Wednesday, April 8, 2020
How states and employers can use work sharing to avoid more layoffs
America’s unemployment system has a little-known provision that would avert more layoffs: work sharing. The principle is simple. Rather than laying off a certain number of employees to decrease payroll, companies can reduce hours across their entire workforce. Employees are eligible to collect unemployment for the hours they no longer work. This arrangement benefits both the companies (they can decrease payroll, maintain some of their workforce, and improve morale) and employees (who can keep their jobs and have unemployment help make up some of the financial loss from working reduced hours).
Above the Law
The Unforeseen COVID-19 Casualty
Governments and industry are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight the coronavirus pandemic, leveraging the power of big data to do everything from developing a vaccine to predicting future hotspots. The sacrifice necessary for these accomplishments is an individual’s right to privacy—a right that will be hard to regain.
California Judicial Council adopts new rules during COVID-19 pandemic
The California Judicial Council approved eleven temporary emergency rules to ensure California courts can comply with state health directives without compromising due process rights. In addition to changes affecting criminal proceedings, the emergency rules also extend the statute of limitations governing civil actions and the timeframes for specified temporary restraining orders.
Estate of Walmart Employee Who Died From COVID-19 Sues for Wrongful Death
“The family of a Walmart Inc. employee in Illinois who died after contracting COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has filed a lawsuit accusing the retail giant of failing to adequately screen and protect workers.”
Passenger Sues United Airlines Over Refusal to Refund Airfare Despite U.S. Order
The suit, which is seeking class action status, accuses United Airlines Holdings Inc. of refusing to issue refunds for flights canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Will COVID-19 Disrupt Law School Admissions?
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing turmoil in the law school admissions process, with the cancellation of the April LSAT, declining applications, and concerns that the fall semester will start online causing headaches for law school administrators. On a positive note, more college seniors may consider law school as a preferable option to finding employment during a pandemic.
COVID-19 May Shape NY Business Interruption Insurance Law
Lawsuits over business interruption insurance coverage will fill courtrooms in the future across the country. Some policies contain provisions for coverage for property damage until the property can be restored. There is authority in New York supporting this coverage, “but no cases have extended this restoration period to the eradication of bacteria or viruses.” It is likely that insureds will try to extend this provision to cover viruses.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
DOL Guidance Tackles Coronavirus Unemployment Programs
New guidelines aim to help states by establishing road map for independent contractors and gig workers to apply for benefits.
The Era Of Video Mediation Is Here — Or Is It?
Many attorneys are hesitant to switch to video platforms for mediation, citing the loss of nonverbal cues only detectable in person.
Legal Talk Network
Federalism and the Coronavirus
Robert Tsai, a constitutional law professor at American University Washington College of Law, and Glenn Cohen, Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics at Harvard Law School, discuss federalism and states’ rights and the tension between the two caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 Legal Measures: An Addendum
In an addendum to an article published on March 30, 2020, the authors discuss New York’s Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, Public Health Law Article 30-D, which codified “limited immunity for health care professionals and facilities during the pendency of the emergency declaration in place in New York as of March 7, 2020.”
Pay Cuts, Layoffs, and More: How Law Firms Are Managing the Pandemic
How are specific law firms managing the economic fallout from COVID-19?
Insurers braced for claims from Covid-19 legal action
Insurers are bracing for the potential wave of class action lawsuits against corporations in response to their action or inaction regarding the pandemic. The first two of these shareholder suits were recently filed in the US against Norwegian Cruise Lines and the pharmaceutical company Inovio.
The National Law Review
Medicaid Program Response to COVID-19
“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and declaration of a Public Health Emergency (PHE) by the Secretary of Health and Human Services due to the Novel Coronavirus have each had a significant impact on the Medicaid program.”
Fraud in the Time of Covid-19
As investors start to take a closer look at company decisions, the likelihood that any undiscovered fraud becomes exposed grows significantly.
The South Bend Tribune
Details on coronavirus cases are often scant as health officials point to privacy laws
“Health experts say the coronavirus has now spread so far as to erase many benefits from releasing detailed information. But the varied approaches, especially at county and local levels, has resulted in an uneven patchwork of information that reveals the context of some cases but almost nothing about others.”
Facilities Closed During Coronavirus Crisis Pose New Risks, Allianz Cautions
Buildings closed due to the virus are at risk of incurring physical damage. Technological surveillance tools and physical building checks can help mitigate this risk.
Monday, April 6, 2020
Obamacare's health care protections face first true test in coronavirus crisis
The Affordable Care Act faces a simultaneous pandemic and recession. How well it will continue to function in preventing medical bankruptcies for Americans remains to be seen.
Federal-State Pandemic Training Focused on Flu, Not New Virus
The Crimson Contagion exercise held in the summer of 2019 highlighted both America’s unpreparedness for a pandemic and a flawed assumption that such a pandemic would be caused by influenza, rather than a novel virus like COVID-19.
EPA Chief Says Virus-Linked Looser Enforcement ‘Very Mild’
The EPA defends the guidance that relaxes enforcement rules, while critics are concerned that its open-ended natured makes to too broad.
Virus Poses Extra Obstacles for Attorneys With Tax Court Cases
The building closure, coupled with a lack of technological infrastructure, make it extremely difficult to continue practicing during the pandemic.
Who Should Doctors Save? Inside the Debate About How to Ration Coronavirus Care
How should the decisions to ration medical care in response to COVID-19 be framed in a country that already has unequal access to healthcare?
Above the Law
The Am Law 100 COVID-19 Furloughs Continue
Law firms continue to adjust to the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those hardest hit continue to be firm support staff.
Governor invoking long-dormant law in COVID-19 response
Enacted in 2003, the Public Health Emergency Response Act gives the governor wide-ranging authority in cases of public health emergencies, including the authority to isolate or quarantine individuals to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Critics have voiced concern over the governor overstepping, but the governor’s office maintains that this law was designed specifically for a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday, April 3, 2020
U.S. doctors on coronavirus frontline seek protection from malpractice suits
Doctors and nurses are concerned that they will open themselves up to liability when the pandemic forces them to perform tasks outside their specialty. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Michigan have raised the malpractice threshold from negligence to gross negligence, or an egregious deviation for the standard of care, in response. Medical professionals hope other states will follow suit.
Life-or-Death Hospital Decisions Come With Threat of Lawsuits
Doctors and nurses must follow clear, nondiscriminatory, written policies in triage decisions for hospitals to avoid costly, future lawsuits.
The Boston Herald
Insurance companies could collapse under COVID-19 losses, experts say
Insurance experts say that pending bills that ask the insurance industry to absorb business losses due to the pandemic could collapse the industry.
What if the Supreme Court strikes down the ACA during the COVID-19 pandemic?
“If the individual mandate penalty is eliminated, the constitutionality of the ACA becomes a complicated legal question. . . By contrast, the public health implications of overturning the law couldn’t be simpler: If millions of Americans lose their health insurance during the pandemic, the rate of coronavirus transmission could rise and the already heavy burden on hospitals and doctors could increase.” If the case proceeds on schedule, SCOTUS would issue its holding by June 2021.
Reuters: Banks Cite Liability Risks, May Not Participate in Coronavirus Lending Plan
Some of the nation’s largest lenders do not want to participate in the small-business rescue plan, citing the legal and financial risk associated with it.
This Insurance Would Have Helped in Coronavirus Crisis But Nobody Bought It
PathogenRX, developed with Munich Re and technology firm Metabiota, is the only policy that offers business interruption protection in cases of pandemic.
Jobless and benefit-less: What should COVID-19's economic victims do for health insurance?
Despite President Trump’s decision not to reopen the ACA’s open enrollment period, employees who recently lost their employer-provided insurance may still be eligible for coverage. Much depends on the state where the individual lives.
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear
Workers accuse hospitals of attempting to preserve their image by silencing employees; however, traditionally hospitals communicate through PR departments to help protect patient confidentiality.
Insurers Worry About D&O Claims Against Executives From Coronavirus
Misstatements by companies regarding the coronavirus may expose them to D&O lawsuits.
How can employers stop discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic?
Discrimination and xenophobia are byproducts of this pandemic that employers must combat. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance issued a guidance and the EEOC issued a statement to assist employers and protect employees from harassment.
Uninsured Americans could be facing nearly $75,000 in medical bills if hospitalized for coronavirus
While testing for COVID-19 is now free in the US, Fair Health, an independent nonprofit, estimates the cost of treating the disease for an uninsured American requiring hospitalization ranges from over $42,000 to nearly $75,000.
With strikes and a ‘sick out,’ some grocery and delivery workers take defiant stance: One-time bonuses, temporary pay hikes aren’t enough
Grocery and delivery workers demand protective gear, saying hazard pay increases and/or bonuses are not worth their lives.
The Kansas City Star
Privacy vs. public safety: How much should counties tell us about COVID-19 patients?
Kansas counties are inconsistent in how much information they release about positive patients, including where they frequented before diagnosis. Does their right to privacy outweigh public safety?