We’re Available to Help During the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re Available to Help During the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic 2020-04-07T14:42:07-06:00

The COVID-19 Pandemic is causing nationwide disruption.  While we’re not currently seeing clients in-person, we continue to help clients with a wide range of business, litigation, and other matters by telephone and through computer chat (such as Skype or Zoom).

These matters include those associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic, including employment and contract matters, as well as helping clients seek loan and other benefits provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or “CARES Act”) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).

Employment Law

Montana employers must continue to comply with numerous state and federal laws during the COVID-19 Pandemic; however, some of these obligations may not be applicable or have changed given recent events.  We can provide guidance to employers regarding their specific circumstances and questions.

Additionally, the FFCRA provides substantial tax credits for employers who comply with emergency sick leave and emergency family leave provisions of this Act, including providing qualifying paid leave.

Contract Compliance

In addition to employment matters, businesses, municipalities, and individuals are being left in limbo concerning their rights and obligations concerning a wide range of contracts.

Our business attorneys can help.

Whether considering force majeure clauses or other contractual provisions, we can help you understand your rights and obligations, and can assist in providing options about moving forward.

Importantly, we are focused on practical, immediate solutions rather than potential litigation.  We thus seek to help clients develop strategic solutions that will benefit them and be acceptable to their contractual partners, as opposed to taking unilateral actions which may invite litigation.

CARES Act Forgivable SBA Loan Program

Under the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act, eligible employers are able to secure assistance to cover certain payroll, benefits, rent, and other expenses through a loan process (“PPP”).  A portion of the PPP may be forgiven and loan repayment amounts may be deferred for a period of time.  The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (“EIDL”) has also been expanded to provide additional loan packages and emergency grants to small businesses in need of additional resources due to COVID-19 impacts.  We help employers understand the eligibility requirements, the loan application processes, and with documenting program compliance.

Landlord Relief

The CARES Act provides relief for landlords of multi-family (5+) units who have federally-backed multifamily mortgage loans.  Under these provisions, eligible landlords may request forbearance on principle and interest payments for up to 90 days, provided that the landlords were current on mortgage payments as of February 1, 2020, and that they refrain from tenant eviction or charging tenants interest or late fees.  As with other aspects of the CARES Act, there are important additional requirements that must be met in order to secure the principal and interest forbearance benefits.

The CARES Act enacts a 120-day moratorium on evictions for “covered properties” due to nonpayment of rent.  However, other actions may be taken by landlords to protect their assets during the moratorium period.  Governor Bullock’s Directive dated March 30, 2020, implementing EO 2-2020 and 3-2020, also prohibits evictions and other adverse actions for non-payment of rent. BKBH can guide you in developing a proactive approach for addressing your landlord/tenant concerns during this challenging period.  We are well equipped to assist you with addressing all tenant non-compliance and property management issues.

Insurance

Insurance companies will likely be receiving countless claims arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic, including those involving business interruption benefits.  As experienced insurance attorneys, we can help answer your questions concerning policy requirements and related matters.

Estates/Probates/Powers of Attorney

Planning is key in this uncertain time.  Planning for the unexpected will give your loved ones peace of mind.  If you haven’t done so already, individuals should review their estate plans to ensure they are up to date and accomplishing what they want.  If you don’t yet have an estate plan, our estate attorneys are prepared to provide you the counsel and documents you need to ensure your estate assets are protected.

If you have experienced a loss or a dispute with others regarding the probate of a decedent’s estate, we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through both uncontested and contested probate matters.  We represent personal representatives of estates and can assist estate creditors as well.  Our attorneys are compassionate advocates who will walk alongside you in those difficult times.

Additionally, in the event you experience a sudden hospitalization or inability to handle your own affairs, we can provide you the right powers of attorney, living wills, and advance directives to ensure the burdens of such events are lessened for your family.

Additional Information

For additional information please contact any of the following attorneys who are serving as our initial points of contact in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Helena: Kim Beatty & Andy Adamek

Great Falls: Mike Rausch

Bozeman: Troy Bentson & Judd Jensen

Missoula: Dan Auerbach