COVID-19: A Pandemic of Legal Liability For Employers and Businesses

The COVID-19 Pandemic has swept the world. Every one of us is affected by recommended and ordered restrictions on our work and daily lives. A wave of lawsuits is building across the country where employees are suing their employers claiming they were infected at work. Patrons of stores, entertainment centers, restaurants, bars, and even healthcare facilities are claiming they were infected by conditions they encountered on those premises.

The panel will discuss:

1.     Reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection to employees and patrons,

2.     Reducing the risk of liability, and

3.     Preparation for defending against COVID-19 infection lawsuits.

Critical considerations:

1.     Whom exactly do the claimants sue? What is the basis for their claims?

2.     What must the employees and patrons prove to pin liability on the employers and owners/managers?

3.     What is the extent of the legal exposure to the employers and owners/managers?

4.     How can the employers and businesses defend themselves from these claims?

5.     Is there insurance coverage for these claims?


Gabrielle Wirth is a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney in its Labor & Employment practice. Gabrielle’s successful trial experience in a broad range of employment disputes including wage and hour, whistleblower, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, and trade secret/noncompetition cases.

Katie Pfeifer is Of Counsel at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney. Pfeifer represents clients in all types of complex commercial litigation. In addition to her particular focus on construction and health litigation, she provides insurance coverage analysis and advice and represents policyholders in coverage disputes and litigation. Her work includes all types of insurance lines, and ranges from assisting clients with assessing which policies may respond to a claim, tendering claims to insurers, reviewing and responding to insurer positions, negotiating with insurers over defense/reimbursement obligations and choice of counsel, coordinating coverage between different policies, and litigating coverage disputes. She also provides insurance review and analysis for commercial contracts and transactions.

Shevon Rockett is a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney whose practice focuses primarily on the defense of pharmaceutical, medical device, and other companies in complex litigation matters. She has represented AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dentsply Sirona, Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Pfizer, Takeda, TASER International, Inc., and other large corporate clients in local, regional and national products liability and commercial litigation, as well as in government investigations and consumer fraud cases.

Justice Douglas Lang is Of Counsel at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney in complex commercial litigation. He served for over 16 years on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas. Justice Lang authored more than 2,100 opinions and participated in more than 6,100 case decisions. During that same period, Justice Lang served for six years as a member of the Texas Multi-District Litigation Panel and as Chair of the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct.  



Thursday, January 21, 2021

10:00 am – 11:00 am PT

11:00 am – 12:00 noon MT

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm CT

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET