I got sued once, last decade. The plaintiff was a disgraced state legislator who resigned after multiple witnesses called 911 to report him beating up his then-girlfriend in public. She was a friend; I volunteered to help her deal with the media.
The lawsuit dragged on for two years. He begged for a settlement. I told my lawyer I’d never give him a dime. In the end, he dropped the case, getting zilch. The debacle cost me more than 60 grand.
So, I’ve never been a lawsuit guy, as plaintiff or defendant. Which is why I’m shaking my head at the hundreds of suits that predator attorneys have already filed over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruise lines, retail stores, gyms, airlines, universities; they’ve all been hit by COVID-19 lawsuits and the coronavirus positives still keep coming. There’s even a class action suit already filed in California on behalf of 32 million American small businesses—against the government of China.
Yeah, best of luck with that.
According to a database developed by the firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, already nearly 900 COVID lawsuits have been filed across the country. The most popular target? Prisons. Thus far, 249 lawsuits have been brought against prisons.
Here I’ll quote my late mother, who surely would have told the incarcerated plaintiffs: “I guess you should’ve thought of that before you committed a felony, genius.”
Locally, vulture lawyers are circling nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which across the United States have been the scene of more than 10,000 deaths where the deceased tested positive for COVID-19. In Maricopa County, more than 120 care facilities have reportedly had at least one COVID-19 positive.
TV station ABC15 tracked down personal injury lawyer Jenna Bailey, whose website proclaims in huge type: “Something terrible happened to you or your family in Arizona? Bailey Law Firm can help you with your serious personal injury claims.”
Bailey told the station that she already represents at least one family in potential litigation against a Valley senior living facility.
The Tempe-based assisted living home has been the site of more than 60 positive COVID tests, according to news reports.
“So, we’re hearing a lot of these types of stories, unfortunately,” Bailey told reporter Zach Crenshaw, while oozing all the compassion of a rock.
She went on to explain: “So what we’re looking to determine is whether or not the facility itself, or through employees, whether or not there was some negligence.”
I’ll predict the plaintiffs will manage to uncover enough alleged negligence to find their way into a courtroom or at least to torque a settlement from the facility and/or its insurance company.
That is, unless a recent congressional push to exempt many businesses from COVID claims ultimately becomes law.
Could gross negligence have been committed here—and in prisons, on cruise ships, in nursing homes and Walmart, which has been sued by the family of a deceased worker who tested positive for COVID-19? Absolutely.
However, it’s also possible for businesses to follow the law and the guidance of medical experts, socially distance and sanitize to the -nth degree, and still end up beset by infections caused by a virus with no respect for lawyers, Clorox or lives.
Stay home, stay safe, sue early, sue often. That might just be the epitaph when we’re finally done with COVID-19.