Robinson+Cole and the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) will lead the Connecticut COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic as part of the nationwide program organized by Lawyers for Good Government to assist small businesses in weathering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Providing pro bono service to our communities has been a cornerstone of our firm’s 175-year history,” said Stephen E. Goldman, Managing Partner of Robinson+Cole. “We are pleased to work with the Connecticut Bar Association and other participating law firms and in-house legal departments to help small businesses navigate the unique challenges they face during this unprecedented time.” Read more in the press release.
In its 2020 edition, the legal directory Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized Robinson+Cole in all six practice area categories that the publication covers in Connecticut. In addition, 20 lawyers were individually ranked from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, including one that has been recognized nationwide. Read more in the press release.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Krista L. Patterson has been appointed to serve on the National Leadership Council for Duke Children's Hospital (Duke Children’s). Krista's three-year term officially begins July 1, 2020. Duke Children's is dedicated to the advancement of pediatric healthcare by providing compassionate care to children of all ages in a family-friendly environment. The Duke Children's National Leadership Council is committed to enhancing Duke Children's as one of the truly outstanding children's centers in the world. The council provides Duke Children's leaders with generous supporters, knowledgeable spokespeople, and thoughtful connectors, who promote Duke Children's mission to transform care for children locally, nationally, and globally. Read more in the press release.
Pro Bono Committee Chair Peter R. Knight was interviewed by FOX 61 television anchor Brent Hardin on the recently launched Connecticut COVID-19 Small Business Virtual Legal Clinic spearheaded by Robinson+Cole and the Connecticut Bar Association. During the interview, featured as part of the "Brent's Got Your Back" consumer news segment, Peter discussed the purpose of the clinic, how it will assist small businesses and nonprofits, and where people can find more information. View the full segment.
Immigration Group lawyer Jennifer L. Shanley has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. The organization’s mission is to engage and bring together people and resources committed to the well-being of children and families in the community. United Way focuses on youth success, economic mobility, access to health and basic needs.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “As COVID-19 Cases Mount, National Spotlight Turns to Hazard Pay for Front-Line Workers” published in Home Health Care News on May 14, 2020. The article focuses on the national conversation surrounding hazard pay for essential front-line workers as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. “’Absence of government support, the money will have to come from the home care companies themselves,’ Les Levinson, co-chair of the health care transactions practice at legal firm Robinson & Cole, told HHCN. ‘They’re either going to get it from their cash reserves or other sources of capital if they have lines of credit to tap.’” Read the full article.
Chief Talent Officer Catherine A. Duke was featured in LexBlog's “Women Who Wow” series on May 12, 2020. In the profile, Cathy reflects on the women she looks up to, shares what she thinks is the key for success in her role, and offers advice to women in her field. Read the full article.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyers Matthew J. Lawlor and Kristen E. Elia and Business Litigation Group lawyer Kendra L. Berardi authored the article “Massachusetts enacts H. 4647 during COVID-19 state of emergency” published in the New England Real Estate Journal on May 8, 2020. The article gives an overview of the statewide moratorium in Massachusetts covering a broad swath of evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The moratorium implemented through House Bill No. 4647 applies to all non-emergency evictions and foreclosures on occupied residential properties and certain small business premises unit properties throughout the Commonwealth in response to the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. Read the full article.
Chief Talent Officer, Catherine A. Duke, and Chief Operating Officer, Michael R. Orce, are quoted extensively in the Hartford Business Journal article, “Chief talent officers arm law firms for battle over top-performing lawyers.” The article, published in the Journal’s May 1, 2020 digital edition, highlights the increased efforts many Connecticut law firms are making to attract and retain a diverse legal workforce. This has led a number of top firms to add a Chief Talent Officer to their senior executive corps, combining dedicated Human Resources management and recruitment and retention functions in a position often previously filled only part-time by a firm partner. Cathy is quoted as seeing her role as CTO as being “a good sounding board and resource for lawyers and staff,” and assuring that R+C's training and development opportunities are state-of-the-art. Michael added that the CTO position makes sense in order to have someone “who can look at it from top-down and create a coherent and consistent system.” Read the full article.
Manufacturing Industry Team chair Jeffrey J. White as quoted in the article "COVID-19 will be blamed" published in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design on April 28, 2020. The article addresses the notion that trends in the aerospace industry such as decreased demand for some aircraft, cost-cutting for efficiency, and supply chain consolidation will be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I see COVID-19 as an accelerator or exacerbator, not a cause of problems that were already occurring,” White says. “Cost-cutting measures already coming within the aerospace supply chain were there before COVID-19. We were seeing signs that the bigger players were slowing down.” Read the full article.
Manufacturing Industry Team chair Jeffrey J. White was quoted in the article “Daily Memo: COVID-19, Force Majeure And The Coming Wave Of Supplier Renegotiations” published in Aviation Week on April 9, 2020. In the article, Jeff acknowledges that he is “gearing up for an expected onslaught of force majeure suspension claims that, along with other contractual nitpicking, could be cited widely to allow OEMs and suppliers alike to try to renegotiate contracts as aerospace manufacturing follows the falloff in air travel.” “’COVID-19 has accelerated the use of it,’ White tells Aviation Week. ‘What we’re seeing is the advance warning that something is coming.’” Read the full article.
Learn more about Robinson+Cole’s Aerospace Supply Chain Practice here.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “Cybersecurity and Working From Home” published in EHS Today on April 27, 2020. The article stressed the importance of employers implementing new processes to protect their systems and secrets from cybersecurity while employees are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Referencing content from Linn’s Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog post, “Privacy Tip #232 – Spam Phone Calls Rampant for Remote Workers,” the piece indicates telephone scams are on the rise given that so many people are available at home. “’People are more susceptible to answering the phone even when they don’t recognize the number because it might be a co-worker or colleague who is trying to get in touch,’ she says. ‘We used to issue warnings about telephone scams to our senior citizens who were home during the day and vulnerable; now we also need to warn workers who are working at home during this pandemic.’” Read the full article.
JD Supra’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards recognized Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyers Linn F. Freedman and Kathryn M. Rattigan and Health Law Group lawyer Conor O. Duffy as outstanding authors among over 50,000 authors who published insights and commentary on JD Supra in 2019. Linn was announced as the #1 author in the area of cybersecurity and a Top Author in the area of class action. She is the editor of the firm’s Data Privacy + Security Insider blog. Kathryn was recognized as a Top Author in the area of airlines/aviation and cybersecurity. She also contributes to the Data Privacy + Security Insider blog. Conor was named a Top Author in the area of healthcare. He contributes to the Data Privacy + Security Insider as well as the firm’s Health Law Diagnosis blog. The Readers’ Choice Awards recognize top authors and firms who were read by C-suite executives, in-house counsel, media, and other professionals across the JD Supra platform during 2019.
Business Litigation Group lawyers Kendra L. Berardi and Edward J. Heath authored the article “Price-Gouging 101 for Suppliers” published in Industry Week on April 27, 2020. The article shares proactive measures companies may want to consider when it comes to the pricing of products and services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, given the various federal and state emergency orders. “While the country grapples with this pandemic, any business considering making a price increase, or any business on the receiving end of a proposed price increase, will want to understand the laws that apply to price gouging and the practical options available to it.” Read the full article.
Business Litigation Group lawyers Kendra L. Berardi and Edward J. Heath were quoted extensively in the article “As Prices Spike Tong Fields Complaints for Price Gouging in Wake of Coronavirus” published by CT Examiner on April 18, 2020. The article uses excerpts from the webinar on price gouging that Kendra and Ed presented with Sen. Richard Blumenthal as part of a free “Coronavirus Special Topic Conference Calls Series” offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce's and the Connecticut District Export Council on April 16, 2020. During the program, they explained that there is limited federal law on price gouging and that prosecution is mostly a state issue, with laws varying from state to state. “Businesses, individuals, wholesalers, brick-and-mortar stores and online entities that allow reselling can all be subject to a price gouging claim, Berardi said. Complaints can be brought by state attorneys general or state prosecutors, initiated from a member of the public, either consumer or business, in the supply chain. Private businesses can also bring a complaint in a civil context.” “Here’s the takeaway: If you’re selling something at a price that is noticeably more than it was selling for before the pandemic, you may get investigated and prosecuted,” [Heath] said. Read the full article.
Construction Group lawyer Virginia K. Trunkes and Business Transactions Group lawyer Endicott (Kit) Peabody (IV) authored the article “The Federal Reserve’s Powers to Pave the Way for Continued Development and Construction Through COVID-19,” which was published in High Profile magazine on March 26, 2020 and the New England and New York Real Estate Journals on March 27, 2020. Originally published to R+C's Construction Law Zone blog, the article outlines numerous strategies recently offered by the Federal Reserve to support the financing needed to ensure ongoing construction as well as new projects in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “The Fed’s exclusive ability to alter the money supply and credit conditions, and willingness to do so, should spur the necessary institutional lending that can sustain development and its consumers through these troubled times.”
In addition, the original piece was updated and published by Construction Executive on April 22, 2020, "The Fed’s Toolbox: What’s Left to Pave the Way for Continued Development and Construction Through COVID-19?"
Construction Group lawyer Lisa B. Andrzejewski authored the article “New York clarifies differences between ‘emergency’ and ‘essential’ construction” published in the New York Real Estate Journal on April 21, 2020. Originally published to R+C's Construction Law Zone blog, the article examines the March 27, 2020 bulletin issued by the New York City Department of Buildings which offered clarification about the terms “emergency” and “essential” construction. Read the full article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman was recognized by Lexology as a “Legal Influencer” in the area of Telecommunications, Media And Technology for the first quarter of 2020. Linn received the distinction for her content contributions to Lexology via the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog, which she serves as editor of. She was also named a Legal Influencer for the second and third quarters of 2019. The Lexology Legal Influencers recognize the thought leaders that consistently provide Lexology subscribers with useful, insightful legal analysis within a particular work area and region. Winners are announced at the end of each calendar quarter and are selected through Lexology's bespoke process which considers the number of reads and the “LexScore” of each article read in the quarter.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team chair Linn F. Freedman was quoted in the article “Legal Blogging in the Era of COVID-19” published by LexBlog on April 8, 2020. The article covers how legal professionals have been offering insight and sharing information related to the COVID-19 pandemic as members of the LexBlog Network. As editor of the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog, Linn is “in a unique position to provide niche commentary.” “’The most important service that we have always brought to our readers, and will continue to during this time is accurate, relevant and current content that can help them with their operational and compliance needs,’ said Linn Freedman, partner at Robinson & Cole. Freedman is one of the most prolific bloggers tracking cybersecurity law and updates, and has been at the forefront of reporting on COVID-19 related scams and risks.” Read the full article.
Litigation Section Co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin is featured in this week’s digital edition of the Hartford Business Journal as a 2020 “Women in Business” Honoree. Rhonda’s profile in the publication includes her biggest professional accomplishment so far, what legacy she wants to leave, and how she maintains success. A link to the profile is available on the firm’s LinkedIn page.
The 2020 “Women in Business” class features 15 remarkable women, selected from a record-breaking 116 nominations, who are being recognized for making a significant difference within their organization and the community. The honorees will be awarded at the Annual Women's Business Luncheon on June 3, 2020 at the Hartford Marriott.
Construction Group lawyer Virginia K. Trunkes authored the article “Government Approval: When It’s Not a Sure Bet” published in the New York Law Journal on March 31, 2020. The article uses the recent court decision in The Committee For Environmentally Sound Development v. Amsterdam Avenue Redevelopment Associates, Sup. Ct., N.Y. Co., Index No. 157273/2019 to examine how the issuance of a construction permit by one branch of government can be invalidated after community opposition. “And when can a developer rely upon final determinations of the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)?” Read the article.
Real Estate + Development Group member Evan Seeman authored the article “No RLUIPA Violation in Religious Ballfield Case” published in the March 24, 2020 issue of Case Law Digest, an online publication of the American Planning Association’s Planning & Law Division. The article addresses a 2019 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, which affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment that found that the City of Kirkwood, Missouri did not violate the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) when it approved a lighting plan for a baseball stadium subject to conditions that allegedly deprived the field of meaningful use at night. To read the full article, click here. The Eighth Circuit’s decision is available here.
Manufacturing Industry Team lawyers Jeffrey J. White and Taylor A. Shea were quoted extensively in the article “Refunds, Closure, Coronavirus and the Law for Business and Consumers in Connecticut” published by CT Examiner on April 1, 2020. The article uses excerpts from the webinar on force majeure that Jeff and Taylor presented as part of a free “Coronavirus Special Topic Conference Calls Series” offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce's and the Connecticut District Export Council on March 18, 2020. During the session, Jeff and Taylor described what force majeure is, outlined the criteria that must be satisfied to claim an event as force majeure, and offer insight on whether or not COVID-19/coronavirus is considered one. “‘It depends on the contract language. Some (but probably not many) contracts will specifically include pandemics, epidemics, diseases or health crises as force majeure events. If this is the case, it is very likely that COVID-19 will qualify as a triggering event. However, the majority of contracts will not have a specific reference to pandemics or the like. In that case, you will need to evaluate whether COVID-19 qualifies under one of the events that are enumerated in your contract (e.g. an “Act of God,” a governmental action, etc.)” Read the full article.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Tom Donlon was quoted in the March 26, 2020 NU Property & Casualty 360 story “Cruise ship insurers: Staying afloat in COVID-19’s wake.” The article points out that the $45-billion cruise ship industry is at the forefront of the coronavirus crisis, highlighting the insurance vulnerability that cruise ship operators face and addresses the impact of maritime law on potential claims by passengers from outbreaks on cruise ships. Tom, a former Coast Guard officer, was quoted regarding the possible effect of provisions in a passenger’s ticket purchase agreement: “The contract may place limitations on recovery and may limit the scope of jurisdictions in which one can recover.” To read the full article, click here.
The article "Global Practitioners Beware: U.S. Code’s Avoidance Provisions Might Have International Reach," authored by Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group members Patrick M. Birney and Katherine M. Fix, has been selected by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) for inclusion in the “Best of ABI 2019: The Year in Business Bankruptcy,” an annual compendium of the best ABI Journal and conference seminar articles. Their article in the July 2019 issue of the Journal revisits the extraterritorial application of federal statutory law and the presumption against extraterritoriality in the context of litigation spawned from Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme and the ensuing bankruptcy proceeding. Patrick and Katherine write, “The powers have been read broadly to permit overseas application of federal law,” noting that the federal courts have most often sided with Congress and its “almost unfettered discretion to apply statutory provisions to govern events or actions outside the territorial boundaries of the United States.”
Using the Second Circuit’s extraterritoriality decision as the framework, the article re-examines the applicability of the presumption against extraterritoriality in the context of avoidance proceedings commenced under the Bankruptcy Code. In conclusion, the authors state that “The Second Circuit decision likely closes a potential loophole, now preventing the Bankruptcy’s Code avoidance provisions from being bypassed, and further expands the trustee’s statutory avoidance powers beyond the United States, at least in New York and other jurisdictions bound by Second Circuit precedent.” To read the article, click here.
Construction Group lawyer Peter E. Strniste, Jr. authored the article “Coronavirus: Who Will Bear the Risk & Cost for Construction Delays?” published in Construction Business Owner on March 10, 2020. In the article, which was originally published to R+C's Construction Law Zone blog, Peter emphasizes the importance of force majeure clauses in determining if the coronavirus outbreak constitutes an excusable delay extending the completion date and excusing the contractor from liability for any applicable liquidated or actual damages. “While there is no question that the outbreak of the coronavirus in China was unforeseeable, the party who bears the risk and the loss for resulting construction delays will be dictated by the controlling written agreement.” Read the full article.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted heavily in the article “Home Health, Home Care M&A Activity Is Business As Usual — For Now” published in Home Health Care News on March 17, 2020. The article focuses on the growing concern over potential disruption to in-home care M&A activity as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While home-care deals are currently moving forward, Les says “We haven’t seen anybody pull the plug on the transactions that we are currently working on,” he said. “This is an extremely fluid time, so it’s impossible to predict entirely what’s going to happen. We think that these deals will continue forward, albeit they may happen slower as people reassess what’s going to happen operationally and in the financial markets.” Read the full article.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Alicia R. Selman has been selected for recognition as part of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 2020 Excellence in the Law awards. Alicia will be presented with the “Up and Coming Lawyer” distinction during the publication’s annual awards event on July 22, 2020 at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Excellence in the Law is an annual celebration of excellence throughout the legal community. Up and Coming Lawyers are described as the rising stars of the legal community—Massachusetts attorneys who have been members of the bar for ten years or less, but who have already distinguished themselves despite their relatively junior status.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team chair Linn F. Freedman is the featured guest for an episode of the “Security Economy” podcast hosted by Katelyn Ilkani. Focusing on “The Law and Cyber Security,” the interview covered how data privacy and security laws impact cybersecurity decisions and touched upon GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy laws that affect compliance obligations. In addition, Linn discusses how the rise of ransomware is impacting businesses, shares insight on keeping businesses secure and describes response considerations in the event of a security incident. Listen to the podcast episode.
Manufacturing Industry Team chair Jeffrey J. White authored the article “Aerospace Suppliers Should Brace for Headwinds” published in Industry Week on March 12, 2020. The piece focuses on some headwinds faced by Tier 1 and Tier 2 aerospace suppliers as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are driven to reduce costs through supplier rationalization, vertical integration and continuous improvement programs through the supply chain. As a result, Jeff suggests that aerospace suppliers focus their attention on particular areas of the long-term agreement (LTA) as the “LTA look back” strategy is a common way for OEMs to reduce costs by enforcing the agreement’s many provisions. Read the full article.
Intellectual Property Litigation lawyers John L. Cordani Jr. and Brian E. Moran authored the article “Fed. Circ. Leaves Room For Nonexpert Obviousness Opinions” published in Law360 on March 5, 2020. The article examines the extent to which, in patent trial practice, a party’s lay witnesses may approach issues of obviousness in their testimony using the recent case HVLPO2, LLC v. Oxygen Frog, LLC 2020 WL 559108 (Fed. Cir., February 5, 2020) as an example. Read the article.