open sign on business door

Reeling from months of governmental orders that required all restaurants to close their doors, Chez Quis was elated to re-open and welcome back its diners, even at a reduced capacity. But elation quickly turned to despair when Chez Quis learned that one of its longtime customers, Abe Froman, had sued the restaurant for allegedly contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) while dining there. Has Chez Quis jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire?
Continue Reading Stay Shut Down or Be Sued? The Risk to Your Business from COVID-19 Premises-Liability Claims

laptop with envelope handshake

Before the pandemic, Ernest Bux’s niece Chit Bux signed a lease with Iona Mall in an upscale strip shopping center and hired a contractor to build out her dream business – a beauty salon “Cuts & Fluffs.” When Dallas County ordered businesses to shutter last spring, Chit’s “essential business” construction on her salon continued toward meeting the originally scheduled July 1st opening date – perhaps the worst time to open a high-touch, close-quarters beauty salon. Having dealt with other unsuccessful startups in that same space, Iona needed Cuts & Fluffs to succeed; Chit needed a different opening date – much later when people were less fearful of crowds. Chit called Iona, her contractor and her banker who was shepherding her SBA loan. Can Chit work something out with Iona without completely modifying her lease?
Continue Reading Can an Email Exchange Modify a Lease?

The extraordinary measures designed to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to cause constitutional clashes. My last post’s opening hypothetical about members of a congregation being ticketed for attending church services has now become a reality, and the Supreme Court has given its first hint on how it would strike the balance between fundamental constitutional rights and the government’s interest in preserving public health.
Continue Reading COVID-19 v. the Constitution: The Conflict Continues

stay home stay safe orderIn an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the county judge has issued a shelter-in-place order that prohibits all public gatherings. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 or 180 days imprisonment. Defying the order, Reverend Elmer Gantry opens his church on Sunday morning to a smaller but still enthusiastic congregation. As the members leave at the end of the service, they are met by a sheriff’s deputy, who hands each of them a ticket for violating the order. Reverend Gantry proclaims that fining people for attending church violates their constitutional right to freely exercise their religion. Will the First Amendment be their salvation?
Continue Reading COVID-19: Are Your Constitutional Rights Quarantined Too?