Corporate & Commercial

Congress has just approved a $2 Trillion stimulus bill to assist individuals, businesses and governmental authorities faced with economic hardship and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The bill was promptly signed into law by President Trump.  Here is a summary of the key components of the legislation: Payments to Individuals and Families The bill provides for direct payments by the federal government to all qualifying individuals in the United States.  Qualifying single individuals who earn up to $75,000 will be paid $1,200, married couples will receive $2,400, and additional payments would be made in the amount of…
On March 25, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published workplace posters that small and midsize employers can use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees of their rights to expanded paid sick leave and expanded paid Family and Medical Leave Act leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). A notice is to be posted in each workplace or emailed to all workers. Here is the link for the private sector poster:  https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf. Here is the link for U.S. DOL Q & A on the new poster/Notice requirements: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions. Should you need assistance…
On March 19, Congress approved and the White House signed into law the Family First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA”), which provides for expanded protections under the Family Medical Leave Act as well as paid sick leave to eligible employees for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19. A more detailed discussion of the duties, rights and obligations of employers and employees under the FFCRA can be viewed on SFNR’s website at the link below: www.sfnr.com/insights/congress-passes-family-first-coronavirus-response-act-h-r-6201/ One of the employer obligations imposed by the FFCRA is that all covered employers provide written notice to employees of their rights under the FFCRA.  On March 25,…
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering loans to small businesses of up to $2,000,000 to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Loan proceeds may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills.  The interest rate for small businesses is 3.75%.  Repayment terms are up to a maximum of 30 years.   Small businesses in all states are eligible.   More information is available at the SBA’s website:  www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19 For more information or questions regarding corporate law, please contact Leonard Gambino at leonard.gambino@sfnr.com.  The post SBA
Among the paid-leave requirements under the FFCRA: Eligible employers must provide two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100 percent of an employee’s pay if the employee is unable to work because he or she is quarantined or experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. Eligible employers must provide two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds of an employee’s pay if he or she is unable to work because of a need to care for someone subject to quarantine, if he or she must be absent to care…
As Chicago area business litigation lawyers this is a question we frequently are asked. Electronic Signatures are Enforceable under Illinois Laws.  E-Signatures are permissible and valid in Illinois under the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act (the ECSA). Under the ECSA e-signatures can be used for all contracts except for real estate title transfers where the document has to be recorded.    The key point is to make sure that the contract has a provision that allows e-signatures. For more information, check out our the web page of our Chicago Business Litigation law firm on the subject of e-signatures.…
Molson Coors has prevailed over Future Proof in Future Proofs attempt to secure a preliminary injunction against Molson to prohibit Molson from producing its “Vizzy” branded hard seltzers on account of a likelihood of confusion with Future Proof’s “Brizzy” hard seltzers.  As we wrote back in February, for this lawsuit to have legs, a court would necessarily have to find that by calling a hard seltzer “Brizzy” the beverage company making the hard seltzer had secured for itself the entire market of “izzy” ending beverage names (potentially beyond hard seltzer, even) which would be nonsense in a category of beverages…
Please note that U.S. DOL has established that the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is now Wednesday, 4/1/20. Here is the text of the U.S. DOL guidance: DEFINITIONS “Paid sick leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. “Expanded family and medical leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS What is the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act? The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are…
Hopefully we’ll be updating this list soon and often with news of new government programs and available funds meant to stem the tide of the financial crisis caused for the hospitality (and hospitality adjacent) businesses by the epidemic. If we are missing resources and you have them to share, please hit us up through the contact page and we’ll get them posted. At present, here are resources for you: 1. The SBA Disaster Relief:  What’s this about: You can read our previous piece on the SBA Disaster Relief here. Basically all Illinois small businesses can now apply for low-interest…
Like many states with cannabis programs, Illinois has been at work making accommodations during the current epidemic. Illinois’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s updated procedures and policies regarding marijuana sales and has offered guidance and guidelines to help dispensaries navigate updated methods of operation. However, while states like Nevada and Michigan have authorized deliveries and acknowledged the benefit of delivery service in helping protect those at risk and slow the spread of the virus, Illinois has not allowed for such delivery to keep the spread of the virus to a minimum. In the guidance, the Department notes that medical…
What to do when your business is forced to close due to the CoronaVirus? Does your business insurance policy cover the lost business due to the pandemic?  Most businesses carry commercial property insurance, which often includes business income coverage provisions. Recent events have caused our clients to raise questions as to what to do when their business is forced to close.  There are some options to business owners. COVID-19 – the coronoavirus – has put a halt on business as we know it.  The ordered closures of restaurants and bars across the country, and the official ban on public gatherings, have…
Businesses large and small have been placed under tremendous financial strain due the current pandemic.  Government action at all levels seeking to address the issue are advancing and changing by the hour.  Some of these will offer small businesses some relief.  Others, such as proposals requiring paid sick leave to hourly workers, may increase the burden.  Moreover, the strain is being felt not just by your business, but also by your vendors and customers. In light of all of this, it is imperative to assess the obligation of continued performance under your various contracts.  Do your vendors have an obligation…
On Friday, March 20, 2020, JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, acting pursuant to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, issued Executive Order 2020-10 (the “Order”), requiring all Illinois residents to stay at home, except as may be permitted under the Order.  All Non-essential business and operations were required to cease, except for certain Minimum Basic Operations, and all Essential Business and Operations were encouraged to remain open.  All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit were prohibited with limited exception, and gatherings of ten or more people inside a home…
Like many state liquor regulatory authorities, Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue is working to provide clarity and guidance during the current COVID-19 crisis. Unlike many state alcoholic beverage control authorities, Wisconsin’s officials and its Department of Revenue do not appear to be pushing the envelope to help struggling breweries, restaurants, bars, distilleries, and wineries in expanding rights on a limited basis while certain operations are restricted. Wisconsin’s liquor control authority, the Department of Revenue, has long made it clear that delivery isn’t an option and that Wisconsin has never acknowledged a reality of the 21st Century, e-commerce, by allowing online…
Bars, restaurants, and brewpubs – from chains to stand-alone locations — were already facing significant headwinds in 2019 due to higher payroll costs (including due to minimum wage increases), increasing consumer preference for take-out, and other factors. This resulted in numerous bankruptcies, including from well-known chains such as Houlihan’s, Perkins, Granite City Food & Brewery, Kona Grill, and numerous others. The impact of COVID-19 on an already challenged industry has been devastating and promises to get worse. Numerous states and municipalities have ordered breweries, distilleries, bars and restaurants to temporarily close (often excepting take-out and delivery services), and even where…
As coronavirus puts workplaces and indeed whole states including Illinois into “shelter in place” mode, employers need to respond quickly and sensitively to a host of health-related issues that no one anticipated dealing with as recently as a few weeks ago. These questions apply less directly to the many employees who are able to work from home during the crisis, but those whose employers remain open and who need to be on site to do their jobs will have to strike a delicate balance with their employers between safety, and performance of one’s job duties (and continuing to get paid).…