Courts Start To Weigh In On COVID-19 Lawsuits

By Brian J. Lamoureux July 15, 2020Court Decisions

PLDO recently issued an advisory about the forthcoming explosion of lawsuits arising out of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the article addressed the legal concept of “force majeure” and predicted that many businesses will claim that the pandemic prevented them from performing their contractual obligations, which is the thrust of force majeure – a party’s ability to be excused from performing their obligations in a contract based upon so-called “acts of God” or unforeseen circumstances.

The advisory author, PLDO Partner Brian J. Lamoureux’s prediction was on the mark as lawsuits have started winding their way through the courts. Many of these cases involve insurance disputes over coverage and losses, lawsuits between suppliers and buyers of raw material and products, and employment disputes among unions, employees, and employers over working conditions. Another particularly hot area for COVID-19 disputes is playing out in bankruptcy courts throughout the country. Indeed, we have seen the beginning of the end of many former blue-chip companies such as Hertz, Neiman Marcus, and JC Penney, to name a few. Although it is much too early to draw any firm conclusions about how all of this litigation will play out, a very recent bankruptcy decision out of Illinois provides an interesting insight into how courts might handle these difficult situations.

In his follow-up advisory, Attorney Lamoureux describes the Illinois case and offers three key takeaways for readers to consider, including the approach courts may take to resolve disputes caused by the pandemic crisis. To access the advisory, click on Courts Start to Weigh In on COVID-19 Lawsuits. For more information, please contact Attorney Lamoureux at 401-824-5100 or email



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Brian J. Lamoureux is a Partner with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O'Gara LLC and a member of the Employment Law, Cyber Law, Litigation and Corporate & Business Teams. He is also Practitioner Faculty in Management (Business Law) at Providence College, his alma mater.

His extensive practice areas include complex commercial litigation, employment law, construction law, social media law, and creditors' rights. In addition to being an accomplished business litigator, he has developed into a nationally-recognized voice on cutting-edge legal issues relating to social media. He is a frequent presenter, published author, and broadcast commentator on the topic and regularly appears on WPRI-TV, NBC10 and NECN-TV, the nation's largest 24-hour regional news network. His recent newspaper columns and articles include Social Media Privacy Law Impacts EmployersShould Employees Use Facebook at Work?Privacy Rights Being Tested in the Digital AgeDigital Age Hiring Process Filled With DangerTexting in the Workplace? Dangers Abound, Email Privacy Not a Guarantee in Workplace, and Worry About Workplace Prejudice? Clean Up. Mr. Lamoureux's work has also been published in the Providence Business News and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.

He successfully briefed and argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a case confirming surety's rights to indemnification. He was lead counsel in a successfully resolved certified class action regarding the demutualization of an insurance company before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island, and served as trial co-counsel in one of the largest defense jury verdicts in the Federal District Court in Massachusetts.

Mr. Lamoureux has been honored for his achievements by the Providence Business News and was selected as a member of its 2011 Class of "40 Under Forty."

He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law, where he was a member of the Syracuse Law Review and Moot Court Honor Society. At the same time, he received a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, where he was a teaching assistant in American Government and International Relations, and a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from Providence College.

Prior to joining PLDO, Mr. Lamoureux was a litigation partner in a large international AMLaw 200 firm. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and is qualified to serve as a receiver in Rhode Island Superior Court. Mr. Lamoureux is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. To reach Attorney Lamoureux, please call 401-824-5100 or email

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