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Coronavirus Legal News Briefing — May 6, 2020

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing this collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the legal community.

Important links

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Legal Resources Page — Texasbar.com/coronavirus

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Public Resources Page — Texasbar.com/COVIDHelp

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Well-being Resources page — Texasbar.com/remote-well-being

Office of Court Administration provides updated guidance for court operation — May 5, 2020 — It reaffirms its instructions to delay all in-person proceedings until June 1 and offers additional guidance for court proceedings after that date. — Texas Bar Blog

As COVID-19 restrictions drag on in Texas, legal challenges gain a foothold — Legal experts say that the restrictions have provided a unique opportunity for substantive legal challenges that could clarify the limitations of the emergency rules. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Judicial conference asks for more money and judges due to expected COVID-19 backlog — The Judicial Conference of the United States is asking Congress for $36.6 million in funding to make the majority of temporary judgeships permanent and to add more judges to certain courts in anticipation of a backlog of cases due to COVID-19. — Law.com

Analysis: Grand jury suspensions a looming problem for prosecutors — The suspension of federal grand juries is causing headaches for prosecutors by jeopardizing older cases and slowing down complex ones, requiring judges to consider how to bring the panels back. (Subscription required) — Law360

Did county attorney break law? — An amended order was filed stating that Matt Mills may have placed himself in legal jeopardy in his refusal to uphold the governor’s mandate. — Hood County News

4 best practices for Biglaw firms that are weathering the storm well — What should successful firms be doing to reassure and support their employees during these tumultuous times? — Above the Law

Texas lawyers assist with employment law, business reopening tips — Texas lawyers are offering tips and general guidance to employers navigating employment issues during the pandemic and considering reopening plans. — Texas Bar Blog

As Texans return to work: Mitigating the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace — For starters, hold off on ordering that pallet of face masks. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Wife of Dallas meat plant worker who died from virus sues company, claiming it ignored worker safety — Blanca Parra claims in the lawsuit that Quality Sausage took too long to implement safety measures to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. — The Dallas Morning News

Tax attorneys expect a wave of coronavirus tax appeals — Commercial property owners are gearing up to challenge the tax valuations of their investments in numbers not seen since the economic downturn last decade. — Bisnow

The IRS sent coronavirus relief payments to dead people (audio) — Among the recipients of those $1,200 payments are the bank accounts of dead individuals — a problem that could impact millions of American families. — NPR

US files first criminal charges for defrauding coronavirus bailout program — The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday brought its first criminal charges against people it accused of defrauding the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program. — Reuters

Dallas salon owner who refused to close sentenced to seven days in jail, ordered to pay fines — Salon a la Mode owner Shelley Luther reopened Thursday even though the state had required nonessential businesses to remain closed. — The Texas Tribune

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To keep up on the latest legal news from around the state, sign up for the State Bar of Texas’ Daily News Briefing by clicking here.

Original author: Amy Starnes
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