COVID-19, Business Interruption Insurance and Direct Physical Damage under New York Law

To date, approximately 150 business-interruption insurance coverage lawsuits have been filed in federal courts arising from COVID-19 and related government-ordered restrictions. In what appears to be the first substantive ruling on the merits in these cases, the Southern District of New York recently ruled against an insured who could not meet its burden to show a likelihood of success in establishing “property damage” due to the novel coronavirus to support its claim for injunctive relief. Judge Caproni expressed sympathy “for every small business that is having difficulties during this period of time,” but concluded that “New York law is clear” in requiring actual property damage to trigger business interruption coverage. Because the insured’s coverage theory rested on a government shutdown in the absence of any property damage, the Court denied its preliminary injunction motion, reasoning “this is just not what’s covered under these insurance policies.”

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Damon Vocke and David T. McTaggart, please visit the Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog.

Gatherings of Up to 25 People Allowed in Phase III Regions in New York and Western New York to Enter Phase III Tomorrow

By Minhee Lee

Governor Cuomo announced today that global public health experts have given Western New York the green light to enter Phase III reopening, joining five other New York regions already in Phase III— Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, and the Southern Tier. The Capital Region, which encompasses Albany, the state capital, is on track to follow suit on Wednesday, June 17. Gatherings of up to 25 people will also be permitted in regions currently in or entering Phase III. This is an expansion from the previous restriction of 10 people.

The benchmark numbers continue to go down according to the press release—the three-day average on COVID-19 related hospitalizations and fatalities has hit the lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. Only 1.1% of 56,611 tests that took place across the state yesterday came back positive. Even in New York City, the state’s COVID-19 epicenter, the testing came back positive at a rate of 1.3% on Sunday, down from 1.4% on Saturday, and 1.7% on Friday. New York City is currently in Phase I.

Meals for Healthcare Heroes – New York

On Friday, June 5, Duane Morris’ New York office provided meals from Shake Shack to healthcare workers on the front lines at Mount Sinai West. This is part of our firmwide initiative Meals for Healthcare Heroes. This program is funded by donations from Duane Morris attorneys and staff and is meant to honor the Healthcare workers and support local restaurants. This is the second of 15 Meals for Healthcare Heroes events Duane Morris’ COVID-19 Strategy Team will be hosting nationwide. 

New York’s Construction Master Guidance Requires COVID-19 Precautions for All Projects

Governor Andrew Cuomo has released interim guidance regarding construction in New York state. These guidelines apply to both nonessential construction businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential construction businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

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

New York Forward Plan Reopens Construction in Phase One

On May 15, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Orders 202.6 and 202.8, which stopped all nonessential work in New York, will expire. New York will then shift to “New York Forward,” the state’s plan to reopen nonessential businesses and return people to work, without triggering renewed spread of COVID-19 or overwhelming the healthcare system.

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

New York Announces Phased Approach for Re-Opening Businessess

On April 27th, Governor Cuomo outlined a phased plan to re-open New York starting with construction and manufacturing. Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening. The plan will be implemented in phases and will be based on regional analysis and determinations.

To read the full post by Duane Morris partner Brad Molotsky, please visit the Duane Morris Project Development/Infrastructure/P3 Blog.

Overview of Federal and State COVID-19 Relief Programs for New York

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, state and local governments, through both legislative and executive action, have enacted or ordered a broad array of financial measures to mitigate the adverse economic effects experienced by businesses and nonprofit entities.

To read the full text of this Alert, which will identify and explain the economic programs established by the federal government, New York state and New York City to help businesses in New York that are experiencing financial loss due to COVID-19, please visit the firm website.

New Jersey and New York Governors Mandate Masks and Other Measures to Protect Workers and Citizens

Governors Cuomo and Murphy announced additional measures intended to protect workers and citizens in New York and New Jersey.

On April 12, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16, which will require employees of essential businesses who are present in the workplace to wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. This order goes into effect April 15, 2020, at 8:00 p.m.

On April 8, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 122, which created new restrictions and requirements applicable to certain employers across the state, specifically those involved in warehousing, manufacturing, essential retail businesses and construction. In addition to closing all nonessential construction, the order mandates various new requirements employers must implement such as policies for employees to wear cloth face coverings and gloves. Executive Order 122 went into effect on April 10 at 8:00 p.m.

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

Update to Various State Construction Closure Orders Related to COVID-19

This list is current as of April 14, 2020 (4:00 p.m. EST) and is and Update to an earlier Alert we posted on April 3rd. Please note that these closure orders are changing almost daily so please make sure you are checking the applicable state in question when considering a closure question.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Brad Molotsky, please visit the Duane Morris Project Development/Infrastructure/P3 Blog.