Judicial Council of California Adopts COVID-19 Emergency Rules

On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California, under the direction of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, adopted 11 categories of COVID-19 emergency rules to help California courts balance the health and safety needs of the community with the civil and constitutional rights of various parties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Impact of COVID-19 on the California Cannabis Market – Webinar

On Friday, April 10, 2020, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Pacific time), Duane Morris will be hosting the webinar, “Cannabis 302: The Impact of COVID-19 on the California Cannabis Market.”

Join Tracy Gallegos and Justin A. Santarosa from our Cannabis Industry Group for a discussion on how California cannabis companies are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic by way of operational changes, such as increasing curbside and home delivery and seeking alternative sources of revenue, while responding to lease issues in relation to various eviction moratoriums and other matters.

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Cannabis Industry and State Regulators Forced by COVID-19 to Evaluate and Improve Methods of Cannabis Delivery and Access

Cannabis operators, like all other businesses, are searching for new ways to reach their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis businesses have been generally treated as “essential” under the various state orders that have otherwise closed businesses and ordered people to stay at home. Even though they have been permitted to operate, it is not business-as-usual for these operators as they grapple with CDC workplace restrictions and guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

As a result of these restrictions, state regulators and cannabis business have begun implementing new policies and procedures such as curbside pick-up, expanded delivery zones and increased use of contactless payment methods. While these changes are viewed as temporary, if properly implemented, cannabis businesses may be able to show regulators that these expanded policies should continue after the crisis has passed. This difficult time presents an opportunity for cannabis retailers to expand their reach and help bolster support for more online ordering, home delivery and other delivery methods.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Justin A. SantarosaArletta BussiereJoe Pangaro and Justin Stern, which contains a summary of how several states have handled the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the operations of cannabis businesses during the stay-at-home orders, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Blog.

Federal Prosecutors Begin Charging COVID-19 Fraud in California and New Jersey

By Jovalin Dedaj

Yesterday, federal prosecutors in the District of New Jersey charged a Georgia man for his alleged role in a conspiracy to defraud federally funded and private health care benefit programs by submitting fraudulent testing claims for COVID-19 and genetic cancer screenings.   It follows a criminal complaint announced last week by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California against a Southern California man on a federal fraud charge alleging he solicited investments in a company he claimed would be used to market pills that would prevent coronavirus infections and an injectable cure for those already suffering from COVID-19.  These cases are among the first criminal actions in the ongoing public health crisis and come on the heels of the first civil enforcement action by the Department of Justice against a COVID-19 related fraud.

Continue reading “Federal Prosecutors Begin Charging COVID-19 Fraud in California and New Jersey”

California Restaurants File Declaratory Relief Action Seeking Coverage for COVID-19-Related Losses

On Wednesday, French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro, two high-end Michelin star Napa Valley restaurants, filed the first California coverage suit for COVID-19-related losses including lost business income. Plaintiffs, represented by the same firm that filed the first COVID-19 coverage lawsuit in New Orleans two weeks ago, allege that the Napa County stay-at-home order related to COVID-19 caused them to lose business and furlough over 300 employees.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Dominica C. AndersonPhilip R. Matthews, and Gina M. Foran, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.

How to Heed Privacy Law in the Midst of a Pandemic

As countries grapple with the global threat of COVID-19, some are leveraging user location data and tracking apps to model potential contamination paths. China has tapped into its facial recognition tools to track the virus and has deployed drones that tell people to wear masks. Singapore has launched an app called TraceTogether which uses Bluetooth to determine who could be at risk of infection. And the United Kingdom is reportedly in talks with telecom providers on how to best use location data to stem the crisis.

But the coronavirus turning the world upside down does not mean companies can throw out the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, as well as other privacy protections. Here’s how law experts and companies can comply with existing legal standards and new norms set by the pandemic.

Sandra Jeskie, Duane Morris’ team lead for the technology, media and telecom industry group, said in an email that businesses under GDPR or CCPA still have to comply with the laws unless the information they are sharing is anonymized or de-identified.

To read more of Ms. Jeskie’s comments from thsi article, please visit the Duane Morris website.

California Education Institutions Exempted from Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order requires “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”  The Order exempted “16 critical infrastructure sectors whose . . . incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health, or any combination thereof.”

We all intuitively know academic institutions fit this description, and the Order agrees:  “Government Facilities” are included as one of those 16 critical infrastructure sectors, and the cited-to guidance in the Order confirms that this includes an “Education Facilities Subsector [that] covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools, institutions of higher education, and business and trade schools. The subsector includes facilities that are owned by both government and private sector entities.”

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorney Bryce Young, please visit the Duane Morris UpdatED blog.

COVID-19 and Emergency Extensions of Time in California State Courts

In these troubling times of COVID-19, it’s useful to be reminded that the California Rules of Court have for some time contained provisions addressing extensions of time based on public emergencies and the illness of counsel.

Two rules in particular speak to this issue. Rule 8.63 of the California Rules of Court directs that the court “must consider” “illness of counsel” or “a personal emergency,” among many other factors, in determining good cause for a requested extension of time. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.63(b) (10).) The rule also directs that “[i]f good cause is shown, the court must extend the time.” (Rule 8.63(a)(3).) And on a broader scale, Rule 8.66 authorizes the Chair of the Judicial Council (i.e., the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court) to extend the time “to do any act required or permitted under the rules” up to 60 days on a statewide basis, if necessary.

Read the full text of this article by partner Paul Killion on the Duane Morris Appellate Review Blog.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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