- Trial Results | 8.13.21WSHB secured a significant victory for carriers in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market yesterday when the Ninth Circuit affirmed an order compelling arbitration under the Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “Convention”). In its holding, the Ninth Circuit made clear that foreign insurers, like those participating in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, can enforce arbitration provisions, even if a state statute prohibits their enforcement in insurance contracts. This decision should pave the way for foreign insurers to enforce arbitration provisions. Underwriters and their third-party administrator were represented by WSHB’s coverage team of Colleen McCaffrey, Shannon Benbow, and Trevor Peck.
- New York Labor Law Update: DOB Zero Tolerance on Construction Site Safety Effort to Eliminate Construction FatalitiesNewsroom | 8.11.21The Department of Buildings (DOB) for the City of New York has become laser-focused on increasing safety at all construction sites located throughout the City. Beginning in 2019, the City launched more stringent protocols and regulations regarding safety measures at construction sites, including mandatory safety training for workers on larger sites and stricter enforcement of regulations by safety task forces deployed throughout the five boroughs. The results of the DOB actions with respect to constriction site safety have proven significant over the past few years.
- Case Updates | 8.11.21The 2021 Colorado Legislative Session produced several new employment regulations that are essential for employers doing business in Colorado to understand and implement. Specifically, the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act and the Colorado Equal Pay Transparency Rules, promulgate additional requirements for job postings and promotion announcements. In addition, Colorado also recently expanded its definition of sexual orientation as a protected class as well as allowing preferential hiring of veterans and their spouses within certain limitations.
- Case Updates | 8.11.21Colorado’s Supreme Court shined a bright light on the importance of risk management in the employment world this week. Examining the hot issue of vacation pay, this particular case offers excellent guidance to employers not only in Colorado, but nationally on the import of managing and dispersing employee unused vacation pay. Employers in Colorado will need to revisit their paid time off and vacation policies after the Colorado Supreme Court's recent decision in Nieto v. Clark's Market, Inc., wherein the court ruled that a former employee of Clark's Market was entitled to compensation for earned and determinable vacation pay, despite the presence of an agreement purporting to forfeit earned vacation pay, after separation from the company.
- Newsroom | 8.2.21The Covid-19 crisis transformed the online community drastically as individuals and businesses quickly pivoted their operations to accommodate remote work. With this change also came increased lawsuits in the area of digital accessibility. An accessibility claim involves a plaintiff alleging that a business' website or mobile application contains content that is inaccessible to users with certain disabilities or impairments. Accessibility claims grew in number in 2020, with a 23% increase from 2019-2020.
- An Agreement to Toll under CEQA Requires the Input and Agreement of all Necessary and Indispensable PartiesCase Updates | 7.30.21Save Lafayette Trees, et. al v. East Bay Regional Park District (Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Real Party in Interest) (1st Dist., Div. 3, 2021), Cal. App. 5th, affirms the long-standing practice that under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), no special notice is required to commence the running of the 180 day statute of limitations. The running of the statute begins when the governmental agency formally involved in the matter, approves a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which serves as effective constructive notice to the public. In addition, an agreement between the parties to toll the statute of limitations in a CEQA claim will fail when a necessary and indispensable party to the action is not included and did not sign the tolling agreement. The court ruled that a tolling agreement is a private agreement and not granted by statutory right.
- Firm News | 7.27.21
It is with great pleasure that we announce the addition of our newest partner, Margaret "Maggy" Mazlin, to the New York office of WSHB. Endorsed by her peers as highly skilled in all aspects of litigation, including trial and appellate practice, Maggy has defended a myriad of clients throughout all five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
“Maggy is broadly recognized for her accomplished trial work, litigating with ease and success, a wide variety of cases to verdict throughout New York,” said Stewart Reid, firmwide managing partner. “She is a trial powerhouse, strategic and thoughtful in her trial work.”
- Article | 7.26.21In a unanimous and long-awaited decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, the California Supreme Court on July 15th, ruled that employers must pay premium payments to employees for missed meal, rest and recovery breaks at the “regular rate of compensation,” which includes not only the based hourly rate, but also any nondiscretionary or performance-based incentive payments like bonuses or commissions received by the employee; much like the rate used to calculate the overtime rate of pay. This holding has huge implications for California employers in that it applies retroactively over the last four years, which means employers need to act quickly to avoid class action or PAGA claims.
- Article | 7.26.21On July 9, 2021, New York City's Biometric Identifier Information law went into effect, implementing a host of regulations regarding the collection, use and sale of biometric data by commercial establishments in the five boroughs. Most notably, the new law bans the sale of biometric data by commercial establishments and imposes requirements to post conspicuous notices of the establishment's use of biometric identifying technologies, with the failure to do so potentially resulting in fines and/or a private right of action by a commercial establishment's customer. New York City businesses must be aware of and comply with this new law, or face potentially significant liability in the form of civil claims and class actions, similar to what companies have been dealing with for years in Illinois under a similar biometric law.
- Newsroom | 7.15.21
- Article | 7.7.21In Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital, No.4:21-CV-01774 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas), a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by 117 employees against Houston Methodist Hospital after they sued their employer for requiring a Covid-19 vaccination in order to retain employment. This case is important because it is the first decision of its kind regarding an employer-mandated vaccination requirement as a condition of employment. As the country continues to reopen after over a year weathering the pandemic, employers are now navigating new employment waters with little to no precedent upon which to rely. This decision provides helpful guidance, although courts in other jurisdictions may rule differently, particularly those that enacted statutory causes of action for wrongful termination on public policy grounds.
- Newsroom | 6.21.21WSHB has been honored once again as one of the top 10 law firms in the nation on the American Lawyer's 2021 Diversity Scorecard. In addition to our top ten overall national ranking, WSHB was ranked ninth for Hispanic attorneys and tenth for diverse partners. The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard records the average number of full-time equivalent minority attorneys at Am Law 200 and National Law Journal 250 law firms.
- Newsroom | 6.18.21Effective July 1, 2021, Florida Senate Bill 76 reforms property insurance claims by seeking to reduce litigation by way of new pre-suit notice requirements, a new attorney fee schedule, creating time limits for notice of claims, and placing new restrictions on soliciting property owners in regard to roof claims. Florida insurance practitioners should take note of these quickly approaching changes as they move forward in their businesses. We are also closely monitoring the Governor's review of SB1598.
- Newsroom | 6.15.21
WSHB opens its doors in the great city of New Orleans! The addition of the NOLA office increases WSHB's ability to service clients and expands its reach in the Southeast as the firm continues its striking growth despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
WSHB’s 30th office is led by partner, Lori Barker. Lori's broad based litigation practice includes products liability, premises liability, transportation and construction. She is well regarded for her savvy handling of complex civil litigation involving multiple parties and catastrophic injuries. Her profile throughout the State of Louisiana is underscored by her active involvement in the Louisiana Defense Counsel, of which she has been recently elected to serve on the Board of Directors. A legal thought leader, Lori gives back serving as an adjunct professor at Tulane School of Professional Advancement in their General Legal Studies program.
- Newsroom | 6.15.21WSHB is known internationally in the legal field and beyond for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Recently, the firm added another recognition to its long list of accolades when it obtained the RING Certification. The RING (Recognizing Inclusion for the Next Generation) Certification is awarded to organizations who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is the new gold standard to distinguish organizations who actively invest in DEI as a core value and reflect those values in their daily business practices.
- Employment Law Alert: OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for Managing COVID-19 in the Healthcare Employers and Roadmap for Other High Risk WorkplacesArticle | 6.15.21On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Healthcare Employers as well as Guidance for Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. The ETS mandates specific legal obligations for employers in protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19 exposure, as well as providing non-mandatory “guidance” for other employers. This ETS has been anticipated since January 2021 when President Biden signed an executive order asking the DOL to release an ETS addressing COVID health concerns in the workplace. Healthcare employers must comply with the ETS within two weeks of the final rule being published in the Federal Register, or at minimum, show good faith efforts to come into compliance as soon as possible thereafter. Other private employers are encouraged to comply with the ETS as well, based on OSHA’s recommendations and the likelihood that employees will mount legal challenges to lesser standards.
- Publications | 6.14.21
In celebration of the evolution of women's empowerment in the legal and medical professions, partner Constance Endelicato brings us her latest article "A Double Dose of Power," published in the Best Lawyers Sixth Annual "Women in the Law" Business Edition. This poised and insightful article details the historic struggle and rise of women in the legal and medical professions and encourages them to work together to dismantle gender inequality. A shining example of female leadership in the legal field, Ms. Endelicato encourages other women to reach their full potential in industries that only a few decades ago were dominated by men and difficult for women to access.
- Texas Construction Law Takes a Step Forward in Eroding the Harsh Standard of Liability Imposed on Contractors as to Owner-Furnished Design Specifications, Plans and ContractsArticle | 6.9.21There is hope on the horizon for Texas contractors who for decades have borne liability for construction defects in owner-furnished contracts. Texas is the only state where a contractor may be liable for the defects that result directly from construction plans and documents prepared or procured by the owner, owner's agent, or owner's design professional. Construction industry professionals have long bemoaned Texas' reliance on the Longeran doctrine, which imposes a harsh standard for liability on contractors in these instances. Senate Bill ("S.B.") 219 would bring Texas on board with the laws of other states by limiting a contractor's responsibility in regard to design defects and owner- furnished plans and specifications, finally providing the Texas contractor some amount of relief.
- Newsroom | 6.2.21WSHB's top ten ranking on the National Law Journal’s 2020 Women in Law Scorecard was further affirmed with the firm's latest round of partner mid-year promotions. WSHB remains a steadfast industry leader in our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, a core value since firm's inception.
- Newsroom | 6.1.21
WSHB recognized some of its outstanding associates with a surprise mid-year promotion to senior counsel. Noting the unique challenges of the past year and the ability of these attorneys to overcome and excel despite those challenges, the firm management team decided to reward these associates now rather than waiting until their usual annual promotion period in December.
“This past 18 months have been unprecedented with our talented lawyers giving back so much more to secure results, service clients and work as a team remotely,” said Stewart Reid, firmwide managing partner. “While we continue our normal cadence of elevations in December, we wanted to similarly take the extraordinary steps as the world reopens to the new normal and recognize a talented group of lawyers worthy of the coveted senior counsel title now instead of later this year.”
- Ninth Circuit Confirms that the DOL Cannot be Compelled to Arbitrate, Even if All Other Parties Signed a Private, Enforceable Arbitration AgreementCase Updates | 5.28.21Employers who implement arbitration agreements in the workplace must understand that there are certain limitations to enforcing such agreements when a governmental agency pursues an enforcement action on behalf of aggrieved workers, even if all workers signed an otherwise enforceable arbitration agreement and all causes of action would otherwise be compelled to arbitration if the employees filed suit on their own. In a recent case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Walsh v. Arizona Logistics, Inc. DBA and Larry Browne, 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-15765 affirmed the U.S. Supreme Court's 2002 decision in EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc. 534 U.S. 279 (2002), by holding that the Secretary of Labor is not bound by a private arbitration agreement.
- Article | 5.26.21The Texas legislature has passed House Bill 19, a law that will impact lawsuits involving commercial motor vehicles commenced after September 1, 2021. The bill is aimed at controlling what are seen as abusive lawsuits against commercial motor vehicle operators by providing owners and operators an important option of seeking to bifurcate the trial of certain claims involving bodily injury or death involving a commercial motor vehicle. The bill follows a 118% increase in the number of lawsuits involving commercial motor vehicle crashes in Texas over the past eighteen years and dramatic increases in insurance premiums for both large and small commercial motor carriers in recent years. While the bill was originally aimed at providing far more protections for the industry as whole, the current version nevertheless provides critical new procedures all motor carrier operators and their counsel need to consider going forward.
- The Economic Loss Doctrine Does Not Bar Claims Under the Unfair Practices and Consumer Protection Law in PennsylvaniaCase Updates | 5.17.21The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit considered the question of whether, under Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) claim against a builder who constructed her home was barred by the economic loss doctrine. The UTPCPL prohibits, "unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce." 73 Pa. Cons. Stat. §201-3. The Third Circuit found that the economic loss doctrine could not be utilized to bar claims under the UTPCPL in Pennsylvania. The economic loss doctrine stands for the general proposition that a party cannot recover purely economic losses in a tort as a result of failed contractual expectations.
- Does a New California Case Intend to Pave the Way for Opening Policy Limits Without a Formal Demand?Case Updates | 5.3.21One of the toughest challenges coverage counsel and carriers face is trying to figure out how much breadth should be given to a decision that a California Court of Appeal has actually decided to publish. That difficulty is compounded when the potential impact of the decision requires extrapolation based upon a series of hypotheticals. Under California law, the typical bad faith claim for a failure to settle occurs when: (1) a third party claimant makes a reasonable settlement offer within the policy’s limits; (2) the carrier rejects the offer; (3) the matter proceeds to trial, and (4) the trial results in a judgment against the insured for an amount greater than the policy’s limits. Under such circumstances, the carrier becomes liable for the entire judgment.
- Case Updates | 4.13.21On April 7, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a victory for businesses and retailers who have faced growing numbers of lawsuits alleging their websites violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") because they are not accessible to those who are vision-impaired. In so doing, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a bench trial verdict obtained by a plaintiff in the Southern District of Florida. This decision could be "felt" beyond the Eleventh Circuit as it contradicts with decisions from other federal circuits, making this issue now potentially ripe for intervention from the United States Supreme Court, which just passed on addressing this issue a few years ago.
- Case Updates | 3.30.21North Carolina law is well established that architects and engineers owe a duty of care to those who reasonably rely on their work. This duty runs in favor of a builder regardless of whether there is a contract with the design professional. North Carolina law is equally well established that an unlicensed contractor is barred from enforcing certain remedies under the “licensure defense.” The licensure defense is a court-created doctrine seeking to incentivize compliance with statutory licensure requirements and to protect the public from incompetent builders. These two maxims of North Carolina construction law collided in a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case, Wright Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Hard Art Studio, PLLC, No. COA19-1089, 2020 WL 7906704 (N.C. App. Dec. 31, 2020).
- Article | 3.29.21On March 10, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA” or “the Act”). Included in the Act are three major takeaways for employers that impact both small and large workplaces: (1) Tax credits for voluntarily extending and expanding paid leave under the FFCRA; (2) Employer-paid COBRA subsidies for six months; and (3) Additional unemployment insurance benefits. Employers must understand and act upon these new rules and regulations and update their policies and practices accordingly. For employers that do business in California, Governor Newsom also signed Senate Bill (SB) 95 into law on March 19, 2021, creating Labor Code section 248.2, which extends and expands requirements for employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees affected by Covid-19.
- Trial Results | 3.24.21On March 3, 2021, the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted Underwriters’ motion for summary judgment in a $3.5 million bad faith lawsuit. Underwriters were represented by WSHB’s insurance coverage team of Tracy Lewis and Ricky Zelonka. The case stemmed from an insurance coverage dispute arising out of a fire to residential real property in Hawaii in the summer of 2017. The Hawaii property was covered under a lender placed program issued to an international property management company. After Underwriters received the claim, the Company filed for bankruptcy and it was discovered that they engaged in a multi-year $1 billion Ponzi scheme. While Underwriters were adjusting the claim and considering the impact of the pending bankruptcy, the Company filed a bad faith lawsuit in California state court. Underwriters’ defense to the lawsuit was that the Policy was void ab initio due to the Company's concealment of the true nature of its business and representing itself as a commercial lender when it procured the Policy.
- Newsroom | 3.23.21
Last week we witnessed a horrible act of violence in Atlanta in which 8 people, among them 6 Asian American women, were brutally killed by a lone gunman. While this event caught the attention of many Americans, sadly, it follows a succession of brazen acts of violence and many racist actions against Asian Americans in the past several years.
From its beginning, WSHB has been built on a policy of zero tolerance for discrimination and prejudice against any group of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. As a firm, we are repulsed by these acts of violence and discrimination against Asian Americans and stand in full support and solidarity with them.
- Newsroom | 3.10.21
The recent winter storms and devastation in Texas have drawn closer attention to a case that has made its way to the Texas Supreme Court. Texas’ primary power grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), faces a lawsuit that could determine future legal liability in this context.
In 2016, Panda Power Funds alleged that ERCOT improperly manipulated projections of the state’s power needs. Relying on these projections, Panda Power constructed three power plants to meet the state’s need. When the demand did not materialize, Panda Power lost more than $2 billion and filed suit against ERCOT. In response, ERCOT claims sovereign immunity shields it from liability. ERCOT is a private company, however, it is also overseen by the state, and sovereign immunity protects governmental bodies from certain liability.
- Case Updates | 1.27.21On January 6, 2021, the Department of Labor ("DOL") announced a final rule aimed at trying to clarify the standard for determining whether someone is an "employee" or "independent contractor" under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Absent any change in direction from the new Biden administration, the rule would go into effect on March 8, 2021 and would amend 29 CFR Chapter V by adding sections 795.100 through 795.110. In setting forth this new rule, the DOL aimed to provide less uncertainty in application of this test, especially in light of the novel issues raised by app-based, gig economy workers, among others. It is likely no coincidence that this new rule was promulgated on the heels of the passage of Proposition 22 in California, a ballot initiative that excepted app-based transportation and delivery companies from other laws that would have required these companies to classify their drivers as "employees" as opposed to "independent contractors."
- Trial Results | 1.25.21
WSHB’s elite national trial team obtained a defense verdict from a jury in Orange County, California, on behalf of a property management company that specializes in community associations. The defendant was accused of wrongfully terminating an 11-year tenured employee while he was out on medical leave for treatment of Stage 4 cancer.
This trial, the team’s second case taken to verdict during the Covid-19 pandemic, was conducted under less than ideal circumstances with social distancing being enforced by spreading jurors throughout the courtroom, impacting sight lines to witnesses and exhibits, and everyone being required to wear masks, which made both hearing and judging credibility difficult. Through extra effort, strategizing, planning and physical positioning during different phases of the trial, WSHB’s trial team was able to navigate the new difficulties created by the distancing requirements.
- Florida Supreme Court: Insured Has No Right To Seek Extra-Contractual and Consequential Damages in First Party Breach of Contract ActionCase Updates | 1.22.21On January 21, 2021, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the long-standing principle in Florida that extra-contractual and consequential damages are not available to an insured who has not brought a "bad faith" action against their insurer. Instead, when an insured has only alleged that an insured has breached the terms of the policy, the insured is only entitled to recover the "amount owed pursuant to the express terms and conditions of the policy." As a consequence of its decision, the Supreme Court rejected the lower appellate court's finding that an insured could seek "consequential damages" for its lost rents even when the policy did not provide coverage for lost rental income so long as such those damages were "contemplated" or foreseen at the time the policy was issued.
- 2.4 Million Policyholders and 563 ZIP Codes are Covered Under Mandatory One-Year Moratorium on Non-Renewals for 2020 WildfiresNewsroom | 1.5.21
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has implemented a one-year moratorium on carriers non-renewing or cancelling residential property insurance policies resulting from the 2020 wildfires in areas within or adjacent to a fire perimeter after a declared state of emergency is issued by the Governor. On December 31, 2020, Commissioner Lara released the final ZIP codes protected from non-renewals for the 2020 wildfires. In total, 2.4 million policyholders and 563 ZIP codes are covered under the moratorium.
The moratorium was enacted “to address the long-term threats to Californians.” Commissioner Lara pledged to “continue to work with local communities and state leaders to ensure a healthy insurance market for everyone.”
- Article | 12.31.20On December 21, 2020, Congress approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 ("CAA"). The CAA was signed into law on December 27, 2020, effectively extending certain pandemic stimulus benefits into 2021, four days before benefits were set to expire. However, the CAA does not extend all pandemic benefits. This article highlights the CAA provision extending benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA") at the federal and select state levels.
- North Carolina State Court in Uncharted Territory in Finding Covid-19 Business Interruption CoverageCoronavirus Resources | 10.23.20
A Superior Court Judge in Durham County, North Carolina recently ruled in favor of a number of restaurants in their collective action against Cincinnati Insurance for loss of business income due to the Covid-19 pandemic in a case captioned North State Deli, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 20-CVS-02569.
In a departure from courts across the country, the presiding judge held that government orders restricting the policyholders’ use of their restaurants constituted “direct physical loss” thus triggering the policies’ Business Income coverage. The court reasoned that the phrase “direct physical loss” “includes the inability to utilize or possess something in the real, material, or bodily world, resulting from a given cause with the intervention of other conditions” and therefore “describes the scenario where business owners…lose the full range of rights and advantages of using or accessing their business property.”
- Newsroom | 10.14.20
- Governor Newsom Signs Wildfire Legislation to Protect California Consumers and DOI Urges Carriers to Cover Wildfire Property LossesNewsroom | 10.13.20
On October 1, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed three bills sponsored by the California Department of Insurance and Commissioner Ricardo Lara to enable future wildfire survivors to recover faster and protect the rights of domestic workers during an emergency.
Senate Bill 872 was introduced on January 21, 2020 by Senator Bill Dodd. The new law will expand the definition of additional living expenses that must be paid to homeowners for losses incurred in a state of emergency and require an advance payment of no less than four months for costs such as housing, furniture rental and transportation. The new law will also mandate an advance payment of no less than 25 percent of the policy limit for lost contents without submission of an inventory form and require insurers to provide homeowners a 60-day grace period for payment of residential premium after an emergency. Additionally, insurers will be barred from deducting the land value from payouts for insureds who build on new lots.
- Newsroom | 10.2.20
WSHB is proud to announce the opening of its newest location in Charleston, South Carolina.
At the helm of WSHB's newest location will be WSHB partner William W. Silverman. Admitted to practice in both South Carolina and North Carolina, Silverman enjoys a well-deserved reputation for consistent results in complex commercial litigation. His varied practice includes the defense of construction and corporate disputes, insurance coverage, first and third party insurance bad faith litigation, environmental, and catastrophic injury matters. He is an “AV Preeminent” rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been listed in Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite in the Young Guns and Construction categories.
- Newsroom | 10.2.20
WSHB is proud to announce the opening of its newest location in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm’s Boston location will provide the firm’s full array of nationwide legal services in both litigated and non-litigated practice areas.
WSHB Partner Christopher J. Seusing has been selected as the managing partner for the firm's newest location. Seusing called Massachusetts home for many years, first as he earned his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, and then as he went on to earn his law degree, cum laude, at Suffolk University in downtown Boston. He honed his litigation skills practicing throughout Massachusetts following his graduation from Suffolk.
- Newsroom | 9.21.20WSHB proudly announces our firm’s number seven ranking on the National Law Journal’s (NLJ) Women in Law Scorecard for 2020. The Women in Law Scorecard ranks the United States’ largest law firms by representation of women attorneys. Scorecard rankings are calculated by adding each firm’s percentage of total women lawyers with the percentage of partners who are women.
- California DOI Urges Carriers to Expedite Claims Handling and Cover Reimbursement Costs for Wildfire SurvivorsNewsroom | 9.8.20
The California Insurance Commissioner has now issued emergency notices to all admitted and non-admitted property and casualty insurance companies doing business in California to assist survivors, displaced residents, and businesses impacted by the current and recent wildfires throughout the state. The emergency order was issued in connection with Governor Gavin Newsom’s August 18, 2020 emergency declaration that was issued due to the wildfires.
Lara stated that “[w]ildfire survivors need immediate help as they start on the long road to recovery” and “urge[d] insurance companies to do the right thing for these survivors and help them through this difficult process.” Specifically, Lara implored all property and casualty carriers to implement expedited claims handling procedures and billing grace periods to aid the quick recovery of residents and businesses during the emergency.
- With More Than 15 Wildfires Raging across California the DOI Reminds Carriers that Evacuees May be Eligible For Cost ReimbursementNewsroom | 8.26.20On August 20, 2020, California Department of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a release advising wildfire evacuees to keep all receipts for costs accrued, as they may be eligible for reimbursement from their homeowners or renters insurance company. Specifically, Commissioner Lara remarked that “additional living expense coverage can be available to help ease the financial burden of mandatory evacuations.” His release expressly advised homeowners that additional living expense coverage (“ALE”) can include food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, as well as extra transportation expenses, even when homes are not damaged or destroyed.
- Federal Court Guardrails Covid-19 Paid Leave: Paid Leave Expanded For New York Workers Under the Families First Coronavirus Response ActArticle | 8.26.20On August 3, 2020, the Southern District of New York (Judge J. Paul Oekten) broadened the scope of paid sick leave for employees seeking relief under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The Court expanded employee benefits by vacating several features of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding administration of the FFCRA. The expanded benefits come at an opportune time with a second wave of crisis looming and families facing massive uncertainty with schools reopening. The DOL will likely appeal this ruling to the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit may reinstate the vacated features from the Final Rule pending review, but until then, the significance of this ruling cannot be ignored by New York employers, which may be risking non-compliance, liabilities and penalties. Further, employers should anticipate and prepare for more employees to request paid leave pursuant to the expanded benefits under this decision.
- Industry Under Attack Scores Important Win in California Supreme Court; Limitation on Statutory Penalties Avoids Influx of Litigation and Exposure of Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care FacilitiesCase Updates | 8.21.20In a much anticipated decision, California’s highest court held this week that a statutory penalty of $500 for Patients’ Bill of Rights violation claims brought by residents of skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities will be capped at $500 per cause of action, rather than by each individual regulatory violation. In doing so, the high court reversed the underlying decision which involved an award of the statutory penalty to each of 382 alleged separate violations. This decision is highly favorable to the skilled nursing industry given that an affirmative ruling would have likely resulted in a new influx of litigation and would have increased the potential exposure.
- Newsroom | 8.20.20We are pleased to announce that 18 WSHB lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, which recognizes associates and other lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Lawyers recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.
- Newsroom | 8.20.20WSHB is pleased to announce that 5 lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.
- WSHB Nevada Client Alert - New Legislation Providing Immunity to Certain Businesses from Covid Personal Injury and Wrongful Death ClaimsNewsroom | 8.6.20On August 5, 2020 during a special session of the Nevada Legislature SB4 was passed and is expected to be signed by the Governor in the coming days. This bill grants broad liability protections to businesses including for profit, governmental entities and private non-profit organizations creating immunity from civil liability for personal injury or death resulting from exposure to Covid-19, if the business, governmental entity or private nonprofit organization substantially complied with controlling health standards. Notably hospitals and other health care facilities as well as school districts are exempted from receiving the additional protections afforded by this bill.
- Article | 8.3.20On July 21, 2020, the New York State Department of Financial Services filed charges against First American Title Insurance Company, regarding violations of NYSDFS’s Cybersecurity Regulations for Financial Services Companies. These are the first charges to be filed by NYSDFS’ Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Section alleging violations of the Cybersecurity Regulation enacted in 2017, and portend active enforcement to come. As the Cybersecurity Regulation applies to all institutions and professionals regulated by the NYSDFS, this inaugural enforcement action should be a wake-up call to insurance companies, financial institutions and other professionals doing business in New York.
- Newsroom | 7.24.20
Covid-19 related restrictions have lifted across the United States (and in some instances then imposed again). With businesses reopening physical locations and the prospect of schools holding in-person classes this fall, owners, board members, executives and managers all must address potential coronavirus related liabilities. Any owner or operator of a facility where in-person contact occurs is at risk for civil suits and claims for potentially exposing employees, customers or other members of the public to the coronavirus.
In response to these risks, businesses and other institutions have asked employees, customers, and patrons to sign liability waivers. Examples include President Trump’s reelection campaign asking supporters to execute liability waivers before attending rallies. This practice has gained significant media attention and has led many to wonder whether these waivers are enforceable.