COVID-19 Insights and Information

Spotlight

COVID-19 Insights and Information

Attorneys at Eastman & Smith have been actively disseminating information addressing issues arising from COVID-19 pandemic.  Below are articles and webinars discussing various laws, regulations and government actions in connection with the pandemic.  To view our most recent posts, please visit our Articles page.  Should you have any legal questions regarding how actions resulting from the pandemic may affect you or your business, please contact one of our attorneys.

To receive periodic alerts regarding COVID-19 legal developments, please sign up for our COVID-19 e-mails.

Laws and Regulations

Restart

statue of lady justicesState Level Immunity From COVID-19 Related Cases

As more Ohio businesses, organizations and government entities reopen after the Governor’s lockdown orders, they face a legal uncertainty as to what liabilities they may face should an employee or customer contract COVID-19 while at the facility. These uncertainties have now been addressed with House Bill 606.



Door opening on Ohio flag.WEBINAR:  Reopening Ohio and PPP Loan Forgiveness Complimentary Webinar
Recorded June 10, 2020
As Ohio reopens its economy, employees return to work and customers enter the workplace, businesses will continue to face numerous challenges. In this webinar, the speakers will address various considerations associated with Ohio's phased reopening plan as well as applying for and qualifying for forgiveness of the PPP loans.

CARES Act

Picture of man's hands signing document.Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020:  Needed Changes for the CARES Act PPP Loans
The PPPFA had been percolating in Congress since almost immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, and makes several much needed changes to assist business owners receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.



Downtown BuildingsFederal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve announced new terms for its Main Street Lending Program to support the provision of credit to small and medium-size businesses. Using funds appropriated by the CARES Act, the Federal Reserve has pledged to purchase up to $600 billion of participations in eligible loans from qualified lenders.



woman on phoneIndividual Economic Impact Payments Under the CARES Act

The CARES Act provides a refundable tax credit of up to $1,200 to individual tax payers, or up to $2,400 for taxpayers filing jointly. Taxpayers with children under the age of 17 will receive an additional $500 per child. While the rebate for taxpayers is adjusted based on income, the tax credit provided for children is a fixed amount independent of income level. The credit is exclusive to children and does not include other dependents.

PPP Under CARES ActThe Paycheck Protection Program Under the CARES Act

Among other programs providing economic relief to businesses by the CARES Act, is the creation of a forgivable loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program was created as an addition to the existing framework for SBA Section 7(a) loans.



briefcase of $100 billsSummary of Section 4016 of the CARES Act: Temporary Credit Union Provisions

Section 4016 of the CARES Act makes temporary changes to the Federal Credit Union Act, specifically Subchapter III – Central Liquidity Facility. This Subchapter establishes a National Credit Union Central Liquidity Facility (Facility). The Facility helps provide financial stability to credit unions by serving as a liquidity lender to credit unions experiencing unusual or unexpected liquidity shortfalls.



women viewing computer How the CARES Act Benefits Women and Women-Owned Businesses

The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion worth of financial assistance to individuals, businesses and health care systems affected by COVID-19. Some sections require that money be allocated to specific types of businesses or businesses with certain ownership characteristics. As this article will discuss, women-owned businesses and businesses that support women are among the groups that will receive funding.



woman on computerCARES Act SBA Deferment

The recently passed CARES Act allocates approximately $17 billion in relief to subsidize six months of payments for: (a) small businesses with existing SBA loans; and (b) small businesses soon to obtain an SBA loan.  The act encourages lenders to provide payment deferments to its borrowers and extend the maturity dates of SBA loans to avoid impending balloon payments. In return, the SBA will provide, as coverage to the lender, the payment of principal, interest and any fees.

intersectionWEBINAR:  COVID-19 Critical Infrastructure Update
Recorded April 22, 2020
Scott Johnson and Jim Yates discuss the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and Interim Guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers, construction material suppliers and other workers whose activities are covered within stay-at-home exceptions.

Defense Production Act

DPA's Effects on ContractsDPA's Effects on Contracts

Title I of the DPA authorizes the President to prioritize the performance of contracts and allocate the materials, services and facilities “necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense.”  Persons, including businesses and corporations, may be required to fulfill contracts deemed necessary to the national defense that have received a priority rating from the government. Businesses may respond to the order by accepting or rejecting it.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response ActLeave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The new law includes an emergency expansion of FMLA and emergency paid sick leave.  It expands FMLA leave benefits to all public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.  Emergency paid leave would also apply to all public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

man pushing work safety imageWEBINAR:  COVID-19 and the Employer’s Response: What Can We Do? 
Recorded March 25, 2020

Discusses the legalities of addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, available benefits for employees including an expansion of the availability of unemployment benefits, and paid leave requirements contained in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.



classroomWEBINAR:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Responding to Employee Leave Requests in an Uncertain Time
Recorded April 3, 2020
Join Eastman & Smith Ltd. attorneys Jim Yates and Sarah Pawlicki on April 3, 2020 at noon for a webinar in which they will walk businesses through the FFCRA and the regulations and how to respond to employee requests for leave. 

Paycheck Protection Program

Picture of man's hands signing document.Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020:  Needed Changes for the CARES Act PPP Loans
The PPPFA had been percolating in Congress since almost immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, and makes several much needed changes to assist business owners receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.



PPP Under CARES ActThe Paycheck Protection Program Under the CARES Act

Among other programs providing economic relief to businesses by the CARES Act, is the creation of a forgivable loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program was created as an addition to the existing framework for SBA Section 7(a) loans.



women viewing computer How the CARES Act Benefits Women and Women-Owned Businesses

The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion worth of financial assistance to individuals, businesses and health care systems affected by COVID-19. Some sections require that money be allocated to specific types of businesses or businesses with certain ownership characteristics. As this article will discuss, women-owned businesses and businesses that support women are among the groups that will receive funding.



Statute of Lady JusticesDOJ Files First Charges for Abuse of the PPP

Shortly after Congress established PPP as part of its enactment of the CARES Act, the DOJ announced that all U.S. Attorneys have been “directed to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus-related fraud schemes.”  It didn’t take long for DOJ to act on those orders. Although the PPP is barely one month old, DOJ already has begun to prosecute abuses of the government program.



word taxesSickness and Taxes – Never a Convenient Time

FFCRA and the CARES Act bring sweeping changes to business and tax at one of the least convenient times in U.S. history: a serious pandemic striking in the middle of tax season, with about half of the IRS furloughed for their own safety. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the major business and tax changes, provide initial observations and advocate proceeding with caution.



intersectionWEBINAR:  COVID-19 Critical Infrastructure Update
Recorded April 22, 2020
Scott Johnson and Jim Yates discuss the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and Interim Guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers, construction material suppliers and other workers whose activities are covered within stay-at-home exceptions.



Door opening on Ohio flag.WEBINAR:  Reopening Ohio and PPP Loan Forgiveness Complimentary Webinar
Recorded June 10, 2020
As Ohio reopens its economy, employees return to work and customers enter the workplace, businesses will continue to face numerous challenges. In this webinar, the speakers will address various considerations associated with Ohio's phased reopening plan as well as applying for and qualifying for forgiveness of the PPP loans.

Stay-at-Home Order

Welcome to Ohio SignWelcome to Ohio (But Only After 14 Days of Quarantine):  Nonresident Travel and Places Social Distancing Requirements on Stores, Among Other Changes
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout the United States, many states’ governors have decided to institute self-quarantine requirements for nonresidents entering their borders. On April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will do the same pursuant to an order by Dr. Amy Action, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. 

Bankruptcy Law

hand water pillCreditors' Rights and COVID-19
Recorded April 16, 2020
The current pandemic, and recent changes to bankruptcy law, jointly present difficult and interesting questions for creditors, small businesses and commercial litigation.



gavel on deskThe Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA) effective February 19, 2020, created a new, streamlined process for small business debtors seeking a fresh start in bankruptcy. With many small businesses struggling to survive the economic disruption caused by the recent COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) pandemic, debtors and lenders unfortunately may find themselves navigating this new process in the near future.



house with treeStripping Down Residential Mortgages Under the Small Business Reorganization Act: A Preview of Things to Come?

Among SBRA’s many new provisions is Section 1190(3), which negates the general Chapter 11 prohibition on modifying claims secured solely by a security interest in real property that is the debtor’s principal residence.

Contract Law

COVID-19 Payroll Tax CreditsCOVID-19: Impact on Mortgage Servicing and Foreclosure Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic, attendant stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders and abrupt closure of vast swaths of the national economy suddenly have called into question borrowers’ ability to service home mortgage debt. Both the federal government and the Ohio legislature are moving quickly to respond. 

DPA's Effects on ContractsDPA's Effects on Contracts

Title I of the DPA authorizes the President to prioritize the performance of contracts and allocate the materials, services and facilities “necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense.”  Persons, including businesses and corporations, may be required to fulfill contracts deemed necessary to the national defense that have received a priority rating from the government. Businesses may respond to the order by accepting or rejecting it.

Force Majeure Clauses Amid the COVID-19 OutbreakTake 20 Seconds to Read Your Contract (and Wash Your Hands)!  Force Majeure Clauses Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

Employers in nearly every industry are implementing measures to reduce the spread of the disease which, in some instances, means bringing the supply chain of goods and services to a screeching halt. While the ultimate impact and duration of the outbreak remains to be seen, one thing is certain: a spike in breach of contract claims around the country is imminent.

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19Are Economic Losses Related to COVID-19 Recoverable Under Business Interruption Insurance Coverage?
Since the SARS outbreak many insurers have incorporated into their commercial property policies endorsements that exclude coverage for “Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria.”  However, policies may specifically include extended coverages for mitigation of communicable diseases, but only to the time necessary to detoxify from the communicable disease event.

Employment Law

Person examining test tube from group of test tubes.The EEOC Warns that Antibody Testing Cannot Be Required in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance regarding COVID-19 and related EEO regulations. The EEOC specified that requiring antibody testing for COVID-19 before returning to work is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but viral testing still is permissible.



Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response ActLeave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The new law includes an emergency expansion of FMLA and emergency paid sick leave.  It expands FMLA leave benefits to all public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.  Emergency paid leave would also apply to all public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.



calculator pen chartRetirement Plan Provisions and Employer Decisions

The CARES Act contains provisions for relief to businesses and their employees during the current crisis. Among those provisions are temporary relief to businesses obligated to fund pension plans, and potentially greater access to funds held in pension plans for employees affected by COVID-19. While we have no guidance as of yet, these do not appear to be requirements, and in some circumstances businesses will have to elect to allow their employees to take advantage of these provisions.



Lynn Vuketich LutherWEBINAR: Luther to Present at HRASM Webinar
May 20, 2020

Eastman & Smith member Lynn Vuketich Luther is co-presenting at the Human Resource Association of Southeast Michigan webinar, “Back to the Future of Work.”



waitress taking orderWEBINAR:  Employment Law Update: Legal Considerations for Managing the Return to the Workplace
Recorded April 30, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal for employers and presents new challenges as they begin to re-open. Understanding recent regulations as well as state, federal and CDC guidelines, is key to successfully tackling these challenges and ensuring a safe environment for employees and customers.



man pushing work safety imageWEBINAR:  COVID-19 and the Employer’s Response: What Can We Do? 
Recorded March 25, 2020

Discusses the legalities of addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, available benefits for employees including an expansion of the availability of unemployment benefits, and paid leave requirements contained in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.



Carrie and TomWEBINAR:  Dixon and Urrutia Panelists at UTFBC Virtual Roundtable
Recorded April 2, 2020

Thomas A. Dixon and Carrie L. Urrutia, members of Eastman & Smith, were panelists in a virtual roundtable “Understanding the HR Implications of COVID-19.” 



classroomWEBINAR:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Responding to Employee Leave Requests in an Uncertain Time
Recorded April 3, 2020

Join Eastman & Smith Ltd. attorneys Jim Yates and Sarah Pawlicki on April 3, 2020 at noon for a webinar in which they will walk businesses through the FFCRA and the regulations and how to respond to employee requests for leave.

Tax Law

 IRSIRS’s People First Initiative

The IRS announced a series of changes to the requirements for tax collection and compliance in order to provide relief to people and businesses facing uncertainty over taxes as a result of COVID-19. This effort, termed the “People First Initiative,” includes changes ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions.

Stimulus Bill and Operating LossesPatience is a Virtue:  Stimulus Bill and Operating Losses

News flash for companies with 2019 operating losses. The US Senate just passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill.  While we are just learning about its provisions, we want to alert some 2019 tax return filers to hold off filing for a few days.  The bill is reported to provide for a five year net operating loss carryback, allowing some businesses to obtain a refund of taxes paid in prior years.

word taxesSickness and Taxes – Never a Convenient Time

FFCRA and the CARES Act bring sweeping changes to business and tax at one of the least convenient times in U.S. history: a serious pandemic striking in the middle of tax season, with about half of the IRS furloughed for their own safety. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the major business and tax changes, provide initial observations and advocate proceeding with caution.

COVID-19 Changes Federal Tax DeadlineCOVID-19 Changes Tax Deadlines

The Treasury Department is deferring the filing and paying of federal taxes to July 15 for individuals and businesses.  Since response to the pandemic has been so fluid, you should check with a tax professional regarding the filing and payment of federal, state, local and school taxes.



hotelCOVID-19: A Major Disaster for Ohio Real Estate Developers and Investors:  Extended Deadlines

It seems in the era of COVID-19, we start our day with these ominous headlines—Emergency, Major Disaster. But what do these terms mean legally and what affect might the declaration have on Ohio’s commercial real estate market?

COVID-19 Payroll Tax CreditsCritical Guidance on COVID-19 Payroll Tax Credits

The U.S. Treasury Department, IRS and DOL announced their plan to make two new, refundable payroll tax credits available for small and midsize employers covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the act). The two new tax credits are designed to reimburse employers for costs associated with providing COVID-19 related leave to their employees. This article will provide employers with the information necessary to take advantage of this financial relief.

Workers' Compensation

WEBINAR:  man pushing workplace safety buttonCOVID-19 and its Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claims
Recorded: April 28, 2020
Join us for a webinar providing employers with practical information to help them handle workers’ compensation concerns and effectively manage their workers’ compensation programs.



Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19:  What Employers Need to Know

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Ohio Industrial Commission have made changes to the processing and adjudication of workers’ compensation claims in light of COVID-19.



hand holding fan of moneyOhio BWC Issuing $1.6 Billion to Ohio Employers

The BWC recently approved a proposal to send up to $1.6 billon to Ohio employers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The move stems from Governor Mike DeWine’s request for agencies to assist in easing COVID-19’s impact on businesses.

Courts

statue of lady justicesState Level Immunity From COVID-19 Related Cases

As more Ohio businesses, organizations and government entities reopen after the Governor’s lockdown orders, they face a legal uncertainty as to what liabilities they may face should an employee or customer contract COVID-19 while at the facility. These uncertainties have now been addressed with House Bill 606.



OH MI Court Filing Deadlines ExtendedOhio and Michigan Extend Time for Certain Filings During the COVID-19 Crisis

In light of the significant disruption caused by the COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) crisis, both Ohio and Michigan have taken steps to provide additional time to make certain required court filings which would otherwise be due during the crisis.

Businesses

Banking, Finance and Insurance

hand water pillWEBINAR:  Creditors' Rights and COVID-19
Recorded April 16, 2020
The current pandemic, and recent changes to bankruptcy law, jointly present difficult and interesting questions for creditors, small businesses and commercial litigation.



man holding keysCOVID-19: Impact on Mortgage Servicing and Foreclosure Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic, attendant stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders and abrupt closure of vast swaths of the national economy suddenly have called into question borrowers’ ability to service home mortgage debt. Both the federal government and the Ohio legislature are moving quickly to respond.



Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19Are Economic Losses Related to COVID-19 Recoverable Under Business Interruption Insurance Coverage?

Since the SARS outbreak many insurers have incorporated into their commercial property policies endorsements that exclude coverage for “Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria.”  However, policies may specifically include extended coverages for mitigation of communicable diseases, but only to the time necessary to detoxify from the communicable disease event.



briefcase of $100 billsSummary of Section 4016 of the CARES Act: Temporary Credit Union Provisions

Section 4016 of the CARES Act makes temporary changes to the Federal Credit Union Act, specifically Subchapter III – Central Liquidity Facility. This Subchapter establishes a National Credit Union Central Liquidity Facility (Facility). The Facility helps provide financial stability to credit unions by serving as a liquidity lender to credit unions experiencing unusual or unexpected liquidity shortfalls.



student loan word cloudHow Does COVID-19 Affect Your Student Loans?

For many individuals, student loans are a large part of financial stress, with an even greater concern during times where one may become unemployed due to unforeseen circumstances, rendering repayment impossible. To ensure financial relief for federal student loan borrowers, the CARES Act was enacted, which made substantial adjustments to guidelines regarding federal student loans.



house with treeStripping Down Residential Mortgages Under the Small Business Reorganization Act: A Preview of Things to Come?

Among SBRA’s many new provisions is Section 1190(3), which negates the general Chapter 11 prohibition on modifying claims secured solely by a security interest in real property that is the debtor’s principal residence.

Business Disputes

WEBINAR:  Two animals with locked hornsBusiness Disputes and Litigation: as the Pandemic Rolls On
Recorded July 16, 2020

The historic business disruptions instigated by COVID-19 have caused business deals to be delayed, disputed or outright derailed. These events require a proactive approach to mitigate risks from disagreements and litigation.

Construction

COVID-19 and the Construction Industry COVID-19 and the Construction Industry

Contractors, subcontractors and suppliers can and should be proactive in addressing COVID-19 in a few different ways things can and will change quickly as the pandemic unfolds.



intersectionWEBINAR: COVID-19 Critical Infrastructure Update
Recorded April 22, 2020
Scott Johnson and Jim Yates discuss the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and Interim Guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers, construction material suppliers and other workers whose activities are covered within stay-at-home exceptions.

Health Care

doctor putting on glovesOhio Health Care Facilities to Reopen for Medically Necessary Procedures:  State and Federal Guidance Provides Direction for the Responsible Reopening of Health Care

On April 27, 2019, Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton made a joint announcement about their plan to restart Ohio’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care will be the first sector of the economy to restart services beginning May 1, 2020. 



doctors watchingHow Ohio H.B. 197 Affects Health Care Providers

On March 25, 2020, the Ohio General Assembly passed H.B. 197, which enacts a number of provisions to assist health care providers during the COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) pandemic. As enacted, H.B. 197 contains the following emergency measures related to health care providers.



medical pros looking at tabletCMS Offers Financial Relief for Medicare Providers During COVID-19 Crisis

CMS has expanded its current Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers. CMS is offering participating Medicare providers and suppliers the opportunity to take an advancement on their “typical” Medicare payments to help with cash flow shortfalls during the pendency of the public health emergency.



medical pros looking at imageHHS Issues Blanket Waivers of Stark Law in Wake of COVID-19 Emergency

The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued blanket waivers of enforcement of the Stark Law under his 1135 waiver authority. The waivers only apply to financial relationships and referrals that are related to the national COVID-19 emergency, and the remuneration and referrals must be related solely to “COVID-19 Purposes.” They are effective as of March 1, 2020, and may be used without notifying CMS.



Welcome to Ohio SignWelcome to Ohio (But Only After 14 Days of Quarantine):  Nonresident Travel and Places Social Distancing Requirements on Stores, Among Other Changes
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout the United States, many states’ governors have decided to institute self-quarantine requirements for nonresidents entering their borders. On April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will do the same pursuant to an order by Dr. Amy Action, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. 



two people in ambulanceCertain COVID-19 Case Disclosures Now Required in Ohio
Two Director’s Orders issued by the Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, establish certain situations where disclosing a case of COVID-19 is now required.



hand typing laptopThe COVID-19 Telehealth Program - An Overview of the Application Process for Health Care Providers

The FCC established the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to distribute $200 million in aid dedicated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support telehealth services.



group of people near water fountainWEBINAR:  Durham and DeGoricia Address OML/OMAA Regarding COVID-19 and Public Health
Recorded April 10, 2020

Isolation, quarantine, stay at home order, health district licensing and constitutional and privacy issues were discussed by Eastman & Smith member Joseph R. Durham and new associate Lauren M. DeGoricia via the webinar “Overview of Public Health Law and Local Health Districts.



Mike RegnierWEBINAR:  Regnier To Speak at National Malpractice Webinar
April 23, 2020
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Eastman & Smith member Michael W. Regnier will be co-presenting at an NCMIC Insurance Company webinar, “Malpractice Defense in the Time of COVID-19.”

Intellectual Property

USPTOCARES Act: USPTO Allows Trademark and Patent Extensions

Currently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is closed to the public but is open for the filing of documents and fees. However, it is allowing extensions of time for certain patent and trademark filings and for the payment of certain fees pursuant to an exercise of temporary authority provided via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Manufacturing

Ohio Liquor Permit Fees and BuybackRelief in a Bottle: Support for Ohio Liquor Permit Holders

To assist restaurants, bars, alcohol manufacturers, and other related businesses during the pandemic, Ohio has proposed a refund of certain liquor permit fees and instituted a liquor buy back program. 



DPA's Effects on ContractsDPA's Effects on Contracts

Title I of the DPA authorizes the President to prioritize the performance of contracts and allocate the materials, services and facilities “necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense.”  Persons, including businesses and corporations, may be required to fulfill contracts deemed necessary to the national defense that have received a priority rating from the government. Businesses may respond to the order by accepting or rejecting it.

Medium Size Businesses

Downtown BuildingsFederal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve announced new terms for its Main Street Lending Program to support the provision of credit to small and medium-size businesses. Using funds appropriated by the CARES Act, the Federal Reserve has pledged to purchase up to $600 billion of participations in eligible loans from qualified lenders.

Mining

intersectionWEBINAR:  COVID-19 Critical Infrastructure Update
Recorded April 22, 2020
Scott Johnson and Jim Yates discuss the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and Interim Guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers, construction material suppliers and other workers whose activities are covered within stay-at-home exceptions.

Real Estate

man holding keysCOVID-19: Impact on Mortgage Servicing and Foreclosure Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic, attendant stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders and abrupt closure of vast swaths of the national economy suddenly have called into question borrowers’ ability to service home mortgage debt. Both the federal government and the Ohio legislature are moving quickly to respond.



street sceneOhio Governor Requests Leniency for Commercial Tenants and Borrowers 

On April 1, 2020, Governor DeWine issued Executive Order 2020-08D to provide financial relief to small business commercial tenants and commercial real estate borrowers in the State of Ohio. Recognizing that the economic impacts of COVID-19 have made it difficult for Ohio businesses to make payments of rent and loans, the order sets forth the following directives.



hotelCOVID-19: A Major Disaster for Ohio Real Estate Developers and Investors:  Extended Deadlines

It seems in the era of COVID-19, we start our day with these ominous headlines—Emergency, Major Disaster. But what do these terms mean legally and what affect might the declaration have on Ohio’s commercial real estate market?



house with treeStripping Down Residential Mortgages Under the Small Business Reorganization Act: A Preview of Things to Come?

Among SBRA’s many new provisions is Section 1190(3), which negates the general Chapter 11 prohibition on modifying claims secured solely by a security interest in real property that is the debtor’s principal residence.

Restaurants

bartender pouring drinksRelief in a Bottle Part Deux:  Ohio’s Liquor Rebate Program

On May 11, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced a one-time Liquor Rebate Program available to help Ohio bars and restaurants preparing to reopen in the coming weeks.



Ohio Liquor Permit Fees and BuybackRelief in a Bottle: Support for Ohio Liquor Permit Holders

To assist restaurants, bars, alcohol manufacturers, and other related businesses during the pandemic, Ohio has proposed a refund of certain liquor permit fees and instituted a liquor buy back program.



take out neon signGet Your Quarantine Cocktail To-Go: How the Ohio Liquor Control Commission’s Emergency Rule Clarifies Permissible Alcohol Take-Out and Delivery Sales
As establishments continue to adjust to this new way of business, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission (the Commission) has issued an emergency rule that clarifies what types of alcohol sales are permissible for liquor permit holders.

Small Businesses

Downtown BuildingsFederal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve announced new terms for its Main Street Lending Program to support the provision of credit to small and medium-size businesses. Using funds appropriated by the CARES Act, the Federal Reserve has pledged to purchase up to $600 billion of participations in eligible loans from qualified lenders.



red envelope with $100 billsLending Support for Small Businesses Available Through JobsOhio Banking Partnership

Governor DeWine announced a new partnership between JobsOhio, Peoples Bank, and First Federal/Home Savings Bank. Utilizing $50 million committed to the partnership by JobsOhio, the banks will have additional capacity to support existing small business clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. 



businesses buildingsOhio Opens New Office of Small Business Relief

Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses now have a government office dedicated to their COVID-19 relief options and resources. In an April 7, 2020 news release, Governor DeWine announced the creation of an Office of Small Business Relief (OSBR) within the Ohio Development Services Agency.



open sign
Expansion of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Under the CARES Act

The CARES Act contains a host of expanded programs available to small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Although the PPP has garnered much of the attention, a $10 billion expansion of the SBA 7(b) EIDL Program should not be overlooked. The CARES Act significantly loosened requirements for small businesses and created opportunities for small businesses to utilize the EIDL Program to meet operating expenses during these uncertain times.



woman on computerCARES Act SBA Deferment

The recently passed CARES Act allocates approximately $17 billion in relief to subsidize six months of payments for: (a) small businesses with existing SBA loans; and (b) small businesses soon to obtain an SBA loan.  The act encourages lenders to provide payment deferments to its borrowers and extend the maturity dates of SBA loans to avoid impending balloon payments. In return, the SBA will provide, as coverage to the lender, the payment of principal, interest and any fees.



PPP Under CARES Act
The Paycheck Protection Program Under the CARES Act

Among other programs providing economic relief to businesses by the CARES Act, is the creation of a forgivable loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program was created as an addition to the existing framework for SBA Section 7(a) loans.



gavel on deskThe Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019
The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA) effective February 19, 2020, created a new, streamlined process for small business debtors seeking a fresh start in bankruptcy. With many small businesses struggling to survive the economic disruption caused by the recent COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) pandemic, debtors and lenders unfortunately may find themselves navigating this new process in the near future.



house with treeStripping Down Residential Mortgages Under the Small Business Reorganization Act: A Preview of Things to Come?
Among SBRA’s many new provisions is Section 1190(3), which negates the general Chapter 11 prohibition on modifying claims secured solely by a security interest in real property that is the debtor’s principal residence.

Travel

Welcome to Ohio SignWelcome to Ohio (But Only After 14 Days of Quarantine):  Nonresident Travel and Places Social Distancing Requirements on Stores, Among Other Changes
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout the United States, many states’ governors have decided to institute self-quarantine requirements for nonresidents entering their borders. On April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will do the same pursuant to an order by Dr. Amy Action, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. 

Women-Owned Businesses

women viewing computer How the CARES Act Benefits Women and Women-Owned Businesses

The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion worth of financial assistance to individuals, businesses and health care systems affected by COVID-19. Some sections require that money be allocated to specific types of businesses or businesses with certain ownership characteristics. As this article will discuss, women-owned businesses and businesses that support women are among the groups that will receive funding.

Individuals

Intellectual Property

USPTOCARES Act: USPTO Allows Trademark and Patent Extensions

Currently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is closed to the public but is open for the filing of documents and fees. However, it is allowing extensions of time for certain patent and trademark filings and for the payment of certain fees pursuant to an exercise of temporary authority provided via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Rebates

woman on phoneIndividual Economic Impact Payments Under the CARES Act

The CARES Act provides a refundable tax credit of up to $1,200 to individual tax payers, or up to $2,400 for taxpayers filing jointly. Taxpayers with children under the age of 17 will receive an additional $500 per child. While the rebate for taxpayers is adjusted based on income, the tax credit provided for children is a fixed amount independent of income level. The credit is exclusive to children and does not include other dependents. 

Retirement Plans

calculator pen chartRetirement Plan Provisions and Employer Decisions

The CARES Act contains provisions for relief to businesses and their employees during the current crisis. Among those provisions are temporary relief to businesses obligated to fund pension plans, and potentially greater access to funds held in pension plans for employees affected by COVID-19. While we have no guidance as of yet, these do not appear to be requirements, and in some circumstances businesses will have to elect to allow their employees to take advantage of these provisions.

Student Loans

student loan word cloudHow Does COVID-19 Affect Your Student Loans?

For many individuals, student loans are a large part of financial stress, with an even greater concern during times where one may become unemployed due to unforeseen circumstances, rendering repayment impossible. To ensure financial relief for federal student loan borrowers, the CARES Act was enacted, which made substantial adjustments to guidelines regarding federal student loans.

Travel

Welcome to Ohio SignWelcome to Ohio (But Only After 14 Days of Quarantine):  Nonresident Travel and Places Social Distancing Requirements on Stores, Among Other Changes
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout the United States, many states’ governors have decided to institute self-quarantine requirements for nonresidents entering their borders. On April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will do the same pursuant to an order by Dr. Amy Action, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. 

Women

women viewing computer How the CARES Act Benefits Women and Women-Owned Businesses

The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion worth of financial assistance to individuals, businesses and health care systems affected by COVID-19. Some sections require that money be allocated to specific types of businesses or businesses with certain ownership characteristics. As this article will discuss, women-owned businesses and businesses that support women are among the groups that will receive funding.

Additional Information

Webinars

Two animals with locked hornsBusiness Disputes and Litigation: as the Pandemic Rolls On
Recorded July 16, 2020

The historic business disruptions instigated by COVID-19 have caused business deals to be delayed, disputed or outright derailed. These events require a proactive approach to mitigate risks from disagreements and litigation.



Door opening on Ohio flag.Reopening Ohio and PPP Loan Forgiveness Complimentary Webinar
Recorded June 10, 2020
As Ohio reopens its economy, employees return to work and customers enter the workplace, businesses will continue to face numerous challenges. In this webinar, the speakers will address various considerations associated with Ohio's phased reopening plan as well as applying for and qualifying for forgiveness of the PPP loans.



Lynn Vuketich LutherLuther to Present at HRASM Webinar
May 20, 2020

Eastman & Smith member Lynn Vuketich Luther is co-presenting at the Human Resource Association of Southeast Michigan webinar, “Back to the Future of Work.”



waitress taking orderEmployment Law Update: Legal Considerations for Managing the Return to the Workplace
Recorded April 30, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal for employers and presents new challenges as they begin to re-open. Understanding recent regulations as well as state, federal and CDC guidelines, is key to successfully tackling these challenges and ensuring a safe environment for employees and customers.



man pushing workplace safety buttonCOVID-19 and its Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claims
Recorded April 28, 2020
Join us for a webinar providing employers with practical information to help them handle workers’ compensation concerns and effectively manage their workers’ compensation programs.



Mike RegnierRegnier To Speak at National Malpractice Webinar
April 23, 2020
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Eastman & Smith member Michael W. Regnier will be co-presenting at an NCMIC Insurance Company webinar, “Malpractice Defense in the Time of COVID-19.”



intersectionCOVID-19 Critical Infrastructure Update
Recorded April 22, 2020
Scott Johnson and Jim Yates discuss the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and Interim Guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers, construction material suppliers and other workers whose activities are covered within stay-at-home exceptions.



hand water pillCreditors' Rights and COVID-19
Recorded April 16, 2020
The current pandemic, and recent changes to bankruptcy law, jointly present difficult and interesting questions for creditors, small businesses and commercial litigation.



group of people near water fountainDurham and DeGoricia Address OML/OMAA Regarding COVID-19 and Public Health
Recorded April 10, 2020

Isolation, quarantine, stay at home order, health district licensing and constitutional and privacy issues were discussed by Eastman & Smith member Joseph R. Durham and new associate Lauren M. DeGoricia via the webinar “Overview of Public Health Law and Local Health Districts.”



classroom The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Responding to Employee Leave Requests in an Uncertain Time
Recorded April 3, 2020

Join Eastman & Smith Ltd. attorneys Jim Yates and Sarah Pawlicki on April 3, 2020 at noon for a webinar in which they will walk businesses through the FFCRA and the regulations and how to respond to employee requests for leave.



Carrie and Tom
Dixon and Urrutia Panelists at UTFBC Virtual Roundtable
Recorded April 2, 2020

Thomas A. Dixon and Carrie L. Urrutia, members of Eastman & Smith, were panelists in a virtual roundtable “Understanding the HR Implications of COVID-19.” 



doctor writing on clipboard
COVID-19 Critical Care for Your Business
Recorded March 31, 2020

With the rapidly changing landscape as we react to the COVID-19 virus, it is not business as usual.  This webinar is designed to bring timely, relevant and impactful insights on how this pandemic may affect your business.



scott and gary
Harden and Johnson Panelists at UTFBC Virtual Roundtable
Recorded March 31, 2020

Gary M. Harden and Scott A. Johnson were panelists in a virtual roundtable regarding COVID-19’s financial impact.  Mr. Johnson addressed  loan programs and commercial contracts while Mr. Harden discussed federal and state tax implications.  Other panelists spoke on additional business issues including insurance and human resources.  The University of Toledo Family Business Center hosted the event.



man pushing work safety image
COVID-19 and the Employer’s Response: What Can We Do? 
Recorded March 25, 2020

Discusses the legalities of addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, available benefits for employees including an expansion of the availability of unemployment benefits, and paid leave requirements contained in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Firm Announcements

We Are Here for YouWe Are Here for You

As a legal service provider, Eastman & Smith is deemed an essential business and is able to continue to provide its legal services to its clients. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, we have taken additional responsive steps to ensure that we can provide such legal services in a manner that maximizes our ability to protect the health of our employees, clients, business partners and communities and allow us to do our part in limiting the spread of this disease. 



Eastman & Smith's Response to COVID-19Eastman & Smith's Response to COVID-19

Our Firm has continuously provided legal services to our clients for more than 175 years, and we are committed to doing so during this challenging time. We have implemented measures in all of our Firm’s offices to ensure the safety of our employees and clients and to provide continuity of service to our clients.  We take the health and safety of our employees, clients, business partners, our legal communities and the community at large very seriously.