During these challenging times, Severson & Werson remains open and in full operation, consistent with the firm’s previously established contingency planning. While many of our attorneys and staff will be working remotely, as a firm, we continue in full operation. We are here to help, as always.

COVID-19

The ongoing public health emergency created by COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our clients and their customers.  The challenges created by the pandemic are growing in number and evolving day by day.  Severson & Werson is helping clients identify, understand, and manage COVID-19-related legal risks and trends.  Across different practice areas – banking, business litigation, construction, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy, labor and employment, financial services, insurance, professional liability defense, and real estate – the Firm’s attorneys rely on their deep knowledge of clients’ businesses and industries to help track and make sense of the significant and often urgent legal issues that arise from this crisis.  Severson & Werson is here to help.  Please check back frequently as we update this page with new articles, bulletins, and other resources and content.

CARES Act E-Alerts

Severson & Werson has prepared the following bulletins and summaries to assist clients in responding to various legal issues arising from the pandemic:

Employers have been facing unprecedented issues  with very little guidance from federal or state authorities. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have provided guidance for COVID-19 screening and business reopening protocols, inevitable wage and hour implications have been largely left out.  Moreover, courts provide… Read More

Employees who return to the workplace after months of teleworking in the comfort of their own homes will likely be anxious about working in close proximity with their co-workers and may draw inappropriate conclusions regarding which co-workers are more likely to contract or spread the virus to others in the workplace. In anticipation of these issues, employers must take reasonable… Read More

Labor & Employment In recent weeks the Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken important steps to clarify key, but otherwise not well understood provisions of the PPP enacted under the CARES Act. Most recently, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PFA) was signed into law. The PFA appears both to supplement and possibly supersede some of the prior… Read More

Financial Services On April 23, 2020, California Governor signed Executive Order N-57-20, which exempts garnishment for any individuals receiving federal, state or local government financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including payments under the CARES Act. Executive Order N-57-20 was issued pursuant to the Governor’s powers to suspend regulatory statutes and agency rules during a state of emergency.… Read More

Financial Services Law A bill now before California’s legislature would require servicers suspend borrowers’ payment obligations on home loans for a year and for six months or more on car contracts or loans. The bill would also ban foreclosure, eviction and repossession until six months after the date of the state declares an end of the COVID-19 emergency. [1] Assembly… Read More

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Government Guidance

In addition to the case summaries identified below, multiple government agencies are continuing to release new information and guidance about the CARES Act which may be particularly helpful to those working in the financial services industry.  The latest information regarding the CARES Act can be found directly from the following government agencies.

  1. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Coronavirus Webpage for Bankers and Consumers: https://www.fdic.gov/coronavirus/
  2. Treasury Department Guidance Regarding the CARES Act: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses
  3. Small Business Association Coronavirus Guidance and Resources: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
  4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Unified Coronavirus Housing Webpage: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/
  5. White House, Centers for Disease Control, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Coronavirus Webpage: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

CARES Act Litigation Tracker

On May 1, 2020, plaintiff Hyde-Edwards Salon & Spa moved to create a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California combining almost a dozen class actions over defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.'s handling of loans available through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) under the CARES Act. Another motion by plaintiff Cyber Defense Group seeks to transfer the cases… Read More

On May 8, 2020, Seto Marselian, d/b/a Bistro Pazzo filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California against its lender. (case number 3:20-cv-03166.) Plaintiff is represented by Bottini & Bottini, Inc. Plaintiff is a restaurant owner who submitted a PPP loan application to its lender, and alleges that the lender wrongful denied… Read More

On April 3, 2020 Profiles, Inc. and other small businesses filed a putative class action against their lender for alleged discrimination arising from the denial of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (case no. 20-00894.) Plaintiffs are represented by Rifkin Weiner Livingston Levitan and Silver LLC. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that their lender wrongly prioritized the applications of its existing customers… Read More

On March 16, 2020, plaintiffs James and Lisa Shuff sued their lender in the Southern District of West Virginia (case no. 20-cv-00184.) Plaintiffs are represented by Mountain State Justice, Inc. The complaint is a purported class action which seeks “to temporarily stop foreclosures in West Virginia during the national emergency caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” Plaintiffs allege… Read More

On April 20, 2020, Legendary Transport, LLC brought a class action against several national lenders.  The complaint was filed in the United States District Court Central District of California (case number 2:20-cv-03636-ODW-JC). Plaintiff is a small business that applied for a PPP loan with one of the Defendant-lenders.  Plaintiff claims that all of the Defendants prioritized loan applications of “favored… Read More

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