The original complaint has just a handful of named plaintiffs but the lawyers familiar with the case at Berman Law Group say they plan to file an amended complaint at some point with significantly more plaintiffs, including individuals who have gotten sick because of the coronavirus.
The lawsuit does not name a specific dollar amount being sought from China, asking for “compensatory and other damages to Plaintiffs and the Class Members, for their economic and non-economic damages … to the full extent permitted by the law.” Alters, however, made clear that though lawyers for Berman would be seeking potentially “tens of trillions” from the communist nation, the suit was largely about the symbolism of forcing China to defend its actions in American courts.
“We want the court to make them pay for what they’ve done,” Alters said. “They have unleashed … a massive pandemic on the world. It appears they knew about it long before they gave information about it to the rest of the world. We want our courts to say, ‘China, you are going to be held accountable here in our courts because you have harmed hundreds of millions of Americans.'”
The suit also has the potential, according to its backers, to bring to light documents and other information about the coronavirus that China may still be withholding from other governments and health experts worldwide.
This class-action suit is not the only one filed against China over the coronavirus, but it is the main serious complaint. The D.C.-based far-right organization Freedom Watch filed a $20 trillion suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas accusing the Chinese of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon — an allegation that has been debunked.