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As a full-service law firm, Hill Ward Henderson caters to the needs of clients spanning a broad range of industries and professions. With over 100 attorneys, the scope of practice areas we provide is vast, with much depth and “bench strength” among both transactional and litigation disciplines. 

COVID-19 Response Team

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The impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to most industries are far-reaching. Hill Ward Henderson’s COVID-19 Response Team is a cross-disciplinary group of lawyers that is closely monitoring the legal implications the outbreak has on your business.

Our lawyers continue to advise clients on the significant legal challenges facing companies and businesses, and can provide comprehensive guidance in the following areas:

CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the largest economic bill in U.S. History, and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) into law. The CARES Act is expected to provide $2 trillion in emergency economic relief to those impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our attorneys can help businesses navigate and take advantage of this stimulus package. Please click here for a summary of the significant provisions of the CARES Act.  

Contacts: Kevin Sutton, Robert Shimberg, Gordon Hill, Kirsten Vignec, Bret Hamlin, Zach Watt, Matt Hall, Prestin Weidner, Justin Wallace

Communication, Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness

Communication and a timely response to fast moving issues are critical considerations for all businesses. Our attorneys are available round the clock to address questions and to assist in drafting communication to employees, customers and the public as well as preparing and updating emergency preparedness and contingency plans. We are also available to assist in the event your business, work area or job site encounters some type of COVID-19 related issue.

Contacts: Robert Shimberg, Scott McLaren

Labor and Employment

Our Employment Law team can assist with human resources counseling and drafting response plans, policies, procedures, and employee notices related to COVID-19 in the workplace.  We can help with managing employees who have tested positive or who have been exposed to the virus, workplace safety issues, absenteeism, telecommuting/working remotely, travel restrictions, managing leaves of absence under the FMLA and other forms of leave (paid and unpaid), temporary furloughs and office closures, and wage and hour issues (such as timekeeping, minimum wage, and overtime).

Contacts: Gordon HillJeff Wilcox

Employee Benefits and HIPAA

Our attorneys can provide you with the information that you need to address privacy issues under HIPAA, including if and when disclosures can be made regarding an individual that has contracted or exposed to COVID-19. We can also assist with any questions regarding the provision of benefits as they relate to COVID-19, including but not limited to, modifications to health coverage to address the testing and treatment of COVID-19, the continuation of benefits coverage in the event of a temporary company closure or self-quarantine and the potential effect that a diagnosis may have on other benefits.  

Contact: Kirsten Vignec

Business, Contracts & Force Majeure

Our Contract Law and Business Litigation team can assist with evaluating rights and exposures to the extent contractually secured events, goods and services are interrupted as a result of COVID-19 or government orders or regulations as a result of the virus. While the terms of any contract may ultimately control, Florida law recognizes contractual force majeure clauses and the common law doctrine of force majeure. In addition, common law doctrines of impracticability/frustration of purpose and the defense of impossibility may come in to play. Our contract litigators have experience with these legal principles and can analyze, defend or enforce rights presented by commercial displacement as a result of the virus.  

We can also help evaluate the recoverable business damages or potential liability resulting from any contract breach, even if that is an “efficient” or intentional breach due to concerns over exposure for cancelling or not cancelling events, or based on supply interruptions due to products ordered or supplied from overseas that may harbor the virus. Whether someone has terminated a contract with you or you are contemplating the need to terminate a contract due to the virus or government regulation, our lawyers stand ready to help.

Contacts: Mark Wall, Greg Brown

 Healthcare

Our Healthcare team continues to monitor developments throughout the healthcare industry and can advise clients on regulatory, transactional and operational matters. 

Contacts: Howard HunterEthen Shapiro, Chad Burgess

Insurance and Risk Management 

The COVID-19 pandemic creates real risks to businesses of all types. Those in management would be well advised to review the specific risks COVID-19 creates for their business and identify ways to manage those risks. Those management tools may include existing insurance policies and additional coverages available in the insurance market.  Now would be the perfect time to review your existing insurance policies, including among others property, business interruption, general liability, and D&O, to determine whether potential claims would be covered or excluded. If you find that your firm does not have certain coverage that it would prefer to have, it may not be too late to secure that coverage. Our Insurance and Risk Management team can assist in these efforts by advising you about your existing policies and potential coverage that you may not have, and evaluating, submitting, or responding to claims and suits, to help you navigate the COVID-19 crisis.  

Contacts: Mark CriserMatthew Hall

Real Estate

Our Real Estate and Land Use attorneys are prepared to assist you through interruptions in meeting your real estate goals as a result of regulations and emergency orders issued related to COVID-19 and the practical impact of the virus on the economy. Parties may need to modify contracts to extend closing dates or due diligence timelines and lenders may reevaluate certain loan approvals. Many public meetings at which your projects may be considered are being delayed, cancelled or have limited participation which creates procedural due process issues for all involved. While the State of Florida did issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19, recent statutory amendments may limit the ability for property owners and developers to avail themselves of permit extensions generally associated with such orders.  

Contacts: Katie Cole, Kami Corbett

Construction

Our Construction team is available to provide you with information and assistance regarding design and construction projects that are currently in progress or in the contract negotiation stage. We can assist with navigating and negotiating contract terms involving issues such as extensions of time, procurement delays, labor shortages, project safety, requests for additional compensation, and more.  

Contacts: Tim Hunt, Rocco Cafaro, Jason Molder

Recent Advisories and Resources

Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Guidance and Rules (May 27, 2020)

SBA Extends Time for Borrowers to Consider PPP Safe Harbor for the Loan Necessity Certification (May 14, 2020)

PPP Safe Harbor Guidance on the Loan Necessity Certification (May 13, 2020)

Reopening the Workplace Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 7, 2020)

CARES Act Retirement Plan and Other Employee Benefit Plans Relief (April 15, 2020)

IRS Releases Additional Guidance for CARES Act Payroll Deferrals (April 10, 2020)

Changing Environment for Venture Capital Transactions (April 7, 2020)

Federal Paid Leave - DOL and IRS Publish Additional Guidance on FFCRA (April 3, 2020)

Florida Statewide Stay at Home Order (April 1, 2020)

Paycheck Protection Program Guidance Issued (April 1, 2020)

President Trump Signs CARE Act and Significant Developments to FFCRA (March 28, 2020)

COVID-19 Jurisdictional Update (March 27, 2020)

COVID-19 Pandemic Measures by Jurisdiction (Updated May 18, 2020)

A “Shelter In Place” Order May Be Imminent: How Will This Impact Your Business? (March 23, 2020)

Governor’s Executive Order on the COVID-19 Virus Qualifies as a “Natural Emergency” – Allows for Tolling of Permits (March 22, 2020)

Employers Must Prepare Now as Legislature Passes Coronavirus Leave Bill (March 19, 2020)

Financial Resources May Be Available for Small Businesses in Florida  (March 19, 2020)

CMSHHS Issues FAQs on Essential Health Benefits and COVID-19 (March 17, 2020)

Legal Implications for Telecommuting / Working from Home in Response to the Coronavirus (March 17, 2020)

IRS Issues Guidance for HDHPs and Expenses Related to COVID-19 (March 12, 2020)

Employment Law Update - Coronavirus (March 3, 2020)

Webinars & Webcasts

HWH Attorney Robert Shimberg Discusses Contact Tracing with Dr. Jay Wolfson Webcast (May 20, 2020)

Planning Options and Considerations for Employers Navigating COVID-19 in the Workplace Webinar Recording (March 25, 2020)

Planning Options and Considerations for Employers Navigating COVID-19 in the Workplace Webinar Slides (March 25, 2020)

Navigating the Immediate Business Implications from COVID-19 Webinar Recording (March 19, 2020)

Navigating the Immediate Business Implications from COVID-19 Webinar Slides (March 19, 2020)

News

Matthew Hall Interview with AM Tampa Bay-970 WFLA discussing the Paycheck Protection Program (April 21, 2020)

Matthew Hall Interview in Tampa Bay Times article "Fraud, bad actors are inevitable with $350 billion federal loan program" (April 20, 2020)

Matthew Hall Interview in WFLA Channel 8 article "What money is available for struggling small businesses? (March 31, 2020)

Justin Wallace's Interview with AM Tampa Bay-970 WFLA discussing the Breakdown of $2 Trillion Stimulus Package (March 27, 2020) 

Justin Wallace's Interview in Tampa Bay Times article, "Coronavirus Stimulus Checks Will help Tampa Bay, But Only For So Long" (March 27, 2020)

Scott McLaren's Interview in WFLA Channel 8 article "Stay-at-home in Tampa: Mayor Castor Looking to Issue City-Wide Order as Coronavirus Concerns Grow" (March 26, 2020)

 

To sign up for our COVID-19-related advisories and resources, click here.

DISCLAIMER: The situation surrounding COVID-19 is continuously evolving and the subject matter discussed in the above communications is subject to change. Please contact one of our attorneys for the most updated information and timely advice.

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