China's Responsibility for COVID-19: Are Lawsuits the Answer?

Date

10/21/20

Speaker: Chimène Keitner (Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International Law, UC Hastings Law)

Respondent: Patrick Keenan (Professor at the College of Law, UIUC)

The U.S. response to the global pandemic has been distinctly unilateral, from its announced intention to withdraw from the World Health Organization to its decision not to participate in a WHO-led effort to collaborate on vaccine development. Among other strategies, some members of Congress have suggested that China should be held liable in U.S. courts for all of the harms caused in the United States by the continued spread of COVID-19. Multiple private plaintiffs, and two state attorneys general, have already filed suit, and argue that existing law permits their claims to go forward. Chimeène Keitner, Professor of International Law and former Counselor on International Law at thenU.S. Department of State, will join Professor Patrick Keenan to discuss these lawsuits and their implications for questions of state responsibility and state sovereignty in the contemporary international system.