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Business Litigation Blog Arizona Supreme Court Limits When Juries Are Allowed to Infer Causation in Medical Malpractice Claims September 20, 2021 It is now a little easier for healthcare providers to defend against medical malpractice claims. Last month, in Sampson v. Surgery Ctr. of Peoria, LLC, the Arizona Supreme Court held: If the cause of a patient’s death is (1) “disputed” and (2) “not obvious to an ordinary person,” then a “jury in a medical malpractice case may not be left to ‘infer’ causation without the guidance of expert testimony.” At least, this is how the Court stated its holding…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog What is the Arizona House Bill 2617 and What are the Effects on Both Creditors and Debtors? September 10, 2021 Arizona House Bill 2617 (AZ HB 2617) amends four statutes relating to judgment liens and the homestead exemption; it was signed into law on May 19, 2021, and goes into effect on December 31, 2021. A judgment lien is a lien on real property created after a civil judgment is properly recorded. The homestead exemption is the amount of a home’s equity that is exempt from a forced sale. The homestead exemption generally “protects…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog Is Your Bankruptcy Filing Ripe for An Adversary Complaint? July 19, 2021 An automatic stay, which is unique to bankruptcy, generally gives breathing room to a debtor who has filed a bankruptcy.  Meaning, if there was pending litigation or attempts to collect an outstanding obligation, the majority of those actions must cease subject to a further Bankruptcy Court order that removes the automatic stay.  In a previous blog post, “Will the ‘Return to Normalcy’ Increase Tenants Seeking Bankruptcy Relief?” we broadly discussed the automatic stay and debts that are either dischargeable versus…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog Will the “Return to Normalcy” Increase Tenants Seeking Bankruptcy Relief? May 20, 2021 Presently no moratorium or mandate that prevents a commercial landlord from evicting a tenant in default exists.  Federal and local governments have encouraged landlords to work with their tenants during the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In contrast, residential tenants have been afforded a moratorium until at least June 30, 2021, in most instances.  That said, some courts have recently issued rulings deeming the Center for Disease Control’s orders related to the eviction moratorium as unconstitutional.  Unless further extended or…
Labor and Employment Blog COVID-19’s Implications for OSHA and the NLRA May 7, 2021 Recent news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic brings long-awaited optimism as signs of improvement begin to show. According to recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40.7% of the Arizona population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 28.9% being fully vaccinated. The number of confirmed cases and deaths related to COVID-19 continues to decline as well. As conditions seem to improve, businesses are eager to re-open their doors and bring back their workforce in an effort to return…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog BANKRUPTCY AND DIVORCE: CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE FILING April 22, 2021 Introduction The pandemic has taken a toll on married couples both financially and emotionally, which has caused many to contemplate filing for both divorce and bankruptcy. This is not to say that every bankruptcy leads to a subsequent divorce, or that every divorce will warrant the filing of a bankruptcy.  However, this article provides an overview of which process should be initiated first for those couples in the unique situation of being on the brink of filing for both divorce and bankruptcy. There is not…
Recent news regarding COVID-19 vaccines seems to be overwhelmingly positive.  Johnson & Johnson has developed a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine which will soon enter manufacturing and distribution stages to eventually become widely available in the United States, along with the currently available Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are now being administered to anyone 55 years or older in Arizona and essential workers, depending on state protocols.  With these positive developments, however, employers are now faced with the decision of what role vaccinations play in returning to the workplace.  In particular, employers must decide whether they want to require employees to receive…
With Valentine’s Day in our midst, love is in the air – and possibly in your workplace! Consider the scenario below: You work in the Human Resources department of ABC Corp., a small, 20-person company that has always prided itself on maintaining a professional, but fun working environment. This year’s Valentine’s Day lunch is no exception; the heart-shaped cupcakes and garland are just the right amount of “festive” and the tiny bottles of champagne were a nice touch. You’re about to retrieve the candy hearts for the annual candy heart scrabble tournament when you notice the CEO, Robert, and the…
Labor and Employment Blog President Biden Targets Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Through Executive Order February 11, 2021 Amongst the flurry of other recent executive orders and administrative directives during his first 30 days in office, President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order seeking to eliminate gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination, and various overlapping forms of discrimination on the basis of multiple protected classes, in federal government departments and agencies.  This executive order closely follows on the heels of the Supreme Court’s June 15, 2020, decisions in the Bostock-Zarda-Harris trio of cases, ruling that Title VII of…
Business Litigation Blog Qualifying Parties May Now Have to Face Personal Liability for Construction Company’s Obligations February 11, 2021 Last year’s changes to the contractor’s licensing laws opened the door to personal liability for qualifying parties (“QP”).  The Legislature added Section B to A.R.S. § 32-1127.  Section B reads: “While engaged as a qualifying party for a licensee, the qualifying party is responsible for any violation of this chapter by the licensee.” What are “any violations of this chapter”? A few examples are: Liability to pay subcontractors and material suppliers; Lability for conversion of payments received for work performed; Liability…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog Restaurants Continue to Face Uncertain Times Due to the Impact of COVID-19 February 4, 2021 Before the impact of COVID-19, restaurants were already facing various developments that collectively impacted historical dine-in trends. Whether it was the increase in patrons utilizing delivery services such as UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub, or the fairly new market of prepackaged, ready-to-cook meals such as Blue Apron. Each have impacted the restaurant industry in different ways.  The decline in dine-in patrons was exponentially increased with COVID-19 restrictions.  Leaving the questions of how, can, and will restaurants adjust to remain open. .…
Labor and Employment Blog Arizona’s Minimum Wage Increases in the New Year: What Employers Should Know December 30, 2020 As with every new year in Arizona, new resolutions should include wage adjustments as required by law.  Even with the global pandemic, these statutory increases continue.  Under Arizona’s minimum wage law, the state-mandated minimum wage increases from $12.00 to $12.15 effective January 1, 2021.  Arizona employers may continue to take a tip credit for tipped employees where permitted by federal law, up to a maximum of $3.00 per hour.  Several cities, towns, and other local jurisdictions within Arizona have their own…
Client Alert News Pandemic Relief Update December 23, 2020 On Tuesday, December 21, 2020, The United States Congress passed and sent to President Donald J. Trump a new stimulus package that, among other things, provides for new stimulus payments to lower income households, as well as a new round of Paycheck Protection Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, resolves tax issues related to Paycheck Protection loans and loan forgiveness, makes more retirement plan money available to participants, and temporarily reinstates deductions for business meals that will make it easier for taxpayers to support the businesses hardest hit by the continuing…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog Does my Business Qualify as a Small Business Debtor? December 2, 2020 The new Subchapter V of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Subchapter V) was enacted through legislation known as the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA); and, went into effect on February 19, 2020. Shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the nation. In response, and on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) became effective. This brief albeit now commonly known legislation is important to consider in light of the remaining time period for the…
Labor and Employment Blog Recreational Marijuana Passes in Arizona – Should Employers Be Concerned? November 10, 2020 Arizona voters recently approved Proposition 207 – also known as the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act” – which largely decriminalizes marijuana possession and use for those who are at least 21 years old, establishes a framework for regulating the sale and possession of marijuana, and imposes excise taxes on recreational marijuana.    Although marijuana was previously authorized under Arizona law for medical purposes, recreational use was prohibited until the passage of this new law. Arizona now joins nine other states to authorize recreational marijuana…
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights Blog Common Misunderstandings or Oversights that Members of a Family Business May Be Prone to as They Weigh Whether to File for Bankruptcy November 9, 2020 Family owned businesses account for approximately 63% of the U.S. workforce.[1] Some may even consider family owned businesses as the “backbone” of the nation’s economy. Many of them have been around for generations and continually contribute to their respective communities. Family owned businesses also carry the potential for additional stress. Both working and socializing with family can potentially hinder one’s ability to have a healthy work/life balance. This…