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7 May 2020

Elaine Allaby, Wired (United Kingdom)

Consumers file first wave of Covid-19 lawsuits against companies for damages

"Here comes the first wave of coronavirus lawsuits", 5 May 2020

The webpage appeared online at the end of March. “Dear Coronavirus victims,” it said. “If you were at the ski resorts of Ischgl, Paznauntal, St. Anton am Arlberg, Sölden or Zillertal on March 5, 2020 or later, and shortly afterwards were diagnosed with the coronavirus, then you may be entitled to claim damages.”

As of early May, 5,500 people have responded to the call. Peter Kolba, its author and the head of the legal department at the Austrian Consumer Protection Association VSV, has lodged a criminal complaint over Austrian officials’ delays in closing Ischgl ski resort in Tyrol after a bartender tested positive for the virus...

... Kolba is not the only person in Europe trying to hold the authorities in his country legally responsible for their role in coronavirus infections and deaths...

...In France, 600 doctors calling themselves the C19 Collective have brought a criminal case accusing the French prime minister and former health minister of failing to adequately prepare for the epidemic...

...In Italy, criminal investigations have been opened by public prosecutors offices around the country, the most high profile of which will try to determine responsibility for devastating localised outbreaks in Bergamo and Genoa...

...One common factor across all these cases is that the courts in most countries work slowly, and many trials will take years to come to an end.