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COVID-19: Assessing the Legal Risk of Infectious Diseases

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – better known as the coronavirus – has turned our world upside down in a matter of weeks. The infectious disease caused by this newly emerged virus, Covid-19, has taken thousands of lives and sickened hundreds of thousands. The resulting public health crisis threatens to become an economic catastrophe, as governments weigh the need for populations to shelter in place against the financial cost of shutting down most businesses. The risk of lawsuits due to exposure to this infectious disease may add to the economic difficulties businesses are now facing. This article assesses that risk based on principles developed in past infectious disease litigation and the known characteristics of the coronavirus.

Litigation Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic: Emerging Trends in Employment Law

Covid-19 forces employers to make difficult and often times unprecedented decisions as businesses in nearly all industries face falling revenue and inconsistent governmental restrictions. The resulting decisions regarding human resources practices and policies exposes thousands of employers to existing and emerging liabilities, adding to the impact of the pandemic.

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  • Tried over 1,000 cases to verdict; internationally recognized for exceptionally high rate of success
  • Ranked #3 on The American Lawyer’s 2020 Diversity Scorecard
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  • Named "Go-To Law Firm" in ALM's annual edition of In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 Companies
  • Top 20 ranking on Law360's 2016 list of "The Best Law Firms for Minority Attorneys"
  • Top 200 ranking on Law360's 400 2019 list of largest U.S. Law Firms

Litigation Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic: Emerging Trends in Directors and Officers and Securities Litigation

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every corporation in every sector of the economy. Hard decisions must be made in regard to workplace safety, layoffs and furloughs, investments, financing and business planning. Challenges to corporate governance will follow. These suits may be retrospective, focusing on alleged failures in regard to disaster preparedness, insurance coverage and contingency planning or prospective, challenging ongoing management, financial and operational decisions. As the economic crisis caused by shelter-in-place and social distancing orders grows, corporations will be faced with selling assets, entering into mergers or financing agreements that would have been unthinkable prior to the pandemic. Shareholder suits are sure to follow.

Vincent P. Beilman III Elected WSHB London Market Chair

Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP is pleased to announce that Vincent P. Beilman III has been elected WSHB’s London Market Chair. Vince Beilman enjoys international acclaim for his savvy counsel to various syndicates throughout the London market. From his early years where he was a secondee to later on where he developed a reputation as the "go to" lawyer for all matters of issue in the States, Beilman has an impressive record of consistent results. "I am fortunate to have so many close relationships in the London market, professionally and personally," said Beilman. From the time I was a secondee to now, London is home. I look forward to the time when I will be able to sit down in person with our friends on the other side of the pond."

Constance Endelicato Quoted in Insurance Journal – Nursing Home Insurance Market In Need of Care

WSHB Partner Constance Endelicato was quoted in the May 4, 2020 Insurance Journal article, "Nursing Home Insurance Market In Need of Care." In the article, Ms. Endelicato described the COVID-19 exposures as “endless,” and said the facilities’ vulnerability to exposure has been “riddled with various complicating factors.” “The lack of testing capability, the delayed symptoms, the ongoing admission of new residents, and the residents’ fundamental rights to have family and friends as visitors, may also play a role in exposure as these factors are thought to be ways in which the virus can spread,” said Ms. Endelicato.

Horizontal or Vertical? The Supreme Court of California Finds for Montrose

On April 6, 2020, after decades of appeals, the Supreme Court of California finally answered the question of which exhaustion method is required under the "all sums with stacking" approach when continuous injury occurs over the course of multiple policy periods for which an insured purchased multiple layers of excess insurance. Previously the courts have held that "excess" insurance can only be reached by the insured when all other primary insurance policies across all relevant time periods have been exhausted; commonly referred to as "horizontal exhaustion." For insurers, a shift to the "vertical exhaustion" method means that "excess" insurance may now be reached once the directly underlying insurance for "the same time period" has been exhausted.

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