Lawsuits stemming from Covid-19 right now
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus-related lawsuits. Here is a list we compiled of some controversies in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Japanese buffet restaurant to pay workers $2.6 million
In response to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), a Kome Japanese Seafood Buffet restaurant has been ordered to pay $2.6 million to employees. The lawsuit alleged that the restaurant failed to pay overtime, minimum wage, and a split shift premium to more than 130 workers. The lawsuit was filed after the restaurant shut down without notice, due to COVID-19 restrictions and fears. Kome will settle with employees for as little as $20 and as high as roughly $47,200. The average settlement will be around $14,200 per employee. Employees from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hooters have filed similar lawsuits.
Vaccine developer faces class action lawsuit over stock price
Vaxart, Inc., a vaccine company based in San Francisco, is facing a lawsuit alleging that the company used false information around vaccine development to artificially boost its stock price. In June, Vaxart told the world it was chosen as part of Operation Warp Speed, a federal program funding COVID-19 vaccine development. After Vaxart made the announcement, Armistice Capital, a hedge fund backing the company, exercised all of its warrant agreements and sold almost 30 million shares, bringing in $200 million in profit. The sale allegedly benefitted two Armistice board members, who are executives at Vaxart. After the stock sale, a New York Times article featuring Vaxart stated that the vaccine developer had not been chosen for Operation Warp Speed after all. The case filled is named Kirk Himmelberg v. Vaxart, Inc.
Proposed lawsuit to reverse city’s eviction moratorium struck down
A superior court judge in San Francisco has denied a real estate trade association’s challenge to San Francisco’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium. At the beginning of the pandemic, the city of San Francisco created an ordinance that would protect tenants affected by COVID-19 shutdowns. The moratorium forbade landlords from evicting tenants who could not pay rent due to the city’s pandemic lockdowns, though it did not forgive the debt of the tenants. Landlords could still pursue lost payments in small claims court. While the real estate trade association claimed that the eviction moratorium was hurting landlords, the judge stated that the city has a right to choose the reasons why tenants may be evicted.
Cliff House restaurant sues insurance company over COVID-19 losses
Operators of San Francisco’s iconic Cliff House restaurant have sued their insurance company over COVID-19 losses. In the suit, Cliff House staffers state that their insurance company denied their business interruption claim, which forced the restaurant to take huge losses thanks to a mandatory shutdown. While the restaurant continued to produce takeout and delivery meals, owners state it is still suffering from financial instability after the insurance company denied the interruption claim. The couple that runs Cliff House claim they’ve had to let almost all of their 185 employees go due to pandemic closures and loss of business.
Nordstrom Rack sued for more than $450,000 in unpaid rent
Nordstrom Inc, the parent company of a Nordstrom Rack store in San Francisco, has stated that the company has taken large losses due to the pandemic. As a result, the store will only pay half of its monthly rent until 2021. So, Hudson Pacific Properties, the company that owns the property, has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco store for more than $450,000 in unpaid rent, taxes and maintenance fees. The store is one of many facing litigation at the moment for unpaid rent. Hudson Pacific Properties has filed similar lawsuits against Saks Off 5th, which is located at the same address as the Nordstrom Rack store.