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Virus-Stricken Workers Face High Hurdles When Suing Employers

April 21, 2020, 5:56 PM

Here are the day’s top coronavirus stories from the team at Bloomberg Law:

  • HIGH HURDLES: Business groups have begun raising the alarm against a potential wave of personal-injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed by employees or their families, and are lobbying the government to shield them from those claims, as the nation gears up for returning to work. However, it will be difficult for workers to win those cases, employment law professors and attorneys say.
  • HOMETOWN EDGE FADES: Law firms in Houston are anticipating a surge in bankruptcy filings for oil and gas producers, and who wins that work could impact which firms have a competitive advantage when the industry’s financial lifeline, M&A deals, turns back on.
  • IMMIGRATION HALT: President Trump starts with a key advantage in vowing to suspend immigration into the U.S. during the outbreak: The Supreme Court appears to be already on his side.
  • AT-HOME SWABS: The FDA has authorized the first home diagnostic kit for Covid-19 that will let people take their own nasal swabs and mail them for testing. At-home test collection will expand the nation’s testing capabilities and is expected to reduce the amount of protective equipment needed by health-care professionals by decreasing their direct interactions with potentially sick patients.

Editor’s Top Picks

Small-Business Relief Loans Could Face Some State Tax Hurdles
Businesses that receive debt forgiveness from the emergency loan program created by Congress could face an unwelcome surprise without more clarity from their state legislatures: tax bills on those forgiven loans.

Coronavirus Crisis Stirs Fresh Debate Over Medicaid Work Rules
Supporters of Medicaid work requirements are building their defenses as the virus takes its toll on the economy, even though such rules have consistently failed to survive in court.

Businesses Fearing Exclusion From Fed Loans Push for Change
The latest economic relief law authorizes the Fed to extend low interest loans to a variety of businesses. But because of a wrinkle in the law, some businesses organized as S corporations may be excluded from accessing that assistance, highlighting the political tightrope the Trump administration and Congress have to walk in making aid accessible to large employers while ensuring those funds aren’t abused.

Patent Filings, Litigation May Shift in Economic Crisis
Companies are facing tough decisions about applying for patents and launching infringement lawsuits. Fewer patent applications are expected to be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during the economic slowdown, and more applications could be abandoned, as businesses tighten their budgets.

MLB Sued for Refunds After Season Suspended Due to Covid-19
Major League Baseball was hit with a $1 billion class action seeking a refund on tickets sold for the 2020 season, which has been suspended due to the pandemic.

SEC Braces for More ‘Virtual’ Votes as Virus Lingers
The SEC’s first-ever public vote during a “virtual” meeting earlier this month likely won’t be its last, Chairman Jay Clayton said.

Covid-19 Isn’t Pausing EPA’s Chemical Deadlines, Attorneys Say
Chemical manufacturers can’t blame the coronavirus if they miss regulatory deadlines or deadlines to comment on EPA plans that may ultimately limit the chemicals they can use, industry attorneys say.

Workers’ Comp Attorneys See Trouble in OSHA Virus-Track Rules
Workers’ compensation attorneys claim OSHA guidance stating that most employers won’t have to determine whether an employee’s infection was job-related will make it harder for workers to claim injury benefits.

INSIGHT: Best Practices for Conducting Remote Arbitration Hearings
Two King & Spalding attorneys were one week into a two-week arbitration hearing when New York City shut down due to the pandemic. They learned valuable lessons from continuing the hearing via video and share their experience and some tips.

Click here for updates on how federal courts are operating during the pandemic.

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Editor’s Note: The Bloomberg Law news team has been closely covering the legal, regulatory, business, and tax implications of the coronavirus pandemic. This daily email highlights the top stories of the day, across practice areas. To unsubscribe, please adjust your Bloomberg Law newsletter settings. For assistance, contact our help desk at 888-560-2529 or

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Ward in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at