June 9, 2020
Child care centers, day camps, some organized sports, outdoor dining and indoor non-essential retail are the latest business and activities that soon can start reopening (with limitations) pursuant to two Executive Orders signed last week by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Executive Order 149 – Child Care Centers, Day Camps, Organized Sports
On May 29, 2020, Gov. Murphy signed Executive Order 149 (“EO 149”) , to allow the re-opening (with restrictions and guidelines) of all child care centers and other child care facilities, day camps and the operation of non-contact organized sports. EO 149 rescinds Executive Order 110 (“EO 110”) (which closed most childcare centers) and supersedes all prior executive and administrative orders to the extent they conflict with EO 149.
June 9, 2020
Citing the continuing need to protect the New Jersey residents from COVID-19 (even as the state ramps up its reopening), on June 4, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 151 (“EO 151”) , extending the state’s Public Health Emergency by thirty days, i.e., until July 4, 2020. Pursuant to EO 151, all Executive Orders and actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies (including Administrative Orders) that were adopted in whole or in part based on the current Public Health Emergency will remain in full force and effect. A declared public health emergency gives Gov. Murphy and state department leaders expanded authority to respond to a crisis such as COVID-19.
June 8, 2020
Much ink has been spilled in recent weeks about how some recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) relief obtained their loans through mistakes or false pretenses. Now banks are coming under fire for their lending practices in connection with this hastily prepared and implemented program, which left them grappling with how to properly issue loans in the face of procedural and substantive gaps in the law. Many lenders tried to fill these gaps by supplementing the PPP application to address practical concerns not covered in the law. Two recent cases, however, demonstrate that banks may face legal exposure for supplementing the applicant eligibility requirements published by the Small Business Association (“SBA”). Prudent lenders would do well to consider with counsel the best ways to avoid becoming entangled in such matters.
June 5, 2020
Just a few months ago, the idea of a virtual jury trial probably seemed inconceivable to most judges and lawyers. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering courthouses throughout the nation and most in-person proceedings suspended, many judges and attorneys are left wondering when and how civil jury trials will be able to safely resume. We suspect that most prospective jurors will not be enthralled with the idea of sitting shoulder to shoulder in a jury box while the outbreak is still raging. As litigators and the courts become comfortable with Zoom and other videoconferencing tools, it is apparent that we have the technology to hold virtual trials – the questions is should we?
June 3, 2020
As we previously reported, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government invoked special provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (the “DMA”) to implement a series of orders under the DMA (“Orders”) imposing a nationwide lockdown. The Indian national lockdown went into effect on March 25, 2020 and was extended several times, until May 31, 2020.
The initial lockdown Orders included strict directives for employers. The employment provisions of the orders (the “Employment Provisions”) prohibited employers from terminating any employees or contract labor during lockdown, except for disciplinary reasons. In addition, the Employment Provisions barred employers from reducing employees’ wages. The Employment Provisions also addressed specific issues that affected employers and employees during the lockdown, including (i) maintenance of the workforce, (ii) prohibition against forced use of paid leave or taking of unpaid leave, (iii) permissibility of medical checks, and (iv) sick time for employees with COVID-19.
June 3, 2020
Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2020 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Connecticut,” a Q&A guide to state law on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers, co-authored by our colleagues David S. Poppick and Carol J. Faherty, attorneys in Epstein Becker Green’s Stamford office.
Click here to download the full Q&A in PDF format.
June 3, 2020
In a previous post, we discussed the appropriate use of the Provider Relief Funds authorized and appropriated by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“Relief Fund”) for healthcare providers and facilities. Within that post, we specifically discussed the limitation imposed on use of the Relief Funds for payment of salaries, a topic of great interest to many recipients. Under the Terms and Conditions, recipients are prohibited from using the funds for salaries in excess of the Senior Executive Service Executive Level II amount – an annual salary of $197,300 – or $16,441 a month. We noted that, although the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) had not spoken to this requirement with respect to the Provider Relief Funds, HHS permits other HHS grant Recipients to pay individuals’ salaries in excess of the $197,300 limit with non-federal funds. Also, HHS’ federal contract regulations similarly limit use of federal contract funds for salary costs to the Executive Level II amount, but allow for amounts in excess of that limit to be paid with non-federal funds.
June 2, 2020
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing
USCIS has announced here that beginning the month of June 2020, it will again start accepting certain petitions for premium processing. Premium processing was indefinitely suspended as of March 20, 2020, due to the Covid-19.
Premium processing allows (1) nonimmigrant petitions filed on Form I-129 that are reserved for H-1B, L-1A/B, O-1, and TN work authorization and (2) immigrant petitions filed by employers on behalf of foreign national employees on Form I-140 to be adjudicated within fifteen calendar days of USCIS receipt of the premium processing application request. The application is filed on Form I-907 and requires payment of the $1,440 USCIS filing fee.
June 1, 2020
The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) provided forgivable loans to assist small businesses with expenses during the COVID-19 shutdown, seemingly creating a lifeline for many of these enterprises. As explained here, a borrower could obtain a loan equal to the lesser of $10 million or the sum of its average monthly payroll costs for 2.5 months, (reduced to the extent that any individual was paid more than $100,000 per year) plus the balance of any Economic Injury Disaster Loan received between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020. Like many federal programs, however, participation in the PPP program requires an extensive series of certifications that could expose borrowers to liability under the under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), a Civil War era statute, that the government has continued to use to combat both government contract and health care fraud. Borrowers must, therefore, remain mindful of the key aspects of the FCA as they use PPP funds and as they apply for loan forgiveness.
May 29, 2020
After more than three years of litigation and two rounds of extensive discovery, in Calendar Research LLC v. StubHub, Inc., et al., 2:17-cv-04062-SVW-SS, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed almost all the remaining claims against StubHub and the other defendants. In doing so, the Court confirmed that in California, specific identifiable trade secrets are required and general industry knowledge and “know how” is insufficient for trade secret protection.