Louisiana sheriff moves to drop virus suit against China

Local News
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(AP) – A Louisiana sheriff is dropping a lawsuit filed in May seeking damages from China because of the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Monday in federal court in New Orleans.

Sheriff Daniel Edwards’ lawsuit was filed as a class-action suit on behalf of sheriffs throughout the nation.

The suit said there was evidence that the virus originated in a laboratory in China — a contention discounted by experts. It said the spread of the virus and the resulting effect on commerce in the United States caused sheriffs to lose revenue from various fees and taxes, including those tied to property values.

And, the suit said, it drove up the sheriffs’ costs of running jails, requiring testing of inmates and guards.

Monday’s court filing gave no reason for seeking dismissal.

Legal experts had said there was little likelihood the Tangipahoa suit and others like it filed in the past year by various governments against China would succeed under sovereign immunity laws protecting one nation from being sued in another nation.

China last month sent a letter to the court saying it was refusing to serve documents on defendants in the case, saying it would be an infringement of sovereignty.

Edwards’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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