Currently, we anticipate another two months of shelter in place. That means at least two more months without daycare and help from sitters, two more months of the kids having marginal (if any) structured learning, and no word regarding what lies ahead for summer camp. What does this mean for co-parenting plans and dealing with our former spouses and partners? Here are three questions that continue to arise in our clients’ minds as we weather the pandemic:
Many parents with young children are asking what they can do to be prepared if they get sick with COVID-19 and are incapacitated temporarily, or do not recover. Two issues are keeping parents up at night:
On April 27, 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a new order governing state court operations during the COVID-19 crisis. The order is effective May 4, and it repeals and replaces the Court’s prior orders.
On April 27, 2020, Governor Baker signed a new Massachusetts law legalizing the use of videoconferencing services in signing documents before notaries public and witnesses during the COVID-19 crisis. This will allow real estate closings, the execution of estate plans, and the signing of other documents that require such formalities to take place remotely. The new law expires by its terms three (3) business days after the end of the Governor’s March 10, 2020, Emergency Declaration. The new law has several requirements that must be strictly observed.
Government officials have reported a surge of malicious attempts to defraud taxpayers in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19) Economic Impact Payments. Scams may use calls, text messages, or emails to impersonate IRS agents offering financial relief. Be aware of these scams. Here is information provided by the IRS to help identify and report fraud:
The Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court, in a ruling by Justice Ken Salinger on April 16, 2020, denied the plaintiffs’ plea for an emergency preliminary injunction in their suit against Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker, which sought to have recreational marijuana establishments added to the list of “essential” businesses. In making its ruling, the Court came to the conclusion that the plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. Among other factors, this resulted in the Court’s decision to deny the plaintiffs’ motion that, if granted, would have permitted recreational marijuana establishments in the Commonwealth to re-open, after their effective closure by executive order of the Governor. The following summarizes a few of the ruling’s key elements.
On April 20th, Governor Baker signed into law a residential mortgage foreclosure and eviction moratorium bill (H 4647) which grants temporary relief to homeowners from foreclosures, and to residential tenants from evictions. Residential property managers and landlords, and residential mortgage holders, must exercise caution to avoid running afoul of the new law. The relief afforded by the legislation expires on the earlier of 120 days after enactment of the legislation (August 18, 2020) or 45 days after the COVID-19 emergency declaration has been lifted, but the governor may postpone expiration of the moratorium to a limited extent.
On April 20th, Governor Baker signed into law an eviction moratorium bill (H 4647) that benefits certain commercial tenants. While the new law grants extensive relief to homeowners from mortgage debt and foreclosures, and to residential tenants from evictions, it provides no relief from mortgage debt to commercial property owners, and limited relief to certain commercial tenants. This article addresses the limited relief provided by the legislation to commercial tenants.
Current economic and logistical realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging IP rights holders in new ways. Should the filing strategies companies pursued prior to the onset of the crisis continue? Should enforcement be curtailed or stepped up? How should rights holders approach the acquisition of IP given the economic fallout caused by COVID-19? How might the crisis influence litigation strategies? Here are some observations and key takeaways regarding COVID-19 considerations for IP matters:
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has issued emergency alerts clarifying how the normal unemployment benefits program is modified during the COVID-19 emergency. Under the CARES Act, states that accept the federal program can offer additional unemployment benefits of $600 per week for COVID-19 related unemployment.