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Date: April 1, 2020
Posted by: CPDMA Team

The strength of the Judiciary in times of COVID-19

It is not intended to reject or minimize the pandemic scenario that we are enduring on a global scale, especially regarding social, legislative and economic uncertainties. After all, the decree of social isolation (indefinitely, since it is not known when the peak of contagion will be exceeded) and the daily launch of new decrees to enable security measures indicated by the World Health Organization, whether of a federal, state or national nature. or municipal, are leaving the country's economic routine, which was no longer stable, very fragile.

And it is in this scenario that we examine some measures adopted by large companies that, aiming at the resumption of their economic activity that affects many consumers, started a movement to provoke the Judiciary for the reopening of their establishments under the argument that they are essential services. to the collectivity.

The cases dealt with here are injunctions granted to two large companies of relevance in the market to suspend the effects of the decrees issued and determine that the inspection bodies refrain from closing the establishments, thus authorizing the resumption of their activities.

On March 30, 2020, a court decision was rendered for the benefit of Lojas Americanas (case 0066463-18.2020.8.19.0001 which is being processed at the Rio de Janeiro Judicial Duty Registry). The decision understood that among the various purposes of its business would be the marketing of food, pharmacy items, hygiene and cleaning products, framing its activity as an essential service, and its operation is necessary to guarantee consumer choice and maintenance of prices.

The high point of the decision is the concern with the population's access to the so-called essential services, as it is well known that the company in question has several branches and, with one of these operating in a place close to the consumers' residence, there would be no unnecessary displacement. , always with the obligation to observe the security measures indicated by the WHO and other decrees for the prevention of Covid-19.

Also on March 30, 2020, the Judiciary of Rio Grande do Sul granted an injunction so that the companies Verde-Administradora de Credit Cards and Lojas Quero-Quero can resume their economic activities and that the supervisory bodies refrain from closing the establishments. The decision covers only the city of São Leopoldo (case 5003143-50.2020.8.21.0033).

The foundation is the usefulness of companies for the community of São Leopoldo, preventing the interdiction of establishments. The ban would have made the payment of goods sold on installments and the granting of credit unfeasible, which was not accepted.

In both cases, the authorization to reopen the establishments must be accompanied by the adoption of the measures disclosed by the health authorities, under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 50,000.00 or review of the decision, respectively.

Faced with the scenario of uncertainties and in view of the essentiality and usefulness of the activities carried out, the trend is that the search for judicial provision is a massive reality in the routine of companies so that, respecting security measures, they can reopen their establishments.

Source: Karen Lucia Bressane Rubim, attorney at Cesar Peres Dulac Müller, specializes in Civil Law and Civil Procedure.

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