WeWork Customers Unite in Legal Action Demanding Deferment of Fees Until COVID-19 Restrictions are Lifted
May 08, 2020
New York, NY, May 7, 2020 — Today, WeWork customers located across the United States banded together in a group action to demand that the company cease charging their membership fees until COVID-19 public health restrictions are lifted and they are legally allowed to return to their offices. WeWork customers also demanded sterilization of their office spaces and the return of membership fees paid in protest since the commencement of the current public health emergency. The WeWork members, located in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are represented by Jim Walden, Managing Partner of Walden Macht & Haran who issued the demands in a letter to WeWork General Counsel Jared DeMatteis today.
In the letter, Walden states, “State and local authorities around the country have directed businesses to cease operations and have prohibited workers, including our clients, from using their workplaces. These government mandates are designed to slow the spread of a deadly disease which has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, and which has infected many WeWork members. Our clients have complied with these public health mandates because they are the law, and also because WeWork’s membership agreements so require. Indeed, our clients could not disregard these obligations even if they wanted to…As long as this pandemic prohibits our clients from using their WeWork office spaces, the purpose of their membership agreements is frustrated, thus excusing their obligation to pay membership fees.”
WeWork’s stance on consumer rights amidst the global pandemic is both unlawful and hypocritical, as WeWork is reported to have reduced rent payments to its own landlords. WeWork’s position also stands in ignoble contrast to that of its competitors, who have adopted more humanistic and lawful policies toward their customers. WeWork touts that “community is at the core of our spaces,” yet the company’s actions exhibit a ruthless commitment to its financial bottom line over the health of its community of customers.
In the letter, Walden threatens to pursue arbitration on behalf of the group if its demands for relief are not met, and adds, “It is difficult to imagine an event more ‘cataclysmic’ and ‘unforeseeable’ than a once-in-a-century global pandemic. It is, likewise, hard to think of an event that more destroys the purpose of a WeWork membership agreement, and renders the agreement more ‘valueless’ to the member, than a deadly, highly communicable disease and resulting government order that prohibits use of the member’s office space.”
Click here to view the letter.
To join the group action or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Media contact: Julia Pacetti, email@example.com, (917) 584-7846