Federal Appeals Court Rules Tyson Worker COVID Lawsuit Should Proceed in State Court

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit against Tyson Foods for fraudulent misrepresentation and gross negligence allegedly resulting in COVID-related deaths of plaintiffs' relatives should proceed in state court. Plaintiffs allege that Tyson executives knew the risks of COVID-19 in March and April 2020 but still: failed to provide personal protective equipment at its Waterloo, Iowa, facility; transferred in workers from other facilities without testing or quarantine; encouraged sick employees to keep working; and denied confirmed cases of the virus while attributing worker illnesses to the flu. Ultimately one thousand of the 2,800 Waterloo workers tested positive for COVID-19 and numerous individuals died, including plaintiffs' relatives. Tyson had removed the cases to federal court, alleging that the company was acting as a functionary of the federal government at the onset of the pandemic. The 8th Circuit disagreed, remanding the cases back to state court, where they will now proceed.