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Paul Zimmerman
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Congress Working Toward $908 Billion Coronavirus Relief Package

This month, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and death rates soar, and businesses large and small and out-of-work Americans continue to feel the weight of the ongoing pandemic, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have been working on a compromise coronavirus aid package worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $908 billion.

Certainly, a follow-up relief plan would be welcomed by those suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, in the wake of the CARES Act (including the Paycheck Protection Program), there has been no consensus on additional financial aid at the federal level. But now, it appears the impasse may be breaking as Congress faces increasing pressure to do something as the nation stares down a seasonal surge in COVID-19 cases and the resulting economic fallout. (Read More)

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California Insurance Commissioner Issues Bulletin Notifying Insurers of Moratorium on Wildfire-Related Cancellations and Non-Renewals

Early last year, California enacted Senate Bill 824 (codified as section 675.1(b)(1) of the California Insurance Code), which serves to prohibit insurers from canceling or non-renewing policies of residential property insurance placed on homes located in certain ZIP codes for a year after the declaration of a state of emergency related to a California wildfire. The statutory provision also requires the California Insurance Commissioner to issue a bulletin informing insurers of the ZIP codes subject to the moratorium. (Read More)

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Direct Physical Loss and Business Interruption Coverage in the Wake of COVID-19

Just over a week ago, Michelman & Robinson reported on the countless entities nationwide that are being denied the benefits of business interruption coverage their insurance policies provide—this despite the losses they are suffering due to COVID-19-related shutdowns and disruptions to business. While our prior alert focused on the failure of carriers to conduct thorough and proper investigations before denying these claims, here we discuss a recent judicial decision that pertains to a frequent basis for the refusal of coverage: the concepts of “direct physical loss” to property, as well as the “virus” exclusion that many policies contain. (Read More)

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California Law Now Conforms to Federal Income Tax Treatment of PPP Loan Forgiveness

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1577 into law, which amends California’s tax code as it relates to loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program.

As Michelman & Robinson has reported time and again, PPP loans are subject to forgiveness when borrowers use proceeds to pay for payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities. More good news for borrowers is that for purposes of federal income taxation, existing federal law excludes from gross income any amounts of PPP loans that are forgiven. (Read More)

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Hope for Companies Where COVID-19-Related Business Interruption Claims Have Been Denied Without Investigation

One of the several painful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that countless businesses have suffered and even been forced to shutter. This is the case despite the fact that many of them have insurance policies that not only protect from damage to property, but also typically cover lost profits from business interruption. Nevertheless, companies large and small are not reaping the benefits of their insurance policies because carriers are denying business interruption claims without proper investigation. (Read More)

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PPP Loan Borrowers At Risk for Potential Federal False Claims Act Liability

As if the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on small businesses have not been enough of a stressor and burden, these entities could face potential liability under the False Claims Act to the extent they have obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. That is right, it is possible that such liability will attach by virtue of the good faith certifications PPP borrowers were required to make to receive federal funding. Michelman & Robinson explains. (Read More)

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The U.S. Has Designated 18 Additional Iranian Banks for Sanctions

The U.S. government has levied additional sanctions on the Iranian financial sector that will put further strain on Tehran’s ability to access the international financial system. The designations are based upon an Executive Order President Trump issued in January 2020 giving the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Treasury the ability to impose sanctions on any part of Iran’s economy. (Read More)

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New York Amends Its Sick Leave Policy

Last April, New York enacted permanent paid sick leave to most workers starting next year.

Previously, paid sick leave was mandatory in just New York City and Westchester County. Under the new state law, however, all New Yorkers will be eligible for sick time, and companies with 100 or more employees must allow workers to accrue up to 56 hours, up from the 40 hours of paid sick time per year that employers in NYC and Westchester county were required to provide. (Read More)

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CFTC Issues Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs

The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is crystal clear: “to promote the integrity, resilience, and vibrancy of the U.S. derivatives markets through sound regulation.” And with recent guidance that, as of this writing, will soon be included in the CTFC’s enforcement manual, the agency has taken another step towards achieving its stated objective. (Read More)

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For Some, PPP Loan Forgiveness Has Been Simplified

Seeking loan forgiveness just became a bit easier for those that have received loans of $50,000 or less pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program. That is because the Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Treasury, released a simplified loan forgiveness application for this category of borrowers.

The revamped application streamlines the procedure for forgiveness for PPP borrowers having loans south of $50,000, as well as their lenders. In fact, those lenders are able to process forgiveness applications much faster. (Read More)