COVID-19 Update: FAQ and Other Information for Clients

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Laptop with various paper coming out of itWhile it is likely that businesses will think to add force majeure clauses to future contracts, there is also reason to believe the specific language of these clauses could be modified. Likewise, there are other changes to be expected in post-pandemic contracts.

In the July 2, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “The Future of Business Contracts Post-COVID-19.

Recently, I authored a column on force majeure clauses. In that space, I explained how many businesses have recently been turning to force majeure clauses in their contracts for protection in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is likely that businesses will think to add force majeure clauses to future contracts, there is also reason to believe the specific language of these clauses could be modified. Likewise, there are other changes to be expected in post-pandemic contracts.

Businessman in suit on green background.When nonresident members of a corporate group, usually the parent company, should expect to be subjected to the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania courts when one of the entities, usually the subsidiary, is based or does business in the state.

In the June 18, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Piercing the Corporate Veil of Corporate Groups to Establish Alter Ego Jurisdiction.

Last June, in this space, I authored a column about Pennsylvania law on substantive and procedural aspects of piercing the corporate veil of companies to reach the assets of their shareholders or the assets of a parent company in corporate groups. In early January 2020, I wrote a column about the development of Pennsylvania law on establishing personal jurisdiction over registered nonresident businesses since the Supreme Court’s decisions in. In this case, I address the intersection of those two related columns in cases involving corporate groups. That is, when nonresident members of a corporate group, usually the parent company, should expect to be subjected to the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania courts when one of the entities, usually the subsidiary, is based or does business in the state.

Tablet with financial reports next to man with briefcase.Given the pandemic and its effect on financial markets coupled with the loss of contribution hours in certain industries, such a construction, many defined benefit pension plans have become underfunded once again.  What may come as a surprise to contributing employers of multi-employer pension plans is the impact an underfunded pension plan can have on their business upon withdrawal from the plan.  Employers should be aware of withdrawal liability and how to minimize its financial consequences. Continue reading ›

Female judge holding notebook and gavel

With Complaints Rapidly Increasing across the U.S., Now is the time to act

As of May 26, 2020, 2,278 complaints have been filed nationwide over the global pandemic COVID-19 according to the COVID-19 Complaint Tracker developed by lawyers at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. While the largest amount of these complaints deal with prison conditions and civil rights , the next highest areas of litigation involve insurance disputes, consumer disputes, labor and employment issues  and contract disputes. Claims regarding employment, contracts and force majeure provisions, or clauses contained in contracts which excuse performance due to natural destructive acts also known as “acts of God,” are on the rise. These complaints will continue to be filed as the effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt in ever-changing ways. Many of these complaints have been filed in jurisdictions where Kang Haggerty regularly practices—namely COVID-19 hot spots New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Continue reading ›

Illustration of business paperwork by Megan RexazinMany businesses have now turned to the force majeure clauses present in their contracts—invoking the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseeable “act of God” that has hindered the ability of parties to perform their duties as agreed.

In the May 14, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Force Majeure During a Pandemic and Potential Contractual Disputes

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and individuals alike have struggled with following through on contracts that were agreed upon long before the novel coronavirus was even discovered, let alone foreseen as the cause of a worldwide health crisis. Many have now turned to the force majeure clauses present in their contracts—invoking the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseeable “act of God” that has hindered the ability of parties to perform their duties as agreed. For those who do not have such clauses present in their contracts, can the same concept be invoked in a court of law?

Magnifying glass
In the April 9, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “When to Hire Outside Lawyers to Conduct an Internal Investigation: Revisited

In early November 2019, I wrote an article about the high-profile women who had called on Comcast to conduct an internal investigation regarding the alleged widespread culture of sexual harassment within the company. I discussed this issue and the rising calls for internal investigations within many industries and companies and their importance.

Since that article was published, Comcast has not been able to leave the spotlight on this issue. If anything, the calls for an internal investigation have only grown stronger. For example, four Democratic presidential candidates (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) called on the Democratic National Committee to make a formal demand on Comcast to perform an investigation regarding sexual misconduct before the November debate which was hosted by Comcast-owed MSNBC. Also, in November, Comcast went before the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision permitting a $20 billion racial discrimination suit to proceed against the company. Though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the matter, you should keep an eye out for its decision in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.

Back of head facing screenIn the March 19, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Time to Reconsider Remote Depositions in the Age of COVID-19

Remote depositions allow the deposition to proceed even though the witness is not in the same room as some or all of the other participating counsel and other persons entitled to be present.

As social distancing, travel limitations and working from home have become the norm due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), lawyers should give renewed consideration to conducting depositions by remote means. Remote depositions allow the deposition to proceed even though the witness is not in the same room as some or all of the other participating counsel and other persons entitled to be present.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(4) and similar state rules authorize remote depositions by stipulation of the parties or court order. Having conducted several depositions through remote means recently, including expert depositions, our firm attorneys believe the benefits of taking remote depositions far outweigh the perceived limitations. Continue reading ›

In response to the 2008 financial crisis, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) in 2010, focused on addressing sectors of the financial services industry. Dodd-Frank was to be implemented over time: Section 1071 (15 U.S. Code § 1691c-2(a)) has been pushed back on the implementation timeline, as it does not become effective until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) implements regulations – which it has not.

Section 1071 amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  It requires financial institutions and governmental entities to compile, maintain, and submit data to the CFPB regarding credit applications submitted by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.

Continue reading ›

In the January 23, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Beyond the Courts: The Potential Future of Arbitration

This recent decision has implications for how practitioners understand the court system and arbitration system to usually work, as well as raising already-existent questions about the fairness of arbitration clauses and its applicability for various types of claims.

In a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, we saw a rare event—the court affirmed the district court’s decision to vacate an arbitration award in Monongahela Valley Hospital v. United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC, ___F.3d___ (3d Cir. Dec. 30, 2019). This case exemplified one of the rare situations in which the courts have decided to exercise authority and “correct” arbitration awards that have appeared to be blatantly unfair, which could arise from a variety of reasons. This recent decision has implications for how practitioners understand the court system and arbitration system to usually work, as well as raising already-existent questions about the fairness of arbitration clauses and its applicability for various types of claims.

Monongahela Valley Hospital involved a dispute between the hospital and one of its “bargaining unit” employees who are members of the union under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). About half of the employees of the hospital are supervisors who are not bargaining unit employees. The CBA governed the relationship between the hospital and the bargaining unit employees. The grievances centered around the hospital’s denial of a unit bargaining employee’s request for vacation due to a non-unit bargaining employee’s request for the same time off. The hospital denied the unit bargaining employee’s request because her supervisor, a nonbargaining unit employee, had requested the same week off and both could not be away at the same time. Using its authority to have the “final” say in the matter, the hospital denied the bargaining unit employee’s request. Continue reading ›

In connection with its legislative directive to “specify the formats and methods for all filings and certifications required pursuant to this section and generally, for all filings and certifications required under the purview of the division” the Director of the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services announced certain streamlined mechanisms for entities of revoked status in New Jersey. Continue reading ›

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