While shelter-in-place and other restrictions on business remain in effect due to the pandemic, many expect re-openings (whether gradual, on a timeline, based on industry, or otherwise) are imminent. If you have not adhered to the old adage to “learn from the past lest it repeat itself” maybe now is a good time to review some of your company policies. Continue reading →
May 6, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 138, which extends the Public Health Emergency declared on March 9, 2020 and extended on April 7, 2020. EO138 is intended to extend the public health emergency for 30 additional days to prevent its expiry as required under the Emergency Health Powers Act. As such, the emergency declaration is renewed for another month.
Pursuant to EO138, all previously entered Executive Orders relating to the pandemic remain “in full force and effect” including non-essential business closures of brick & mortar locations, remote work when possible, closures of non-essential construction projects, and aggressive social distancing measures.
The recitals of EO138 provide that, although New Jersey’s social distancing measures have helped to slow the increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the State, the total number of cases and deaths in New Jersey has continued to rise and would rise at an even more precipitous rate absent these important measures.
Although originally slated for May 8, the construction industry in Pennsylvania re-opened a week early on Friday, May 1st, with guidelines imposed by the Commonwealth. All construction businesses authorized to conduct in-person operations in the Commonwealth must adhere to requirements of the guidance, as well as all applicable business and building safety orders issued by the Secretary of Health, though localities may elect to impose more stringent requirements.
The guidance, developed with the assistance of the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, includes an array of distancing and cleaning mandates such as:
- Require social distancing (6-feet minimum distance between workers) unless the safety of the public or workers require deviation (e.g. drywalling, team lifting).
In New Jersey, Executive Order 128 addresses landlord and tenant issues due to COVID-19. Finding that the earlier EO106 provides some protection to tenants by staying enforcement of all judgments for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession while in effect (unless the court determines otherwise), EO128 suggests that there are other consequences in addition to evictions, such as interest and late fees and negative credit reports. Continue reading →
In Delaware, Governor John C. Carney issued a Declaration of State of Emergency in connection with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This month, the Declaration was modified (the Tenth Modification) to address the numerous shareholder meetings to be noticed for Delaware companies. The Tenth Modification, acknowledging that physical gatherings are explicitly discouraged, advise that shareholder meetings be held remotely for the “safety, health and wellbeing of participants”.
Corporations are permitted to adjourn their physical meetings or move to a remote format, provided that certain steps are taken if the date and/or “location” (yes, virtual) are being changed. Pursuant to § 232 of Title 8 of the Delaware Code, notice of stockholder meetings is usually given through mail, courier service, or email – but the Securities and Exchange Commission is currently allowing companies to provide certain notices via required public filings and press releases. Consequently, to effectuate the change of an annual meeting to a remote format, Delaware corporations should file this notice with the SEC and issue a press release on their websites immediately afterwards.
Although Delaware law already does generally provide that corporations are allowed to hold stockholder meetings remotely, these provisions (e.g. the board of directors has the discretion to decide upon a remote meeting) must be in the corporation’s organizational documents. Consequently, the Tenth Amendment contains crucial provisions for those corporations whose organizational documents may not have been as explicit on these issues. The other provisions of 8 Del. C. § 211, such as the “reasonable measures” to verify the presence and participation of stockholders/proxyholders, as well as record-keeping, have not been changed by the Tenth Amendment.
On April 22, 2020 the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania executed a Continuation of Judicial Emergency Order, extending the terms issued March 16, 2020 and extended April 1, 2020 by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Order. Under yesterday’s order, the Judicial Emergency in Philadelphia is extended through close of business on May 29, 2020. A summary of the April 1st Order can be found on KHF’s blog here.
During this time period, the courts are authorizing alternative methods for signing, delivering, and service of court orders if authorized by each individual judge. Residential writs of possession (issuance, execution, and enforcement) are stayed until June 1, 2020. The Philadelphia County Sheriff’s Mortgage Foreclosure Sale scheduled for June, 2, 2020 will be rescheduled for Tuesday September 1, 2020. The Philadelphia County Sheriff’s Tax Sales June 2020 dates will be rescheduled for dates in September 2020.
KHF continues to monitor the orders and other guidance by various courts, which are rapidly changing. Clients should contact their KHF attorney for questions related to their specific matters. See our FAQ here.
It has been about a month since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was passed, yet the allocated funds, particularly for small business forgivable loans, were quickly exhausted. To that end, Congress drafted the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement (“PPPHCE”) Act, which passed in the Senate on April 21st, and is scheduled for a House vote tomorrow, Thursday, April 23rd.
The PPPHCE Act aims to replenish the funds that were quickly claimed in the days since the CARES Act was passed. For example, if passed, the PPPHCE Act would provide an additional $310 billion in funding to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Originally, the PPP had $349 billion available in forgivable loans for small businesses. The program’s launch was bumpy – many could not access the portals to apply, and even those who could apply complained of an obtuse application process and a lack of updates on their status. Despite these hitches, the initial funds were all allocated within two weeks of opening the application process, leaving many applicants without confirmed loans. If passed, the PPPHCE Act replenishes funds available for PPP but again on a first-come, first-served basis.
The total amount provided by the PPPHCE hovers at about $484 billion. Although most of the money is going to the PPP, billions of other dollars are going to places such as community lenders, hospitals, funding for testing, and emergency disaster loans and grants.
Last Updated: April 16, 2020
While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our daily lives, the Judiciary continues to operate as an essential function. At KHF, as business litigation attorneys, we continue to prepare for trials and arbitrations by doing what most of us are doing—working remotely–in conducting depositions, discovery, legal research and diligently protecting the interests of our clients. However, the safety and well-being of everyone necessitates delays and postponements in court activities. We are following these daily changes in the many courts where we appear.
At our “home base” here in Philadelphia, yesterday the Philadelphia Court of Common Please Trial Division announced postponements of Civil Trials, Compulsory Arbitration Hearings and other Civil Court events.
Additional Executive Orders geared towards limiting the spread of COVID-19 implemented by Governor Phil Murphy over the weekend including EO122 and 125, providing further restrictions on essential-business (retail stores and construction operations) to ensure the safety of their employees and consumers. Notably, the orders also provide for safety measures required to be taken consumers.
Among other mandates, the NJ retail businesses must now limit stated occupancy by 50% (“food businesses” are to maintain a 10% capacity, however) and provide operating hours solely for high-risk populations as defined by the CDC. Continue reading →