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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The Department of Justice Weighs in on State Shutdown Orders
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

On Wednesday, April 27, 2020, Attorney General Bill Barr issued a memorandum “directing each of our United States Attorneys to also be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.” Attorney General Barr specifically called out “discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers...

Unprecedented: COVID-19 Litigation Trends for April 24-May 3, 2020
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...

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...

COVID-19 WATCH LIST – Senators Warren and Brown Propose Pausing All Debt Payments
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have released a proposal calling on Congress to provide additional protections for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their proposal notes that an unprecedented 22,000,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past four weeks. Millions of them received or will receive a $1,200 stimulus check the senators argue will not cover one month of basic expenses...

Freddie Mac and COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Freddie Mac has taken a series of steps to assist its borrowers, sellers, and servicers during these unprecedented times, and should help Freddie Mac continue its goal to “keep mortgage money flowing, support the stability of the housing market, and promote housing affordability.”   Freddie Mac announces avenues of assistance to borrowers affected by COVID-19, and that borrowers in forbearance will not be required to repay in a single lump sum...

Pennsylvania’s Shutdown Order is Subject to More Scrutiny
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, May 2020

Although government shutdown orders are being challenged across the country, the one issued by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf appears to be receiving particular attention...

This Too Shall Pass: and Then What? Part 2 - Legal Considerations for Return-to-Work Decision-Making
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

In our first piece in this returning to work series, we examined the logistical issues associated with returning employees to work. In this latest segment, we will address the legal considerations underpinning the return-to-work process.   1...

Today's Tips for Tomorrow's Litigation for Skilled Nursing Homes
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Nursing home and other long-term care facilities are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic because their residents are at the highest risk for contracting the disease. It has been recently reported that 20 percent of all deaths in the United States from the coronavirus are associated with infections developed in nursing homes. Due to the current inconsistencies in reporting procedures, the actual numbers may be higher...

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...

COVID-19 Update - West Virginia Announces Plan to "Reopen"
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Governor Justice has issued his plan for the scaling back of his “stay-at-home” Executive Order, otherwise known as “reopening the state.” The plan hinges on having three consecutive days where the statewide cumulative percentage of positive COVID-19 test results stays below 3 percent. Once that metric is met, there will be a phased reopening process that is optional to businesses – the plan stresses it is allowing entities to open, NOT requiring them to...

The "Preventing Essential Medical Device Shortages Act of 2020": COVID-19 Side Effect that Could Permanently Harm Medical Device Manufacturers
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis—infecting more than 2.7 million people worldwide, with almost 870,000 cases in the United States alone as of the writing of this article—has thrown nearly every industry into chaos as the world struggles to adjust to the new reality of social distancing and self-quarantining...

The "Preventing Essential Medical Device Shortages Act of 2020": COVID-19 Side Effect that Could Permanently Harm Medical Device Manufacturers
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis—infecting more than 2.7 million people worldwide, with almost 870,000 cases in the United States alone as of the writing of this article—has thrown nearly every industry into chaos as the world struggles to adjust to the new reality of social distancing and self-quarantining...

COVID-19: Impacts and New Guidance for Skilled Nursing Facilities
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. While the following CMS recommendations and guidelines identify nursing homes as the target recipients, they are applicable to all facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, and are therefore subject to CMS's oversight...

ICYMI: President Trump Signs Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

If you haven’t been paying any attention for the last two weeks, you may have missed that on February 3, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order setting forth his administration’s core principles for regulating the United States’ financial system. The order seems to be the first step in fulfilling his campaign promise to change Dodd-Frank, the Obama-era financial law that was enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. The order contains three sections. 1...

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Regulatory Reform
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On February 24, 2017, President Trump issued another executive order designed to further his administration’s agenda to reduce regulations. Entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” the executive order continues to make clear that “[i]t is the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people...

Right to Work: The Law of the Land in West Virginia
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Late this afternoon, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued its decision in State v. AFL-CIO and upheld the constitutionality of West Virginia's “Right-Work-Act” (the Workplace Freedom Act). Justice Jenkins delivered the opinion in which our high court reversed the Circuit Court of Kanawha County and remanded the matter back to that lower court with instructions to enter Summary Judgment in favor of the State...

Pennsylvania Governor Provides Update for Stay-at-Home Order, the Construction Industry, Online Notarizations and Curbside Wine and Spirit Sales
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

At a news conference on April 20, Governor Wolf announced he is extending his stay-at-home order until May 8, 2020. But in a nod to a construction industry that has been particularly hard-hit by the Governor’s shutdown and stay-at-home orders, Governor Wolf said he also will permit construction (both residential and non-residential construction) to resume throughout the Commonwealth on May 8, 2020...

Reverse Mortgage Industry Feels the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

It is difficult to capture in a sentence the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our health, our families, our fears, the operations of businesses of all sizes, the world’s governments, and our future. Not one segment of people or group of businesses has reported the pandemic is not affecting them.   It therefore should not come as a surprise that the reverse mortgage industry is feeling the effects of the pandemic...

The Homeowner Can Believe Everything They Read – Even if They Filed Bankruptcy
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Federal appeals court gives effect to mortgage servicer’s disclaimers in monthly statements and letters and holds that homeowner is charged with carefully reading them and a basic level of understanding in what they say...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19: Week of April 20
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Another week brings another round of COVID-19-related lawsuits. Even after a month, we already can identify some early trends: refund lawsuits and second amendment claims continue to boom. A rise in takings claims may signal another trend, or a recent adverse decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may throw cold water on business owners and citizens’ efforts to be compensated for government-directed impacts...

Federal Student Loan Payments Suspended
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Section 3513, one of the many provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), addresses the handling of most federal student loans.   The CARES Act suspends all loan payments through September 30, 2020, for certain types of student loans made or held by the United States Department of Education: Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans...

Ginnie Mae and COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Amidst the rising number of mortgage loan forbearances due to COVID-19, Ginnie Mae has stepped in to limit the damage to issuers with its PTAP/C19 program.   The CARES Act provides borrowers with temporary protections in light of the economic distress caused by COVID-19. The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, includes a series of protections for borrowers whose financial security has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic...

Watch List - Proposed Federal Prohibition Against Debt Collection In Times of Disaster/Emergency
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the adoption of certain piecemeal consumer protection policies and/or guidances by individual states and the federal government, there have yet to be any sweeping changes to existing federal consumer debt collection laws or regulations in the wake of the pandemic. There has been a push, though, for the enactment of comprehensive consumer protection provisions...

Watch List - Proposed Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act of 2020 Suspends Payments During Pandemic but Requires Landlords and Lenders to Meet Severe Criteria if They Seek Repayment
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On April 17, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives seeking to create the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act of 2020. The primary feature of the bill is it would suspend all rent and mortgage payments due during the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning on April 1, 2020 and ending 30 days after the termination of the pandemic by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The tenants and mortgagees would have no responsibility to ever make those payments...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19: Issue 3
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Another week brings another round of COVID-19-related lawsuits. Even after a month, we already can identify some early trends: refund lawsuits and second amendment claims continue to boom. A rise in takings claims may signal another trend, or a recent adverse decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may throw cold water on business owners and citizens’ efforts to be compensated for government-directed impacts...

Updated with FAQS: PA Health Secretary Orders Worker Safety Measures to Combat COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Click here to access the FAQs provided bythe Pennsylvania Department of Health. Beginning Sunday, April 19, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., Pennsylvania businesses that are still permitted to be open will be required to implement certain safety measures under the enforcement of various state agencies and the state police.   The order issued by Department of Health Secretary Dr...

PA Health Secretary Orders Worker Safety Measures to Combat COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Beginning Sunday, April 19, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., Pennsylvania businesses that are still permitted to be open will be required to implement certain safety measures under the enforcement of various state agencies and the state police.   The order issued by Department of Health Secretary Dr...

Social Distancing Rules Now in Place for Businesses in All WV Counties
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

West Virginia now has one set of social distancing rules for businesses thanks to an emergency rule promulgated by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources ("DHHR"). Prior to the DHHR’s rule, local boards of health were issuing county-by-county orders that created a patchwork of similar, but different, requirements throughout the Mountain State...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19: Week of April 5
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 see 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. Click here for a more detailed discussion of COVID-19 and governmental takings...

COVID-19: Governmental Closures & 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 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...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19: Issue 2
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 see 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. Click here for a more detailed discussion of COVID-19 and governmental takings...

EEOC Puts a Hold on Right to Sue Letters
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

According to a news report published by Reuters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has stopped sending Right to Sue letters ("RTS") to complainants for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.  An RTS is a statement from the EEOC that it has concluded its investigation into a charge and is generally required for an employee to bring suit for claims of discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act...

Furlough vs. Layoff: How Do They Differ and How Will Employees be Affected?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

As a result of the COVID-19, employers are being forced to reduce the size of their workforces in order to keep costs down for the duration of the pandemic and perhaps beyond. Employers can choose to either furlough employees or lay them off; however, deciding which route is best requires an analysis of the employer’s situation, as well as the needs of the employees...

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...

Pennsylvania's Governor Wolf Signs Order Regarding Transfer of Supplies and Information Between Medical Facilities
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Today, Governor Wolf signed an order to allow the administration to transfer supplies and information between medical facilities...

Pennsylvania Announces COVID-19 Action Portal
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On Monday, April 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, which allows businesses to help their bottom line while also helping Pennsylvania fight back against COVID-19...

Stark Blanket Waivers Issued During COVID-19 National Emergency
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On March 30, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services ("Secretary") announced a blanket waiver ("Waiver") of sanctions for violations of Section 1877 of the Social Security Act, also known as the physician self-referral law or Stark law ("Stark Law")...

Telehealth and HIPAA Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Telehealth is not a new concept, but it has been accelerated to the forefront recently by government mandated social distancing. While all of the "stay-at-home" orders issued across the country to date have included exceptions that permit individuals to leave their homes to seek medical treatment, providers may feel an obligation to offer telehealth services to protect not only their patients, but also the provider's staff, and to support the national effort to "flatten the curve...

The Dome Report - 2020 West Virginia Legislature: The Final Review. Issue 7, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

The West Virginia Legislature adjourned its 60-day Regular Session sine die on March 7, 2020. By the time the clock struck midnight, 356 bills ultimately completed the legislative process and were sent to Governor Justice for his approval. Under the West Virginia Constitution, the Governor had until midnight on March 25, 2020 to take action on those bills. The Governor signed all but five of the bills passed during the regular session...

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...

Medicare Coverage for Virtual Healthcare Services
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

On March 17, 2020, the Trump administration announced an expansion of Medicare coverage for virtual health services. The Medicare expansion is intended to make medical offices more available to people who need to be seen in-person and to mitigate the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Medicare can now pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via virtual services across the country, including a patient’s place of residence, starting March 6, 2020...

New Executive Orders for Select West Virginia Counties
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

Over the weekend, Governor Justice signed two new executive orders—Order 20-20 and Order 21-20—that further limit permissible activities in six West Virginia counties: Berkeley, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, and Morgan. Under these orders, outdoor activities are further restricted to a maximum of five people and essential business and operations are directed, to the maximum extent possible, to order their employees and contractors to work remotely...

COVID-19 Extensions for Trademark Office
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office authorized relief for trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to Trademark Trial and Appeals Board ("TTAB") proceedings. The Notice of Waiver provides a 30-day extension of time from the initial date it was due, for deadlines falling between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020. The filing must include a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak...

COVID-19: Patent Office Extensions Authorized Through April 30, 2020
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, April 2020

The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 31, 2020 signed a notice waiving certain deadlines for patent-related filings, if the missed deadline resulted from situations relating to COVID-19...

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

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...

EPA Announces Temporary Enforcement Policy and the WV DEP Considers Accommodations for Regulated Entities Impacted by COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has announced a temporary enforcement policy that will apply during the COVID-19 outbreak and will operate retroactively to March 13, 2020. The EPA says it expects regulated facilities to continue to comply with regulatory requirements, where reasonably practicable, but where compliance is impractical, relief from enforcement may be available in appropriate situations...

Information Regarding EPA's COVID-19 Enforcement Policy
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its temporary policy regarding environmental enforcement activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy is retroactive to March 13, 2020, and will apply for the foreseeable future, until seven days after EPA gives notice that the policy will terminate.     The policy applies to actions for which EPA has federal enforcement authority...

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...

Emergency Order 20-EO-03 COVID-19 State of Emergency - West Virginia Workers' Compensation Insurance
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

In Emergency Order 20-EO-03, entered March 23, 2020, Insurance Commissioner Dodrill ordered that normal time standards for claims handling applicable to workers' compensation insurers and other regulated entities as set forth in title 85, series 1, section 10, of the West Virginia Code of State Rules are suspended until further notice...

What You Should Know About the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses particularly hard. And, the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program can offer many of those small businesses a lifeline. But, it can be daunting to know what relief is available (and for what purpose), who qualifies, and how to apply. This is what you need to know. The SBA has two types of disaster loan programs—one through banks and one directly from the SBA via the U.S. Treasury...

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...

Governor Ralph Northam Cancels Schools and Closes Non-Essential Businesses in Virginia
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

As of Monday, March 23, Virginia Governor Northam announced all public K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of the school year and many – but not all – non-essential businesses will be required to close their doors. By the end of Tuesday (11:59 p.m. on March 24) some non-essential services, including all recreation and entertainment services, are to close...

North Carolina and South Carolina Issue Executive Orders Regarding COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

North Carolina The Executive Order prohibits mass gatherings that bring together more than 50 persons in a single room or single space (including any indoor or outdoor space) at the same time.  However, the prohibition against mass gatherings does not include airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, shopping malls and centers, office environments, factories, grocery stores, and child care facilities...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

A trend is emerging with recently filed litigation involving the COVID-19 pandemic. Spilman attorneys are committed to providing information that allows businesses to react as quickly as possible to avert civil litigation threats or to protect your interests through litigation. Monitoring these litigation trends will allow organizations to prepare to defend against such threats in the future or to identify and pursue civil remedies when needed...

What You Should Know About the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses particularly hard. And, the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program can offer many of those small businesses a lifeline. But, it can be daunting to know what relief is available (and for what purpose), who qualifies, and how to apply. This is what you need to know. The SBA has two types of disaster loan programs—one through banks and one directly from the SBA via the U.S. Treasury...

Intellectual Property Protection for CORONAVIRUS and COVID-19?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

It didn't take long. There are already 11 trademark applications pending in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for marks including the word "CORONAVIRUS". The first of these applications was filed on February 4, 2020, (CORONAVIRUS SURVIVAL GUIDE) and most recently on March 13, 2020 (I SURVIVED THE CORONAVIRUS/ COVID-19 OF 2020!). Certainly there will be more to follow...

The REAL Trending Litigation Topics Regarding COVID-19: Issue 1
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

A trend is emerging with recently filed litigation involving the COVID-19 pandemic. Spilman attorneys are committed to providing information that allows businesses to react as quickly as possible to avert civil litigation threats or to protect your interests through litigation. Monitoring these litigation trends will allow organizations to prepare to defend against such threats in the future or to identify and pursue civil remedies when needed...

IRS Issues News Releases and Establishes a Special Section Focused on Steps to Help Taxpayers, Businesses and Others Affected by the Coronavirus
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

The IRS has issued the several news releases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: IRS Notice 2020-18 Tax Day now July 15. Treasury, IRS extend filing deadline and federal tax payments regardless of amount. The Treasury Department and IRS announced the federal income tax filing due date (for individual, trusts, estates, partnerships, corporations, and associations) is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020...

Loans in the Time of COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

No one can predict all the effects of the pandemic on the borrower/lender relationship, but some of those effects will be severe. Both parties place a high value on predictability in their dealings. A borrower must know that when it needs funds, the line of credit will be available, while a financial institution needs to have payments made and covenants met as provided in the financing documents. Its long term survival depends on it...

West Virginia Supreme Court Declares Statewide Judicial Emergency Due to COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

In further response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia entered an order late Sunday night that declares a statewide judicial emergency applying to all lower courts in all 55 counties. As a result of the declaration, all non-emergency proceedings, including jury trials, are stayed through April 10, 2020. All deadlines and statutes of limitation that were set to expire between March 23 and April 10 are similarly tolled until April 11, 2020...

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...

COVID-19: Pennsylvania Begins Enforcing Closure Order
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

Pennsylvania began enforcing Governor Tom Wolf’s order closing non-essential businesses at 8:00 a.m. today, March 23, 2020. Enforcement will be conducted by a number of state and local agencies, including the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, and State Police...

COVID-19: The Impending Seismic Shift for Distressed Small Businesses?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

As we all know by now, much of our day-to-day lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are being told by everyone everywhere - the CDC, the President, governors, mayors, public health officials - we need to flatten the curve of the virus' natural exponential spread by practicing social distancing and aggressive hand washing...

Governor Justice Issues Stay-At-Home Order for West Virginia
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

This afternoon, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced a Stay-At-Home Order that will affect all West Virginians. Once the Order takes effect at 8:00 p.m...

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...

Employee Pay, Benefit and WARN Act Obligations: Updates Regarding COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

We realize employers continue to have pressing questions during this growing COVID-19 pandemic. Our COVID-19 Task Force is ready to assist with those questions and will continue providing updates in hopes of answering some of the more pressing questions you are likely to encounter as we move forward in this unprecedented situation...

UPDATE! March 2020 Pennsylvania Legislative Update: COVID-19 Responses
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

UPDATE - On March 20 in the evening, Governor Wolf issued a revised list classifying businesses as life-sustaining and non-life-sustaining. The press release, list and frequently asked questions can be found here. In addition, Governor Wolf has extended the timeframe for enforcement of the order. The Pennsylvania General Assembly recently completed the Appropriations hearings related to the FY 2020-2021 budget. The plans to resume the legislative session were altered due to COVID-19...

Protecting Yourself and Your Organization from COVID-19 Scams
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

In accordance with the CDC’s guidance on social distancing, more and more companies are increasing the number of employees working from home. As the number of employees working from home increases, so do the related cyber risks. Sophisticated hackers have developed a game plan for exploiting weaknesses unique to the remote workforce employment model...

COVID-19: Reminder on Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

Congress appears to have reached an agreement on legislation to provide paid family and medical leave in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the bill still must be signed into law by the President. In the interim, Pittsburgh employers should take note that the City of Pittsburgh has passed legislation that already requires most employers operating in the City to provide for the accrual of minimum amounts of sick leave effective March 15, 2020...

Emergency Federal Leave is Now Reality. What Does It is Mean for Your Business?
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

As part of Spilman's and our COVID-19 Task Force's continuing effort to partner with you during this public health emergency, we’ve been monitoring Congress’ work on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("Act"). This now has passed both houses and all indications are that it will be effective within weeks. Even in its short history, the bill has seen some significant changes. This is the final form...

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: Best Practices in the Workplace
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

As part of Spilman’s COVID-19 Task Force, we wanted to answer the pressing questions of many employers during this growing pandemic. Employers should consider implementing strategies and policy changes to reduce the risk of infection in the workplace while still complying with their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a developing topic, with many states imposing quarantines and Congress taking up the Families First Coronavirus Response Act...

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...

Intellectual Property Updates for COVID-19
Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, March 2020

On March 15, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced its offices will be closed to the public until further notice, "out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the public and USPTO employees." The closure began Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice. Offices remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges. Unless otherwise notified, USPTO operations will continue without interruption...

 

 

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