One Year Later: How a Year of Pandemic has Affected the American Law Firm
As the legal system continues to adapt to the constant change brought about by the global pandemic, many law firms are looking ahead to plan for the future. We explore how law firms have changed and what modifications are here to stay in our new series, Post-Pandemic Law Firm Landscape. Hear first-hand from plaintiffs' firm on how they've navigated the current state of the legal system and their outlook moving forward.
On February 22, 2021, class claims were filed in Texas Federal Court in the District Court of Harris County against Griddy Energy LLC (“Griddy”) by a group of Griddy customers who allege that they were charged excessive electricity prices due to Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.
On February 23, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of California Fresno Division, against retail giant Walmart Inc. alleging that the defendant implemented an illegal policy requiring its non-exempt workers to undergo COVID-19 screenings prior to each shift without pay.
The battle against insurance carriers over a lack of business interruption coverage in the wake of the on-going pandemic continues with a group made up primarily of Washington State dentists and orthodontists, in addition to other businesses like restaurants, filing a motion for Western District of Washington Judge Barbara J. Rothstein to certify questions of common state law to the Washington State Supreme Court.
The controversy surrounding the meteoric rise and fall of the GameStop stock continues, as yet another class action complaint involving the incident was filed on February 16, 2021, in Massachusetts federal court. In the suit, plaintiff Christian Iovin alleges that defendant Keith Patrick Gill, a professional securities broker, purposefully incited a market frenzy by advocating for amateur market traders to enact revenge on big hedge fund companies by artificially inflating the price of shares of GameStop.
On February 5, 2021, baby food giant Gerber Products Co. (“Gerber”) was served with class claims in federal court in the District of New Jersey alleging that unbeknownst to consumers, and contrary to the representations made by Gerber, its baby food products contain heavy metals, including arsenic and cadmium.
On February 3, 2021, restaurant and arcade chain Dave & Buster’s filed suit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (“the Governor”) in federal court in the Northern District of New York alleging that Cuomo’s decision to close down all arcades statewide, while allowing comparable businesses to remain open, is arbitrary and unconstitutional.
On January 22, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, against textbook giant McGraw Hill LLC, by a group of McGraw Hill authors who allege that the company breached its contract with contributing authors by reducing royalties when it sells their textbooks in an electronic format.
On January 28, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York against popular brokerage firm app, Robinhood, over the company’s abrupt removal of GameStop and other contentious stocks. This was in response to a trading war of attrition raging between the independent retail investors that convene on the sub-Reddit r/WallStreetBets and short-selling hedge funds.
On January 21, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois against Easy Healthcare Corporation, the developer of popular fertility app Premom, alleging that the defendant company had been sharing users’ personal information and location data with Chinese companies.
Thinking about Leaving Your Firm?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many attorneys practice law. Across the country, courthouses are undertaking virtual trials in an effort to keep the judicial system moving while adhering to social distancing measures. Along with virtual hearings and proceedings has come serious consideration of moving toward an “at home” practice.
With the option of going remote becoming more and more plausible, thoughts of breaking away from your current firm—with or without additional attorneys and support staff—may come into play. Or perhaps your firm is the regional office of a national firm and you are entertaining the concept of an independent practice. At a minimum, given the financial and legal impact on law firms due to our collective sequestration, the future of your current path may be subject to change.
On January 8, 2021, class claims were filed in the Southern District of New York against the company behind the popular Keebler cookies alleging that the company engaged in false, deceptive and misleading product labels.
In the complaint, plaintiff Sharon Pizarro alleges that the defendant promotes its popular Keebler Fudge Stripe shortbread cookies as “made with real Keebler fudge.”
On December 18, 2020, popular streaming service Netflix reached an undisclosed settlement with the estate of famed Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (“the Estate”), bringing an end to claims that Netflix infringed on plaintiff’s copyrights in its new movie, Enola Holmes.
On January 7, 2021, consumer goods company Unilever United States was served with class claims in New Jersey federal court alleging its popular TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo and TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo (“the products”) contain an ingredient that causes significant hair loss and scalp irritation upon proper application.
On January 4, 2021, class claims were filed in federal court in Massachusetts against popular tourist attraction, Boston Duck Tours, by a group of current and former employees of the company who allege that Boston Duck Tours violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay employees their rightful wages for overtime hours.