The Road to Recovery
The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team is advising clients on all aspects of the legal issues and implications of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic including contractual, employment, insurance and healthcare issues. Our attorneys are fielding inquiries and providing advice in a wide range of areas, including human resources, travel and transportation, immigration and border entry, hospital and healthcare operations, medical and pharmaceutical supply, FDA, food handling and preparation, OSHA, ADA compliance, data privacy, HIPAA, environmental and EPA, international transactions, shipping, supply chain and logistics, financial reporting, insurance liability, real estate issues, including landlord and tenant matters, and all types of contracts and quasi-contracts. Duane Morris has established a blog dedicated to COVID-19 issues and is distributing Alerts and sharing information via webinars and media interviews.
Contractual and quasi-contractual obligations are thrown into upheaval in the extreme circumstances of a pandemic. An unexpected and/or insurmountable obstacle in any part of a supply chain can have a devastating impact on a business’ ability to deliver on its promises. Well-written contracts can, at least, minimize problems. Poorly written contracts can expose businesses to levels of liability so severe that their very survival might be at stake. Duane Morris attorneys advise clients before, during and after crises to minimize risk, business disruption and disputes.
Employers are on the front lines of any outbreak, immediately faced with making decisions to simultaneously protect their workforce and their business while still delivering what their customers expect and deserve. Our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration lawyers advise clients on all aspects of employer planning, sick leave and other policies, operations, liability, domestic and international travel and entry, scheduling changes, shutdowns and quarantines.
Nothing is more important than providing care to the sick and preventing illness in others, but in times of an expanding outbreak, the healthcare system’s ability to treat patients can be stretched beyond its limits. At the same time, hospitals and governments must quickly pivot to minimize a disease’s impact on their communities. The lack of space, staff and essential supplies are just some of the existential threats that healthcare providers face. Duane Morris attorneys have been advising on preparations in the months prior to the pandemic reaching the United States and continue to counsel hospitals, health systems and others daily as the situation rapidly evolves.
Colleges, universities, and K-12 schools are determining how to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions must protect employees, students, residents and the community at large while delivering education in a way that complies with quickly changing federal, state and accreditor regulations. Attorney in Duane Morris' education industry team are poised to aid these institutions on transitioning to a temporary distance education model based on guidelines set by the Department of Education and various regulatory bodies, and also other fronts.
The level of claims and losses coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic may be unprecedented. From the inability to fulfill contractual obligations to cancellations and closures for the sake of public health, the financial impact―and the insurance industry’s role within that―will be interpreted and contested for years to come. Specific terms, conditions and provisions in policies are immeasurably consequential. We have many lawyers who have dedicated their careers to insurance coverage and the disputes that can follow, advising clients attempting to prepare for the unforeseen and managing the aftermath of the unforeseeable in the U.S., UK and around the world.
Industry Specific Guidance
Duane Morris’ industry-focused teams have been monitoring the pandemic’s impact in their area and sharing information and providing guidance tailored to the specific needs and concerns of business in those industries, including:
In the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak, multiple regulatory agencies and governing bodies have revised requirements, both temporarily and permanently, in attempts to help the public and minimize adverse situations that will inevitably develop. This will continue to evolve at both the federal and state level. The FDA, USTR, Federal Reserve, FDIC, CFPB, OCC, SEC, CPSC, U.S. Department of Education and others have made changes or announcements that can impact whether businesses are in compliance or are staying compliant. Duane Morris attorneys know the specifics of these changes and how these regulatory bodies operate, and counsel clients on how to prioritize their next steps in this unfolding situation.
This tax season is like no other, with IRS, state governments and taxing entities around the world making sweeping changes to deadlines and requirements. Duane Morris attorneys focusing on international, federal, state and local tax issues are counseling clients on what they need to do now and going forward, while the CPAs and other professionals in Duane Morris’ Tax Accounting Group are providing tax preparation, planning and consulting services in this unique and rapidly changing environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely spawn an outbreak of litigation, as the disease impacts and disrupts nearly every aspect of the economy. New disputes will emerge from a wide spectrum of areas, including products liability, mass and toxic torts, insurance coverage, employment, white-collar, securities law, intellectual property, commercial contracts and class actions. The attorneys in Duane Morris’ Trial Practice Group have the industry-specific litigation experience needed to help clients pursuing or facing litigation in the aftermath of COVID-19. We are exceptionally well-suited to large-scale litigation and national coordinating counsel positions having taken the lead in these roles in the past.
For More Information
For more information, contact a member of the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney at the firm with whom you are in regular contact.
The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team has compiled the following links to relevant information regarding state, national, and foreign responses to the COVID-19 crisis. If you have specific questions about the impact of government actions or about a jurisdiction that is not addressed, please contact a member of the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney at the firm with whom you are in regular contact.
- CARES Act - On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law. The CARES Act will economic relief to individuals and provide federal agencies with nearly $100 billion to address the supply chain breakdowns in medical products needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (Enacted March 27, 2020)
Historic CARES Act Puts $2 Trillion Toward COVID-19 Response Efforts (Duane Morris Alert)
- H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Signed by President, March 18, 2020) - This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. Read the Duane Morris Alert about this bill.
- Tax Credit for Paid Sick and Family Leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Passed House March 14, 2020, pending in Senate, H.R. 6201) - This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
- H.R. 6139 - COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020 (Introduced in House, March 9, 2020) - This bill requires the Department of Labor to promulgate both an emergency temporary occupational safety or health standard and a permanent standard to protect certain employees from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (known as coronavirus or COVID-19). These standards apply to health care sector employees and other employees identified as having an elevated risk for exposure.
- H.R.6074 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (Enacted March 6, 2020) - This bill provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
- H.R.1140 - Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act of 2020 (Passed House, pending in Senate, March 5, 2020) -This bill modifies the workplace rights, protections, and benefits applicable to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel.
- Presidential Memorandum, Providing Federal Support for Governors' Use of the National Guard To Respond to COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)
- Executive Order 13910, Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)
- President’s Memorandum for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Expanding State-Approved Diagnostic Tests (March 18, 2020)
- Making General Use Respirators Available, President’s Memorandum for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor (March 16, 2020)
- Executive Order on Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of Covid-19 (March 18, 2020)
- Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Presidential Proclamation 9996, March 14, 2020)
- Executive Proclamation Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak (Presidential Proclamation 9994, March 13, 2020)
- USDA, Notification of Guarantee Loan Payment Deferrals for Business and Industry Loan Guarantees, Rural Energy for America Program Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, and Water and Waste Loan Guarantees (March 31, 2020)
- Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve System, Interim Final Rule - Regulatory Capital Rule: Revised Transition of the Current Expected Credit Losses Methodology for Allowances in Response to COVID-19 (March 31, 2020)
- SEC, Temporary Final Rule - Relief for Form ID Filers and Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A Issuers Related to COVID-19 (March 31, 2020)
- HHS, Notice of Designation of Scarce Materials or Threatened Materials Subject to COVID-19 Hoarding Prevention Measures (March 30, 2020, effective March 25, 2020)
- SEC, Notice of Order Under Section 206a of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Granting Exemptions From Specified Provisions of the Investment Advisers Act and Certain Rules Thereunder (March 30, 2020)
- SEC, Notice of Order Under Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Modifying Exemptions From the Reporting and Proxy Delivery Requirements for Public Companies (March 30, 2020)
- SEC, Notice of Order Under Section 6(C) and Section 38(A) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 Granting Exemptions From Specified Provisions of the Investment Company Act and Certain Rules Thereunder; Commission Statement Regarding Prospectus Delivery (March 30, 2020)
- Department of Commerce, Temporary Rule - Emergency Measures To Address Fishery Observer Coverage During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (March 27, 2020)
- CDC and HHS, Notice - Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009: Update to the List of Potentially Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases to Which Emergency Response Employees May Be Exposed To Include COVID-19, the Disease Caused by SARS-CoV-2 (March 27, 2020)
- SEC, Notice - Investment Company Act of 1940; Order Under Sections 6(c), 12(d)(1)(J), 17(b), 17(d) and 38(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Rule 17d-1 Thereunder Granting Exemptions From Specified Provisions of the Investment Company Act and Certain Rules Thereunder (March 27, 2020)
- Department of Defense, Notice regarding Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records, for the purpose of more clearly covering records that may be maintained in respone to public health and safety events such as COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)
- CDC and HHS, Notice of Order Under Sections 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service Act Suspending Introduction of Certain Persons From Countries Where a Communicable Disease Exists (March 26, 2020)
- FDA and HHS, Temporary Policy Regarding Preventive Controls and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs Food Supplier Verification Onsite Audit Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Guidance for Industry; Availability (March 26, 2020)
- Federal Reserve System Interim Final Rule, Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity, Long-Term Debt, and Clean Holding Company Requirements for Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies and Intermediate Holding Companies of Systemically Important Foreign Banking Organizations: Eligible Retained Income (March 26, 2020)
- Department of the Treasury and OCC, Order of Temporary Extension of Maturity Limits for Short-Term Investment Funds (March 25, 2020)
- Department of the Treasury and OCC, Interim Final Rule Revising OCC’s Short-Term Investment Fund Rule (March 25, 2020)
- Department of Transportation and FAA, Notice of Orders Limiting Operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport; High Density Traffic Airports Rule at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (March 25, 2020)
- CDC and HHS, Interim Final Rule, Control of Communicable Diseases; Foreign Quarantine: Suspension of Introduction of Persons Into United States From Designated Foreign Countries or Places for Public Health Purposes (March 24, 2020)
- CDC and HHS, Notice of No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation (March 24, 2020)
- HHS, Order Suspending Introduction of Persons From a Country Where a Communicable Disease Exists (March 24, 2020)
- Department of Homeland Security, Notification of Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service Between the United States and Mexico (March 24, 2020)
- Department of Homeland Security, Notification of Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service Between the United States and Canada (March 24, 2020)
- Federal Reserve System Final Rule, Regulation D: Reserve Requirements of Depository Institutions – revises the rate of interest paid on balances maintained to satisfy reserve balance requirements and paid on excess balanced maintained at Federal Reserve Banks by or on behalf of eligible institutions. (March 24, 2020)
- HHS Notice, Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency; Immediately in Effect Guidance for Industry; Availability (March 23, 2020)
- Department of the Treasury Interim Final Rule, Regulatory Capital Rule: Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (March 23, 2020)
- Department of the Treasury Interim Final Rule, Regulatory Capital Rule: Eligible Retained Income (March 20, 2020)
- Department of Homeland Security, Notification of Arrival Restrictions Applicable to Flights Carrying Persons Who Have Recently Traveled From or Were Otherwise Present Within the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland (March 19, 2020)
- SEC Notice, Self-Regulatory Organizations; Cboe Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 5.24 (March 26, 2020)
- SEC Notice, Investment Company Act of 1940; Order Under Section 6(C) and Section 38(A) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 Granting Exemptions From Specified Provisions of the Investment Company Act and Certain Rules Thereunder; Commission Statement Regarding Prospectus Delivery (March 19, 2020)
- HUD Authorizes FHA to Implement Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium (March 18, 2020)
- U.S. International Trade Commission: Section 337 Investigations; Notice of Commission Determination To Postpone All In-Person Section 337 Hearings Scheduled To Take Place Within the Next 60 Days (March 18, 2020)
- FHFA Suspends Foreclosures and Evictions for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages (March 18, 2020)
- HHS Declaration Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19 (HHS, March 17, 2020, 85 FR 15198) - The Secretary is issuing this Declaration pursuant to section 319F-3 of the Public Health Service Act to provide liability immunity for activities related to medical countermeasures against COVID-19. Read the Duane Morris Alert about the Declaration.
- Order Under Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Granting Exemptions From Specified Provisions of the Exchange Act and Certain Rules Thereunder (SEC Notice, March 9, 2020, 85 FR 13680)
- FDA Policy for Diagnostics Testing in Laboratories Certified To Perform High Complexity Testing Under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Prior to Emergency Use Authorization for Coronavirus Disease-2019 During the Public Health Emergency; Immediately in Effect Guidance for Clinical Laboratories and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Availability (March 6, 2020, 85 FR 13169) - This guidance describes a policy regarding laboratories using tests they develop and validate before FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their test in order to achieve more rapid testing capacity in the United States. The guidance document is immediately in effect, but it remains subject to comment in accordance with the Agency's good guidance practices.
- The National Conference of State Legislatures compiles a regularly updated list of the most recent state actions re: COVID-19.
Contact: Susan A. Laws
Royal Decree 11 (Spanish)
Contact: Priyank Srivastava
Contact: Luis Duhart
Contact: Caroline Mollica
Contact: Priyank Srivastava
Contact: Caroline Mollica
Contact: Daniel Soo
Contact: Tina Kao
Contact: Luis Duhart
Contact: Giles T. Cooper
Cannabis 304: Investing in Cannabis in the COVID-19 Era
Duane Morris attorneys and industry professioals discuss the state of the cannabis market and alternative funding sources for industry participants that have been unable to secure additional funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and Main Street Lending Program, despite being designated essential businesses.
Doing Deals in the Land of OZ: Deals in Process – Emerging from the COVID-19 Shutdown
On December 19, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued final regulations implementing the Opportunity Zones (OZ) tax incentive, with updated guidance in June 2020 that extended the investment period and allowed greater flexibility. The final regulations provide helpful clarity for Opportunity Funds and eligible Qualified Opportunity Zone businesses in determining qualification and applying specific rules for their real estate and business investments in OZs. Even in the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, deals have moved forward and even closed ‒ with some expected to make quick progress as local lockdowns are relaxed. Tune in to hear tales from the frontline. Please visit the event page for more information.
Doing Deals in the COVID-19 Era Webinar Series
With the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, businesses have taken dramatic measures to restrict or eliminate in-person meetings and gatherings. But what happens when transactions still need to close according to schedule? Learn about the necessary documents that need to be signed and notarized in this new era of social distancing and working remotely. Please visit the event page for more information.
COVID-19 Screenings: Employment, Healthcare and Regulatory Perspectives
As states coordinate the reopening of the country, employers are planning how to respond to requirements and restrictions in order to resume business activities. Among many factors, this includes COVID-19 screenings, which present a wide range of implications. This webinar discusses the COVID-19 screening process from different legal perspectives. Please visit the event page for more information.
Doing Deals in the Land of OZ: How Deals Are Going - Lending and Construction Loans in the COVID-19 Era
On December 19, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued final regulations implementing the Opportunity Zones (OZ) tax incentive. The final regulations provide helpful clarity for Opportunity Funds and eligible Qualified Opportunity Zone businesses in determining qualification and applying specific rules for their real estate and business investments in OZs. OZ funds with capital to deploy have both opportunities and questions—especially the latter, now that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way business is done. Please visit the event page for more information.
Improving the Prognosis: Addressing COVID-19 Induced Stress at Your Institution
Governing boards, leadership and general counsel of institutions of higher education have fiduciary and legal obligations to assess threats and safeguard the long-term health of the educational institutions they serve. The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century event, creating unprecedented financial and operational challenges that have shaken even the healthiest institutions to their cores. This webinar assists institutional leadership in assessing the current situation, developing a path forward, identifying and overcoming challenges, and increasing the chances for success.
Cannabis 303: Civil Litigation and COVID-19 Implications for the Cannabis Industry: An Unavoidable Consequence of a Maturing U.S. Cannabis Market
The maturing cannabis industry mirrors other U.S. industries in many ways including, with increasing frequency, the use of civil litigation to resolve disputes and reward injured parties. However, given the cannabis regulatory structure, cannabis-focused civil litigation raises unique issues. This webinar highlights the growing number and various types of civil litigation matters that are being filed in the cannabis industry, including CBD-related products liability and consumer fraud cases, performance-related securities litigation, operator partnership disputes, breach of commercial contracts such as supply agreements, trademark infringement actions and employment litigation matters. In addition, given that commencing and resolving commercial litigation is a financial decision as much as anything, this webinar also covers the heightened stakes for cannabis businesses in light of the economic impact of COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Is Affecting Life Sciences and Medical Technologies
Duane Morris partners discuss how the life sciences and medical technologies industry is responding and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include: FDA’s Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for devices and diagnostics testing policies; Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) immunity from liability; implications on intellectual property, such as patent strategy, in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals; and license and collaboration agreements in the wake of COVID-19.
Cannabis 302: The Impact of COVID-19 on the California Cannabis Market
A discussion on how California cannabis companies are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic by way of operational changes, such as increasing curbside and home delivery and seeking alternative sources of revenue, while responding to lease issues in relation to various eviction moratoriums and other matters.
Duane Morris’ COVID-19 Strategy Team established the Meals for Healthcare Heroes initiative to thank healthcare workers across the country. Funded by donations from Duane Morris attorneys and staff, the program provides meals to healthcare workers and supports local restaurants.