NEW YORK – Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.
Claims have been filed against hospitals and senior-living facilities, airlines and cruise lines, fitness chains and the entertainment industry – 771 as of Friday, according to a database compiled by Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm tracking cases that emerge from the pandemic. The volume and variety make painfully clear that, throughout the United States, the virus has caused widespread devastation and hardship, and that the full scope of its economic toll remains to be seen.
Complaints reach across industries and state lines. Some seek significant monetary damages. Others ask for a judge to correct actions alleged to be harmful or in violation of contractual agreements.
Leaders in Washington are contemplating action.
Here in New York, which remains the global pandemic’s epicenter, more than 250 lawsuits have been filed – the most of anywhere in the nation by far. Among them, is a set of lawsuits brought by a nurse’s union against the state and two hospitals. They say officials failed to appropriately protect hospital workers with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure a safe workspace for those at higher risk of contracting the illness. A similar suit was brought by a union representing state employees in Alaska.
Families who’ve lost loved ones at a senior-living residence in Atlanta have accused the facility of failing to protect its residents, alleging it allowed events and group meals to continue even as family visits were curtailed.
Jodi Gill, a criminal justice professor at Penn State University, is the named plaintiff in a class-action suit brought against Pennsylvania’s health department for what she says is its failure to properly monitor the state’s nursing homes, including the facility – Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver, Pennsylvania – where her 81-year-old father lives. Nursing homes there have recorded 60 deaths due to the virus, according to state data.
Will the U.S. stock market retest bear-market lows put in on March 23?
That is perhaps the most prevalent question on Wall Street. And while there’s no way of knowing the answer for sure, if history is any guide, when the stock-market slips into a bear market, typically defined by a decline of at least 20% from a recent peak, it tends to return to return to that low more often than not, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group.
So far, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.55%, the S&P 500 SPX, -2.80% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -3.20% indexes have struggled to start off trade in May, after an uptrend in April that produced the best monthly gains in years.
The Dow is up about 28% from its March 23 low at 18.591.93, the S&P 500 is up roughly 27% from its low at 2,237.40 and the Nasdaq has climbed by 25% from its bear-market nadir at 6,850.67, according to FactSet data.
MarketWatch has written about the likelihood of a so-called retest of those levels, which may result in the indexes returning to or exceeding March’s drop, with Mark Hulbert suggesting that small-capitalization stocks are sending a bullish signal.