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U.S. Businesses Challenge Government Orders in Attempt to Continue Operations

Shelter-in-place and social distancing have become the new normal as we try to combat the spread of the coronavirus-19/COVID-19 in the U.S.  Many state governments have implemented stay-home or shelter-in-place orders to try to “flatten the curve” and protect citizens’ safety.

But as time passes, businesses are also concerned.  Under many such executive orders, a business that is not deemed “essential” or “life-sustaining” may be required to stop in-person operations, and we’re starting to see an uptick in local enforcement, including cease and desist letters and revocation of occupancy permits.   

Some shuttered businesses have started to bring their claims to court.  Business plaintiffs have filed cases in at least 8 states to date, challenging government action on constitutional grounds. **

Below is a summary of the prominent claims and factual allegations featured in these complaints.  Please note that because these cases were filed just in this past two weeks, the ultimate viability of

Back to Work: Governor Gavin Newsom Issues Guidance for Reopening California

California Governor Gavin Newsom was the first U.S. governor to impose a statewide stay at home order. He has now reported that his aggressive action appears to have flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases in the state, and many are now looking to Newsom for guidance on easing restrictions and getting people back to work.

Last week Newsom laid out a framework for lifting California’s stay at home order. He said the state must first be able to:

  • Closely monitor and track potential cases of COVID-19,
  • Prevent infection of high-risk people,
  • Increase surge capacity at hospitals,
  • Provide enough personal protective equipment to protect first responders,
  • Develop therapeutics to help treat patients,
  • Ensure physical distance at schools, businesses and child care facilities, and
  • Develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if the governor modifies the stay at home order and the virus surges.

Newsom has

Nationwide Implications of CDC and NJ Updated Workplace Requirements

Recent state and federal developments are a reminder that the COVID-19 landscape is continually changing and demonstrate that businesses must remain alert and nimble as they address rapidly evolving mandates from both the federal and state sectors in the COVID-19 environment. Specifically, in the last week: (1) the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) issued interim guidance1 for critical infrastructure workers; and (2) an April 8, 2020 the Governor of New Jersey signed a new Executive Order2 expanding the state’s Stay-at-Home restrictions.

Businesses that continue to operate under Stay-at-Home orders can expect evolving requirements intended to keep workplaces safe. The New Jersey order is an example of just one state with recent changes; however, it is not alone. Many states are modifying their orders or issuing new guidance as the nation continues to learn more about COVID-19 and as the business community tries to understand and adjust to the orders. One of the

Recommended Steps for Addressing the Pause Order

Effective March 21, 2020, at 5 pm, Illinois joined six other States in implementing a Stay at Home Order to address the COVID-19 outbreak. The Order states that all businesses that are not Essential Businesses and Operations must cease all activities except for Minimum Basic Operations. This alert provides

Recommendations on immediate steps your business can take to operate under the Order and still protect public health.

  • Determine whether some or all business operations qualify as Essential Businesses and Operations. If so, document the basis for the exemption and make sure that you inform your employees that your business will stay open. See summary of the Essential Business and Operation below.
  • If you do not fall within Essential Businesses and Operations, make sure that your plan to keep your business going is consistent with Minimum Basic Operations: (A) it is limited to necessary activity to maintain inventory, preserve physical condition of facilities and

Bay Area COVID-19 Shelter In Place Orders – Essential Information, and Suggested Next Steps for Impacted Businesses

On March 16, 2020, seven Bay Area counties issued shelter in place orders that run from midnight on March 17th through April 7th, with the possibility that the period will be extended or shortened as the situation develops. This alert provides guidance on movement that is still allowed under the order and recommendations on immediate steps your business can take:

What movement do the orders still allow?

While everyone in the seven counties1 is “ordered to shelter at their place of residence,” people can leave their residences for:

  • Essential Activities – These include shopping for food, medical supplies, and household supplies; seeking medical care; engaging in outdoor activities including walking, hiking, or running; performing work at an Essential Business, or caring for family members or pets in another household.
  • Work performing Essential Government Functions – Each government agency will determine what functions are essential, and identify appropriate employees and

Protecting Your Company, Your Employees and Your Customers in the Era of Coronavirus

COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, is disrupting world economies, day-to-day business operations, and even everyday life.  We are watching these developments closely and are analyzing the legal implications involving various sectors, including employers, manufacturers, retailers and property owners/operators.  Among other issues, we are specifically focusing on what, if any, legal duties might exist with respect to warnings as well as developments surrounding any standard of care.  Those issues have been litigated in the context of prior contagion events (e.g. Zika and Legionnaire’s disease), and may become the focus of new cases related to COVID-19.

In the meantime, litigation involving this outbreak has already begun.  A case alleging false and deceptive advertising as well as misrepresentation with regard to a product’s ability to fight the virus has been filed.  Additionally, cruise ship passengers have filed a lawsuit regarding how a ship handled its response to the virus.

If you have any questions

PFAS 101

March 11, 2020

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PFAS 101

March 11, 2020

Authored by: John Kindschuh and Tom Lee

In a world filled with acronyms, PFAS has started emerging as a topic of conversation, regulation, and litigation.  Enforcement actions and lawsuits have so far mostly focused on the companies that have manufactured two of the most widely used, and the most heavily regulated, PFAS compounds – PFOA and PFOS – but the scope of regulation and litigation is expanding further into this large family of compounds.

What are PFAS Chemicals?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) are a family of over 5,000 man-made fluorinated chemicals some of which have been used since the 1940’s across a variety of industries as part of manufacturing processes, and as components of consumer products.

PFAS are defined by having elemental bonds of fluorine and carbon, rendering them pervasive and persistent.  Significantly, this means that PFAS compounds do not break down easily either in the environment or in living organisms.

PFAS chemicals can repel both

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