Israelis, Americans Join Cause to Sue China over Coronavirus

A petition was filed with the Tel Aviv regional court by the Herzliya Association requesting that the government of Israel bring political and legal pressure against China for acting irresponsibly and endangering the public’s health regarding the outbreak of the coronavirus. The class-action suit filed by lawyers Dr. Shmuel Saadia and Amit Hempel is suing for NIS 100 billion.

“The State of Israel is suffering one of the most difficult crises in its history,” the application read. “The tourism, aviation, restaurant, leisure sectors have suffered a severe collapse. Paraphrased education systems. About one million salaried employees in the economy have found themselves fired or found abroad. Hundreds of thousands of self-employed individuals in the private sector find themselves in collapse with no income. Any citizen of the country, employee or self-employed, public servant or private sector employee, parent and family member who found themselves without any educational framework was damaged.”

The damage estimated for the class action suit is estimated at about NIS 100 billion ($28 billion). 

The application states that one theory of the origin of the coronavirus was the Wuhan wet market in China. Live animals, bats in particular which are considered the species from which the virus originated,  are sold at the market for human consumption. The market does not have adequate sanitation or supervision, making the government culpable for the spread of disease.

According to another opinion cited by the suit, “the virus originated from a Wuhan City Biological Institute – Wuhan Institute of Virology and from there allegedly the virus came out and all that a proper policy of China could prevent the alleged leakage.” If this proves to be true, the Chinese government would surely be culpable.

Saadia commented: “It is necessary for the State of Israel to act boldly and to look to China in legal and diplomatic ways in order for it to be held accountable.” The Chinese Republic’s response to a court in Israel has not yet been filed.

Israel is not alone in the claimants lining up to sue China. Last week, attorney Robert Eglet announced that he would be filing a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Nevada on behalf of five Law Vegas businesses for lost income and profits. The class-action suit purports to represent  32 million businesses as potential claimants.

Eglet claims that China’s government should have shared more information about the virus but intimidated doctors, scientists, journalists, and lawyers while allowing the COVID-19 respiratory illness to spread.

“They engaged in falsehoods, misinformation, cover-ups and destruction of evidence,” the attorney said.“If they had been transparent with the world this could have been stopped in Wuhan. The world could have come together and gotten the right scientists to Wuhan and stopped it right there.”

“This class-action is just laser-focused on small businesses,” he said. “This lawsuit is not directed at the people of China. No one is blaming the people of China and no one is blaming Chinese-Americans. They are as much a victim of the Chinese government’s actions and inactions as the rest of the world.”

Eglet said he knew of two other lawsuits filed in Florida and Texas against China stemming from the outbreak. 

Eglet said the case is based on the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act of 1976 and U.S. federal law “for acts outside the territory of the U.S. that have a direct effect on the United States.” It could take years to resolve, he said.

Top Class-Actions reported on another class-action suit which claims that, as early as November 2019, China knew or should have known that COVID-19 was a “new” dangerous and contagious virus because many Chinese citizens were contracting the virus and were getting sick.

The Chinese government is a totalitarian governmental system which involves exaggerating good news and suppressing bad news, according to the coronavirus class action lawsuit. Instead of disclosing information about the coronavirus, the Chinese government “engaged in a campaign of falsehoods, misinformation, cover-up and destruction of evidence,” the plaintiffs claim.

The suit alleges that the Chinese government allowed thousands of people to travel from Wuhan to the United States between November 2019 and February 2020. This travel was allowed even though China knew or should have known that there was a high likelihood that these individuals carried the virus and would contaminate many people in the United States

In addition, the coronavirus class action maintains that, at this time, the Chinese government had credible scientific evidence that the coronavirus started in Wuhan, China and was capable of causing a worldwide pandemic.

The website includes a form that can be filled out online to inquire if you qualify to be a claimant in the suit.

Last week, Fox News interviewed Nitsana Darshan Leitner,  the founder of Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center. Leitner has had remarkable success in using the legal system to bringing terrorist organizations and the governments that support them to justice.

“Generally countries like China have sovereign immunity and governments cannot be brought to regular courts or held liable regardless of their conduct,” Darshan-Leitner, told Fox News. “However, an argument could be made that just like support for terrorism, which is legally actionable, a government that engages in such reckless disregard and negligence and covers up an epidemic which has the potential to spread worldwide could be held legally liable. Cover-ups and deliberate acts to conceal a deadly medical crisis are not [among] the protected acts of a sovereign state or of responsible leaders.”

According to Darshan-Leitner, if a private party like a hospital or health care worker of a chemical company learned of a dangerous and highly contagious disease and then deliberately covered its existence up and concealed it from the public they would clearly face criminal and civil liability.

“Why should a local or national government be any different? Clearly, China signed treaties and had a duty under international law to report the virus and not cover it up,” she continued. “China is not to blame for creating the virus but for not sounding the international alarm and trying to conceal it from the world.”

Source: Israel in the News