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Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force: Coronavirus Disease 2019

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Greenberg Traurig’s Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has insight and experience that may be critical to clients as the world continues to monitor and address this situation caused by the newly discovered virus. During and following a health emergency, individuals, businesses and property owners confront a host of legal issues, perhaps for the first time. Decisions often need to be made very quickly and under difficult circumstances. As the world continues to monitor and address the impact of COVID-19, being prepared for related issues and legal implications makes good business sense.

GT's Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force is a multidisciplinary, collaborative team drawn from the firm's offices around the world. We help clients proactively identify and prepare for the legal issues likely to arise in the event of a health emergency and assist in implementing planning measures in key operational areas to help preserve life, property and business interests, and to minimize exposure to future legal liability. In addition, we serve as a response team to assist clients in managing their legal issues in the aftermath of a health emergency, whether it is the COVID-19 or another pandemic. GT was included on the April 2020 BTI list of “43 Law Firms Clients Say are Winning in the COVID-19 World.” Please see our list of resources below including links to relevant articles, blog posts, and GT Alerts, as well as links to Task Force member biographies and practice areas. 

GT is Focused on Safety and Continuity in Response to Crisis

Greenberg Traurig continues to be vigilant in monitoring the current COVID-19 crisis and how it may affect our clients, attorneys, business staff, and our families. We are focused on the safety of all involved as well as on the continuity of services. Click to access a PDF discussing some of the measures currently in place at GT

COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Information

In response to the CARES Act which was signed by the President on March 27, 2020, we have assembled a team of GT attorneys (COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Team) who can help specifically address the lending and financing options available to clients.

Few firms have the breadth of resources GT does, and we are bringing together the deep experience of our team of attorneys across our Government Contracts & Projects, Financial Regulatory and Compliance, Corporate, Labor and Employment, Restructuring and Bankruptcy, and Government Law & Policy practices.

The COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Team can work with you and your clients to:

  • Explain and address key considerations relating to both SBA and non-SBA loan options, including information on (1) the Emergency Disaster Loan Program; (2) the newly available SBA loan options; (3) the broader Title IV loan program options; and (4) other financial related relief options.
  • Assist in determining who is eligible, and help guide clients through the application process.
  • Assist with structuring, restructuring, and alternative financing arrangements across industry sectors.
  • Advise on labor and employment requirements under the new legislation.

Click here for updates on the CARES Act and the Economic Stimulus Package.

Situation Updates

Given the fluid nature of this situation, we will post links to critical updates as needed on our COVID-19 Situation Updates Page. Our Task Force can be reached at prepared@gtlaw.com.

SERVICES


Business Continuity

  • Advise and address with business continuity planning (on pre-emergency and post event)
  • Advise on the legal aspects of Crisis Communications
  • Perform pre-emergency review of human resources policies; draft and help implement specific policies pertaining to disasters
  • Assist clients facing global supply chain disruptions, manufacturing issues as well as other questions of risk allocation in commercial contracts  
  • Assess whether existing privacy policies are sufficient to cover the data to be collected from employees, visitors, customers and others for purposes of the COVID-19 response
  • Advise on federal, state and county reporting requirements 
  • Collaborate across practices to provide guidance on applicable regulations, ongoing updates to protocols, and assist with navigating multi-agency interactions
  • Work with companies processing health data in conducting and documenting new data-related activities undertaken for responding to COVID-19
  • Assist consumer product companies in assessing liability exposure and legal risk by canceling outstanding purchase orders and moving production to other countries
  • Advise clients on managing pre-emergency workforce issues in compliance with HIPAA and other regulatory requirements
  • Counsel governmental entities regarding working capital necessary to respond to the current health crisis
  • Provide guidance on the applicable statutory, regulatory and contractual restrictions on the collection and uses of personal data from employees, employees’ families, visitors, customers and others, and possible ways to mitigate risks relating to such collection and use (e.g., European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), EU Member State laws, the California Consumer Privacy Act, etc.)


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Contract and Transactional Issues

  • Advise on legal aspects of event contracts, contracts for sponsorships, talent and productions, contracts with media outlets and other contracts in the entertainment industry, and their options and implications
  • Assist companies that are currently negotiating commercial agreements to proactively consider the appropriate allocation of risk and consequences of further business deterioration resulting from COVID-19
  • Maintain compliant, safe, and environmentally-sound operations in the event of workforce, operational and supply chain disruptions (e.g., contractor or supplier defaults)


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Insurance

  • Assist insurers in response to state regulatory edicts and requirements related to the virus outbreak
  • Interact with state legislators and leadership as directives are considered and drafted
  • Work with state leadership on emergency declarations and their impact on clients and policyholders
  • Advise insurers on billing, payments, and telehealth related issues
  • Assist insurers by performing pre-emergency insurance policy review to structure insurance programs for adequate protection of directors and officers, corporate assets, property, liability, and business interruption interests
  • Resolve insurance coverage disputes where possible without litigation


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Governmental Affairs and Regulatory

  • Perform pre-emergency industry-specific regulatory compliance review
  • Advise on grant procurement for terrorism response and other targeted planning efforts
  • Represent clients in local, state and federal lobbying and procurement for rebuilding efforts
  • Liaise with the CDC and other state and federal health care organizations and assist with compliance with recommendations and requirements
  • Represent clients on federal and state legislative efforts in relation to economic responses to the pandemic, including but not limited to focus on appropriations, trade, tax, border protection, etc.
  • Represent clients regarding terms of Congressional appropriations legislation to fund the emergency response


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International Trade

  • Strategize on the use of “force majeure” and whether it applies to vendor, customer, and forwarder contracts
  • Prepare for the possibility of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to subject certain goods from specific countries to greater scrutiny and testing.
  • Advise on quarantine or refusal of entry for certain goods from certain countries.
  • Plan ahead for delays in entry and determine who will pay demurrage, warehousing, and other costs


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Litigation

  • Advise companies that are considering issuing force majeure notices as well as the companies that are receiving them, to review the relevant agreement together with a company's other material agreements to ascertain all rights and obligations under their various agreements, financing instruments and the applicable law, including:
    • the potential impact on other agreements, insurance coverage and disclosure;
    • terms of the agreements and the applicable law governing the scope of potential defenses to nonperformance; and
    • notices that may need to be given within defined time periods
  • Assist with changing environmental litigation strategy given abruptly-changed economic circumstances
  • Represent public companies confronted with stock price drops arising as a result of COVID-19, and securities class actions following therefrom
  • Counsel on all stages of the drug/device product life cycle from initial development and clinical trials through regulatory approvals, commercialization, and monitoring of adverse events and litigation threat
  • Provide risk management advice, including limiting tort liability, and advising on the availability of risk-shifting mechanisms such as insurance
  • Advise on personal protective equipment (PPE) and hours-of-work and other regulations that apply to workers wearing certain PPE
  • Advise on prevention and containment strategies and how to address exposure scenarios
  • Advise on the use of chemicals and management, treatment and storage of wastes associated with executing prevention strategies (e.g., biocides, medical waste, etc.)
  • Perform pre-emergency review of leases for adequacy of provisions regarding such matters as rent abatement, relocation, termination and insurance responsibilities
  • Advise on post-event lease termination and relocation issues for landlords and tenants
  • Negotiate leases for temporary space and advise on landlord/tenant insurance issues


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Landlord/Tenant Duties and Obligations

  • Advise on legal aspects of building and site security plans
  • Develop stakeholder communications strategies
  • Address legal issues regarding visitor building access
  • Address post-event tenant and employee access issues
  • Negotiate, draft, and interpret construction and design contracts
  • Advise on interpretation of force majeure events and impact on construction projects
  • Provide counsel on hazardous waste issues and securing of the workplace/building
  • Defend against construction defects claims
  • Advise parties conducting site cleanups, permittees and other regulated entities on interacting with regulators to: invoke force majeure; claim emergency exemptions, extensions or waivers; or seek enforcement discretion
  • Assist in obtaining emergency use and analogous authorizations for alternative ingredients and experimental biocides
  • Obtain permission to utilize remote monitoring and sensing technologies in lieu of other required monitoring


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Workforce Issues

  • Advise on strategies for bringing employees back to the workplace, including development of employee communication strategies
  • Provide guidance on work place policies, including social distancing, self-reporting, and testing
  • Advise on essential business, shelter in place, stay at home, safer at home and similar government orders and regulations
  • Advise on FFCRA, FMLA and sick leave, and associated ADA issues
  • Assist with telework and remote employment issues, including impact on visa service
  • Provide guidance on closures and cost-cutting measures, including WARN
  • Assist with unemployment insurance eligibility and employer obligations
  • Provide guidance on wage and hour issues
  • Advise on workers compensation
  • Assist with workplace safety and OSHA issues and regulations
  • Provide guidance on employee testing, including associated health care and privacy issues
  • Advise on compensation and benefits during business interruption, including international benefits transferability
  • Provide guidance on tax issues
  • Advise on traditional labor issues, including in the context of restructuring
  • Provide guidance on structuring arrangements and compliance with guilds and unions, including in the entertainment industry
  • Advise on and analyze immigration policies and practices


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Restructuring

  • Review existing debt service obligations for possible events of default and/or covenant defaults and determine consequences
  • Assess upcoming debt maturities and determine ability to satisfy or otherwise address such obligations
  • Engage with lenders and key constituents to ensure a proactive line of communication
  • Consider potential working capital and workforce disruptions on ability to operate
  • Review insurance policies to assess potential recoveries and ensure sufficient go-forward coverage  
  • Evaluate relationships with vendors and consider impact on their ability to deliver and timely pay
  • Identify potential supply chain disruptions and consider long and short-term modifications to mitigate such issues
  • Review material contracts for potential force majeure and cross-default issues
  • Prudently assess potential opportunities to purchase distressed debt, acquire businesses, or otherwise invest in companies experiencing distress as a result of the current environment.
  • Consult with experienced restructuring counsel to move quickly to structure existing transactions to minimize risk, develop additional distress mitigation strategies, including negotiating amendments or extensions to key contracts and debt service obligations and effectuating in and out-of-court restructurings of existing indebtedness.


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Additional Official Sources of Information:


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