Atlanta/Washington, D.C. (March 2020) – The growing number of legal issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic prompted Morris, Manning & Martin to establish a multi-disciplinary COVID-19 Task Force. Experienced attorneys from a wide range of practice areas will help businesses through many unexpected and potentially serious legal issues arising from the virus itself as well as shutdowns related to widespread closures.
“Health and well-being must come first,” said Managing Partner Simon Malko. “The uncertainty of the situation affects almost every type and size of business. Rapidly changing conditions raise a huge number of issues related to contracts, the workforce, investments, ongoing and potential litigation, revenue loss, regulations and much more. We want to do everything we can to help our clients navigate this crisis.”
The MMM COVID-19 Task Force is assisting clients with a multitude of issues from the pandemic. For instance, recommendations and requirements to protect health and safety mean businesses may close temporarily or shift to a remote workforce. Those changes affect employee pay and benefits, not to mention availability. People working remotely outside secure networks, or using a family computer for work, may be susceptible to malware and other incursions, making companies more vulnerable to cyber incidents. Lower tourism could impact hospitality companies. In addition, commercial and residential real estate development and construction could be delayed or canceled because of economic forces, lack of imported materials or a reduced workforce. Healthcare facilities – including rural hospitals already facing an uphill climb – must stay current on constantly-updated regulations and try to stay ahead of increased demands for care. Insurance providers of all types could face an onslaught of questions and challenges never before encountered. All of this could combine to create more creditors’ rights disputes and bankruptcies. Court closures are already affecting cases now underway. New matters – including the inability to meet contractual demands – could end up in court as well.
“From the very beginning, individual practice groups were monitoring the situation and helping clients figure out the best course of action,” says Ed Emerson, who chairs the firm’s Employment and Employee Benefits Practice Groups. “We saw that almost all practice groups were already assisting clients,” added Emerson, who also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. “We needed a task force that would collectively tackle the issues for clients in all practice areas.”
Employment Partner Meredith Caiafa has taken the lead and is heading the COVID-19 Task Force. “As we started advising clients on employment-related matters, we realized that this issue could impact all aspects of our clients’ businesses. We want to be sure our clients have efficient and cross-functional support, especially because this situation is evolving so rapidly.”
That’s why the Task Force includes partners from a number of practice areas including Employment; Employee Benefits; Real Estate, Construction, Environmental and Land Use; Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy; Healthcare; Hospitality; Insurance; Litigation, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy; Tax and more. The cross-practice team is collaborating to proactively assist clients with business and legal needs and combine resources and best practices quickly.
“We are still near the beginning of this serious and swiftly changing situation,” Malko added. “We are ready to help our clients address the potential long-term impact of the virus as things progress.”
Clients and members of the public can learn more about the Task Force, and COVID-19 legal updates, at this link.
About Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
Morris, Manning & Martin (www.mmmlaw.com) is an Am Law 200 law firm with national and international reach. We dedicate ourselves to the constant pursuit of our clients’ success. To provide our clients with optimal value, we combine market-leading legal services with a total understanding of their needs to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and opportunity. MMM enjoys national prominence for its real estate, corporate, litigation, technology, healthcare, intellectual property, cybersecurity and privacy, capital markets, environmental, international trade, and insurance practices. MMM has offices in and around Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Savannah and Washington, D.C.
Media Contact for MMM: Terri Thornton, (404) 932-4347, Terri@TerriThornton.com