The Fifth Circuit found that the natural-disaster exception to the WARN Act did not apply to COVID-19, reasoning:

The natural-disaster exception provides that “[n]o notice under this chapter shall be required if the plant closing or mass layoff is due to any form of natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, or the drought currently ravaging the farmlands of the United States.” Congress’s use of the term “such as” “indicat[es] that there are includable other matters of the same kind which are not specifically enumerated by the standard.”  By providing three examples after “such as,” Congress indicated that the phrase, “natural disaster” includes events of the same kind as floods, earthquakes, and droughts.

Easom v. U.S. Well Servcs., No. 21-20202 (June 15, 2022). The Court went on to discuss specific canons of interpretation relevant to this observation.

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