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The Practice of Law After COVID-19, Volume 2

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Considerations Upon Returning to the Courtroom

As the United States court system attempts to slowly move towards pre-pandemic productivity, judiciaries must balance the need to progress pending litigation and keeping Americans safe amid the COVID-19 health crisis. Reopening is taking place in “stages” in many states, each with decreased restrictions as the courts strive to regain full operation. The expansive nature of the American judicial system equates to numerous different policies and precautions implemented, but the following are general measures courts across the country are putting in place as they process the backlog of matters postponed by the pandemic shutdowns.

The battle continues between aviation giant Boeing and a class of pilots who were trained and certified to fly the now grounded 737 MAX jet. Plaintiffs claim their careers have been seriously affected by Boeing’s fraudulent assurances to the aviation community that the jet was safe to fly.

$10 Billion Settlement Reached in Roundup Litigations

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 24, 2020, a settlement of over $10 billion was announced by Bayer AG, bringing an end to nearly 75% of the lawsuits involving its glyphosate-based weed killers, including the well-known Roundup® products. In the announcement, Bayer estimated that the settlement will cover all litigations headed by the plaintiff law firms leading the federal multidistrict litigation, in addition to the California state court bellwether cases.

Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Faces Class Claims over Text Messages

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 15, 2020, the campaign of former 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, “Bernie 2020,” was served with class claims in Minnesota federal court, alleging that the campaign violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by sending unsolicited text messages from the Sanders campaign to individuals’ cell phones using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”).

Counsel Financial President & CEO, Paul Cody, and Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives and Financial Operations, Todd Kushman, were recently guests on a Litigation Finance Journal podcast to discuss the unique financial products offered by Counsel Financial, how they differ from other lenders in the litigation finance industry and the opportunity for partnership among financing companies with differing business models.

In recent months, there has been no shortage of distressing news. An inspiring story on beating the odds from someone who was able to rise above an extraordinarily difficult start to life is a refreshing change. This edition of Women in the Law profiles an extraordinary female attorney who faced hardships that many of us cannot imagine and has come out the other side with an intense determination to succeed.

On June 8, 2020, 3M Company (“3M”) filed trademark counterfeiting claims against Amazon sellers KM Brothers Inc., KMJ Trading Inc., Supreme Sunshine, Inc. and Mao Yu in federal court in the Central District of California Western Division. The suit alleges that the defendants took advantage of the COVID-19 global pandemic and consumers’ need for personal protection equipment (“PPE”) by selling counterfeit 3M branded N-95 masks.

The Practice of Law After COVID-19, Volume 1

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Lawsuits to Watch

As industries across the planet continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect on the legal industry resulting from the global shutdown will be substantial, re-shaping the way litigation unfolds in the future. As the court system slowly begins to implement reopening plans with challenging and changing rubrics, the practice of law will need to evolve as well to accord with this “brave new world.”

Reese Witherspoon’s Company Sued for Claims of Scam Promotion

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 4, 2020, a group of teachers filed proposed class action claims against actress Reese Witherspoon and her clothing company, Draper James, claiming a promotion that promised free dresses to teachers nationwide allegedly deceived entrants into providing the defendants with sensitive personal information.

CBD Maker Faces Class Claims for Overstating Active Ingredient

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On May 29, 2020, CBD company Just Brands USA Inc., known more commonly as JustCBD, was served with putative class claims in federal court in the Central District of California by a group of dissatisfied customers who allege that the company has been selling CBD products that contain less of the active ingredient than stated on its packaging.

On May 29, 2020, New York-based consulting firm Deloitte Consulting, LLP (“Deloitte”) was served with class claims in federal court in the Southern District of New York, alleging that the company failed to take reasonable and adequate measures to secure the personally identifiable information (“PII”) of online unemployment applicants.

Enterprise Sued for Violations of the WARN Act Over COVID Layoffs

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

*This article is for informational purposes only. Counsel Financial is a business and not a law firm engaged in the practice of law and, as such, cannot provide legal advise. 

On May 27, 2020, car rental company Enterprise Leasing Company was served with class claims in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, alleging that the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”), when it terminated hundreds of employees without cause and without sufficient - or any - advanced written notice.

Named plaintiff in the suit Elva Benson had previously worked for Enterprise at the company’s Orlando International Airport location. In mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to worsen in the United States, Enterprise furloughed plaintiff and hundreds of other employees. At that time, plaintiff argued, Enterprise was well aware that its business was suffering and that the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding stay home orders, would severely inhibit its business. Several weeks after furloughing employees, Enterprise abruptly terminated hundreds of employees in a mass layoff, with no written warning to employees.

On May 19, 2020, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), announced that it would permanently halt production of its controversial talc-based baby powder throughout the North American market, including in the United States and Canada. In public comments made by the company in the announcement, J&J indicated that the decision was made for economic reasons and not tied to product safety, alluding to the thousands of lawsuits currently facing the company that allege its talc-based products cause cancer and contains asbestos.

Starting Your Own Firm: A Conversation with Regina Calcaterra, Esq.

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Starting your own law firm can be a daunting prospect for even the most experienced attorneys. There are a multitude of significant considerations: how to handle the departure from your current firm, who to bring with you, how to manage the impact on your clients. There are so many components to consider that some lawyers never progress beyond a mere contemplation of their dream to be on their own.

While there is no limit to the information immediately available to us in today’s era of endless technology, there is no substitute for firsthand experience. Regina Calcaterra, Esq., founding partner of Calcaterra Pollack LLP, is the ideal person to advise other attorneys on what it takes to venture out on your own. Regina carries an impressive list of accolades—she specializes in complex federal and state litigation representing public entities, labor, health and welfare funds, businesses and individuals.