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How about a class-action lawsuit against Hobby Lobby for defying orders during the pandemic?

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

I have an idea that’s never been attempted, so far as I’m aware, but probably only because there’s never been a reason to attempt it.

File a class-action gross negligence lawsuit against Hobby Lobby with the class being at-risk persons as identified by whichever state’s stay-at-home order. And when those class members die, the suit can be amended to add wrongful death as a cause of action.

Hobby Lobby is acting with seeming impunity because they’re calculating that they’re politically untouchable. State fines they’ll laugh off and pay. Nine-to-ten figure judgments could put them out of business.

They’re in New York, but light Googling suggests that they’re complying with Cuomo’s order. So such a suit would need to be filed by a lawyer in a state where they’re staying open contrary to a stay-at-home order such as the states mentioned in the Slate article above.


There are maybe 30 utterly depressing stories I absorbed today that I don’t know what to do with. I’m basically short circuiting. But I’ll try to point out that I think might amount to trends.

I think the big arc is how miserably and completely the federal government is failing to support hospitals, and coming to terms with the undeniable fact that these failures will translate to thousands more deaths.

There are numerous stories that broke over the last few days about how US companies have been exporting PPE and masks by the millions at the same time we desperately need them.

That’s bad enough, but it’s exponentially compounded by the administration refusing to even discourage it. The doctors and nurses are risking their lives and we’re refusing to risk capitalism’s purity. States should not be bidding against other states (and even the federal government!) for finite resources, the federal governmentt should be identifying need and matching it to supply while fixing the cost.

Another thing I can’t get over is the indifference shown by the federal government and the rural-state governors toward the urban states most directly impacted at the moment. There seems to be a gambit on the part of both parties that it won’t hit red states despite that it’s already there. The irony is that if the federal government ever does get its shit together, which they’ve given no reason to believe will be the case, it’ll be the later-peaking red states that benefit.

I can’t pick between hubris or ignorance as for why I think so many states evidently believe they’re immune. But for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, the answer is clearly ignorance, as he admitted to only learning yesterday that asymptomatic people can transmit the virus, and that was the game-changing basis for his stay-at-home order. Read that again. I knew that two months ago.

Then there’s Florida governor Ron DeSantis waiting until today to shut things down even as Florida’s cases were quickly shooting up. Good thing for him there aren’t many old people in Florida, I guess.

Then there’s that cruise ship containing people DeSantis has very possibly condemned to death by refusing to somehow accommodate. Believe me, I totally get that no one should be going on cruise ships at the onset of a pandemic. People should probably never go on cruise ships, period, in my personal opinion. But they did anyway, and it’s morally repugnant to deny them the help they need.

Also morally repugnant: not reopening ACA enrollment.

And finally (not really finally, but all I feel like writing about for now) there’s the growing realization that celebrity coronavirus deaths will be a daily thing. Today’s was Adam Schlesinger, who was one half of the great Fountains of Wayne, and a writer of perfect pop songs. RIP.

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