1. Focus on: Hurricane Sandy

    Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, leaving portions of New York and New Jersey under water, 7.4 million without power, and an economic toll estimated at more than $60 billion

    For your reference, here’s a roundup of Sandy-related legal updates on issues ranging from insurance coverage to challenges for employers to climate change, and more: 

    Insurance Coverage

    Superstorm Sandy: Are You Covered? (K&L Gates LLP):

    “Perennial hurricanes and typhoons, isolated but powerful tornados, earthquakes, and floods—the question is not whether, but where and when policyholders will confront the next natural disaster. In all of these circumstances, careful and proactive attention to insurance coverage considerations could be the key to restoring business operations and weathering the financial storm that inevitably follows the natural one.” Read on»

    Practical Pointers for Protecting Your Insurance Rights in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy (Reed Smith):

    “Commercial policyholders will have major claims for property damage, loss of business income, and extra expenses. History teaches that the insurers will resist or seek to limit payments. Policyholders are advised to be proactive in claiming their rights under policies. Resolution is achievable, but usually with hard work and patience. Here is a list of some practical pointers that most commercial policyholders should consider.” Read on»

    Insurance Coverage for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Sandy (Perkins Coie):

    “If your business suffered physical damage to tangible property, your property policies should indemnify you for that loss.  Even greater than any such property loss, however, may be the loss of income that your business may experience.  If your business does, in fact, experience a loss of income due to the hurricane, the business interruption, contingent business interruption or extra expense provisions of your property policy may reimburse you for such losses.” Read on»

    Reporting Insurance Claims From Damage Caused By Hurricane Sandy (Donald Scarinci):

    “Document, with photographs, all of the damage — especially if conditions are likely to change before any insurance adjuster may visit.  If you fail to do so, you may eventually find any doubts as to what took place are being resolved against you.” Read on»

    Getting Help for Hurricane Sandy Destruction (Lawyers.com):

    “Will your insurance cover damage to home and property? It depends on the policy. Make sure you know exactly what is in your paperwork before starting the claims process. Most policies do cover wind damage to a house and its contents; however flood damage usually is a supplemental option and not all homeowners will be covered. Of course, many houses built in flood plains are required by their mortgage lenders to have flood insurance.” Read on»

    Labor and Employment Considerations

    Hurricane Sandy: Employment Issues for New York Employers (Fox Rothschild):

    “Question: Can my business require exempt employees to use vacation time during a hurricane closure?

    Answer: It depends. More than likely it is permissible to require exempt employees to apply accrued time off since neither the FLSA nor New York law requires employers to provide vacation or other paid time off and the business would already be paying the employee.” Read on»

    More Challenges From Hurricane Sandy: Wage-Hour Issues And Related Matters (Fisher & Phillips LLP):

    “Readers will recall our typical reminder that the requirements and limitations of other laws must also be taken into account. This is especially important where Sandy’s impact is concerned, because the laws and regulations of some jurisdictions in the hardest-hit areas are often different and/or much tougher on employers than the FLSA is.” Read on»

    Hurricane Sandy and the FMLA: Are Your Employees Eligible for Leave During a Natural Disaster? (Franczek Radelet P.C.):

    “Where an employee is requesting leave as a result of the natural disaster, employers should obtain as much information as possible from the employee to determine whether the absence qualifies as protected leave.  Where there is doubt, employers should provide the requisite FMLA paperwork and allow the employee to provide the necessary information to support FMLA leave.” Read on»

    Employers Must be Prepared to Deal with the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (FordHarrison):

    “Hurricane Sandy has swept through the east coast, leaving in its aftermath a path of devastation and destruction.  Although there are no immediate estimates of losses from the storm, some have stated that the scope of the damage could be in the billions; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called it ‘incalculable.’  … In addition to dealing with the physical damage from the storm, when employers are finally able to resume business they will be faced with a variety of operational concerns as well as employment-related issues.” Read on»

    Hurricane Sandy: Have Employers Learned the Lessons From Last Year’s Storms? (Pullman & Comley, LLC):

    “… employers should, by now, understand the rules regarding ‘reporting pay’ and whether you need to pay employees when your office is closed, even due to power outage out of your control.” Read on»

    Oh, Sandy! Storm Brings Headaches, Hassles & Heartburn (Pullman & Comley, LLC):

    “[Connecticut] Governor Malloy announced … that all non-essential state workers are not to report to work on Monday. But those who listened to his news conference know he went beyond that. He stated that “This is the highest threat to human life our state has experienced in anyone’s lifetime.” What does that mean, though, for private employers?” Read on»

    Hurricane Sandy: Board of Education Discretion in Issuing Alternative Work Schedules on Snow Days (Dinsmore & Shohl LLP):

    “With the Hurricane Sandy knocking at our front doors, now seems like a good time to update Boards of Education on alternative work schedules for professional and service personnel… A common question from school administrators is: What discretion does a Board of Education have in issuing alternative work schedules on snow days?” Read on»

    Related Matters

    A Tale of Two Credibilities: Hurricane Sandy and Recent Extreme Weather Reports (McCarter & English):

    “This is our fundamental point about climate change and economic activity. Substantially all business decisions are made with some uncertainty.  Why would those involving a changing climate be any different?  The question to be asked is whether there is enough information to guide action.  Climate change is having effects.  We know this.  Why?  Simply because it is occurring.  And we also know it because of the mountains of evidence. “ Read on»

    Hurricane Sandy and Environmental Compliance (Pierce Atwood LLP):

    “As we all prepare for — or cope with — the impacts of this storm, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe.  Unfortunately, environmental impacts are inevitable.  We are mindful that EPA was criticized after Katrina for not enforcing environmental regulations, and some expect much more attention after Sandy.” Read on»

    Hurricane Sandy’s Wake Will Include Mechanics Lien Confusion and Filings (Zlien):

    “If we’ve said it once, however, we’ve said it a thousand times: Hurricanes and national disasters like this create an increase in [construction] work, but that translates into more mechanics lien filings, more lien protection needed and many construction businesses crossing over state lines and entering areas where they are unfamiliar with the lien laws.” Read on»

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    See also: Riding Out the (Franken)Storm: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Disaster Recovery 

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    For more law news and updates, follow @JDSupra on Twitter»

Notes

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