Month: May 2020

Client Alert: District Court of the District of Columbia Denies Traditional Legal Defenses Raised by Title Companies

On May 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an important decision denying an early motion to dismiss against a title company for its actions preceding a troubled transaction. The decision is significant in that the District Court denied each of the traditional legal defenses typically raised by title companies at such an early ... Read More

Client Alert: New York Assembly Bill Would Repeal State’s Healthcare Immunity Statute Passed in Wake of COVID-19 Citing Concerns Over Nursing Home Conduct

A New York Assemblyman has introduced a bill that would repeal Article D-30, Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act of the New York Public Health Law, which was enacted on April 2, 2020, and provides health care facilities, health care providers, and volunteer organizations from immunity from civil or criminal liability for harm or damages sustained as a result ... Read More

Client Alert: OSHA Changes Guidance for Reporting Cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Workplace

On May 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced changes to its previously issued guidance on reporting COVID-19 in the workplace, effectively reversing its six-week old policy which allowed a lesser standard of inquiry for employers outside the health care industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions. OSHA’s new guidance demands that all employers conduct investigations of all COVID-19 ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Republic of Sudan Exposed to $4.3 Billion In Punitive Damages

Victims of an al Qaeda terrorist attack sued the Republic of Sudan under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which carved a specific exception under 28 U.S.C. sec. 1605(a)(7) for states that sponsored terrorism. When the victims filed suit, Section 1605(a)(7) did not permit recovery of punitive damages. Then In 2008, Congress amended FSIA through the National Defense Authorization Act, which ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Refines Defense Preclusion Doctrine In Trademark Suit

Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. sells clothing using trademarks involving the word “Lucky.” Marcel Fashions Group, Inc. received a federal trademark for “Get Lucky,” and used that to sell their own clothing line. Inevitably, decades of litigation ensued between the two groups as they each defended their respective “Lucky” turf. In the first round of litigation, the parties signed a settlement ... Read More

The Court of Appeals of Maryland Clarifies a Receiver’s Ability to Sell Real Property

Similar to other businesses that are slowly beginning to reopen, the appellate courts are increasing the amount of decisions being issued. On May 12, 2020, the Court of Appeals of Maryland issued an important decision which reversed the intermediate appellate court and clarified a receiver’s ability to sell real property. In Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Prime Realty Associates, ... Read More

COVID-19: District of Columbia Emergency Legislation Providing for Payment Plan Application Process and Rental Increase Restrictions Under Retail Leases

On May 13, 2020, the “Coronavirus Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2020” was approved by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser which imposed new requirements upon landlords and tenants under residential and commercial retail leases, as well as touching upon many other areas of District of Columbia law including, but not limited to, alcohol beverage regulation, cooperative association remote meetings, ... Read More

Client Alert: OSHA Issues Guidance for Reporting Cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Workplace

Please Read: As of May 26, 2020, OSHA's revised enforcement guidance is in effect and the below information may be outdated. Please see Mr. Kelleher's detailed analysis of what has changed in the new guidance here. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently confirmed that COVID-19 in the workplace is a recordable illness and must be reported to the government ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Curtails Ninth Circuit’s Digression from Issues Presented By the Parties

Evelyn Sineneng-Smith was convicted of violating 8 U.S.C. sec. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) for “encouraging or inducing an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such . . . is or will be in violation of the law,” and of sec. 1324(a)(1)(B)(i) for doing so “for the purpose of commercial ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Controversial Bridge Lane Closures by Gov. Christie’s Campaign Not Fraud

When the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. refused to support Gov. Chris Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign, the campaign decided to punish the mayor by shutting down two of the three lanes on the George Washington Bridge that were reserved for Fort Lee commuters into New York under the guise of a “traffic study.” That resulted in four days of gridlock ... Read More

Client Alert: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Authorizes Remote Witnessing for Estate Planning Documents

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has passed emergency Executive Order Number 20-04-10-01, which facilitates the execution of estate planning documents by allowing remote witnessing through video-conferencing. This Executive Order is a follow up to Executive Order 20-03-30-04 which authorized remote notarization of estate planning documents. This temporary legislation suspends the traditional in-person witnessing requirement for Wills, Advance Medical Directives, and ... Read More

Client Alert: Economic Impact Payments & The IRS’ Return Policy

In the past several weeks the IRS has issued millions of checks to certain individuals, compliments of a Congress which is desperately trying to keep our economy running. On May 6, 2020, the IRS issued several new Q&A’s on its website addressing what recipients should do if an Economic Impact Payment (“EIP”) is received and the name on the check is ... Read More

Welcome Back to Work! Here’s a Swab Test and a Questionnaire about Your Health (Gastrointestinal Issues Included)

As states begin easing COVID-19 restrictions and allowing employees to return to work, both employers and workers are reckoning with countless new concerns the return to normalcy presents. For employees, the questions focus largely on safety. What if I catch the virus from an asymptomatic coworker? Why is my coworker coughing? Do I still have to come in if I’m immunosuppressed? ... Read More

Client Alert: D.C. Council Declined to Vote on First-of-Its-Kind Legislation Requiring Certain Insurers to Retroactively Cover COVID-19 Business Interruption Losses; Other States Are Still Considering

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, the D.C. Council declined to vote on a portion of the Coronavirus Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, called the Business Interruption Insurance Amendment Emergency Act, which would have required every business interruption and loss of use or occupancy insurance policy currently in force in the District of Columbia be read to cover business ... Read More

Client Alert: A Summary of Legislative Efforts to Compel Insurers to Pay COVID-19 Related Business Interruption Losses

Small businesses across the country debilitated by the COVID-19 crisis are searching for solutions to shrinking revenue due to nationwide stay-at-home orders. Many businesses believe their insurance should cover their losses, evidenced by a growing wave of litigation against insurance carriers. Small businesses claim that without insurer payouts, they will be unable to re-open and re-hire laid off employees after ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Congress Ordered to Pay Unprofitable Insurers Under the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contained a program under which, each year, profitable insurance plans “shall” pay an amount into the government, and the government “shall” make payments to unprofitable plans, thus limiting risk for those insurers who participated in the online exchanges. The Act did not appropriate any funds for the yearly payments. Over several years, the ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Annotations of State Law Are Not Entitled to Copyright Protection

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated consists of the text of all of Georgia’s laws plus a set of non-binding annotations with summaries of opinions regarding each statute issued by the courts or the state attorney general. The annotations were drafted by a private company under contract with Georgia’s Code Revision Commission, which controlled the product in exacting detail. The ... Read More