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In Case You have Nothing Else to Do, the DOL has Changed Their Approved FMLA Paperwork (but It's Not that Big of a Deal)
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

While most employers and HR departments still are addressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") issued new standard forms for handling Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") claims. Specifically, there are new forms for FMLA notice of eligibility, designation notice, and medical certification for employees to use. At first glance, the new forms look quite different than their predecessors, but there are no major changes...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends - Issue 16, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

This 16th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, discusses claims ranging from insurance coverage disputes to prisoners’ rights. The top story this week, however, is undoubtedly a Michigan ruling that dismissed business interruption claims on the merits—a major early victory for insurers. Even so, it seems doubtful that this one ruling will slow down the flood of coverage disputes...

Virginia is the First State in the Nation to Approve COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standards
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

Yesterday, Virginia approved temporary emergency workplace safety standards related to COVID-19, making it the first state in the nation to do so. While final language has yet to be approved, the standards are expected to go into effect in late July and will remain in effect for six months unless extended pursuant to state law. A current draft of the regulations is available here...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 15
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

This 15th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, showcases new and evolving trends. This week we note how COVID-19 has accelerated a pre-existing trend toward class action litigation. And we discuss specific trends involving workplace safety, mask requirements, shutdown orders, quarantine enforcement, and prisoners’ rights. These cases, and others like them, show no signs of cooling down as the summer heats up...

Sorry, Wrong Number: The Ninth Circuit and TCPA Liability
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

The Ninth Circuit Holds that Callers are Subject to TCPA Liability if the Callers Intend to Make Automated Calls to a Consenting Customer, but Instead Call Someone Else Introduction On June 3, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dealt a blow to callers governed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 14
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

This 14th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, showcases new and evolving trends. Employers are facing claims for both doing too much and too little in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shutdown litigation is increasingly focusing on alleged disparate treatment between businesses and protesters, as well as broadening to encompass challenges to mask requirements...

Governor Wolf’s Shutdown Orders Survive the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Scrutiny—Again
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has once again come away from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania with his shutdown orders intact. In April, the Commonwealth’s highest court exercised its King’s Bench jurisdiction to deny a constitutional challenge brought by a political committee and several Pennsylvania businesses...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 13
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

This 13th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation brings new developments in everything from constitutional law to tort liability. Shutdown cases show no signs of slowing down, and it seems probable that more will follow as some states reverse reopening plans in response to coronavirus outbreaks...

An Employer's Guide for Handling Vacation Issues in the Time of COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

Even in more traditional times, summer posed staffing issues for most employers, as employers juggled employee vacation requests while working to maintain a functional workplace. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in stay-at-home orders in most states which either limited the ability of some businesses to operate or resulted in businesses furloughing employees or having them work from home...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 12
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

This 12th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation brings new developments in labor and employment cases, consumer protection cases, and civil rights litigation. Price gouging and fraud for personal protective equipment (particularly N95 masks) remain major focuses, with manufacturers, retailers, and governments all taking action...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 11
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

This 11th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, identifies news reports placing the number of COVID-19 filings at around 2,700, with insurance coverage disputes former the single largest category. And so unsurprisingly, one of the matters we report this week is the dispute over whether those insurance coverage disputes should be consolidated into multi-district litigation...

SCOTUS: LGBTQ Protected Class Under Civil Rights Act of 1964
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

In a landmark decision issued today, the Supreme Court of the Unites States ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The case involved consolidated lawsuits filed by two gay persons fired due to their sexual orientation and a transgender woman fired after revealing plans to transition from male to female...

COVID-19 Extensions Set to Expire July 1, 2020 for Patents; Trademark Extensions Ended May 31
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

On May 27, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a further extension of certain deadlines that were about to expire on May 31. The latest order provides until July 1, 2020 for certain actions delayed due to COVID-19. For small and micro entities only, filings that would have been accepted if filed by June 1, 2020, will now be deemed timely if filed by July 1, 2020...

UPDATED OSHA Considerations for Recording COVID-19 Illnesses
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

Even though OSHA has advised that no specific standard covers the novel coronavirus, human resource and safety personnel must be mindful of the generally-applicable standards that might apply. OSHA has issued several guidelines that, while not the rule of law, do offer guidance on addressing COVID-19 issues, including recordkeeping and 300 log reporting obligations.   On April 10, OSHA issued guidance that appeared to limit what cases would be required to be reported on OSHA 300 logs...

COVID-19 and Unprecedented: Litigation Insights - Issue 10, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

This tenth edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, finds us reporting fewer shutdown-related cases than in previous weeks, suggesting that these cases are winding down as the country opens back up. By contrast, our prediction that workers' compensation and personal injury cases would begin to pick up with reopening appears to have borne out, with this week bringing the first reported “household exposure” claim...

Coal Earnings Set to Plunge 50% in North America, Moody's Says
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

  "Earnings for North American coal miners may plunge by more than half this year as the coronavirus pandemic makes a weak market even worse, according to Moody’s Investors Service."   Why this is important: The COVID-19 outbreak continues to wreak havoc with U.S. coal companies as the outbreak has exacerbated an already weak coal market. Moody’s Investors Service has just announced it expects U.S. coal production to drop 25 percent this year...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 9
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, June 2020

This ninth edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, continues to be dominated by shutdown challenges and workplace injury and wrongful death claims. But as governments discuss contact tracing as a way to control COVID-19’s spread, a data breach lawsuit against Deloitte illustrates the risks associated with creating the systems and collecting the necessary information...

Virginia Issues Executive Order Regarding Face Masks During COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Effective at noon today, May 29, 2020, Virginia Governor Northam's Executive Order 63 went into effect, requiring face coverings to be worn in certain circumstances. Specifically, a face covering is required for individuals aged ten and older when "entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time inside" the following categories of businesses:   All retail. Food and beverage, but only when reopened for indoor dining. Personal care/grooming - i.e...

How to Identify and React to Fraud in the COVID-19 Era
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

As we have learned through our ghosts of recessions past, the vast majority of those who become unable to pay their debts in economic downturns are honest, but unfortunate, debtors. That said, we also have learned that an appreciable number of debtors start taking drastic measures to preserve their assets and associated lifestyles during these times, sometimes engaging in a shell game designed to conceal or otherwise understate their assets when creditors start knocking on their door...

Revisiting Bankruptcy Filing Papers
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

With the expectation that bankruptcy filings will increase over the next few months, this might be a good time to revisit the documents filed with a bankruptcy filing and the information they provide. The focus today is on the Notice of Bankruptcy, Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, which are always filed. There are several other papers that may be filed (required or not), depending on the bankruptcy case...

Subchapter V and the Single Asset Real Estate Debtor in a COVID-19 World
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Over a year ago, Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code to create Subchapter V, with the intent of encouraging small businesses (defined as those with less than $2,725,625.00 in debt) to file reorganization plans more often by saving certain costs of a routine Chapter 11. Congress then passed the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising the debt limit to $7,500,000.00...

Top 10 Bankruptcy Truths for Creditors to Know
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Much of the bankruptcy chatter arising from the pandemic world in which we find ourselves is now focusing on the cascade of new bankruptcy cases that are predicted to arrive soon. We have already seen the effects of closed stores and no foot traffic on some of the big names in retail (J.C. Penney, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Pier 1, etc.), but many consumer cases are sure to follow, the result of the staggering number of layoffs and lost jobs that the pandemic has caused...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 8
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

This eighth edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, follows what we hope was a restful and meaningful Memorial Day weekend. For the third week in a row, shutdown challenges, workers' compensation claims, and wrongful death lawsuits have dominated the news cycle. But, we are also seeing a continuation in refund claims and an uptick in fraud claims involving everything from alleged misuse of sick days to corporate press releases...

“Opening Up”: Don’t Forget About Resident Rights as you Reopen
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

The curve has flattened, and all fifty states are at least partially reopened. This raises a number of questions about how your facility should proceed with reopening while continuing to protect not only your residents' health, but also their rights. Both failing to meet recommended guidelines and exceeding the guidelines can leave your facility vulnerable for future governmental action and lawsuits...

The Use of Receiverships in Pre-Bankruptcy Litigation
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

As we continue our series on bankruptcy litigation, we want to discuss the use of receiverships as an important aspect of a fully developed creditors' rights practice. Creditors often face recalcitrant corporate debtors who continue to reap the rewards of their business while ignoring all attempts by creditors to collect amounts owed to them. Sometimes, those debtors' intricate corporate structure makes it harder for creditors to trace money and assets and easier for debtors to hide them...

 

 

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