Labor and Employment Group member Matt Miklave presented the webinar "Legal Considerations for Reopening Nonprofits to Employees and the Public" on July 1, 2020 to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Pro Bono Partnership, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The program discussed the legal considerations nonprofits may face when reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt also addressed six important issues that nonprofits should address when it comes to implementing a return-to-work plan, including safety precautions, workplace protections, and proactive planning for a possible resurgence in late 2020 and early 2021.
Labor and Employment Group member, Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, and Education Industry Team Chair, Kate Dion, co-presented the webinar “COVID-19 and Returning to Campus: Liability Concerns for Educational Institutions” on June 30, 2020. The program addressed important topics that educational institutions, including universities and independent schools, should consider when deciding how to open their campuses, including recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control as well as state and local governments.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group member Denis O'Malley moderated a panel discussion during the Connecticut Bar Association's webinar, "Media Relations for Lawyers" on June 29, 2020. The presentation covered attorneys' ethical obligations to their clients and confidentiality issues as well as practical advice on effective communication with journalists so they have what they need to do their jobs while also meeting the needs of the client. Panelists included Dan Haar, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, and Patricia King, City of New Haven – Office of Corporation Counsel.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group members Brian Freeman and Earl Phillips, Jr. and Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group member Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson participated as panelists for the webinar "The New Approach to Transactional & Succession Planning for Energy Companies," hosted by Gray, Gray & Gray Federated Insurance and R+C on June 25, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic disruption has had a broad impact across all industries, including energy marketers. A future that was already filled with challenges has become even murkier and less stable. The impact extends to a key management component for many fuel oil and propane retailers: transactional and succession planning. Panelists provided advice and guidance on these issues and addressed questions including: How can you plan for a future that is unpredictable? What effect will the financial crisis have on business transition to the next generation, to employees or to an outside party? How should you account for pressing environmental demands? How will you finance the transition? Are there alternatives that should be considered?
Labor and Employment Group member Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson was a panelist for the three-part webinar series, “Racism and Your Small Business: Let’s Talk About It,” launched by the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC). The three sessions were presented on June 10, June 17 and June 24, 2020. Britt-Marie was joined on the panel by Robin Imbrogno, President, The Human Resource Consulting Group, and Joelle A. Murchison, Executive Director, Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. The discussions were moderated by Fran Pastore, CEO of WBDC, with the objective of offering a forum for dialogue focused on how small business owners have been impacted by recent events, including the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.
The series provided resources and offered guidance that can help small businesses shape their messaging and develop an action plan to build a culture of inclusion in their organizations and beyond. The panelists examined the perspective of small business owners in discussing what has been happening in their business communities as a result of the recent events and the resulting unrest and social climate, what resources small business owners have to help them respond, and what messages, if any, have businesses shared with their employees and/or clients.
Construction Law Group member, Joe Barra, and Labor and Employment Group member, Matt Miklave, were among the panelists who presented the webinar, "Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis: Back to Work…Now What?" to the Associated General Contractors of Vermont on June 24, 2020. Panelists discussed the practical considerations of moving forward in a COVID-19 environment as they pertain to Labor and Employment, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Construction Claims Management.
Labor and Employment Group members Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Rachel Kushel, and Abby Warren presented the Human Resource Association of Central Connecticut's webinar, "Getting Back To Work During COVID-19: Top Legal HR Considerations for Employers," on June 18, 2020. The program reviewed seven important questions many employers are asking when it comes to implementing a return to work plan, ranging from changing the structure and operations of the workplace to deciding who, when, and how employees can safely return to work. The interactive session solicited questions from attendees to help to address the many HR legal issues this timely topic touched on.
Health Law Group member Lisa Thompson was a featured speaker during the Boston Bar Association's (BBA) webinar, "Data Management & Protection In A Public Health Emergency," on June 18, 2020. The panel discussion addressed health data privacy during the current pandemic, with a focus on how to protect the privacy of health data of COVID-19 patients from collection to commercialization. In addition to Lisa, the panel included Sara Cable, Director of Data Privacy & Security Unit, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, and Co-Chair, BBA Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Law Section, and Scott Edmiston, Director of Research Privacy and Security Compliance, Harvard Medical School. The discussion was moderated by Peter Lefkowitz, Chief Privacy and Digital Risk Officer, Citrix Systems. He is the Co-Chair of the BBA’s Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Law Section. Lisa serves as Co-Chair of the BBA’s Health Law Section.
Labor and Employment Group member Matt Miklave presented the webinar, "Legal Considerations for Reopening New York Nonprofits to Employees and the Public After COVID-19" to the Pro Bono Partnership New York on June 18, 2020. The program discussed the legal considerations that New York nonprofits may face when reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt also addressed six important questions that many New York nonprofits should be asking when it comes to implementing a return-to-work plan, including having a reopening plan, safety precautions, workplace protections, and proactive planning for a possible resurgence in late 2020 and early 2021.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group members Emilee Mooney Scott and Jim Ray spoke as part of the Environmental Business Council of New England's webinar, "PFAS Liabilities for Water Suppliers and Municipalities," on June 17, 2020. The webinar showcased three presentations on legal implications and risk management perspectives surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Regulatory developments demand further investigation of PFAS in the environment, and stakeholders are often faced with realities of PFAS-related liabilities. The program offered perspectives on how to understand those risks and discussed the latest in litigation developments and strategies to manage PFAS risks affecting public water supplies. Bob Melvin was co-chair of the program.
SelectUSA is the Department of Commerce program dedicated to facilitating and promoting high-impact business investment into the United States and has published this Investor Guide as a first-step resource for companies interested in making business investments in the U.S. Each chapter is authored by highly qualified professionals who regularly advise foreign investors. The Business Structure chapter, authored by Anna, Jeff, Mike, and Michael, offers an overview of common business structures for foreign investors. Robinson+Cole has been representing international companies that wish to do business in the United States for decades.
Manufacturing Industry Group chair Jeff White co-presented the Aerospace Components Manufacturers' (ACM) webinar, "Effective Ways to Manage (and Grow!) Commercial OEM Relationships During the Covid-19 Era," along with Tracy Darrow, Director, Deal Advisory and Strategy, at KPMG, on June 16, 2020. The webinar provided positive practical advice and perspectives on how to globally manage and “lean into” the current disruption, while maintaining (and growing) OEM, module, and major assembly relationships. In addition to discussing strategies and tactics for addressing the current market of a “new normal,” the speakers offered their insights into how to plan and execute for the future environment, including the risk and opportunity identification of key issues within long-term agreements.
As a member of R+C’s dedicated aerospace supply chain practice team, Jeff has experience representing both American and international Tier 1 and Tier 2 aerospace manufacturers and distributors. The practice team provides a sophisticated understanding of the unique and complex contract, product quality, delivery, and cost matters in the aerospace manufacturing industry. ACM is a nonprofit, regional network of more than 100 independent Connecticut- and southwestern Massachusetts-based aerospace companies. To learn more, click here.
Pro Bono Chair Peter Knight was among the panelists who discussed the Connecticut COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic, spearheaded by Robinson+Cole and the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA), during the webinar “Lawyers Lending a Hand in Recovery,” presented as part of the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity (CWCSEO) Small Business Matters Series on June 12, 2020. Lightly moderated by CWCSEO Executive Director, Stephen Hernandez, the video series focuses on small businesses as the engine of growth in Connecticut. In addition to Peter, panelists included the CBA's President, President-elect, Vice President and Immediate Past President: Ndidi N. Moses, Amy Lin Meyerson, Cecil J. Thomas, and Jonathan Shapiro, along with Marie Caroline Bertrand of DayPitney and Ginny Kim, Managing Counsel of Raytheon Technologies. During the episode, the panelists talked about how the clinic was created, the disproportionate COVID-19 impact on the minority community, and the fact that small businesses, in particular, were hard hit. The premise for the conversation was to promote visibility and interest by sharing information on the clinic with legislators, who can then pass on to their constituent communities. View the video of the webinar on the Commission’s Facebook page or on CT-N.
On May 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule providing a new “notice and access” safe harbor for retirement plan fiduciaries to distribute ERISA required disclosures electronically (Final Rule). The Final Rule becomes effective July 27, 2020; however, the DOL will not take any enforcement action against a plan fiduciary that relies on the Final Rule sooner.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Earl W. Phillips Jr. and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored two articles published in the May/June 2020 issue of Scrap, the bi-monthly magazine of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The first article, “COVID-19’s Likely Impact on Business Contracts,” published in the “Of Counsel” column, highlights areas of contracts and agreements that warrant careful review as a key takeaway for business leaders from the COVID-19 pandemic. The second article, “Understanding the EPA's COVID-19-Related Enforcement Discretion,” published in the “EHS Spotlight” column, offers an overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Team member Deborah George was a featured speaker during the Rhode Island Bar Association's (RIBA) webinar "Health Care Data: Who’s Protecting It, How to Get It (Legally), and the Consequences for Breaking the Privacy Laws," presented on June 11, 2020 as part of RIBA's 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting Series. The webinar covered the federal and state laws that protect an individual’s health care information, the conditions under which a health care provider may share an individual’s health care data (particularly with attorneys), the obligations of health care provider business associates to protect health care data, and the common causes and consequences of health care data breaches, including recent Office of Civil Rights Enforcement Actions.
Labor and Employment Group partner Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, along with thought leaders from the healthtech and medical fields, took part in the webinar "Strategize Your Return to The Workplace," presented by RxMx on June 10, 2020. The discussion focused on helping employers make sense of this unprecedented situation as they prepare to safely reopen and what to expect as they coordinate COVID-19 test data and track any employee symptoms, while also being mindful of privacy expectations.
Manufacturing Law Industry Group Chair, Jeff White, participated in the webinar "COVID19: Challenges and Opportunities in the Manufacturing Supply Chain," presented by CohnReznick on June 9, 2020. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the global manufacturing sector has experienced financial turmoil from supply- and demand-side disruption across the global supply chain. Manufacturers have responded to the distress with a variety of strategies focused on what they need to do next to mitigate the disruptions and, if possible, improve their competitive position in the new “normal.” Panelists discussed how to avoid the kinks and take advantage of the opportunities in supply chain management amid COVID-19, addressing specific areas including: practical solutions for collaborating with suppliers for win/win relationships and minimizing legal disputes; managing supply chain levers to synchronize supply and demand; improving forecasting and planning tools to stay ahead and stay profitable; and updating business models to nimbly respond to shifting consumer and supplier behavior.
Published in the “EHS Spotlight” column, the article offers an overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Distressed Companies and Special Situations Team lawyers Patrick Birney and Les Levinson authored the article “Distressed Company Investing in the COVID-19 Environment” published in a Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy special report by the New York Law Journal on June 8, 2020. Investing in distressed entities or their debt or equity can represent attractive opportunities, but not without certain unique challenges, particularly in the post-COVID-19 era. Often these transactions occur out of court as that can be less costly and time consuming than traditional bankruptcy or other in-court processes. The article reviews the unique issues to consider in such transactions. ALM subscribers can read the full article here. If you are not a subscriber, view the article here.
Published in the “Of Counsel” column, the article highlights areas of contracts and agreements that warrant careful review as a key takeaway for business leaders from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group partner Matt Miklave presented the webinar "Labor & Employment Considerations for Reopening Businesses to Employees and the Public" to the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce on June 4, 2020. During his presentation, Matt reviewed a framework for reopening based on the “critical six questions” every business may wish to consider when formulating a reopening plan. Matt reviewed the legal challenges businesses face in the current environment, new employee rights and restrictions as a result of legislative and government orders, and proactive planning for a possible COVID-19 resurgence in the Fall of 2020 and Winter of 2021.
Labor and Employment Group member Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson served as a panelist for “Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act," which was Session 2 of the Women’s Business Development Council’s Virtual Roundtable Series: Paid Family and Medical Leave and What it Means for your Business, hosted by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz on June 5, 2020. Britt-Marie and other panelists, including Andrea Barton Reeves, Chief Executive Officer, CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority, and Meghan Henson, Chief Human Resources Office, XPO Logistics, Inc., examined the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which went into effect on April 2, 2020 and generally impacts private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees.
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) swept the nation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) was approved by Congress and signed into law on March 18, 2020 in an attempt to respond to myriad economic and other challenges faced by the United States during this global pandemic. Several of the Act's provisions affect employers navigating the unstable business landscape as well as their employees, who are also impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Act, in part, implements changes to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which establishes a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak, requires employers to provide paid sick time leave, permits tax credits for amounts paid to employees on leave, and allows for additional funding to state unemployment insurance trust funds. To read the R+C Legal Update "Paid Sick and Family Leave Legislation in Response to Coronavirus," click here.
Founded in 1997 as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is one of more than 120 Small Business Administration-supported women’s business centers nationwide. WBDC helps its clients increase productivity, maximize preparation, produce earnings, and continue to achieve their personal and professional business dreams.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group member Stephen Aronson took part in the webinar "Join the Bar: An Evening with Tufts Lawyers" on June 4, 2020. The event, presented by the Tufts Lawyers Association, provided an opportunity for Tufts undergrads and alums to hear from seasoned lawyers across diverse legal industries. The program began with an introductory discussion and then transitioned into virtual breakout rooms where attendees heard lawyers address general law school questions and practitioners from specific legal areas spoke about their practices and experiences. Some 140 people participated in the program.
Business Litigation Group Chair, Ed Heath, participated in a webinar on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) as part of the U.S. Commercial Service's Export Compliance Webinar Series on June 4, 2020. The webinar provided practical guidance on how to avoid FCPA problems. The Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI, and other federal agencies have devoted significant resources to detecting and prosecuting FCPA violations, resulting in substantial penalties and prison sentences for those involved. The topics discussed in the program included FCPA red flags; detection techniques employed by government agencies; particular risks for business conducted in countries with state-owned enterprises; and standards for an effective compliance program to help avoid individual liability for executives, compliance personnel, finance officers and salespeople.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman co-presented Compass IT Compliance's webinar "Data Privacy in the 'New Normal'" on June 3, 2020. Topics discussed included recent cyber-intrusion risks with a remote workforce during COVID-19 (i.e., MAZE, insider threats, and zero-day vulnerabilities); new and proposed privacy laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and compliance with laws including a new private right of action for security incidents; data security around employee health data as businesses transition back from remote work to on-site workplaces; and assessments of cyber risk and preparation for incidents.
Real Estate + Development Group member Jerome Garciano presented on Opportunity Zones in the moderated panel discussion "How to Finance a Microgrid Project in a Post-Covid-19 Economy" on June 3, 2020, as part of the three-day Microgrid Knowledge Virtual Conference. A live Q&A session followed the presentation.
Labor and Employment Group member Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson served as a panelist for the Women's Business Development Council's Virtual Roundtable Series: Paid Family and Medical Leave and What it Means for Your Business, which was hosted by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz on June 3, 2020. Britt-Marie and other panelists, including Andrea Barton Reeves, Chief Executive Officer, CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Authority, and Meghan Henson, Chief Human Resources Office, XPO Logistics, Inc., examined the provisions to the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Program, which goes into effect in January 2021 and impacts all businesses with one or more employees. On June 25, 2019, Governor Lamont signed into law “An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave” (CPFML). Public Act No. 19-25. The Act contains new language that is intended to supplement, not to replace, the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA). The CFMLA, although significantly amended by Public Act No. 19-25, remains intact. As a result, the new law provides for both paid family and medical leave and unpaid family and medical leave. To read the Legal Update "Major Shift in Connecticut’s Leave Landscape: What Employers Need to Know About the New Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Law," click here. To see a Facebook Live video of this webinar, click here.
Founded in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is one of over 120 Small Business Administration-supported women’s business centers nationwide. WBDC helps its clients increase productivity, maximize preparation, produce earnings, and continue to achieve their personal and professional business dreams.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group member Joey Lee Miranda was a panelist for the Boston Bar Association's webinar "Competitive Energy Supply: Regulation and Litigation in 2020" on June 1, 2020. The webinar focused on the laws creating and regulating the competitive energy supply market for individual residential consumers and the current controversies balancing the benefits of competition against the potential for harm to residential consumers. The panelists discussed their experiences on both sides of these issues as well as the state Attorney General’s Office’s enforcement efforts and 2019 updated report, administrative practice and regulation at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and consumer protection and class action litigation.
Labor and Employment Group members Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Rachel Kushel and Abby Warren presented the webinar "A Deep Dive for HR Professionals Administering Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know" on May 29, 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the nation, employers have an additional compliance obligation related to the implementation and administration of the leave provisions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Since the FFCRA became law on March 18, 2020, the government has continued to release a myriad of guidance on the proper implementation of the FFCRA, which makes leave available through December 31, 2020. This webinar offered a close look at the FFCRA and the various nuances employers should be aware of, from determining whether and when an employee may use other paid leave in conjunction with the FFCRA to calculating an employee’s pay while on leave and understanding the applicable record-keeping obligations.
Business Transactions Group and Manufacturing Industry Team member Taylor Shea co-presented the webinar “The CARES Act and PPP Forgiveness" on May 27, 2020. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion focused on the recently-released new guidelines meant to help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, and specifics about how to take full advantage of PPP funding. Taylor was joined in the discussion by Drew Andrews, Managing Partner of Whittlesey, and Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) Editor Greg Bordonaro. The webinar was presented by HBJ and the New Haven Biz.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman took part in the Naval and Maritime Consortium's (NMC) Cybersecurity Panel discussion on May 27, 2020. Panelists discussed the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), defense contractors’ cybersecurity readiness, and the impact of the pandemic on compliance.
Originally published to R+C's Construction Law Zone blog, the article covers the reopening of construction projects in Massachusetts, as announced by Governor Charlie Baker on May 18, and highlights the safety guidelines and compliance documentation requirements that contractors and owners must comply with.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group member Wystan Ackerman was a featured panelist on the webinar, "Coronavirus Business Interruption Insurance Class Action Lawsuits: Coverage and Certification Issues" hosted by Perrin Conferences on May 21, 2020. Discussion topics included: insurance coverage issues raised by policyholders seeking business interruption coverage in class actions, what a class action is and what the benefits and limitations of class actions under Rule 23 are, the types of class actions that have been filed seeking business interruption coverage arising from COVID-19, how classes are certified and what are the issues courts consider in determining whether to certify classes, and how the courts are currently managing class actions.
As a result of COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas, the article covers how commercial drones, i.e., small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), generally prohibited in dense cities, would be helpful in mitigating health risks while facilitating continued development and construction.
Business Transaction Group members Mike Maglio, Kit Peabody, Taylor Shea, Jeffrey Volpintesta and Barrett Wilson-Murphy authored "PPP Update: Loan Forgiveness Application," which was published as a Legal Update on May 19, 2020. On May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application and related instructions (collectively, the Forgiveness Application). This Legal Update examines key aspects of the Forgiveness Application, which provides some long-awaited clarity with regard to loan forgiveness eligibility and the application process, but still leaves unanswered questions that some borrowers will have as they prepare their applications. To read the full article, click here.
Based on a blog post published on the Construction Law Zone, the article covers the economic of landmarks preservation during recessions, as found in the “Historic Preservation: At the Core of a Dynamic New York City” report published by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Construction Group members Joe Barra and Niel Franzese and Labor and Employment Group member Matt Miklave co-presented the webinar, "COVID-19 and Returning to Work: Important Concerns for the AEC Community," alongside Brian Morrill of GZA GeoEnvironmental. This program addressed four important topics that the AEC Community should understand when deciding whether and how to return to the office and the project site. Moderated by Joe, former Board member of both the CMAA and the MSPE, the panelists discussed the practical considerations of moving forward in a COVID-19 environment as they pertain to Labor and Employment, Industrial Hygiene, Recent Directives from the Mayor of Boston and the Governor of Massachusetts, and Risk Management.
Construction Group members Joe Barra and Niel Franzese and Labor and Employment Group member Matt Miklave co-presented the webinar, "COVID-19 and Returning to Work: Important Concerns for the AEC Community" alongside Brian Morrill of GZA GeoEnvironmental on May 18, 2020. The panel discussion addressed four important areas that the AEC Community should understand when deciding whether and how to return to the office and the project site. The program was moderated by Joe, a former Board member of both CMAA and MSPE, and focused on the practical considerations of moving forward in a COVID-19 environment as they pertain to Labor and Employment, Industrial Hygiene, recent directives from the Mayor of Boston and the Governor of Massachusetts, and Risk Management.
Construction Group member Virginia Trunkes presented "Drones Fly Over Trespass, Nuisance, Privacy and Data Security Issues: What You Need to Know" at the American Bar Association’s 32nd Annual National RPTE CLE Conference, “The Virtual Experience 2020” on May 15, 2020. Real Estate + Development Group member Karla Chaffee served as the program chair. Presented by the ABA’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, the program discussed the potential of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS or drones) in the real estate industry as well as common legal issues associated with drones, and provided an update on the ever-changing regulatory scene. The annual conference is designed to bring people together, whether virtually or in-person, for networking, education and discussion of national topics in Real Estate and Trust and Estate law.
On May 12, 2020, the IRS issued two notices affecting employee elections under Code Section 125 cafeteria plans. The COVID-19 pandemic and large-scale "stay at home" orders left many employers facing questions relating to elections employees made with respect to their health and dependent care benefits long before the start of the pandemic.
Patrick Birney, Jamie Edmonson and Les Levinson, members of the Firm’s Distressed Companies and Special Situations Team, were panelists for the co-hosted webinar, "Distressed Company Investing in the COVID-19 Environment" on May 12, 2020. Investing in distressed entities or their debt or equity can represent attractive opportunities, but not without certain unique challenges, particularly in the post-COVID-19 era. Often these transactions occur out of court as that can be less costly and time consuming than traditional bankruptcy or other in-court processes. The panel reviewed various ways to acquire a distressed company and the unique issues to consider in such transactions. Key issues addressed by the panel included:
The article gives an overview of the statewide moratorium in Massachusetts covering a broad swath of evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The moratorium implemented through House Bill No. 4647 applies to all non-emergency evictions and foreclosures on occupied residential properties and certain small business premises unit properties throughout the Commonwealth in response to the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group members Bob Melvin and Jim Ray were among the speakers during the final session of a three-part webinar series on PFAS, hosted by the CT Conference of Municipalities and GZA GeoEnvironmental on May 7, 2020. Bob introduced the program, “Litigation and Municipality Response to PFAS,” which featured Jim providing an overview of PFAS litigation, while Bob moderated the concluding Q&A portion of the event.
Construction Group member Joe Barra moderated the May 5, 2020 webinar panel discussion “Getting Back to Work: Important Concerns for the AEC Community,” which included fellow Construction Group member Niel Franzese and LEB+I Group member Matt Miklave, along with industry colleague Brian Morrill from GZA GeoEnvironmental. The panel discussed practical labor and employment considerations for re-opening offices and project sites; industrial and corporate hygiene; and the potential implications of the City of Boston’s COVID-19 Safety Plan for Construction.
The program was sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts’s (AGC MA) as part of its “Building Endurance: Learning to Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis” webinar series. The series is designed to address the immediate challenges the pandemic represents to the workforce, clients and employees; broader resiliency issues during shutdowns; the critical plan in returning business to scale as quickly as is safely possible; and the resultant shift in the regulatory and competitive environment.
Construction Group member Marty Onorato was a featured speaker in the moderated panel discussion “A New Look at Risk Management” on May 5, 2020. The program was the first in a series of webinars sponsored by the Connecticut Building Congress (CBC) that is designed to address hot topics within the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. It was offered for free to CBC members and non-members alike.
During these difficult times, design and construction firms are responding to a multitude of new issues, including social separation, closed job sites, and intensified safety concerns. The panel discussed some of the new challenges affecting the AEC industry’s longstanding issue of risk management and delved into the thought processes that owners and construction managers now must tackle.
Senior attorneys in our Insurance + Reinsurance Group hosted an interactive virtual forum on Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance coverage issues emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhonda Tobin moderated a discussion with Stephen Clancy, Lawrence Klein, Gregory Lahr and Jonathan Small that addressed claim scenarios insurers are likely to face in the COVID-19 era, including examples from the Housing, Transportation, Manufacturing and Construction industries. Questions were invited during the program.
Employee Benefits and Compensation Group members Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan presented the webinar “Understanding the CARES Act and Employee Benefits,” one in a series of webinars on the CARES Act presented by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA). Their presentation offered an overview of the Act and many of its key provisions, including employee benefits, retirement plans, educational assistance, and health and welfare components, followed by a Q&A period. The CBIA is currently showing the webinar on its YouTube channel, available here.
Labor and Employment Group members Natale Di Natale and Matt Miklave presented the R+C-hosted webinar "COVID-19: Non-Union Workers Breathe Life into Labor Movement" on May 1, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has made workplace safety a vital concern for employees in virtually all occupations and industries. As was the case during the genesis of the labor movement more than one hundred years ago, labor organizations today are finding an audience on the issue of workplace safety. The webinar program examined what’s happening now and how the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to breathe life into a labor movement that has been in decline for years. Participation and questions from attendees were encouraged and addressed.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group members Jim Ray and Emilee Mooney Scott were among the speakers during the second session of a three-part webinar series on PFAS hosted by the CT Conference of Municipalities and GZA GeoEnvironmental on April 30, 2020. Jim introduced the program, which featured Emilee speaking on PFAS Policies and Regulations, and also moderated the Q&A portion of the presentation.
Business Transactions Group lawyer Taylor Shea took part in the virtual panel discussion, “The CARES Act and the PPP: Where are we today, and what can businesses expect tomorrow? Part III” on April 29, 2020. The webinar series is designed specifically for business decision makers in closely-held small businesses and is presented by the Hartford Business Journal and New Haven Biz. Along with Taylor, other panelists included David Lehman, Commissioner & Governor's Senior Economic Advisor; Wendell G. Davis, Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator; Tim Bergstrom, Webster Bank Regional President for the Hartford CT Market; and Drew Andrews, Managing Partner and CEO at Whittlesey. Robinson+Cole was pleased to be an Event Partner.
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and its component $350 billion SBA-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans - the biggest stimulus package in the history of our country - was rolled out in response to the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 virus. After that funding ran out in just 14 days, small businesses in Connecticut and around the country are now getting a second shot at PPP loans as the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact virtually every small business. The panel of professionals addressed questions about how the PPP works and offered clarity at a time of great uncertainty for small businesses.
This compendium, which surveys the law on insurance policy rescission in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 provinces in Canada, is a comprehensive resource for insurance carriers, claim professionals, defense and coverage counsel, and the judiciary. The compendium is a joint project between the DRI Insurance Law Committee and the DRI Life, Health, and Disability Committee, and combines the experience of attorneys who regularly litigate and advise clients on issues relating to rescission of insurance policies.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Rachel Kushel and Abby Warren presented the R+C-hosted webinar "Re-Opening Your Workplace During COVID-19: Top HR Considerations for Employers" on April 24, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented nation-wide business closures. As state and local governments across the U.S. contemplate lifting shut-down orders and re-opening businesses, employers should plan for re-opening their workplaces and returning their employees to work. Inevitably, workplaces will operate differently post-COVID-19, and there are many considerations that employers must take into account. The program reviewed seven important questions employers are asking concerning the implementation of a return to work plan, ranging from changing the structure and operations of the workplace to deciding who, when and how employees return to work. Questions from attendees were encouraged.
Manufacturing Law Industry Team members Jeffrey J. White (chair) and Taylor A. Shea, along with Insurance + Reinsurance Group member Gabrielle R. Mercadante, took part in the webinar "Force Majeure and Contract Considerations for Buyers and Sellers In Light of COVID-19" on April 22, 2020. The program was presented by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce. The webinar covered what contracts are likely to be impacted by COVID-19, the parties’ rights and remedies in the event of non-performance caused by COVID-19, and the best business solutions to address any potential non-performance.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group co-chair Patrick Birney was among the featured speakers on the webinar “COVID-19 and the Contract Issues that Arise” on April 17, 2020. The free seminar covered force majeure clauses, impossibility and impracticability, and Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) issues in relation to COVID-19 and was designed for attorneys interested in learning about the contract law issues that can arise in relation to the coronavirus. The program was presented by the Connecticut Bar Association’s Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section.
Real Estate + Development Group member Mandy Eckhoff led the Real Estate Finance Association’s (REFA) Virtual Coffee Hour discussion “How have your transactions changed within the last 30 days?” on April 15, 2020. The interactive video meeting discussed a variety of timely topics and included networking opportunities and a chance to reconnect virtually with REFA members and share best practices with colleagues and other real estate professionals. Mandy is a REFA Program Chair.
Business Transactions Group lawyer Taylor Shea participated in part 2 of the virtual panel discussion, “The CARES Act and the PPP: Where are we today, and what can businesses expect tomorrow?” on April 15, 2020. The discussion was designed specifically for business decision makers in closely-held small businesses and was presented by the Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) and New Haven Biz. Robinson+Cole is an Event Partner.
It's barely been a week since the biggest stimulus package in the history of our country - the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and its component $350 billion Small Business Administration-backed (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans - the biggest stimulus package in the history of our country - was rolled out in response to the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 virus. Many small business owners continue to seek guidance as they apply for loans to help maintain cash flow and retain workers, even as more states announce new quarantine and shelter-in-place orders. The news changes daily, and it is hard to separate the knowns from the unknowns, the facts from rumor. To address that need, this second webinar in the two-part series offered clarity and critical, up-to-the-minute facts for businesses that have applied, or are planning to apply, for the SBA loans - separating the knowns from the unknowns, including answers they need now to help process and plan, such as when companies can expect the much-needed infusion of capital that may be critical to their sustainability.
On April 9, 2020, Labor and Employment Group member Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson participated in Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s teleconference, "Understanding Federal and State Support for Nonprofits During the Covid-19 Crisis," alongside U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-04); Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Deputy Commissioner, Glendowlyn Thames; and Chair of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management Recovery/Immediate Needs Subgroup, Lisa Tepper Bates. The speakers shared information about how organizations can take advantage of the available federal and state support programs that are available to sustain nonprofits and employees through the coronavirus crisis.