to gamble his fee on it. Your lawyers presumably are not, and for very obvious reasons, they're going to be somewhat reluctant to admit that the contract they wrote doesn't protect you if there's a gray area.

    Like anybody else, lawyers look for ways to make money. Could I see lawsuits arising out of this? Sure. Probably not many like yours, because so few employees have a contract. However, could I see personal injury or workers compensation claims arising if people can identify the sources of their illness? Yes. We've seen a little of that with HIV/AIDS. Could I see products liability cases arising for masks and ventilators that don't perform to standards? Yes. We're now producing those at very fast speeds. The manufacturers are likely cutting corners, and quality control probably isn't what it would ordinarily be.

    What I'd really like to see is litigation against China. They're the cause of all this, and they're literally doing trillions of dollars in damage and costing innocent lives all over the world. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act should bar these, but I could see judges being reluctant to enforce the Act very broadly given the circumstances. If Democrats weren't so interested in licking China's nuts to spite Trump, I could see Congress amending the Act to permit lawsuits. And they still might after the election. After all, the personal injury bar is a significant Democratic donor base (though less than it used to be).
  4. Run Pincher

    Run Pincher 1,000+ Posts

  5. theiioftx

    theiioftx 2,500+ Posts

    The work agreements specifically state the option to change pay due to business conditions. Local small town Alabama attorney versus very large great reputation firm in Nashville.

    Settling to save court costs is not an option as no way you open up Pandora’s box for more.
  6. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    The tough part is going to be proving that he got the virus at work. If he can do that, then at a minimum, he'll have a workers compensation claim. In Texas, the game changes some, because Texas doesn't require workers compensation coverage. If the employer chose not to carry it (as HEB, Lowe's, Home Depot, and many other retailers does not), he could bring suit though he'd still have to establish that he got the virus at work and prove negligence. If the employer did carry comp coverage, he could sue for wrongful death for punitive damages only. However, that would be a big long shot under the circumstances.
  7. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    Just out of curiosity, what was the rationale behind giving these employees contracts rather than going with a traditional at-will relationship? Giving a contract is the only reason this guy even potentially has an argument.
  8. theiioftx

    theiioftx 2,500+ Posts

    Industry standard. Pretty common in healthcare. It has at will provisions in the contract.
  9. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    Fair enough. I just wasn't sure exactly what kind of work this guy does.
  10. iatrogenic

    iatrogenic 2,500+ Posts

    Not necessarily. You don't get work comp for missing work due to the flu. The disease has to be "peculiar" to the line of work, like black lung disease in the coal mines.
  11. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    It's not slam dunk, and I virtually wouldn't take any workers compensation case. Comp is to the legal profession as gay porn is to film industry. It's for bottom feeders.

    However, for a poor sap like Richard Peña or Gary Rodriguez (pretty much the only guys in Austin who will take a comp case) I think the argument is there that this isn't like the flu and that there are pretty unique circumstances surrounding it if we're talking about retail workers. Other occupations? I think it gets weaker.
  12. iatrogenic

    iatrogenic 2,500+ Posts

    I could see it being paid in the healthcare profession since those folks are forced to deal with it. Otherwise, the virus is virtually everywhere and not unique to anyone's employment. I'm sure many claims will be filed, however. As you stated, bottom feeders are going to bottom feed.
  13. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez 10,000+ Posts

    I don't see even Peña or Rodriguez trying too hard. At least in the comp realm, those guys make money on volume. They have a structure set up to quickly, easily, and cheaply handle the claims without having to invest a lot of time and effort into them. I could see them filing the claims and going through the administrative process. If they lose there, would they take these to district court? They might take one to try to set a precedent, but they won't take them all. Way too much work for way too little money.

    Of course, my old boss once sent me to trial against Farmers Insurance over a $2,000 in medical bills on a parking lot collision (admittedly, it was the worst parking lot collision I've ever seen) just because the claims handler pissed him off. So who knows what they might do in a specific situation?

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