In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts and litigants are reinventing civil litigation – holding hearings on Zoom or Skype, using emails and conference calls to communicate status, and taking remote depositions. That said, “virtual discovery” is not new. Since 1993, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure expressly authorized taking depositions by remote electronic means. States including Ohio, Massachusetts and Texas have followed suit. See, e.g., Ohio R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6); Mass. R. Civ. P. 29; Tex. R. Civ. P. 199.1

Continue Reading Pitfalls of Remote Depositions

Many cities and states have issued guidance regarding face coverings, social distancing, and other safety measures for employees. When each state has different, rapidly evolving guidance, and sometimes conflicting guidance, this can quickly become confusing.  However, failure to establish policies and obtain consent can expose startups to litigation.

Startups may have questions and concerns regarding

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) was recently passed to provide economic relief to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Due to the number of businesses that applied for aid, funding for the CARES Act was quickly depleted. On April 24, 2020, President Trump signed into law an amendment to the CARES Act providing additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) grants and loans. The amendment increased the appropriation level for PPP by $321.335 billion (which includes an additional $310 billion for PPP loans, and $11.335 billion for administrative fees) and authorized an additional $10 billion for emergency EIDL grants and $50 billion for EIDL loans. As before, both the PPP and EIDL funds are available on a first-come, first serve-basis. Consequently, eligible businesses that are interested in benefiting from these programs are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as funds from this second round are also expected to be exhausted quickly.

To assist you in your application process, we have prepared a brief overview of the eligibility requirements, terms and application procedures for the PPP and EIDL loan programs. If you have any additional questions please visit the Husch Blackwell CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions page or contact a member of the Cortex Team.


Continue Reading Additional Funding Now Available for Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Many business operations affected heavily by environmental regulations are considered “essential” and are up and running to ensure our country has the products and services it needs to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.  We are hearing that these businesses are straining under the pressure to maintain social distancing requirements, quarantine individuals exposed to the virus, sustain operations with reduced personnel, protect their personnel, and preserve their supply chain resources.  Although all companies understand the need to protect human health and the environment, it may be impossible to meet every deadline, take every reading, and make every inspection during this emergency.

Recognizing this reality, many Federal and state agencies are issuing enforcement relief and response policies providing guidance on how to respond if environmental or other regulatory requirements can’t be met.  Husch Blackwell has gathered Federal and state COVID-19 enforcement relief and response policies for environmental and motor carrier safety regulations.  A complete list of these policies is posted as a resource on our website.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Enforcement Relief and Response Policies

At Husch Blackwell we understand the financial hardships our startup clients are facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are facing challenges in your business and would like to recommend that you take a moment to review the questions below as you plan the next steps your startup should take.

Is Your Business is Essential?

As states issue shelter at home orders, businesses deemed non-essential are closing. While guidance varies by state, there are often exemptions for specific essential businesses or those industries supporting essential businesses. If you qualify, you may need to take some steps to confirm your company may remain operational under an exemption and get your workers the proper paperwork to explain why they are out on the streets. You can find the latest guidance for your state at Husch Blackwell’s COVID-19 State-by-State Guidance Resource Center. One of our attorneys can help you to determine and draft any additional documentation needed to support that you are running an essential business.

Is Your Business Eligible for the CARES Act SBA Loan Program?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the U.S. government to respond with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest economic stimulus plan in history.
Continue Reading 4 Questions for Startups Following COVID-19 Business Disruptions

Multiple state governors have issued orders for their residents to shelter at home and for non-essential businesses to close. We expect this to occur in most other states, if not all, in the near term. Although the directives vary from state to state, there is a focus on keeping “essential” businesses and functions operational. How do we know what businesses and services are “essential”?

That question is likely to be up for significant debate; however, guidance has been offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).  Christopher Krebs, Director of CISA, announced in a memorandum that CISA, in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, have developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” This list is designed to assist state, local and tribal officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. 
Continue Reading As Shelter-in-Place Orders Spread, What Businesses are Essential?

Due to its suddenness and severity, overnight the COVID-19 outbreak has rearranged the priorities of corporate legal departments. Things that were of top-of-list importance yesterday have likely been replaced by action items that were inconceivable just a few weeks ago. Additionally, the “all-hands-on-deck” approach to managing the crisis is likely to last for some time and perhaps longer than any of us could have imagined. There are going to be many legal issues of great strategic importance that simply won’t receive the attention they require; likewise, there will be day-to-day issues that could also be overlooked. Environmental monitoring and reporting requirements could be among those.
Continue Reading Environmental Compliance During COVID-19 Business Disruption