Recent Fires Serve as Reminder That Casualty Will Always be a Hot Issue

by Mark E. Ellinghouse, Kenneth J. Conlan

Fires have played a major role in the history of California. Not only have these disasters repeatedly left a trail of devastation through the State’s forests and other natural areas, but recent fires have been noteworthy in their damage to developed areas such as Paradise and South Lake Tahoe. The impacts will be felt for years, as families struggle to rebuild their homes and charred trees litter freeways and hiking trails. These effects are a good reminder to make disaster plans,

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Shauna Correia and Zack Thompson in the Sacramento Business Journal: If Asked For a Religious Exemption From A Vaccine Mandate, Be An Optimist

In a contributed article for the Sacramento Business Journal, Zack Thompson and Shauna Correia discuss an extremely challenging issue that many businesses and HR professionals are facing – how to evaluate religious exemption requests from vaccine mandates.  Their October 8, 2021 article explores two important questions that arise:

What sort of religious belief or religious practice qualifies for a religious exemption?

How do employers know whether a proposed accommodation is reasonable or an undue hardship?

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How New Legislative Policy May Affect COVID-Related Lease Disputes

by Mark E. Ellinghouse

Over the last eighteen months, we have been forced to devote significant resources to interpreting how largely-forgotten legal doctrines apply to real estate contracts in a post-COVID world. These principles, including force majeure, frustration of purpose, and impossibility/impracticability, were generally overlooked in real estate transactions until life-altering global events required their use. Indeed, many of the cases interpreting these doctrines date back to the world wars that dominated the first half of the twentieth century. 

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NY Court of Appeals Decision Highlights Growing Trend of Higher Courts Ruling Against COVID-Related Lease Defenses

by Mark E. Ellinghouse

Since the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, we have been approached by both landlord and tenant clients asking how COVID affects their leasehold obligations. While we have generally encouraged our clients to approach these matters in an honest and amicable manner with a focus on resolution, disputes have arisen between owners and occupiers. Legal resolution does not come quickly, as the legal process tends to delay final adjudication for several years. Some decisions have been rendered in interim proceedings (such as bankruptcies),

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The Importance of Lease Drafting: Lease Language Takes Center Stage in "Cinemex"

by Mark E. Ellinghouse

When in the throes of protracted lease negotiations, frustrated clients often ask me whether a proposed term is truly necessary to the contemplated transaction.  Most clients start these discussions with the goal of achieving a fair form of lease, but as consideration of the minutiae of lease provisions continues, clients typically hit a point where they no longer wish to spend any more money on legal fees and simply want to “get the deal done.”  This sentiment is both understandable and reasonable,

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Litigation Update: North Carolina Court Finds Insurers Liable Under Business Interruption Policies for COVID Losses Resulting from Shutdown Orders

by Josiah M. Prendergast, Mark E. Ellinghouse

In our last update, we highlighted a recent case out of the US District Court of Missouri (Studio 417) in which the court issued a preliminary ruling that allowed a group of policyholders to proceed with claims against their insurers based on allegations that the insurers wrongfully denied claims due to losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis under business interruption insurance policies.  Prior to that ruling,

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California Proposition 19 Limits Parent-Child & Grandparent-Grandchild Exclusion

by Andrew D. McCarthy

Since 1986, when Proposition 58 passed, certain transfers of real property between parents and their children have been excluded from reassessment for purposes of determining property taxes. Proposition 58 provided an exclusion from reassessment for (1) a principal residence of the transferring parent, and (2) the first $1 million of full cash value of all “other real property” transferred from a parent to a child. Proposition 193, passed in 1996, added a similar reassessment exclusion for transfers between grandparents and their grandchildren (when the grandchildren’s parents are deceased).

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PPP Second Draw Loans

by Andrew D. McCarthy

In December 2020, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA).

In total, the CAA provides $900 billion in COVID relief, including $284 billion for additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for new borrowers and “second draw” loans for existing borrowers.

The eligibility requirements for a “second draw” PPP loan (PPP2 Loan) are as follows:

1) The borrower must spend the full amount of the first PPP loan before receiving the PPP2 Loan.

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COVID Relief Bill: PPP-Paid Expenses Are Deductible (Updated 12/28/2020)

by Andrew D. McCarthy

This past Monday, December 21, a $900 billion pandemic relief bill came out of the U.S. House and Senate. It is called the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. If President Trump signs it, it will become law. Weighing in at 5,593 pages in length, it addresses many areas, including vaccines, education, childcare, jobless benefits, energy, and national security.

Part of the bill is the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 (COVIDTRA).

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