China sued over coronavirus pandemic

In less than a month, more than 5,000 Americans have joined a class-action lawsuit in Florida seeking reparations from the Chinese government for COVID-19 damages.

The plaintiffs claim to have suffered huge losses due to Beijing’s negligence in containing the virus. Similar class-action lawsuits also were filed in Nevada and Texas.

“Our lawsuit addresses those who have been physically injured from exposure to the virus … it also addresses the commercial activity China has engaged in around the “wet markets” trade,” Berman Law Group, which filed the Florida suit, told VOA.

The law firm cited the ‘commercial activity’ and ‘personal injury’ exceptions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [FSIA] as legal grounds for suing China.

Chimene Keitner, professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, disagrees.

“If you read any of the cases that have been decided under the statute [FSIA], it is extremely clear that personal injury, the conduct of a Chinese official needs to happen in the territory of the U.S. for that to apply. And there’s no allegation of commercial activity here,” Chimene noted.

She added, “you can’t sue foreign states for their policy decisions.”…

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