A federal lawsuit has been filed against the government of China over the outbreak of coronavirus by a USA based attorney, Robert Eglet, who represented victims of the Las Vegas shooting massacre, saying on Tuesday that officials hid information about the virus outbreak and that U.S small businesses should receive billions of dollars in damages.
The case seeks class-action status for 32 million businesses for lost income and profits.
The lawsuit filed against China claims that China’s government should have provided more information about the virus but intimidated doctors, journalists and lawyers, and scientists while allowing the coronavirus respiratory illness to spread.
“They engaged in falsehood, misinformation, cover-ups, and destruction of evidence”, said attorney Robert Eglet.
The plaintiffs involved in filing the coronavirus case against China in U.S District Court in Nevada are owners of the restaurant, two real estate businesses, a flower seller, and a CPR training firm.
The huge spread of coronavirus could have been stopped if the Chinese government wasn’t reckless and negligent about it and if they had maintained transparency about the virus with the world, the virus could have been stopped in Wuhan, the Chinese city identified as the original epicenter of the outbreak.
“The world could have come together and gotten the right scientists to Wuhan and stopped it right there”, said the attorney.
Has China responded to the lawsuit?
The court records did not clarify whether the lawsuit has been served to the Chinese officials or their representatives and no defense attorney was identified. Neither have the Chinese Embassy officials in the US responded to the emails, messages seeking comment.
However, Geng Shuang, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that there is great anger and strong opposition from the Chinese people on the use of the terms “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus” to describe the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump is among those who have called the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and defended that term.
“I wish certain people in the U.S could heed a reasonable voice at home and from the international community and stop making wrongful remarks that stigmatize China, said the foreign ministry spokesman.
The lawsuit points China’s liability to pay trillions of dollars in trade between the U.S and China stating small businesses in the USA deserve compensation from China, it’s ministries including health and emergency affairs and Wuhan city authorities for being negligent and creating a public nuisance and liability for conducting “an ultrahazardous activity”.
The coronavirus has got hold of more than 400,000 people across the world including more than 51,000 in the USA. More than 18,000 people have lost their lives, including more than 600 Americans.
In Nevada, 278 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Four have died, all in the Las Vegas area.
About 2,500 people were represented by Robert Eglet last year in an $800 million settlement with Mandalay Bay casino-hotel owner MGM Resorts International originating from the deadliest mass killing in the history of America — the October 2017 shooting that costed 58 people their lives and inflicting injuries on more than 850 people at an open-air concert on the Las Vegas Strip.
Eglet has also emerged victorious in winning hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts against pharmaceutical firms and healthcare companies after a Las Vegas hepatitis C outbreak and is handling Nevada’s largest lawsuits against drug manufacturers accused of fueling the nation’s opioid addiction crisis.