Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Returning to Work: Forecasting the New Normal in Business

We cannot predict when businesses will reopen across the country. As we publish this Alert, dynamic business leaders are cooperating in comprehensive efforts to create safe work environments so that they can all re-engage the workforce.

However, we can predict the new normal in business. Some important studies were published yesterday, and the new normal in business will be facemasks for all employees, and probably all business visitors.

The scientists at the National Institutes of Health published a study yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine addressing the question of whether the coronavirus can be “aerosolized” when people are speaking. The study advises that the coronavirus can be aerosolized and transmitted between individuals who speak in-person.

In an accompanying commentary to the study, a Harvard University biologist remarked that those aerosols from infected persons may pose a threat, “even at considerable distances and in enclosed spaces,” and identified the wearing of a masks as a prophylactic measure.

Additionally, Nature Medicine published its study yesterday finding that individuals may be infectious for two to three days before showing symptoms of Covid-19.    

What does this mean for employers?

Start sourcing facemasks now. Whether essential or non-essential, healthcare or non-healthcare, all employers will need to have facemasks for employees, and probably visitors, in order to return to new normal operations.  

When combining the studies and the commentary, it makes the current preventative measures (six-foot rule, temperature at door, sending sick employees home, etc.) look less effective than believed. Speaking can be as dangerous as coughs and sneezes. Either by governmental order, regulatory requirement, or to avoid novel claims by employees, employers will need to provide facemasks. 

We expect that additional requirements will also be issued before businesses will reopen, so it probably makes sense to start sourcing disinfectant products at the same time.

For additional information, please contact Jeffrey C. Miller, jcmiller@bmdllc.com or 216.658.2323, or any member of the L+E Team at BMD

BMD Appellate Win Clarifies Waiver of Contractual Right to Arbitrate

Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC attorneys David M. Scott, Lucas K. Palmer, and Krista D. Warren prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding if/when a party waives a contractual right to arbitrate. Borror Property Management, LLC v. Oro Karric North, LLC, No. 20-3146 (the “Decision”).

Relief for Ohio Under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) — a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — a significant portion of which will be directed to the State of Ohio to support economic recovery, as outlined below.

Cleveland Manufacturer Violated OFAC Sanctions By Allowing Shipments To Iran - Know Your Customer and Know Their Customer

UniControl, Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio manufacturer of process controls, airflow pressure switches, boiler controls and other instruments, agreed to pay the Office of Foreign Assets Control “OFAC,” the financial enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, $216,464 to settle its liabilities for violations of the Iran Sanctions Program. OFAC stated that “this enforcement action highlights the importance of identifying and assessing multiple warning signs that indicate a foreign trade partner may be re-exporting goods to a sanctioned jurisdiction.”

Ohio Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations Shortened to 6 Years

On March 16, 2021, Governor DeWine signed into law S.B. 13 which shortens Ohio’s statute of limitations for filing lawsuits based on breach of contract. A statute of limitation is the time period within which a party must file a lawsuit before its claim expires as a matter of law.

Chinese Product Tariff Challenge Causes Flurry of Importer Lawsuits

A lawsuit filed late in 2020 at the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) challenging the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) implementation of Section 301 “List 3” and “List 4” duties on products from China, HMTX Industries LLC et al. v. United States (Court No. 20-00177), has resulted in the filing of thousands of additional lawsuits brought by other affected importers. There are now 3,700+ companies added to the list, including Ford, Home Depot, Target, Tesla, and Walgreens, along with many other smaller importers.