Plaintiff’s lawyers trying to capitalize on the chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic have filed class action lawsuits against hospitality and leisure industry companies, like hotels, timeshares, fitness and social clubs, amusement parks, ski resorts, and even homeowner’s associations, among others, seeking refunds of monthly fees and dues based on alleged lack of access or use of facilities and amenities caused by a business’ compliance with state and local operations restrictions and agency guidelines.
Most of the cases filed to date have focused on breach of contract, tort and statutory consumer protection law theories of liability and recovery.
Unfortunately, there is reason to anticipate that this activity will continue, and potentially even escalate in some states. Companies that charge monthly membership dues or fees should be prepared to respond quickly, decisively and strategically if their business becomes a target for a COVID-19 related class action.
This article offers a litigation checklist with a high-level look at some important procedural and strategy considerations that may apply on a case by case basis for defending against these types of class claims. Depending on the specific facts at issue, the options presented in this checklist, where available, may factor into an approach for companies to use in working with counsel to effectively manage and address a class action related to COVID-19.
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