Below please find Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s COVID-19 weekly digest, which includes our analysis of the most current legal developments related to this pandemic. To receive regular updates, news and information related to COVID-19, please register here.
- Remediation of Contaminated Sites Executive Orders and NJDEP Updates on Extensions and Proposed Rules
This alert reports on Executive Order No. 122 pertaining to the remediation of contaminated sites in New Jersey; recent New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) guidance and emergency rule adoptions for extension requests; and Executive Order No. 127 extending the time for adoption of proposed rules – including proposed rules for PFOS and PFOA drinking water MCLs and proposed rules making significant changes to existing New Jersey remediation standards.
- A Little Known Secret of the CARES Act – Increased Ability for Companies to Seek Relief Under the Newly Enacted Small Business Reorganization Act
Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice
As a result of COVID-19, it is likely that there will be a tsunami of restructuring activity this year and for the near future. Typically, when a business was in financial distress, it would first try out-of-court workout solutions as an alternative to filing a formal bankruptcy proceeding. These out-of-court remedies have included forbearance agreements with a company’s lender, an amendment to or restatement of its credit facility, raising capital, surrendering of collateral to a secured creditor or trying to sell assets outside of bankruptcy to gain liquidity.
Industry and State Specific Guidance
- Delaware Modifies Its State of Emergency Declaration to Require that Businesses Provide Face Coverings and Sanitizer for Employees and Enforce Face-Covering Requirements Against Customers
Delaware / Labor and Employment
Delaware Governor John Carney recently issued a thirteenth modification to Delaware’s State of Emergency Declaration, which brings Delaware in line with other states (mentioned here and here) that have begun to implement face-covering requirements to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and hasten the country’s “reopening.” The modification requires most members of the public to immediately start wearing face coverings in certain locations and businesses to enforce this requirement against their customers, with few exceptions. The modification, as of May 1, 2020 at 8:00 A.M., will also require businesses to make certain employees wear face coverings, which they must provide at their own expense.
- Is It the Chicken or the Egg When It Comes to Alleged Violations of Consumer Protection Laws?
Consumer Financial Services Litigation
On April 23, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused the country’s largest egg producer, which sells brands like Egg-Land’s Best and Land O’ Lakes, of raising the price of a dozen eggs by 300%. See Texas v. Cal-Maine Foods Inc., No. 20205427 (215th Dist. Ct. Harris Cty. Tex. Apr. 23, 2020). In California, in an apparently related consumer class action, Whole Foods, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and a host of other grocery businesses are alleged to be illegally marking up the price of eggs in violation of California’s consumer protection laws in the midst of the pandemic. See Frazer v. Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-2733 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 20, 2020). It is alleged in the California case that more than two dozen grocery stores, wholesalers, and producers have been nearly tripling the price of eggs over the past month following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration that ordered all nonessential workers to stay home as the virus swept around the world.
- COVID-19 Shutdown Orders Allow Construction Work to Proceed in Some States but Not in Others
This update tracks COVID-19 shutdown orders as of April 29, 2020, 12:00 p.m. EDT that affect construction projects in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – jurisdictions in which Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP offices are located.