Lieff Cabraser partner Mark P. Chalos recently spoke with The Tennessean’s Opinion Editor, David Plazas, in a wide-ranging conversation about law, society, and the impact of COVID-19 on the American justice system. Topics included how the pandemic is affecting the courts’ ability to carry out fair trials, and how the denial of coronavirus business interruption insurance claims is affecting small businesses across the U.S.
In the interview Chalos, who has previously authored several opinion pieces for the Tennessean, including “Why Fair trials are important to the US legal system,” explains how as courts remain physically closed, it is critical that participants in the justice system stay committed to balancing our collective safety with the continuation of our rights to speedy civil and criminal jury trials. Chalos notes the importance of keeping courthouse doors open, both literally and figuratively, via video hearings and online and phone communications, so that judges are able to actively discuss and engage with lawyers and other system stakeholders. He goes on to note that a surprising benefit of COVID-19 has been that Supreme Court oral arguments are now available to the public in realtime for the first time ever, providing a much-needed and long-desired additional layer of transparency.
When asked about insurance claims during the pandemic, Chalos noted a high prevalence of small businesses complaining about policy claims problems with their insurance companies. Chalos says that many insurance companies across the country are denying rightful business interruption claims to business owners who have faithfully paid costly premiums for decades, leaving many business owners feeling that they’ve been actively misled, facing dire financial straits if their business insurance claims continue to be denied. For businesses, Chalos says, it’s life or death when an insurance company decides whether or not to pay a claim.
About Mark Chalos
The managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office, Mark Chalos represents individuals who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries and families whose loved ones died due to the negligence or misconduct of others. Mark represents counties and cities across the U.S. as well as Native American tribes and health organizations in the national opioids litigation. He is serving as part of the national case leadership in these cases, including preparing bellwether cases for trial.
Through jury trials, Chalos has held wrong-doers accountable, including representing 32 school children who were videotaped undressing in their school locker room ($1.28 million jury verdict) and a young woman who suffered a severe brain injury in a car wreck (nearly $4 million jury verdict). He also obtained an $8 million arbitration award on behalf of a business client, and overall has obtained millions of dollars in settlements for families who have been harmed by wrongful conduct.