Coronavirus-Related Lawsuits Keeping Texas Courts Busy

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Amid state orders for wearing masks and limits on people in public spaces, Hunt County went one step further Monday, asking a judge to order one person “confined to their home until they test negative for Covid-19.”

“It’s not every infectious disease case where a county feels like they have to go to court to get a court order for management of the person who’s suspected of having the disease,” said Brad Nitschke, a Dallas attorney with Jackson Walker who has been following Covid-related case filings

Another firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth, has been tracking Covid-19 legal complaints nationwide.

As of Monday, it reported Texas has at least 217 Covid-19 filings in the court system, the fourth highest total in the nation.

They include everything from business owners pushing back against shutdown orders, to people looking for refunds from cancellations.

“There will be borrowers who are unable to pay according to their loan terms,” Nitschke said. “There will be tenants who are unable to pay rent. There will be landlords who will be forced to take action against tenants.”

Some of the suits are looking for immediate help from judges.

Others, like the case of a man ticketed in Cleburne for going to the store with his wife, question just what a mayor, county judge or governor can order people to do.

“There’s some ambiguity in the state’s disaster statute, and that it’s not clear how far the governor can go in issuing emergency executive orders during a disaster,” he said.

Nitschke said a court will have to decide some of those key issues at some point.

And with each day that goes by, there are more people forced to make difficult decisions, that could add to a wave of litigation.

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