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COVID-19

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Proactively Safeguarding Your Business from Potential Allegations of Price Gouging in the U.S.

As shelter-in-place orders began to sweep across the United States, many store shelves emptied and, in some instances, prices for certain products skyrocketed, including products that are essential to everyday living and staying safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result, one of the many hot-button business, and corresponding legal, issues to arise out of the COVID-19 crisis is price gouging. Price gouging occurs when sellers raise their prices for goods and services to take advantage of the consequent increased demand for those items, often during emergencies. Price gouging has ensued following large scale natural disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, where sellers have drastically elevated prices for basic necessities, safety equipment and medical supplies that were in high demand following those catastrophic events. As many consumers, businesses and state attorneys general are aware, allegations of price gouging for those same items have been prevalent in the midst 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

If I Learn that a Person with Covid-19 Visited my Premises and I want to Provide a Warning to Invitees, What Should it Say?

March 19, 2020

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Each situation is unique and we can help you craft a warning that fits your individual factual scenario.  But here are a few questions to consider first.

  • Prior to learning about the infected person’s presence at your premises, what were you doing to limit the spread of the virus?
  • What parts of the premises were visited by the infected person and how long was he or she at the premises (do you know what he or she touched, if anything)?
  • How soon after the infected person visited the premises did you discover they were positive for COVID-19?
  • What steps did you take upon learning of this information and when did you take these steps?

With this information, you can draft a warning that addresses these and other salient points.  Here is a hypothetical example.

  • You have been implementing the CDC and local guidance for businesses as it evolves.

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

Six Steps You Can Take to Mitigate Risks and Liability

March 16, 2020

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We are posting a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions and practical advice to consider in the era of COVID-19. These posts are not intended to cover all employee issues or healthcare settings recommendations, but rather are focused on dealing with premises liability involving invitees. Other resources for handling employees include: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/l; https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html. Please review other posts related to COVID-19 published on this blog for additional information. If you have questions specific to your company’s individualized situation, contact Susan Brice (susan.brice@bclplaw.com) or Tom Lee (tom.lee@bclplaw.com). For any employment related questions, please contact the BCLP employment lawyer with whom you work or Lily Kurland (lily.kurland@bclplaw.com), who can provide you with information about guidelines and protocols they have developed to assist employers with these issues.

Six Steps You Can Take to Mitigate Risks and Liability:

1. Follow the Guidelines: Follow CDC

What Are the Primary Premises Liability Risks Posed by COVID-19?

March 16, 2020

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We are posting a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions and practical advice to consider in the era of COVID-19. These posts are not intended to cover all employee issues or healthcare settings recommendations, but rather are focused on dealing with premises liability involving invitees. Other resources for handling employees include: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/l; https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html. Please review other posts related to COVID-19 published on this blog for additional information. If you have questions specific to your company’s individualized situation, contact Susan Brice (susan.brice@bclplaw.com) or Tom Lee (tom.lee@bclplaw.com). For any employment related questions, please contact the BCLP employment lawyer with whom you work or Lily Kurland (lily.kurland@bclplaw.com), who can provide you with information about guidelines and protocols they have developed to assist employers with these issues.

What Are the Primary Premises Liability Risks Posed by COVID-19?

Outside of cruise lines, we have yet to

What Do I Do if a Person Suspected or Confirmed to Have COVID-19 Has Been at My Facility?

We are posting a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions and practical advice to consider in the era of COVID-19. These posts are not intended to cover all employee issues or healthcare settings recommendations, but rather are focused on dealing with premises liability involving invitees. Other resources for handling employees include: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/l; https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html. Please review other posts related to COVID-19 published on this blog for additional information. If you have questions specific to your company’s individualized situation, contact Susan Brice (susan.brice@bclplaw.com) or Tom Lee (tom.lee@bclplaw.com). For any employment related questions, please contact the BCLP employment lawyer with whom you work or Lily Kurland (lily.kurland@bclplaw.com), who can provide you with information about guidelines and protocols they have developed to assist employers with these issues.

What Do I Do if a Person Suspected or Confirmed to Have COVID-19 Has Been at My Facility?

If

What Steps Should I take at My Premises to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?

March 13, 2020

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We are posting a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions and practical advice to consider in the era of COVID-19. These posts are not intended to cover all employee issues or healthcare settings recommendations, but rather are focused on dealing with premises liability involving invitees. Other resources for handling employees include: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/l; https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html. Please review other posts related to COVID-19 published on this blog for additional information. If you have questions specific to your company’s individualized situation, contact Susan Brice (susan.brice@bclplaw.com) or Tom Lee (tom.lee@bclplaw.com). For any employment related questions, please contact the BCLP employment lawyer with whom you work or Lily Kurland (lily.kurland@bclplaw.com), who can provide you with information about guidelines and protocols they have developed to assist employers with these issues.

What Steps Should I take at My Premises to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?

The CDC has set forth practices for businesses

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

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