The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unique challenges for business. Following the passage of the Federal CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), numerous social distancing guidelines, and multiple shelter in place orders issued by States, our clients are increasingly turning to Foley & Mansfield for navigation through the legal complexities accompanying these new mandates. Banks and financial institutions have been directed to manage newly created emergency loan and subsidy programs for thousands of new applicants. Businesses seek advice to avail themselves of these new government resources—while at the same time, implementing new measures to comply with pandemic-related payroll, furlough and various expanded sick pay and leave options for their employees. Employers everywhere are facing employee wage loss claims, benefit claims, and COVID-19 related leave claims. Contractors, land developers and real estate professionals are addressing unanticipated, time-sensitive deadlines caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, medical providers and health professionals are working in a new era of limited personnel, resources, and equipment as they fight a difficult new medical pathogen. Underlying all of these difficult circumstances: our insurance clients, who require our advice so they can best respond to their insureds’ ever-changing needs.
At Foley & Mansfield, our attorneys are ready to respond. Our COVID-19 practice group is a multidisciplinary team that includes our most experienced transactional and litigation lawyers in one coordinated practice. Our goal: to provide clients with a rapid response for each of our clients’ individual legal needs. We understand that many of the issues facing our clients require the expertise of lawyers from a variety of practice areas. The COVID-19 practice group works internally at Foley & Mansfield to efficiently identify the nature of the issue, and connect the client with the attorney most capable for addressing the client’s concerns.
Procedures for the loan application process under the CARES Act; loan forgiveness rules; application of new Treasury and Small Business Administration procedures for emergency funding.
Strategies for small and medium-sized applicants for Personal Payroll Loans under the CARES Act; review of leave and furlough policies; corporate compliance with State mandates for distancing and closure; “essential” versus “non-essential” business qualifications; and Subchapter V bankruptcy under the CARES Act.
Compliance with time-sensitive contract requirements for ongoing and new projects; application of force majeure provisions; on-site protections for employees and subcontractors; and delay and non-performance claims related to limitations in transportation, materials production and supply.
Addressing the entirety of pandemic-related workplace issues including the recently expanded FMLA, FFCRA mandated paid leave, and compliance with State-imposed closures; coordination of benefit and wage loss claims; updating workplace policies, return-to-work and furlough issues; claims of wrongful termination due to COVID-19 layoffs; employer liability for workplace exposure claims; and OSHA compliance matters.
Exposure to pathogens or workplace transmission, defending clients concerned about OSHA or environmental investigations, and utilizing the defenses available in the Stafford Act as a defense to liability for transportation, aviation and municipal clients. We have also been assisting manufacturing clients in understanding the often conflicting FDA and OSHA regulations related to workplace hygiene and personal protective equipment use, and minimizing liability related to public exposure to pathogens, testing limitations in local jurisdictions.
Analysis of State and Federal regulations for closing of hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, amusement parks, museums, and other places of public entertainment; State-by-State conditions for compliance with distancing and closure mandates; premises liability claims for exposures to invitees and guests on re-opening; and consultation on prophylactic measures, policies and procedures relating to disinfecting and sanitation of businesses.
Medical professionals, including licensed health care providers such as physicians, physicians' assistants, nurses, and their practice groups, as well as healthcare facilities facing professional liability claims, including claims related to diagnosis or testing for contagion and/or comorbidities and other conditions; improper, inadequate, or unavailable ventilation equipment; and improper, inadequate, or unavailable personal protective equipment.
Personal injuries and wrongful death arising from the use of PPEs, ventilators or other products; defending claims of manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, breach of warranty against manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers; defending claims against component part manufacturers; consumer fraud claims; defending claims challenging the application of the PREP Act against entities involved in the development, manufacture, testing, distribution, administration and use of countermeasures to COVID-19.
Personal injuries or wrongful death arising from exposure to contagion whether through use, misuse, or failure to provide PPE; failure to timely or properly implement social distancing, quarantining, and/or shelter in place requirements; and failure to maintain, disinfect or sanitize premises.
Delayed or failed real estate closings; residential and commercial lease disputes and foreclosures; application of new federal legislation on foreclosure actions; and developing pandemic-related regulations impacting residential and commercial landlord/tenant issues.
Delay and excess expense claims for pandemic-related transportation restrictions; contagion-transmittal claims; unfair pricing and unfair competition claims and utilization of Stafford Act defenses to liability.
Pandemic-related wage loss and disability claims under specific State workers’ compensation laws; interplay between workers’ compensation claims and FMLA, ADA, and OSHA claims for both exempt and non-exempt employments.
Foley & Mansfield is humbled and encouraged by the strength shown by our clients during this time. We look forward to providing sound legal advice and representation to your businesses, and your insureds, though these unprecedented times. Please Contact Daniel G. Donahue, listed below, for assistance and referral to one of the professionals in our COVID-19 practice group today.
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