COVID-19 Response Team

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Overview

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

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.

In the News

Robert Shimberg Featured in Tampa Bay Times
"Tampa Bay businesses, hospitals watch for details of Biden vaccine mandates"
(September 10, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Featured in Business Observer
"Thorny workplace issues clog reopening plans"
(September 2, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Bay News 9
"Rule from FL Dept. of Health – Businesses & governments could face $5k fine for requiring proof of vaccination"
(September 2, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Featured in Fox 13 Tampa Bay News Story
“FDA Approval Makes COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Easier”
(August 24, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Joins the Legal Talk Network's Legal Talk Today podcast
"CDC’s Mask Reversal for the Vaccinated"
(August 23, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Florida Parents Suing Governor DeSantis Over Mask Mandate"
(August 10, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
“How Will These Mask Mandates Impact Tampa Bay?”
(July 30, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with ABC Action News
“Tampa's Straz Center Now Requires All Employees to Get COVID-19 Vaccine”
(July 30, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Can We Cruise in Florida Yet?"
(June 11, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with 10 Tampa Bay WTSP
How Employers and Employees Can Navigate Both the Mask and Vaccine Rules When Returning to Work
(May 19, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Who Can/Cannot Ask If You've Been Vaccinated?"
(May 19, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Hillsborough County Votes To Extend Emergency Order, But Mask Mandates Are Lifted."
(May 6, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Bay News 9
"How Coronavirus Affects Your Rights at Work"
(May 3, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"What Some Industries are Doing to get Workers In Line for Vaccine"
(January 11, 2021)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with ABC Action News
"Can Employers Require Vaccinations Before Allowing Employees to Return to Office"
(December 9, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Can Employers Ask Employees to Limit Time They Spend Socially During Holidays"
(December 8, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Bay News 9
"Workplaces Limiting Employee Holidays"
(December 7, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"
Business Groups Demand COVID Protection Laws"
(December 1, 2020)

John Grandoff Quoted in Tampa Bay Times Article
"International Plaza to open Arhous, Impact on Malls from Pandemic"
(November 10, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"What Businesses Can Do to Protect Themselves"
(September 28, 2020)

Greg Brown Quoted in Tampa Bay Business Journal Article
"Settling Business Disputes Could Take Years"
(September 3, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"FL Restaurants & Bars Now Required to Follow CDC Employee Screening" 
(August 14, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"If You Don’t Wear a Mask in Public When Mandated-What Are the Consequences?" 
(June 23, 2020)

Gordon Hill Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Supreme Court's Ruling on LGBTQ Workplace Protections" 
(June 19, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay
"Tampa Attorney Robert Shimberg -How Restaurant Owners Are Handling COVID-19 Outbreak" 
(June 18, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Quoted in Tampa Bay Business Journal Article
"Facing a Covid-19 case at your bar or restaurant? Here's what one Tampa attorney says you should do"
(June 17, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Featured in The Washington Post Article
"There Is No Playbook: Restaurants Are Closing Again After Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus"
(June 17, 2020)

Ben Dachepalli's Article Featured in The Daily Business Journal
"Construction May Be 'Essential' But It Is Not Immune - Tips to Mitigate Against COVID-Related Delays"
 
(June 16, 2020)

Robert Shimberg Featured in ABC Action News WFTS Tampa Bay Article
"Restaurants deal with COVID-19 exposures, implement measures going forward"
(June 15, 2020)

Matthew Hall Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay 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
"Small businesses suing insurance companies after being denied claims"

(April 16, 2020)

Matthew Hall Interview in WFLA Channel 8 Article
"What money is available for struggling small businesses?

(March 31, 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)

Scott McLaren Interviews with Newsradio 970's AM Tampa Bay discussing Stay-At-Home and Shelter-In-Place Orders 
(March 26, 2020)

 

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