In a setback for plaintiffs in the ever-growing litigation against employers for failure to protect workers at their places of employment, a New York judge granted dismissal to Amazon in a lawsuit alleging it failed to follow public health guidelines around COVID-19 workplace safety. The workers contended Amazon put profits over safety (a common plaintiff's theme in personal injury cases) and failed to adequately protect them from the virus. I found Judge Brian Cogan's pragmatic reasoning compelling: “No doubt, shutting down JFK8 completely during the pandemic while continuing to provide employees with pay and benefits would be the best protection against contagion at the workplace ... But someone has to strike a balance between maintaining some level of operations in conjunction with some level of protective measures.” As a lawyer who regularly represents defendants in personal injury litigation, I doubt this appeal to common sense will slow the tide of litigation. But it is nice to see a court acknowledge the need to "strike a balance" between these potentially competing interests.
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit against Amazon that accused the company of failing to stop the spread of the coronavirus by creating unsafe working conditions, deferring to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.