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…

Estate Planning: Lifetime Gifts of Closely Held Business Stock to Family Members

“Rather than disposing of stock in a closely held business (by sale or corporate reorganization) at retirement the retiree may decide to transfer all or a portion of the stock by gifts to various family members.” Streng & Davis, Tax Planning for Retirement 7.05[1] (Thomson Reuters Tax and Accounting 2018). Three important objectives can be…

Disability Discrimination in Employment: Health Care Employer Could Condition Employment on Health Screening and Vaccination

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). This prohibition against discrimination can apply to…

Employment: Arbitration – ‘Gateway Issues’

When an arbitration agreement is in effect, who decides whether an employment dispute, or any dispute for that matter, is arbitrable? The Supreme Court recently released a pair of decisions that address this issue under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc.,_ S. Ct._, 202 L. Ed. 2d…

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