Below please find League Business Leaders Network member 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.
- The “Main Street Lending Program” for Small and Mid-Size Businesses
The Federal Reserve Board (“FRB”) announced on April 30, 2020 an expanded and updated Main Street Lending Program (the “Lending Program”) as part of its efforts to support the economy by providing credit to small and mid-size businesses that were in sound financial condition prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lending Program, authorized under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, now consists of three loan facilities.
- Is COVID-19 an Act of God and/or Will COVID-19 Be a Defense Against Failure to Perform?
This is the second in a series of alerts on Force Majeure and Common Law Defenses against failure to perform contracts. In our first alert, we discussed the elements of a force majeure clause and looked at how various states have interpreted force majeure clauses. We focused on how most states take a narrow view of these provisions and they adhere to the plain meaning of the force majeure provisions. This alert takes a look at one event often listed in force majeure clauses – Acts of God.
- Nine States Sue the EPA Seeking the COVID-19 Enforcement Policy to Be Vacated
Nine states have filed a lawsuit against the EPA alleging that the EPA’s “Temporary Policy on COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program” is ultra vires, arbitrary and capricious, and is tantamount to an agency rulemaking, promulgated without notice and comment in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 553. The complaint alleges that numerous federal environmental laws mandate that regulated entities conduct compliance monitoring and reporting and that the EPA does not have statutory authority to waive compliance with these requirements through the adoption of a policy. The states of New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia are asking for the court to vacate the EPA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Policy. A copy of the complaint is available here.
- First Charges for Paycheck Protection Program Loan Fraud and the Implications for Borrowers and Lenders
White Collar and Government Litigation
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, providing $2 trillion of stimulus relief to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. Among the features of this stimulus relief is the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), which initially provided $349 billion in funding for forgivable loans for qualifying businesses in a program administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A second round of funding provided an additional $310 billion in forgivable loans.
Industry and State Specific Guidance
- Minnesota COVID-19 Update May 10, 2020
This update provides a quick-reference summary of major Minnesota state and local government actions taken in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that may be pertinent to Minnesota clients’ business operations. We will seek to update the summary for major events as the state and local response unfolds.
- NJDEP May 8, 2020 Administrative Order Extends Public Comment Period for Certain Permit Applications
New Jersey / Environmental
On May 2, 2020, Governor Murphy executed Executive Order 136 that directed the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to issue an Administrative Order that extends the regulatory timeframes to accept public comment on applications for permits “where necessary to ensure adequate public participation.” See E.O. 136 at ¶5.
- Pennsylvania Helps Psychologists and Dentists Provide Services to Patients as Part of COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
Pennsylvania / Health Care
On May 8, there were two new developments in Pennsylvania that help psychologists and dentists and their respective patients as the Commonwealth continues to take steps to reopen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, Pennsylvania enacted a new law expanding telepsychological services. Second, Governor Wolf released revised guidance for dentists to provide elective dental services.
- COVID-19 Shutdown Orders Allow Construction Work to Proceed in Some States but Limit it in Others
This update tracks COVID-19 shutdown orders as of May 13, 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.