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Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 Orders Fall Under Constitutional Challenge
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

Since March, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his administration have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by imposing some of the strictest limitations in the country on the Commonwealth’s residents and businesses...

DOL Reacts to Court Decision Regarding FFCRA Rules; Revises Parts of Their Old Rule, but Reaffirms Other Parts
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

Last month, we discussed a decision out of the Southern District of New York ("SDNY") that invalidated parts of the DOL’s temporary rule that interpreted provisions of the FFCRA, the federal law that created both paid sick leave for certain COVID-related absences and a new category of paid FMLA leave for workers with COVID-related child care issues. Our prior summaries of the law can be found here...

Three Important Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic is Changing the Delivery of Consumer Financial Services
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

  The world continues to come to grips with the daily changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools contemplate opening. Some do, while others do not. Some professional and college sports teams play games to empty stadiums. Some businesses are open, with restrictions, while others are not. Lawsuits are being filed by businesses that think they should be permitted to reopen like their neighbors who already have...

COVID-19 and Unprecedented: Litigation Insights, Issue 22
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

In our 22nd edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, we see cases against employers continue to rise, and offer insight for employers to keep employees safe and simultaneously avoid lawsuits. In another notable update -- again for employers and business owners -- the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed a case challenging the Governor's restrictions on businesses amid the pandemic...

All Virginia Employers Subject to New COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standard
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

All Virginia employers subject to the jurisdiction of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health ("VOSH") Program (i.e., practically all employers in Virginia) must comply with new workplace safety standards related to COVID-19. Known as the Emergency Temporary Standard ("Standard"), the new regulation requires employers to:   1...

Remote Learning and FFCRA Paid Leave Questions Answered by Department of Labor
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, September 2020

The Department of Labor has updated its list of FAQs about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) to address when employees would be eligible for Emergency FMLA leave when the employee’s child’s school is operating on a remote or hybrid learning schedule...

Crosmun v. The Trustees of Fayetteville Technical Community College Provides Much Needed Guidance to North Carolina Courts on How to Properly Craft eDiscovery Protocols
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, August 2020

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina's decision in Crosmun v. The Trustees of Fayetteville Technical Community College, ___ N.C. App. ___, 832 S.E.2d 223 (2019) provides much needed guidance to North Carolina courts on how to properly craft eDiscovery protocols...

Federal Court in New York Takes Issue with Some Sections of the Rule Implementing the FFCRA: What Does It Mean for You?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, August 2020

In response to a lawsuit filed by the State of New York, a judge in the Southern District of New York considered and invalidated parts of the Department of Labor's (“DOL”) Final Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”). The ruling, while currently only applying to employers in the Southern District of New York (i.e., New York City), could be instructive on how other courts consider the same provisions...

A 2020 Pennsylvania Legislative Update
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, August 2020

When the 2019-2020 legislative session began, no one could have predicted what challenges Pennsylvania and the General Assembly would encounter with the outbreak of COVID-19. The rules changed to permit remote voting, and the plan for the session shifted to a focus on the response to COVID-19. The 12-month budget was replaced with a five-month budget to allow additional time to assess the financial damage...

The Discharge in Bankruptcy - Open Avenues for Consumer Creditors
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, August 2020

  In a typical consumer bankruptcy, a debtor seeks the benefit of two concepts. First, the debtor seeks the breathing room afforded that debtor by the automatic stay. Second, the debtor seeks to discharge all debt obligations adjudicated in the bankruptcy case. Absent these protections, a bankruptcy filing serves little purpose. As a result, a creditor who can attack the debtor's entitlement to a discharge threatens the very heart of any filing...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends - Issue 18, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, August 2020

This 18th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, sees us return to what, even in these early days of the pandemic, must be considered as some of the hottest topics. Thus, we discuss new insurance coverage disputes from the owners of Cheers in Boston and the internationally known restaurateur Jose Andres in Washington, D.C...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends - Issue 17, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

This 17th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, discusses everything from insurance coverage disputes to statewide shutdown orders. Despite an uphill climb towards liability, businesses continue to challenge their insurers' denials of COVID-19-related claims. At the same time, they are looking to Congress for help against potentially ruinous liability claims while also trying to shift current COVID-19-related litigation to the federal courts...

Proposed Amendment to the North Carolina Identity Theft Protection Act
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, July 2020

In April 2019, with the introduction of House Bill 904, a bi-partisan effort was made to strengthen cyber security in North Carolina. H.B...

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...

 

 

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