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The CARES Act provides $350 billion for small business Paycheck Protection Loans and an additional $10 billion for the existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Colleagues David Miller and Zachary Bailey describe the new Paycheck Protection Loan Program and the existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program below. These are complex programs, with regulations still being developed by the Small Business Administration.

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Due to the spread of COVID-19, companies are facing unique challenges to their businesses, including supply chain interruptions, employee and customer safety concerns and government regulations, restrictions and shutdowns. In “COVID-19: Understanding Business Interruption Insurance and Wide-Impact Catastrophes,” colleagues Joseph D. JeanEric M. GoldMatthew F. PutortiJanine StaniszTamara D. Bruno and Brendan Hogan discuss how policyholders can expect insurers to put forth strong objections to many of their claims in an effort to reduce the liability exposure.

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The SEC has provided conditional regulatory relief regarding filing deadlines and has issued guidance regarding annual meetings to assist public companies impacted by COVID-19. In “COVID-19: Q&A for Public Companies,” colleagues Davina K. KaileGabriella A. LombardiChristina F. Pearson and Stanton D. Wong addresses some of the most frequently asked questions of public companies on how to navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19.

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As we kick off the new decade, we wanted to share the top five most-read articles of 2019 from Gravel2Gavel. The most-read blog posts covered 2019 real estate and construction industry trends ranging from affordable housing to the new State Bill 35 (SB 35) to sustainability in modern real estate. Our posts provided deep insight and detailed case studies, and summarized hot topics that addressed the legal implications and exciting disruptions that are affecting the industry. We hope you enjoy the roundup:

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Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_Texas-300x300On May 3, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court issued a significant administrative law ruling in the case of Mosely v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The court held, unsurprisingly, that under the Texas Administrative Procedure Act (Texas APA), an appellant seeking review of an administrative action must first file a petition for rehearing with the Administrative Law Judge, “unless another statute plainly provides otherwise.” However, when the agency, as here, provided seriously incorrect information to the appellant about the proper procedures to follow to seek review of an adverse order, that action can, “under some circumstances,” violate the appellant’s constitutional right to due process.

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Whenever a claim is made that a state law has  been prempted by an analogous federal law, the courts will rigorously test the strength of the claim.  As as example, in a preemption case decided on September 15, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Association des Éleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Québec, et al., v. Becerra, the Ninth Circuit reversed the holding of the District Court that California’s statutory ban against the sale of products made from force-fed birds such as foie gras was preempted by the provisions of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

As described, the practice of force-feeding these birds to enlarge their livers is especially brutal. The California Assembly found that the process is “so hard on the birds that they would die from the pathological damage it inflicts if they weren’t slaughtered first.” Nevertheless, the District Court held that California statutory ban imposes an “ingredient requirement,” which was the sole province of the federal law.

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The recent Spanish Peaks decision from the Ninth Circuit (covering Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) deepens the split in case law on the ability to strip off leases in a landlord/borrower bankruptcy. This decision, which joins the Qualitech decision from the Seventh Circuit (covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin), may significantly impact and complicate sales in bankruptcy of real property for lenders and non-debtor tenants alike.

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Seeking regulatory relief from even an exotic statute like the the Commodity Exchange Act requires adherence to the relevant provisions of the law. Failure to comply with, for example, a provision governing timely pursuing a claim may be cause for denial of relief even for otherwise meritorious claims.

On May 25, a matter that was argued on May 18, was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in The Conway Family Trust v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This is another statute of limitations case involving on this occasion the Commodity Exchange Act. The Court of Appeals, which affirmed the CFTC’s ruling, and in doing so also held that the Trust failed to establish that the two-year statute of limitations should be equitably tolled.

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On May 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a significant ruling in Kahl v. Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. The Court of Appeals addresses (i) whether Yorie Von Kahl is a public figure for First Amendment purposes; and (ii) if so, whether he has produced sufficient evidence of actual malice by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA) to overcome BNA’s motion for summary judgment.

Some of these issues may play a role in a defamation lawsuit that is now before the local District of Columbia courts, Michael Mann v. Competitive Enterprise Institute, which concerns the hotly debated topic of climate change and global warming. On December 22, 2016, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that a jury could reasonable conclude that articles published in the National Review magazine “were false, defamatory and published with actual malice.”

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