Legal action in the era of COVID-19

Bruce LedewitzProfessor of Law and Adrian Van Kaam C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair in Scholarly Excellence Bruce Ledewitz, was interviewed by Law360.com. He spoke about some of Pennsylvania's five largest cases this past year as related to COVID-19.

In the interview, Ledewitz noted how in spring 2020-at the beginning of the pandemic-courts and litigants appreciated the threat of the virus, but as time went on the effects of political polarization of it were felt, especially in the courts.

Ledewitz said in the story, "Nobody was fooling around in April [2020]- it was a very, very dangerous time and everybody knew it. Everybody was extremely worried about the pandemic; it was only later that the courts would gingerly start examining these issues."

Of the prevalent cases related to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania discussed, Ledewitz commented on Friends of Danny DeVito v. Wolf and The Crack'd Egg v. Allegheny County.

In the Friends of Danny DeVito v. Wolf case, Danny DeVito, republican political candidate (not the celebrity) joined other businesses suing the governor claiming his initial shutdown orders did not cover pandemics, thus violating constitutional rights. In that case, a 4-3 ruling by the Pennsylvania judges said the case fell into the "other catastrophe" category.

The Crack'd Egg v. Allegheny County case was about the restaurant challenging the legality of anti-mask orders and the enforceability by the Allegheny Department of Health. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas ruled in February that mask orders support Pennsylvania's interest in reducing the spread of the virus. The Crack'd Egg was ordered to follow mask orders or shut down. It is now shut down waiting on an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

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