Michell Pacheco Soto
On March 25, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker vetoed HB 3360, which would have allowed plaintiffs to recover prejudgment interest, at a rate of nine percent, on all damages related to personal injuries or wrongful death. The governor believed this bill was too burdensome on hospitals and healthcare providers since most Illinois hospitals are self-insured, making them directly responsible for paying the costs of this legislation. However, the governor’s veto letter expressed a willingness to pass prejudgment interest legislation if problems with the current bill, including more robust protections for health care providers, were addressed. That same day, the Illinois House and Senate passed SB 72, which addressed some of the governor’s concerns.
Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (“COMPs Order”) #37 has replaced COMPS Order #36 (2020), which substantially expanded coverage in meals and break requirements, minimum wage and overtime requirements to almost every private employer in Colorado. The changes are designed to provide consistency between minimum wage, overtime and paid sick leave standards under the new Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”). Some changes include increasing Colorado’s minimum wage, making exemptions to COMPs #37 more stringent, and continuing paid sick leave benefits through 2021 due to the pandemic. These new employee-friendly adjustments have been adopted and became effective on January 1, 2021.
On December 17, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Robinhood Financial, LLC (“Robinhood”) with material misrepresentation and misleading its users about its revenue sources, specifically Robinhood’s receipt of payments from certain principal trading firms for routing its customer orders to them. The SEC charges against Robinhood also relate to certain statements about the execution quality Robinhood achieved for its customers’ orders and Robinhood’s failure to satisfy its duty of best execution. Robinhood agreed to pay $65 million to settle the charges.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local municipalities have issued emergency proclamations requiring small businesses to either shut down or limit their business operations. This has caused small businesses to suffer substantial profit losses. In response, small businesses have filed business interruption claims with their insurance providers to recover their profit losses. However, insurance companies have mostly rejected their insureds’ business interruption claims because there has not been a direct physical loss or damage to the insureds’ properties, which is required to grant business interruption coverage. Businesses have been forced to file lawsuits against their insurers, hoping that the courts will compel insurance companies to provide business interruption coverage to their insureds during the pandemic. Business owners have also asked their elected officials to intervene and help them by passing legislation that would require insurance companies to provide business interruption coverage.
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has recently proposed a rule change that would revise its interpretation of “independent contractor” under the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”). According to DOL, which has the power to investigate worker complaints about misclassifications, this change is needed to promote certainty for stakeholders, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy. However, this proposed rule could also diminish employee rights because independent contractors have fewer protections under FLSA. This rule widens the scope of who can be considered an independent contractor. Thus, many workers classified as employees could be reclassified as independent contractors and lose protections under FLSA.
After the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the U.S. in February of 2020, there was a surge in fraudulent behavior as criminals took advantage of the fear revolving around the pandemic to profit from selling defective goods and scamming the public. This has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars by the public. Scammers will continue to benefit and take advantage of the public until the government steps in and takes preventative measures to stop this criminal behavior during the pandemic.