March 17, 2020 | Cathy He
Florida Law Firm Launches Class Action Against Chinese Regime for Causing the Coronavirus Pandemic
A Florida law firm has filed a federal class action against the Chinese regime for causing the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that Beijing’s initial coverup of the outbreak resulted in its global spread.
In a lawsuit filed on March 12, The Berman Law Group alleges that the Chinese regime “knew that COVID-19 [the disease caused by the novel coronavirus] was dangerous and capable of causing a pandemic, yet slowly acted, proverbially put their head in the sand, and/or covered it up for their own economic self-interest.”
The outbreak, which originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has now spread to more than 100 countries, with more than 100,000 infections outside of China and thousands of deaths. The United States currently has more than 6,000 cases of the virus.
“As we have alleged in our complaint, Chinese officials knew by January 3rd that COVID-19 was transmitted human to human and patients started dying a few days later,” Matthew Moore, the firm’s class action attorney, said in a press release. “Yet, they kept telling the people of Wuhan and the world at large that everything was fine, even holding a public dinner in Wuhan for over 40,000 families on January 18th.”
While Chinese authorities confirmed the initial cluster of coronavirus cases on Dec. 31, 2019, it was not until Jan. 20 that it confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus. Prior to that, officials had described the outbreak as “preventable and controllable.” Yet a January study of the first 425 cases of the disease in Wuhan found “there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019.”
The lawsuit names the People’s Republic of China, Hubei Province, the City of Wuhan, and several Chinese government ministries as defendants.
“This could have been contained while Chinese officials instead attempted to put a positive narrative on the unfolding epidemic for China’s own economic self-interest,” said former Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo, the firm’s director of government relations.
The outbreak is expected to slam economies around the world, including the United States, with some economists forecasting a global recession by the end of the year.
The Trump administration has proposed an $850 billion economic stimulus package to provide relief from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
“It is the Chinese government that should be paying damages for economic stimulus to the United States, not the American people,” said Russell Berman, co-founder of the firm.
The class action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, lists four Florida residents as plaintiffs, as well as a training center for baseball players in Boca Raton. None of the plaintiffs have contracted coronavirus, Moore told law.com.