IRVINE, Calif., May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of California business owners have filed a class action lawsuit against The People's Republic of China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming China intentionally covered up the spread of COVID-19 while silencing doctors and scientists who tried to warn the world about the dangers of the deadly virus, according to the law firm Sam & Ash.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, seeks billions of dollars in damages for losses suffered by small businesses as the global economy came grinding to a halt due to the virus. The law firm Sam & Ash, LLP was brought in today to lead the suit forward. The lawsuit, the first of its kind in California and the third in the U.S., was originally filed March 27.
"On top of the horrific loss of lives caused by the coronavirus, our economy has been devastated and we could be spiraling into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," said Sam Mirejovsky, founding partner of Sam & Ash, which has offices in Las Vegas and Newport Beach. "This is an opportunity to hold China and others accountable for the gross negligence of releasing this virus out into the world.
"But the other, larger part of this is the coverup. Everyone has been affected, and one of the largest affected groups is small business owners, who may not have deep reserves, large lines of credit, or the means to continue operating. The fallout is that we will have an enormous amount of people affected by this pandemic, and this is a first step toward getting justice."
The lawsuit, originally filed by Tamara Zavaliyenko on behalf of lead plaintiff Bourque CPAs and Advisors of Irvine, alleges that by covering up the genesis of the virus outbreak and resulting pandemic, Chinese officials were responsible for the global devastation caused by the spread of the disease. Ryan Bourque, Principal at Bourque CPAs and Advisors, was inspired to bring the suit when he realized not only how much his own business was damaged but also saw how deeply the clients of his firm were suffering due to the shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
California small business owners who are affected by the outbreak and may wish to join the class action suit can find more information at settlementcovid19.com.
"We are proud to be the lead counsel on this case, the first of its kind in California," Mirejovsky said. "I want to be clear that we will cooperate with other states that may be bringing similar suits. We will show that Chinese officials knew or should have known that this virus would be particularly deadly to humans as it jumped from another species. We have virtually zero immunity. Chinese officials' fingerprints are all over this global epidemic."
With regard to the coverup, the lawsuit notes: "From December 26-30, 2019, the first evidence of the new virus was revealed through Wuhan patient data, which had been sent to multiple Chinese genomics companies. During this time period, the Hubei Health Commission ordered one of the genomics companies to stop testing on the new virus and to destroy all the data. Simultaneously, the defendants pressured the press not to report these facts; it took 17 days from the time Chinese researchers discovered the COVID-19 genome sequence for defendants to report the findings to their worldwide peers."
The suit alleges that instead of disclosing this evidence, the People's Republic of China "engaged in a campaign of misinformation, coverup and falsehoods. Upon information and belief, they engaged in a campaign of intimidating and even arresting Chinese doctors, scientists and reporters who tried to alert the public about this dangerous and deadly 'novel' coronavirus."
Regarding damages, the lawsuit states: "Because the defendants engaged in ultra-hazardous activity that caused approximately $180 billion in damages to plaintiffs and the class members, defendants are strictly liable to them for their damages."
Perhaps most troubling, the suit places part of the blame for the contagion on a Chinese laboratory, stating: "The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a biological laboratory about 20 miles from the center of the city of Wuhan in China, which the plaintiffs … allege includes an illegal biological weapons laboratory."
Mirejovsky said: "While we are still trying to get to the bottom of how this virus originated, one thing remains clear: China engaged in a coverup. It knew how easily transmissible the coronavirus is, and it did nothing to prevent the spread of the virus when it had the chance. Instead, it exported the virus to the United States and the rest of the world, leading to untold amounts of suffering."
About Sam & Ash, LLP
For more than 20 years, Sam Mirejovsky has been a powerful advocate for victims of negligence and wrongdoing in Nevada and California. Beyond his extensive experience in high-stakes negotiation, litigation and complex practice management, Sam brings a client-centered approach to every case. His commitment to understanding each person's unique circumstances allows him to be an effective advocate for clients with diverse needs and objectives. This mindset has helped him change the landscape of personal injury law and recover more than $400 million in justice for injured persons and their families. With these principals in mind, Sam and his partner, Ashley Watkins, co-founded Sam & Ash. Together, they have fulfilled their shared vision of creating a boutique client-centered practice that consolidates the best practices of injury law to provide their clients with what's right.
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SOURCE Sam & Ash, LLP