For the week of April 13, 2020
Written by Ranjan Agarwal, Keely Cameron and Tim Heneghan
As described in our previous blog posts, the COVID-19 pandemic has already led to a flurry of class actions in the United States and, to a lesser extent, in Canada. Most of the new claims this week involve claims for refunds.
At Bennett Jones, we are committed to keeping our clients up-to-date on developments in the class actions field as they navigate these uncertain times. This update provides a weekly snapshot about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the class actions space.
Negligence and Breach of Contract Actions
- In Wisconsin, a claim has been brought against Stubhub, Inc. and Last Minute Transactions, Inc. for failing to provide a cash refund for tickets bought on the site and depriving customers from the "FanProtect" guarantee, which provides for a full money-back refund when an event is cancelled. The plaintiff claims that he bought two hockey tickets at $120 per ticket for an NHL game that was ultimately cancelled because of the pandemic. The plaintiff alleges that Stubhub has claimed that the game was postponed, not cancelled, and in any event has suspended the "FanProtect" guarantee as a result of its own financial problems despite alleged contractual obligations and the detrimental reliance by the plaintiff.
- In Florida, a claim has been brought against Costa Crociere S.P.A. and Costa Cruise Lines Inc. on behalf of cruise passengers. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to warn the passengers that a passenger on a prior voyage disembarked because of COVID-19 symptoms. The plaintiff alleges that, if they had been provided with this information, they would have disembarked the ship to avoid being stuck on the ship and put at unreasonable risk. The claim also disputes the choice of forum clause in their ticket, which requires any action to be commenced in Italy. The plaintiff alleges that, among other things, as a result of the lockdown and cancellation of flights it is unduly inconvenient and fundamentally unfair to enforce the forum selection clause.
- In California, an action was brought against Lightning in a Bottle, an annual music festival, for failure to refund tickets to customers for the cancelled festival.
- Another action against an airline has been commenced as a result of a failure to provide a refund, this time against United Airlines. The lawsuit, brought in Illinois, claims that United Airlines breached their duty to refrain from unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the sale of airlines tickets. The plaintiff asserts that a voucher in lieu of a cash refund is insufficient especially in this crisis where individuals need money now to pay for basic essentials.
Actions Against Lenders
- A Maryland action alleges that the Bank of America has applied discriminatory practices in determining which small businesses to grant loans to under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The plaintiff alleges that the Bank of America is only offering the Paycheck Protection Program loans to its existing customers under the program and that its policy breaches the Act.
Bennett Jones is committed to protecting the rights of its clients during these unprecedented times. If you have any questions about the information in this article, please contact a member of the Bennett Jones Class Action Litigation group. In addition, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for other COVID-19-related materials.
More in this Series
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of June 1
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of May 25
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of May 18
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of May 11
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of May 4
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of April 27
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of April 20
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of April 6
- COVID-19 Class Actions Weekly Round-Up - For the week of March 30