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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...

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...

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...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends, Issue 7
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

This seventh edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, sees a continuation of the trend we identified last week: shutdown challenges, workers' compensation claims, and wrongful death lawsuits have dominated the past week’s news cycle. We expect these latter two types of cases, which we consider more broadly as COVID-19 exposure cases, to pick up significantly as the country reopens over the next several weeks...

Rise in Employment Law Claims: Knowing the Risks and the Long-Term Legal Implications Anticipated from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit employers hard and fast, causing employers to deal with loss of revenue, tough decisions in regard to workforce and pay issues, and new laws and other guidelines that had to be analyzed and implemented quickly, with little time for planning or preparation...

COVID-19 Update: New Critical Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration ("SBA") issued FAQ # 46 dealing with its plan to review certain PPP loans (in response to COVID-19) to determine if the “necessity” certification was made in good faith by the borrower at the time of application...

Mandatory COVID-19 Testing: Is Your Skilled Nursing Facility Prepared?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many states now are requiring mandatory testing of residents and employees of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, including West Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, are proposing legislation requiring mandatory testing. President Trump also has indicated that the federal government may require mandatory testing of all nursing home residents and employees nationwide...

COVID-19 Shutdown Showdown in Pennsylvania
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Lawmakers and citizens across the country are engaged in disputes over the breadth and duration of shutdown orders intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Pennsylvania was the first state, however, to have a case reach the U.S. Supreme Court where, despite a setback for the petitioners when their application for stay was denied, it remains pending. And, Pennsylvania may have the distinction of the most contentious dispute, as well...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends - Issue 6
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

This sixth edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19 litigation, sees us reporting on many of the same types of cases. Consumers continue to seek refunds for goods and services that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with colleges and universities being a particular target. Consumers also have targeted retailers for alleged price-gouging behavior...

EEOC Delays EEO-1 Filing Obligations Due to COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is delaying data collection for their annual EEO-1 Report filing. The EEO-1 Employer Information Report, is a survey that is required annually for larger employers and government contractors. The survey collects employment data organized by race, ethnicity, gender, and job category...

The U.S. Supreme Court Sides with PA on the Shutdown Showdown—for Now
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

On referral from Justice Alito to the full court, the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday denied an application to halt the enforcement of Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s shutdown order...

Time for a Check-Up: Are Your Arbitration Agreements and Admissions Procedures Up to Date for Your Skilled Nursing Facilities?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

During this turbulent period, now is the time to evaluate your facility's admission procedures and paperwork, especially your arbitration agreement. You want to make sure that in the event of litigation they will withstand strict scrutiny by the court. Failure to do so may have dire consequences that will leave your facility vulnerable.   If your admission procedures and paperwork are not sufficiently robust, a court will not enforce your facility's arbitration agreement...

U.S. PTO COVID-19 Update: Patent Office Extensions Through May 31, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 28, 2020 signed a Notice of Extended Waiver for certain deadlines associated with patent-related filings, if the missed deadline resulted from situations relating to COVID-19. Due dates between March 27 and May 31, 2020 are extended until June 1, 2020...

Depositions in the COVID-19 Era
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

COVID-19 has caused a swift and unprecedented change to many social institutions in the United States (and worldwide). As a result, lawyers have been compelled to adopt new practices and policies to face the challenges of this time. No discipline has been changed quite as much, however, as that of the litigator. COVID-19, for example, has changed the way depositions will look for the immediate future...

U.S. PTO COVID-19 Update: Trademark Office Extensions Through May 31, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 28, 2020 signed a Notice of Extended Waiver for certain deadlines associated with trademark-related filings, if the missed deadline resulted from situations relating to COVID-19. Due dates between March 27 and May 31, 2020 are extended until June 1, 2020...

More Guidance about PPP Loans
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

On May 5, 2020, the Small Business Administration extended the time in which certain borrowers of Paycheck Protection Program loans may take advantage of the certification safe harbor SBA announced on April 24, 2020.  The SBA also issued guidance on applying the affiliation rules to businesses with U.S. and foreign affiliates...

COVID-19 Return-to-Work Legal and Business Guidance: Development of a Customized "Playbook"
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Our COVID-19 Task Force stands ready to assist with developing your customized "playbook" for helping your business return to the new normal.   Below are a few recent articles Spilman has published, along with a link to a recent webinar...

Pennsylvania Update: Guidance Issued for Businesses as 24 Counties Move to the Yellow Phase of the Reopening Plan
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Governor Wolf has selected 24 counties for movement from the red phase to the yellow phase of the reopening plan. Once a business is permitted to open in-person operations, they must comply with certain requirements that are set forth in a guidance document available here.   The Guidance references certain orders and documents issued by the PA Department of Health, PA Department of State and Governor's Office...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends: Issue 5
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Our updates about “The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19” are now called Unprecedented to reflect the development and adaption of legal theories to address the unprecedented impact from COVID-19. Although the name is new, Unprecedented will continue to bring you the most up-to-date trends in COVID-19 litigation each week. With the first full month of government-imposed shutdowns behind them, some parts of the country are starting to gradually reopen...

 

 

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