COVID-19

Gray Reed is here to help you and your business.  Our lawyers have already begun to address the difficult business and legal issues facing our clients.  To learn more about how we can help you as it relates to COVID-19 CLICK HERE.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Gray Reed is here to help you and your business through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our attorneys have already begun to address some of difficult legal issues facing our clients. For instance, we’ve already been assisting with issues relating to cancellation of contracts. We’ve also been working with clients to position them to deal with the possibility that many of their customers or counterparties will be seeking bankruptcy protection. In addition, we have established a COVID-19 Task Force, which is strategically comprised of litigators and transactional attorneys involved with a wide array of industries. In fact, members of the Task Force represented ConocoPhillips and Jani-King and prevailed in trial court and on appeal on a key issue impacting most industries during this time (force majeure). 

Below are links to Gray Reed articles that may provide important guidance as you begin to deal with consequences of the pandemic. As more articles and resources from our firm become available, we will add them to the list below.

Bankruptcy

The Impact of the CARES Act on the U.S. Bankruptcy Code - April 7, 2020
The CARES Act aims to provide support to both individuals and businesses during this unprecedented time in our country’s history. This alert summarizes the Act’s amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, which provide specific assistance to consumer and “small business” debtors.


Contact: Jason Brookner

CARES Act

The Impact of the CARES Act on the U.S. Bankruptcy Code - April 7, 2020
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The CARES Act aims to provide support to both individuals and businesses during this unprecedented time in our country’s history. This alert summarizes the Act’s amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, which provide specific assistance to consumer and “small business” debtors.

Update: CARES Act Tax Provisions Impacting Businesses - April 6, 2020
The CARES Act provides immediate benefits to businesses through a number of provisions including (1) a new SBA loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program and (2) both refundable payroll tax credits and payroll tax deferral for a significant portion of employer payroll taxes. Additionally, the Act made a number of significant taxpayer-friendly changes to the Internal Revenue Code. This alert reviews the CARES Act’s main tax provisions that impact businesses.

Update: New Interim Final Rules for Paycheck Protection Program Loan Applicants - April 3, 2020
This alert summarizes the new interim final rules published on April 2, 2020 by the Small Business Administration to implement the $349 billion allocated for the Paycheck Protection Program loans in the CARES Act.

CARES Act: What Employers Need to Know About the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program - April 3, 2020
This guide addresses the expanded unemployment benefits and eligibility contained in the CARES Act.

CARES Act 101: What Healthcare Businesses Need to Know - April 1, 2020
This alert provides an overview of several significant provisions of the CARES Act that impact healthcare businesses, including hospitals, physicians, long-term care providers, laboratories and others. 

Business Loan Programs in the CARES Act: What Businesses Need to Know - March 31, 2020
The CARES Act's commercial lending provisions are intended to provide a lifeline to the economy in the form of loans to eligible businesses to fund payroll and other operating costs.  This alert summarizes the following loan programs in the CARES Act: the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), advances for up to $10,000 on EIDLs (an Emergency Advance) and the Subsidy for Certain Loan Payments.  

Commercial Litigation

Can COVID-19 Trigger a Force Majeure Defense? - March 24, 2020
Can COVID-19 Make a Contract Impossible to Perform? - March 24, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting our daily lives but does it also extinguish or extend our contractual deadlines? These two Tilting the Scales articles discuss two options for parties seeking to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not performing or delaying performance. But each option is risky, and the best approach may be to search for flexible and creative solutions to achieve a win-win for all parties to the contract during this challenging time.

COVID-19: What are your Rights Under a Contract if you are Damaged or Blamed for the Damage? - March 20, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down businesses and markets worldwide, causing panic and uncertainty. Most companies have already been damaged by COVID-19, and others will be sued and blamed for those damages. This article outlines some of your contractual rights and obligations. 


Contact: Scott Funk

Construction

New COVID-19 Safety Constraints on Construction in Dallas County - March 31, 2020
Dallas County has again amended its “Stay Home Stay Safe” order. Effective March 29, 2020, the order contains several provisions that impact the construction industry. This alert outlines the new requirements for construction businesses and the penalties for failing to comply.

Coronavirus and the Construction Industry: How to Handle an Inevitable Delay - March 9, 2020
This alert discusses how COVID-19 may affect construction materials and labor, and encourages those in the construction industry to check contract language and supplier agreements for force majeure clauses, and develop a plan in the event of a labor shortage.


Contact: JP Vogel

Employment

CARES Act: What Employers Need to Know About the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program - April 3, 2020
This guide addresses the expanded unemployment benefits and eligibility contained in the CARES Act.

Effective April 1, 2020: The Emergency FMLA and Paid Sick Leave Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act - March 31, 2020
The Department of Labor has issued guidance clarifying several issues that have been vexing employers since the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed two weeks ago. This alert summarizes what employers need to know.

An Employer's Guide to Saving the Company - Furloughs - March 24, 2020
During this time of financial uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses are being forced to close operations and analyze whether to furlough or terminate some or all of their employees. This article explains what a furlough is and how it compares to a layoff, as well as provides legal issues that employers should consider before implementing a furlough.

Employers May Get Relief from Notice for Mass Layoffs Because of Unprecedented Times - March 20, 2020
If mass layoffs (defined as 50 or more employees) become necessary because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, employers need to be mindful of their obligations under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act. However, the WARN Act also has some exceptions, outlined in this article, that employers should know about during these uncertain times.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Enacted into Law: What Employers Need to Know - March 19, 2020
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands the coverage and benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requires paid sick leave for employees affected by COVID-19 and provides tax credits for employers to help offset the increased costs of the leave provisions. This alert outlines what employers are impacted and what they need to know.


Contact: Ruth Ann Daniels

Energy

COVID-19: Shelter-in-Place Orders and the Energy Industry - March 26, 2020
Many counties and cities in Texas have issued shelter-in-place orders to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more states, counties and cities are expected to issue similar orders in the coming days and weeks. Businesses and industries deemed “essential” are exempt from many of these orders and this alert helps clear up confusion as to what specific businesses in the energy sector fall into this category.

Coronavirus and the Energy Industry: Drilling into Force Majeure Clauses - March 12, 2020
This alert outlines a Houston court’s recent interpretation of a force majeure clause in a drilling contract and whether or not “disease or pandemics” should be specifically listed in the clause to cover the effects of a pandemic such as coronavirus.


Contact: Charlie Sartain

Family Law

Will Disruptions in School Schedules Result in Changes to Child Possession Orders? - March 19, 2020
School districts across the nation have extended their spring breaks by at least one or more weeks as a precaution to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. For co-parents, would the extended period of time away from school mean that a scheduled “spring break” visitation period in the possession schedule would likewise be extended, perhaps indefinitely? This alert explains what Texas courts have said and identifies some issues that may be coming in the months ahead.


Contact: Kyle Sanders

Healthcare

CMS Issues Blanket Waivers of the Stark Law in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic - April 2, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and in connection with the associated declaration of an emergency by both the President and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has implemented blanket waivers, including one specifically related to the prohibition against physician self-referral (Stark Law). These waivers are designed to permit certain activities that might otherwise be prohibited, in an effort to provide patients with greater access to healthcare services.

CARES Act 101: What Healthcare Businesses Need to Know - April 1, 2020
This alert provides an overview of several significant provisions of the CARES Act that impact healthcare businesses, including hospitals, physicians, long-term care providers, laboratories and others. 

Keeping a Pulse on Telemedicine Changes in Light of COVID-19 - April 1, 2020
To facilitate access to medical care and contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Medical Board are temporarily suspending certain provisions that place restrictions on health practitioners’ ability to use telemedicine in their treatment of patients. This alert outlines the scope of both the federal and state “waivers” and addresses reimbursement considerations.


Contact: Darrell Armer

Insurance

Business Interrupted by COVID-19? Check Your Insurance Policy for Lost Business Income Coverage - March 17, 2020
This alert discusses the availability of insurance coverage for lost business income due to COVID-19 and encourages clients to review their various policies to determine whether they have any coverage to recoup lost income caused by closure of or limits to operations.


Contact: Darin Brooks

Real Estate

Can COVID-19 Trigger a Force Majeure Defense? - March 24, 2020
Can COVID-19 Make a Contract Impossible to Perform? - March 24, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting our daily lives but does it also extinguish or extend our contractual deadlines? These two Tilting the Scales articles discuss two options for parties seeking to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not performing or delaying performance. But each option is risky, and the best approach may be to search for flexible and creative solutions to achieve a win-win for all parties to the contract during this challenging time.

COVID-19: What are your Rights Under a Contract if you are Damaged or Blamed for the Damage? - March 20, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down businesses and markets worldwide, causing panic and uncertainty. Most companies have already been damaged by COVID-19, and others will be sued and blamed for those damages. This article outlines some of your contractual rights and obligations. 

NOTE: "The case law in this area regarding whether a tenant is no longer obligated to pay rent is very fact specific and lease language specific.  There is not a one size fits all even though in this instance the cause of the premises not being able to be used for the purpose for which it is intended (that is often described in many leases because LLs don’t want the premises to be used for something other than what they leased it for) is the governing authorities’ orders (which we know are also inconsistent and subject to interpretation and arguments)." - Daryl Bailey (Real Estate Litigation Practice Group Chair)


Contact: Scott Funk

Retail

The Great Toilet Paper Crisis: Price-Gouging During the Coronavirus Pandemic - March 30, 2020
Because of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, staples such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bottled water and surgical masks are flying off the shelves. The retailers’ natural response to the sudden increase in demand for those products would be to raise their prices, but merchants who do so run the risk being accused of and sued for “price-gouging.” This article reviews price-gouging laws in Texas and what retailers should be careful of.


Contact: Bill Drabble

Tax

Comptroller Changes Impacting Texas Business Owners During the COVID-19 Pandemic - April 7, 2020
The Texas Comptroller has announced several changes over the last week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This alert summarizes the changes that impact Texas business owners during this unprecedented time.

Update: CARES Act Tax Provisions Impacting Businesses - April 6, 2020
The CARES Act provides immediate benefits to businesses through a number of provisions including (1) a new SBA loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program and (2) both refundable payroll tax credits and payroll tax deferral for a significant portion of employer payroll taxes. Additionally, the Act made a number of significant taxpayer-friendly changes to the Internal Revenue Code. This alert reviews the CARES Act’s main tax provisions that impact businesses.


Contact: Dan Kroll or David Gair