Investigative Group

Bipartisan Effort Underway To Hold Chinese Government Financially Accountable For Coronavirus Outbreak

(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
Font Size:
  • A bipartisan effort is underway outside of Congress to hold China accountable for what could be trillions of dollars worth of damage caused by their mishandling of the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Berman Law Group, a Miami-based law firm advised by the younger brother of former Vice President Joe Biden, filed a class-action lawsuit against the government of China on March 13.
  • On Monday, Berman partnered with a lobbying and public affairs firm that has deep connections to President Donald Trump in a move to forge a unified response against China’s government.
  • “We believe that this is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an American issue,” Berman senior litigation strategist Jeremy Alters told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A law firm advised by the younger brother of former Vice President Joe Biden has partnered with a lobbying shop with deep connections to President Donald Trump to push a federal class-action lawsuit seeking to hold the government of China accountable for the economic carnage caused by their mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.

The lawsuit, filed in early March by a Miami-based law firm advised by Francis Biden, accuses the government of China of deliberately covering up the outbreak at its onset for their own economic self-interest.

And on Monday, in a deliberate effort to forge a bipartisan front to bring attention its lawsuit, the Berman Law Group entered into a partnership with Lucas | Compton, a lobbying and public affairs firm which includes in its ranks former Trump Organization executive vice president George Sorial, who has worked closely with Trump since 2002.

“We believe that this is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an American issue,” Berman’s chief strategist and non-attorney spokesman Jeremy Alters, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The best way to do this is with a bipartisan effort to hold China accountable.”

“Anyone who is willing to participate and help, we plan to work with to help move this lawsuit forward to collect for the citizens of the United States for this terrible tragedy that’s happened,”Alters said. “But there’s no one better to help us show a strong unified bipartisan effort in this lawsuit than Lucas | Compton.”

Lucas | Compton managing partner Travis Lucas echoed Alters’s sentiment, saying he hopes the bipartisan partnership forged by the two groups serves as a “paradigm” for what Congress should be doing to take China to task for the coronavirus outbreak.

“We should be unified in our response and our strategy about how we manage and navigate the situation with the government of China,” Lucas said. “The government of China needs to be held accountable, not only to its people but also the rest of the world.”

The class-action lawsuit highlights the measures taken by the Chinese government to conceal the coronavirus outbreak at its onset, including the censuring of the doctors in Wuhan who first blew the whistle on the virus and China’s 17-day delay in notifying the world about the ease of human to human transmission.

The government of China, “acting from their own economic self-interest and looking to protect their place as a super-power, failed to report the outbreak as quickly as they could have,” the lawsuit states. (RELATED: Taiwan Says It Warned WHO About Coronavirus In December, But Its Warnings Were Ignored)

Alters said he anticipates that hundreds of millions of Americans whose health or finances have been affected by the outbreak will ultimately be eligible to join in on the lawsuit. Damages sought from the Chinese government could easily reach trillions of dollars, Alters said.

“The number grows every day. It started at hundreds of billions and now we’re well into the trillions,” Alters said. “You have literally almost every restaurant in the country shut down with the exception of takeout, you have businesses like airlines losing money hand over fist every day.”

BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 6: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a China-France Economic Forum at the Great Hall of the People on November 6, 2019 in Beijing, China. Macron, who is on a three-day state visit and also attended the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, said that France and China have found common ground on climate change and trade, but that Beijing needs to be more open to foreign companies, according to published reports. (Photo by Florence Lo - Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Florence Lo – Pool/Getty Images)

Sovereign countries like China typically are protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity in matters of legal liability, but the class-action lawsuit argues that federal courts have jurisdiction in this matter due to the commercial activity exception spelled out in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

“China has massive assets in the United States,” Alters noted. “If China has been reckless and careless with the health of our citizens, I am confident that the court and our government will hold them accountable under the law with enforcement against their assets or their businesses in the United States.”

“There are many ways that this can proceed ahead and pressure on their business interests here is one of them,” he said.

Berman has received thousands of calls from people asking to be added to the lawsuit since it was filed on March 13. Alters urged any American who has been diagnosed by coronavirus, or has been economically impacted by the outbreak, to join the lawsuit by going to DemandChinaPay.org.

“The more Americans that become part of this lawsuit, the more powerful it will be,” Alters said.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.