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Mass Tort Lawyers Look to Master Pandemic Litigation

June 29, 2020, 5:58 PM

Here are the day’s top coronavirus stories from the team at Bloomberg Law:

  • MASTERING THE ART: Mass tort lawyers, who handle litigation over product liability, prescription drugs, and toxic contamination that can include tens of thousands of plaintiffs and years of drawn-out court battles, typically like a hands-on approach to complex litigation. During Covid-19, though, they have been forced to fight court battles remotely. So far they say the change isn’t impacting their bottom lines.
  • UPENDED DEALS: The unprecedented disruption in mergers and acquisitions has swept across a myriad of industries, from travel, retail, real estate, and energy to even seemingly sheltered sectors such as finance and technology. In dollar terms, dealmaking has slumped by more than 70% in the U.S. and some 55% globally compared with a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • BLACK UNEMPLOYMENT: Federal unemployment benefits have been especially vital for Black Americans, who have suffered some of the worst job losses in the pandemic. That argument is helping to sway some in Congress toward keeping the extra payments in place after next month’s deadline.

Editor’s Top Picks

TSA Struggles to Balance Virus With Security as Travel Rebounds
The federal agency responsible for the safety of the traveling public says it’s going to great lengths to make its screening process safer during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s spacing flyers apart in queues, reducing the number of “touch points” at the start of screening, putting up plastic barriers at bag-drop points, wiping down bins, and requiring screeners to wear masks.

Gilead Chooses Middle Ground in Pricing of Its Coronavirus Drug
Gilead Sciences Inc. said that it will charge U.S. hospitals roughly $3,120 for most patients who need remdesivir, picking a middle ground in a high-profile decision on the cost of one of the first drugs for Covid-19.

Covid-19 Liability Shield Heads to Georgia Governor’s Desk
Georgia soon will join a handful of states in protecting businesses from civil liability related to the virus. The move comes as business groups across the country have called on Congress to include liability protections in future legislation to reduce the risk of litigation that they say threatens successful economic recovery.

Supply Chain Fears Bolster Medical Manufacturing Tax Break Push
Lobbyists and advocates see the next pandemic relief package as a potential vehicle for new tax benefits for pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies. Negotiations aren’t expected to pick up again until July, but the conversation so far has focused on recently introduced House bills that could be included in a relief package.

Europe Set to Extend Travel Ban for U.S. Residents on Tuesday
European Union governments are poised to extend a travel ban for U.S. residents for at least two weeks, according to a draft of a decision due to be formally adopted Tuesday.

Pandemic Tops 10 Million Cases, 500,000 Deaths as Momentum Grows
Deaths from the coronavirus worldwide topped 500,000 and infections surged past 10 million, two chilling reminders that the deadliest pandemic of the modern era is stronger than ever.

IRS Virus Woes to Drag On With Delayed Notices, Mail Backlog
The IRS continues to deal with new and existing challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, even as it begins to reopen some of its facilities, according to the head of the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Corporate Audits Fell 71% as Coronavirus Pandemic Crippled IRS
The IRS initiated 71% fewer corporate audits this spring compared with the same time period a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic halted many agency operations.

Permian Driller Lilis Files for Bankruptcy, Citing Coronavirus
Lilis Energy Inc., a Permian basin oil and natural gas producer, filed for bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic dragged down demand. Creditors that own all of the Fort Worth-based company’s preferred stock have agreed to a restructuring plan that will trim $34.9 million of debt.

Amazon Will Pay One-Time Bonuses of $500 to Logistics Workers
Amazon.com Inc., after complaints about ending pandemic hazard pay, will give one-time bonuses of $500 to most frontline workers.

INSIGHT: Patent Portfolio Management in Uncertain Economic Times
With the global disruption the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to the markets and supply chains, companies may be addressing the economic uncertainty by either freezing or cutting budgets—including their patent spending. However, a patent portfolio is a long-term investment, and any cost-cutting measures should be viewed with that in mind, writes F. James Coe, counsel at Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds P.C.

Click here for updates on how federal courts are operating during the pandemic.

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Editor’s Note: The Bloomberg Law news team has been closely covering the legal, regulatory, business, and tax implications of the coronavirus pandemic. This daily email highlights the top stories of the day, across practice areas. To unsubscribe, please adjust your Bloomberg Law newsletter settings. For assistance, contact our help desk at 888-560-2529 or help@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghashyam Mali in Washington at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessica Coomes at jcoomes@bloomberglaw.com; Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com