An unexpected issue faced by property & casualty insurers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been premium refunds to policyholders – especially on personal auto policies. The refunds and rebates are justified by substantial reductions in auto claims and losses because of less driving as people have sheltered at home and as stores and restaurants have remained closed or with restricted operations. Beginning in late March, shortly after stay-at-home orders were widely imposed nationwide, many insurers…
We all know summer 2020 will look different this year.  In some places, major festivals have been cancelled, and it is uncertain whether pools will open.  In other areas, tourist destinations are just beginning to reopen, and hotels are cautiously welcoming guests.  An uneasy workforce is wondering whether they can squeeze in their traditional summer vacation, or shift plans to vacations closer to home. For those of us who eagerly await automotive developments each summer,…
Automotive plants and their suppliers are slowly starting to come back online not just in the United States, but in North American and around the world. As we enter this next post-quarantine phase, we must consider what is in store for the automotive industry for the remainder of 2020. Let’s start with the not so good news: sales. They are going down. They were expected to go down before the pandemic, but now they are…
Obtaining patent protection on a global scale can be costly. As each country is a sovereign jurisdiction, they have their own Patent Office, requiring a patent application to be filed and examined in the respective Patent Office in order to receive patent protection in that jurisdiction. While the same patent application can be filed in multiple countries for the same invention, the Patent Office lifetime fees for obtaining patent protection for a single invention in…
We know that, as the internal ratification procedures for the United States of America–Mexico–Canada Agreement (“USCMA”) have concluded, the trade agreement will enter into force on July 1, 2020. It is clear that the sector that underwent the greatest changes was the automotive sector, especially in relation with rules of origin. Particularly regarding passenger vehicles and light trucks, significant changes were brought in order to consider such goods as originating: Higher percentages of regional value…
Communities around the world continue to grapple with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in many urban cores, transit systems are either closed completely, or operating on reduced hours and reduced occupancy thresholds. Meanwhile, consumers wonder what the future will hold for their commutes to stores, restaurants, work, and simply around their communities. While the thought of going to our favorite restaurant or bar might be a reality stuck on a distant horizon, commuters…
As May begins, analysts are focused on the sales numbers from April to see how the auto industry fared coming out of the first full month of global coronavirus impact.  All in, 24 states allowed dealerships to remain open, and 23 states allowed only remote sales. This in contrast to some other countries, like India where the nationwide lockdown led to 100% year over year drop in April with zero car sales.  In early…
Reminder as of May 4, 2020 Businesses that applied for a Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan have a chance to change their minds if they return the money by May 7, 2020.  With the onslaught of COVID-19 business closures, the government invited businesses around the country to apply for CARES Act relief to help survive the closures. Many have chosen to apply for assistance through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck…
No doubt by now your inbox has been filled with questions, recommendations, and articles about the use of force majeure clauses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of the focus on whether force majeure clauses can be invoked, little attention has been paid to whether they should. Excusing or delaying performance may seem sensible in the current economic environment, but self-excusing performance by invoking contractual force majeure provisions may have unanticipated adverse consequences…
The COVID-19 virus crush is upon us at this moment.  Like in 2008 with TARP, the government has invited businesses around the country to apply for CARES Act relief to help survive this pandemic.  But the requirements are unclear, discouraging some would-be applicants wary of much later scrutiny from criminal and False Claims Act prosecutors.  Recklessly disregarding CARES requirements can trigger treble damages, and submitting false statements to obtain government funds may result in criminal…