Posts from April 2020.
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Following Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s March 17, 2020 directive to close all non-essential businesses, Nevada gaming establishments ceased operations and sent all employees home. This article seeks to provide Nevada gaming establishments with several topics to consider when crafting policies and protocols for bringing employees back into the workplace during the ongoing pandemic.

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The USPTO has announced extensions of certain patent and trademark deadlines in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Under some conditions, discussed below, deadlines for filing certain patent and trademark related documents and paying certain required fees that would otherwise have been due between March 27 and May 31 may now be filed on or before June 1.

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COVID-19 and the subsequent stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders that have been in place for approximately the last 6-weeks resulted in severe financial strain on many borrowers who have either lost their jobs, been furloughed, experienced a significant reduction in their income as a result of cutting hours or have witnessed a decline in business.

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Although many employers in the construction industry have continued to operate as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have allowed certain employees to work from home where possible. As states begin to loosen restrictions and “reopen” for business in the coming weeks and months, construction employers will need to implement new, and possibly permanent, policies and guidelines designed to keep the construction workforce safe.

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On April 24, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued revised and updated guidelines to allow certain gaming businesses to benefit from the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created under Title II of the CARES Act. This is a reversal of the SBA’s longstanding regulations that made most gaming businesses ineligible for any SBA loans.

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As stay-at-home orders and the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, states continue to update the tax relief available to taxpayers. The following summarizes the latest news in the Southwest.

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Cybercriminals are exploiting the vulnerability of the healthcare community affected by COVID-19, an increase in teleworking and the need by medical professionals to stay current on coronavirus information.

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The Supreme Court today resolved a long-standing circuit split, unanimously holding that willfulness is not a requirement for an award of profits in a trademark infringement lawsuit. The case is Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., No. 18-1233 (April 23, 2020).

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As the fallout from the COVID-19 virus widens and the prospect of an economic downturn looms, lenders are likely to focus more on protecting their collateral. Although many lenders are negotiating accommodations with borrowers in the short term, some of these accommodations will inevitably be unsuccessful and lead to defaults.

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On April 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published additional guidance for employers regarding the issues they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest advice focuses on the reasonable accommodation requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).

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The CARES Act allows a 401(k) plan to provide a coronavirus-related distribution option (CVR Distribution) to plan participants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, a plan participant who is a Qualified Individual can elect one or more CVR Distributions totaling no more than $100,000 during the period beginning January 1, 2020 and ending December 30, 2020.

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On April 16, 2020, the Department of Insurance issued Regulatory Bulletin 2020-04, addressing the flexibility that the Agency asks the Insurance Industry to practice.

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In a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued on April 10, the IRS clarified the interaction between the employer relief provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the loan forgiveness provision for employers that receive a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

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On April 13, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued guidance for member firms and registered persons regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created under Section 1102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. FINRA specifically addressed the interaction between PPP loan forgiveness and disclosure obligations under Question 14K on Form U4.

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On April 8, 2020, the Federal Circuit vacated the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the "TTAB") - which had denied registration of Forney's multi-color product packaging mark - and held that "color marks can be inherently distinctive when used on product packaging, depending upon the character of the color design."

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As we navigate through these uncertain times and face challenges like never seen before in the world of commercial leasing, landlords and tenants should be cautioned against the unintended consequences of their actions.

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With many cities following shelter-in-place orders because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors. This does not mean that businesses are left to only sit back and wait for orders to lift. Instead, businesses should consider proactive measures to connect with their community, raise brand awareness and focus on how to bring in customers once the pandemic subsides.

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Just like for-profit employers, nonprofit organizations (“nonprofits”) across the country have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Much action has been taken by Congress to enact laws that will provide for the economic health of business and employees.

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As social distancing and self-isolating guidelines are set in place with no immediate end in sight, many casinos are facing an uncertain future. Numerous concerts, conferences and other events held in casino convention centers have been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Consumer and industrial demand for gasoline has plummeted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a geopolitical standoff between Saudi Arabia and Russia has created a worldwide oil glut. As a result, oil prices have dropped below levels necessary to maintain profitable production in many parts of the United States.

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Since the IRS announced that the due date for filing and payment of individual, corporate, and fiduciary income tax returns have been extended to July 15, 2020, the states have followed suit, including the Southwestern states that Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie covers — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.  This alert will look at how these Southwestern states have implemented income tax relief and what relief these states have provided for sales tax and property tax filing and payment deadlines. This is current as of April 8 but States may take action after this date to provide tax relief.

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Most commercial evictions will be prohibited through May 31, 2020 under an executive order issued on April 6, 2020 by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Under the order, commercial landlords will be prohibited from locking out tenants, issuing a notice to vacate, or otherwise “attempt[ing] to inhibit the operations of a business.” The prohibition applies if the tenant is suffering financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic that prevents it from paying rent and will remain  in effect until May 31, 2020.

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Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on judicial proceedings in Colorado.  The Governor and chief judges have acted to limit court activity in order to mitigate the economic consequences and protect the health of those who work or interact with the court system. Colorado state and federal courts are open and operating, but access is limited. 

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Scott Brown, corporate consumer finance partner, at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP,  spoke at a recent compliance conference on the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA").

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On April 2, 2020 in the late afternoon, the Small Business Administration issued an interim final rule (Docket No. SBA-2020-0015, the “Rules”) for the administration of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created under Section 1102 of the CARES Act.

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Since March 19, 2020 Governor Ducey has issued Executive Orders to address the growing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 virus.  These orders cover a broad range of topics aimed to address the needs faced by those who live and work in Arizona.

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The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) came into effect on January 1, 2020, significantly altering the data privacy landscape for businesses across the nation. As a result, many businesses have been waiting to finalize their compliance procedures to ensure consistency with those regulations, which are still subject to revision.

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The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry which includes bars, restaurants and liquor distributors, distilleries, breweries and more cannot be overstated. As losses continue, businesses have been forced to make impossible choices and implement innovative ways to protect their businesses and employees.

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Lawyers who advise clients in financial distress are searching for answers for their clients.  Ultimately, cash flow and fundamentals are critical to business survival, but other tools can help.  Is it coincidence that the Small Business Reorganization Act became effective as the nation unknowingly was headed to financial crisis?

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The USPTO, like many other trademark offices worldwide, has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by offering extensions of time for certain deadlines related to trademark applications and registrations. A 30-day extension of time is now available.

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