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WHO Hit with Class-Action Lawsuit Over COVID-19 Response

— April 24, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently became the target of a class-action lawsuit over its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) was hit with a class-action lawsuit filed by New York residents in Westchester County. The county was one of the original virus hot spots in the U.S. The suit was filed by three New Yorkers, including Richard Kling, a doctor, Steve Rotker and Gennaro Purchia.  The three are accusing the WHO of taking part in a cover-up and allege they were “injured and damaged by WHO’s negligent conduct.” As a result, the lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for “WHO’s ‘incalculable’ harm to the roughly 756,000 adult residents in Westchester County who would make up the class.”

COVID-19 test
COVID-19 test; image courtesy of fernandozhiminaicela via Pixabay,

The suit further states:

“The WHO mishandled and mismanaged the response to the discovery of the coronavirus and upon information and belief, engaged in a cover-up of the COVID- 19 pandemic in China.”

The three plaintiffs also allege the WHO was “causing and/or contributing to the subsequent spread of the coronavirus all over the world, including to the United States of America and the State of New York.”

Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, Chimène Keitner, an international law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, said the suit isn’t likely to proceed in the courts. In fact, she said it will probably be dismissed because “U.S. law affords the WHO functional immunity from such cases.” She added that the “complaint did not detail the alleged harm suffered by the individual plaintiffs, or show what legal duty the WHO owed to them.”

In addition to the lawsuit and growing skepticism surrounding the WHO, President Trump has called for a halt to U.S. funding to the organization. His administration plans to investigate the “organization’s handling of the pandemic.” During a briefing at the White House last week, he said:

“Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus…As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability…One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.”

It should be noted that the WHO isn’t the only target of COVID-19-related lawsuits these days. In fact, China is also facing mounting private lawsuits from residents of the United States and many residents are filing suits against their state leaders to push back against what some have called excessive stay-at-home orders.


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