LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW: Love in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a fertile source of new litigation: challenges to mask mandates, challenges to vaccine mandates, construction of child custody visitation agreements in light of COVID-19, assertion of the defense of impossibility in response to attempted enforcement of a contract, etc. Recently, a federal district court in Virginia addressed whether an individual…

ESTATE PLANNING: Pet Trusts

According to a treatise on revocable trusts, “[t]he number of individuals who own animals is staggering. As many as 56.7 million households in the United States owns dogs and 45.3 million own cats.”George M. Turner, Dr. Gerry W. Beyer & James M. Kosakow, 2 Revocable Trusts 5th § 78: 1 (Westlaw current through November 2020…

BUSINESS LAW: Beneficiaries – Supreme Court Rebuffs Another Challenge to the ACA

In a closely watched case, California v. Texas, 141 S. Ct. 2104 (2021), the Supreme Court recently turned back a third challenge to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Act”), the extensive health-care reform law enacted in 2010 that includes, among other things, a requirement for all individuals (known as the…

GIFTS: Beneficiaries – Disqualification to Take – Ingratitude

It is well-settled that, in most states, completed inter vivos gifts are deemed irrevocable, even in circumstances where the donor’s relationship with the donee later deteriorates or the purpose of the gift dissipates. “Many gifts are made for reasons that sour with the passage of time. Unfortunately, gift law does not allow a donor to…

CONTRACTS AND COVID: Emergency Orders and Delayed/Excused Action

With the spread of COVID-19, most jurisdictions have declared a state of emergency and/or issued executive orders curtailing daily life.  See, e.g., Cal. Exec. Order N-33-20 (Californians must “stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”); D.C. Mayor’s Order 2020-054 (District…

INSURANCE | Business Interruption – COVID-19 Claims

During this pandemic, many business owners believed that valuable coverage they had purchased for the businesses would provide a source of some financial security. Prudent business entities purchased business interruption coverage to “indemnify the insured against losses arising from the inability to continue the normal operation and functions of the busines, industry, or other commercial…

Contract Excuses and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden and worldwide shuttering of large and small businesses may be felt for a long time. One of the resulting issues is the applicability of a force majeure clause, or common law impossibility, frustration of purpose or commercial impracticability excuses for contract performance and obligations. Force…

Release of Trustee from Liability for Retaining an Investment

Trusts It is not uncommon for trustees of trusts to encounter beneficiaries that pressure them into retaining a particular asset or investment even though the retention thereof might pose an unreasonable risk with respect to the performance of the overall portfolio and subject the trustee to potential liability to the beneficiaries for breach of the…

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