This Season of the Pandemic: More Class-Action Lawsuits

This Season of the Pandemic: More Class-Action Lawsuits

In addition to wreaking havoc on our lives and health, the pandemic has spawned a storm of class-action lawsuits.  In this post, we continue our series of class-action trends, now focusing on gyms and universities.

GYM OWNERS FLEX THEIR MUSCLES AND FIGHT BACK

Gym closings have left thousands unemployed and cost hundreds of millions in lost revenue. New York gym owners allege that Governor Cuomo’s phase 4 closures are unconstitutional. Phase 4 of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan was supposed to be the final stage, allowing educational, recreational, arts, and entertainment facilities to reopen. However, the Governor has kept health clubs closed, prompting pushback from upstate gym owners. As reported in the New York Law Journal,  one fitness center has filed a class-action lawsuit asking for a judicial declaration that Governor Cuomo’s orders violate equal protection and due process clauses. The plaintiff notes that although the Governor allowed tens of thousands of demonstrators to assemble, gyms that strive to follow CDC guidelines remain closed.

 

A TUITION REFUND PUSHBACK?

Colleges and universities are facing challenges with the logistics of the upcoming fall semester. If a COVID spike causes campus closings, school administrators fear a flood of class-action litigation seeking refunds for tuition, housing, and service fees. As reported in the Corporate Counsel edition of law.com, colleges are concerned about rising class-actions seeking tuition reimbursement. Notably, 25% of all current pandemic-related lawsuits consist of tuition reimbursement claims. Schools have attempted to mitigate this exposure in several ways. Some are inserting clauses in housing contracts stating if the university converts to online learning and vacates dorms, students will not be entitled to a refund. Other schools may consider requiring mandatory arbitration agreements with students.

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