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“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...

24 Pennsylvania Counties Selected to Start the Reopening Process on May 8
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Governor Wolf announced that 24 Pennsylvania counties will move from the red phase to the yellow phase of the reopening plan beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 8. The 24 counties announced today are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango and Warren...

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...

ACA International v. Healey - Will Massachusetts' Debt Collection Freeze Hold Up To Constitutional Heat?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

A number of states have issued executive orders or other emergency declarations to provide relief from certain debt collection practices in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Such measures include ceasing new wage attachments and vehicle repossessions, etc. None have been as comprehensive as the regulation issued by Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, on March 26, 2020...

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...

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...

APRIL 1 UPDATED NEW Q&As: Big Questions, and Even Bigger Answers, About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

UPDATED - Questions 12 through 18 are new to this article. We will continue to update as more frequently asked questions are posed. When Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("CRA"), it left much for the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") to explain. The DOL has started offering vital interpretations employers need to consider in making decisions over the next few weeks. 1.         When does the CRA become effective? April 1, 2020. 2...

APRIL 2 UPDATED NEW Q&As: Big Questions, and Even Bigger Answers, About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

UPDATED - We have updated several items as clarifications have been made. We will continue to update as more frequently asked questions are posed. When Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("CRA"), it left much for the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") to explain. The DOL has published a temporary rule offering its interpretations of the CRA, and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has established a procedure for claiming the tax credits...

Big Questions, and Even Bigger Answers, About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

When Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("CRA"), it left much for the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") to explain. The DOL has started offering vital interpretations employers need to consider in making decisions over the next few weeks. 1.         When does the CRA become effective? April 1, 2020. 2...

Challenges to Shutdown Orders Reach the U.S. Supreme Court
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On April 27, 2020, a group of petitioners asked the Supreme Court of the United States to stay the enforcement of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s March 19, 2020, executive order that closed many of the Commonwealth’s businesses. The case Friends of Danny DeVito et al. v. Wolf et al., No. 19A1032, reaches the Supreme Court from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, where the petitioners’ King’s Bench petition was denied on April 13, 2020...

CMS Waivers and Flexibilities
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

In times of emergency, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary") has authority to issue temporary waivers or modifications of certain Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and HIPAA requirements. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") has released a substantial number of waivers in response to the coronavirus national emergency...

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...

Congress Briefly Extends Part of the FFCRA - but Only the Tax Credits
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, December 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act ("FFCRA") was passed by Congress this spring to mandate two weeks of paid sick leave for COVID-19 reasons and to extend the FMLA by creating a new reason for FMLA leave relating to the need for child care because of COVID-19. The details of the FFCRA were covered by the Spilman COVID-19 Task Force at the time of passage here...

Contractual Implications of COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

At Spilman, we are often asked to review the "colder" legal aspects of human events of all types. The COVID-19 pandemic will be no different. To get a jump start on some of the questions we have faced or will face, we offer some thoughts on the contractual implications of COVID-19. Over the past week, Americans have witnessed countless unprecedented responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA postponed its season. The NHL soon followed...

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"): Summary of Small Business Loan Provisions
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

Both houses of the United States Congress have now passed the CARES Act and sent it to the President for his expected signature. Among the provisions in the 880-page Act are critical ones dealing with aid to small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors...

Coronavirus and Workers’ Compensation in West Virginia
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

With the surge of coronavirus cases across the United States, and in West Virginia, questions arise concerning compensability of work exposures. Are coronavirus claims compensable under West Virginia workers’ compensation law? The answer depends on whether the coronavirus is considered an occupational disease under West Virginia law...

Coronavirus Considerations and Hot Topics Heading into 2021
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, December 2020

When much of the country locked down in March 2020, very few expected us to still be dealing with this pandemic in December 2020. And yet, here we are. In fact, coronavirus cases are rising sharply throughout much of the country, and the prospect of additional shutdowns is growing more probable by the day. Not all news is bad. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have produced what appear to be viable vaccines that could be available as early as this month...

COVID-19 and Construction Industry Insights
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

Restrictions related to COVID-19 have created immediate impacts for businesses of all sizes. Regardless if your industry has been directly affected by government mandates to work from home or restrict travel, it seems that no company can operate under a "business as usual" mindset over the near future...

COVID-19 and Governmental Closures and Seizures Without Compensation? Condemnation or Reverse Condemnation? What Can You Do?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

In the face of governmental orders shutting down businesses, redirecting business efforts and assets, and even seizing business property to redistribute to others, we are seeing more and more questions about the limits of governmental authority and the remedies for affected people and businesses. Lawsuits already are being filed, and the courts undoubtedly will have to provide the answers...

COVID-19 and Insurance Coverage Implications
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many questions about insurance coverage. Because each policy is different, it is very difficult to generalize about insurance coverage. However, one thing we know to be true is that policyholders or insureds will be advocating for losses, primarily business losses, to be covered, while the insurance companies will be arguing the insurance policies preclude coverage either due to policy definitions or due to policy exclusions...

COVID-19 and Restaurant Alcohol Sales in West Virginia
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

On March 18, 2020, Governor Jim Justice suspended the rule prohibiting bars and restaurants from providing beer and wine for off-premises consumption. Restaurants and bars with Class A licenses are now permitted to sell sealed bottles or cans of beer in their original containers and bottles of wine to-go so long as they are accompanied by food orders. The rule does not authorize the sale of beer growlers unless the individual possesses a beer growler license...

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...

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...

COVID-19 and Unprecedented: Litigation Insights, Issue 28
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, October 2020

This 28th edition of Unprecedented, our weekly update on COVID-19-related litigation, includes a number of updates on the mounting number of business interruption coverage disputes -- including a claim against a broker whose alleged failure to obtain infectious disease coverage left the insured without coverage for COVID-19-induced losses...

COVID-19 Employer Checklist
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

1)  Publish, circulate, and implement the latest CDC, local health department, and OSHA pronouncements on maintaining a healthy worksite and make sure you are stocked on essential product (soaps and sanitizers). 2)  If you plan on allowing essential vendors and other visitors to continue coming onto your property, implement a visitor policy that: Requires visitors to acknowledge they have not come into contact with anyone at risk...

 

 

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