With 95% of the country presently subject to stay-at home orders due to COVID-19, many litigators are considering whether and how to take depositions in the coming weeks. Federal court responses have varied, from blanket extensions of civil deadlines to encouraging remote depositions. Whether it is advisable or even permissible to depose a witness under current circumstances will depend on several factors, including the jurisdiction, the deponent, and the anticipated substance of the deposition.
In an April 3, 2020 letter, Florida’s largest advocacy group for long-term care providers, Florida Health Care Association, asked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to extend sovereign immunity to heath care providers and health care facilities engaged in and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. The letter requests liability immunity (both criminal and civil) for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing health care services in accordance with COVID-19’s emergency rule and state directives. Additionally, the letter requests immunity for the health care facility or health care professional if they are arranging for, or providing health care services, in good faith.
As discussed in our March 18 Alert, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a declaration authorizing drugs, devices and biologics used to treat or mitigate COVID-19 as covered countermeasures under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. Following Secretary Azar’s declaration of a public health emergency, covered persons may obtain immunity under federal law for all claims arising from manufacturing, distributing or administering covered countermeasures, subject to the conditions laid out at 42 U.S.C. § 247d-6d, the declaration and other applicable regulations.
Subsequent to our previous Alert, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which expanded the covered countermeasure protections offered by the PREP Act.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.
Duane Morris will be hosting the webinar, “How COVID-19 Is Affecting Life Sciences and Medical Technologies,” on April 16, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Eastern).
Join Duane Morris attorneys for a discussion on how the life sciences and medical technologies industry is responding and adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- FDA’s Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for devices and diagnostics testing policies
- Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) immunity from liability
- Implications on intellectual property, such as patent strategy, in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
- License and collaboration agreements in the wake of COVID-19
For more information and to register, please visit the firm website.
Since March 13, 2020, when President Trump declared a national state of emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have been in a healthcare crisis. The United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been plagued by increasing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), supplies, beds and physicians necessary to care for COVID-19 patients. In addition, drastic patient surges, limited numbers of life-saving ventilators and healthcare providers who have been working tirelessly for weeks in a constant state of emergency all contribute to an extremely strained health system. Not only do more and more patients need care each day, healthcare providers must work quickly to diagnose, triage and treat patients, as well as make difficult decisions on how ventilators are assigned and reassigned. And we have yet to hit the anticipated spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Accordingly, states have either implemented or developed Crisis Standards of Care (CSC). A CSC is triggered when healthcare systems are so overwhelmed by a pervasive or catastrophic public health event, such as COVID-19, that it is impossible for them to provide the normal, or standard, level of care to patients. Instead of meeting the standard of care to avoid liability, providers must now meet the crisis standards of care as set-forth on a statewide basis or adapted by individual facilities.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its economic toll, many companies with outstanding bonds worry that they will not have enough cash on hand to repay their bonds on their stated maturity date, or that their bond covenants are, or may soon become, under pressure. These companies may benefit from amending their bonds to defer payment, achieve greater covenant flexibility or make other advantageous changes. For other companies, the decline in the bond markets presents an opportunity to repurchase their bonds at a significant discount.
“Liability management” is an umbrella phrase for a variety of techniques that companies can use to manage their outstanding bonds. These include redemption, open market repurchases, tender offers, exchange offers and consent solicitations. This Alert provides an overview of key legal considerations applicable to liability management transactions.
To read the full text of this post, please visit the Duane Morris and Selvam COVID-19 Resource Blog.
The coronavirus pandemic may spur new thinking about patent issues, as owners of relevant patents face the risk of backlash for asserting them, and companies developing equipment or treatments consider ways to limit potential liability. […]
There has already been public outcry over patents related to COVID-19, and such responses will likely grow in intensity if an effective treatment is seen as being hindered by patents. So companies may have to think about using their patents differently than they normally would, attorneys say. […]
“Most companies are thinking differently right now than they were six months ago,” Patrick Gallagher of Duane Morris LLP said. “I would think there would definitely be hesitancy around pursuing [an infringement case] right now.” […]
To read more of Mr. Gallagher’s comments and for a link to the full article, please visit the firm website.
The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) gave emergency approval this week to two (2) anti-malaria drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, to be used for treatment of COVID-19 patients. Despite the limited studies as to the benefits of these drugs and the well-known risks of these drugs, the FDA took the position that, under the current circumstances, the potential benefits and effectiveness outweigh the risks. While the FDA is conducting a trial as to the effectiveness of these drugs, millions of doses have already been shipped to hospitals nationwide for administration in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Doctors and hospitals overwhelmed in the pandemic will have to make their excruciating life-or-death decisions meticulously or they risk being second-guessed by a jury when the onslaught is over.
Lawyers who defend health care providers are already giving advice on how their clients can avoid liability if they’re forced to choose between patients. How they prepare for this battlefield triage now — and how they practice it in the chaos of peak infections — will determine whether negligence cases against them are dismissed or lead to trials or settlements over the death of a parent or spouse.
Hospitals and doctors are focused on care right now, as they should be, said Sean Zabaneh, a lawyer with Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia who represents them in court.
Still, he said, they should be “making sure they have insurance coverage in place that is applicable to the new circumstances that are becoming more normal every day as a result of the pandemic, and staying up to date on the quickly evolving legal standards and legislation.” Lawmakers could pass legislation to protect health care providers that adhere to the standard of care, he added.
To read the full article, visit the Bloomberg website.
Many small and mid-sized businesses are facing unprecedented challenges in dealing the COVID-19 pandemic. In many states, “non-essential” businesses have faced complete shutdowns. In the face of COVID-19, small and mid-sized businesses face myriad challenges and it can be overwhelming to try to tackle them with limited human and capital resources. The below is a list of key risk-mitigation items that should be priorities for small and mid-sized businesses as they face remote working challenges and capital crunches. Continue reading Considerations for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses in Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic