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  • May 26, 2020

How long until the “great unknown” becomes “the new normal”? Navigating Commercial General Liability Insurance in the age of the Covid-19

The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has and will continue to present novel issues in all facets or our lives.  The insurance arena is no exception.  Questions related to insurance claims, coverage, and defense have already begun to arise in the wake of Covid-19.  As the quickly changing landscape continues to evolve, particularly with communities and businesses beginning to reopen, these insurance related queries and considerations will increase and grow more complex and nuanced.   Businesses need to be aware of potential claims.  These could include allegations that a business negligently failed to protect or to warn third parties against the risks…

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  • May 14, 2020

Freedom of Religion and COVID-19: Can State Government Close Churches?

Across the nation, State Governors have issued Executive Orders restricting the operation of businesses and the daily activities of individuals. They are doing so in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept America and the world. These Orders often include prohibitions on the gathering of 10 or more people in any enclosed space. Churches have not been exempt from these Executive Orders, and religious activities are usually expressly included. The effect has been to close churches for Sunday worship and other ministries, and to likewise restrict services in synagogues and mosques. Churches have generally complied and cooperated with the…

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  • March 23, 2020

IRS Issues Notice 2020-17 and Notice 2020-18 and Extends Payment Deadline and Filing Deadline for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States issued an emergency declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in response to the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (Emergency Declaration). The Emergency Declaration instructed the Secretary of the Treasury "to provide relief from tax deadlines to Americans who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency, as appropriate, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7508A(a) ." On March 18 & 20, 2020 and pursuant to this mandate, the IRS issued Notices 2020-17 and 2020-18 extending the date for making tax filings and payments due April…

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  • March 23, 2020

Employer Tax Credits Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201 (Act). The Act, which goes into effect on April 2, 2020, responds to the novel coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak by providing paid sick leave and family leave to employees. The Act mandates government entities and employers with fewer than 500 workers, subject to certain exceptions and exemptions, to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to all covered employees and up to 10 weeks of paid family leave for certain employees affected by COVID-19 who have worked at the…

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  • March 19, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Where it Stands Today

In this period of rapid change, few things are moving faster than the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). This federal legislation creates new sick leave benefits and temporarily expands the scope of the Family and Medical Leave Act to assist certain employees and their families confronting challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The FFCRA was passed by the House on March 14, amended by the House over the weekend, and then passed by the Senate yesterday evening. The President wasted no time and quickly signed it into law. With his signature, the legal obligations of many employers changed. Those…

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  • March 13, 2020

Legal Impact of Coronavirus on the Workplace

As the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the U.S., employers are coming to grips with its effects on the workplace. The uncharted territory of the pandemic presents new challenges for employers. Health and safety are of foremost concern. When addressing those concerns, employers should remain conscious of their duties under various workplace laws. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 virus had reached pandemic levels. Why is this terminology important? Classification of the virus as a pandemic provides objective evidence from health authorities that the virus is at a level…

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  • March 10, 2020

Don’t Forget About Federal Court: Considerations in analyzing removal under diversity jurisdiction

In defending complex civil matters, one important consideration is the question of whether the matter must stay in the state court in which plaintiff filed, or, is there a basis for removal to federal court.  Trying a matter in federal court could present a host of benefits.  They include a wider and deeper jury pool, avoiding feeling as if the matter is being tried on plaintiff’s “home turf,” and a more predictable application of procedural and substantive rules, authorities, customs, and practices.   The most common basis for seeking removal to federal court is where there is diversity of citizenship…

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  • February 17, 2020

Thomas Schetelich – Featured Presenter at the Christian Camp Conference Association, Mid-Atlantic Program

Thomas Schetelich was a featured presenter at the Christian Camp Conference Association, Mid-Atlantic Program.  Mr. Schetelich spoke to Camp and Conference Center directors and leaders concerning current issues of religious liberty and the direction of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Schetelich, who is himself a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar, reviewed the leading cases of the past five years, showing how the Supreme Court has been expanding religious liberty by expanding the definition of the “exercise” of religion.  He also referenced cases recently decided at the Circuit Court level for which review is being sought from…

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  • January 8, 2020

Four FSB Attorneys Named in Baltimore Magazine for 2020

Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A., is proud to announce that four attorneys at the firm have recently been recognized for excellence in practice by being selected as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars for 2020. Specifically, Craig F. Ballew, Employment and Labor, and Robert L. Ferguson, Jr., Civil Litigation: Defense, made the 2020 list of Maryland Super Lawyers. Furthermore, Jacob L. White, Civil Litigation: Defense, and Daniel S. Baurer, Personal Injury General: Plaintiff, were named to the Maryland Rising Stars list. Mr. Ballew was previously named a Super Lawyer from 2008 through 2009, and again from 2012 through 2019. Mr. Ferguson…

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  • December 18, 2019

Secure Act Promises Major Changes in Retirement Planning

Substantial changes in retirement laws appear headed for passage and enactment into law by 2020. The SECURE Act (“Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement”) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 417 – 3 and similar legislation is now before the Senate. President Trump has expressed his support for what would be the first major change in retirement laws since 2006. The bill is a series to strong incentives to encourage savings towards retirements, together with the elimination of so-called Stretch IRAs that tie up wealth for generations. Essentially, the SECURE Act, breaks down into five (5)…

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