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Neumann Law Group has a proven track record challenging insurance coverage denials. Today, more and more businesses are suffering extensive losses, either directly from the corona virus, or from governmental action shutting down operations to mitigate the public health risk. Many businesses have paid insurance companies premiums for years to ensure protection in the event of a business stoppage by purchasing business interruption and civil authority policies or riders. Now, when small businesses need the most help, insurance companies are not providing much needed assistance.

Nationwide, almost all insurers offering business interruption coverage or civil authority coverage have denied claims related to COVID-19. The two types of policies are interrelated. Business interruption coverage allow companies to hedge against certain losses when the business suffers physical damage or loss that interferes with its ability to operate. Civil interruption coverage generally allows recovery when a civil authority issues an order closing a business or interfering with normal operations.

First and foremost, if you don’t know whether your business has such coverage, call your agent and find out. Most policies require the insured to submit claims promptly, so making a timely claim is critical. The types of injury upon which business have filed claims include lost income due to business closure, lost income due to public knowledge of infections on premises, costs of sanitization and employee testing, and a host of other claims specific to particular businesses.

Corona-Virus-300x169Neumann Law Group is ready to assist small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare for the anticipated second round of funding to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, as well as helping our clients navigate the application process following Congressional action. Although the content of what is being called an “interim stimulus package” remains the subject of considerable debate, nearly all economists and business leaders agree the measure is crucial to mitigate the shocking unemployment crisis facing the United States.

On April 16, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website notified businesses that the agency was no longer accepting new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. The recently passed CARES Act, otherwise referred to as the third stimulus package, earmarked $349 billion dollars for the U.S. Small Business Administration to distribute to small businesses, defined as having less than 500 employees—calculated by the average number of employees over the preceding twelve months.

The Paycheck Protection Program offers businesses a loan up to $10,000,000. The principal amount of each applicant’s loan is calculated at 2.5 times the company’s average monthly payroll costs for the previous one year. The loans are subject to complete forgiveness if used for qualifying expenses, which include:

AndersonNeumann Law Group is accepting new clients who were sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert E. Anderson, university physician at the University of Michigan. Our firm successfully sued Michigan State University on behalf of survivors of the shockingly similar predator, Dr. Larry Nassar. Our firm is committed to advancing the rights of individuals who suffered because the two of the most vaunted educational institutions in America failed to protect the students charged to their care.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson (deceased, 2008), who worked as a physician for the University of Michigan from 1968 through 2003, is at the center of numerous allegations of sexual assault. The university is now the subject of a federal lawsuit, brought by a survivor of his abuse, alleging the school had knowledge of the doctor’s predilections, and rather than protecting the vulnerable students, U-M protected him. The university allowed him to continue his pattern of assaults for several decades.

Survivors describe Anderson’s behavior began during the draft era of the Vietnam War. The first step in being drafted was receiving a physical. Anderson offered to write students a letter stating that the potential draftee was homosexual, a declaration that at the time disqualified an otherwise suitable candidate for compelled military service. However, he demanded sexual favors in return—something that was well known in the Ann Arbor gay community at the time.

Dark-Hospital-300x191In the 1990s, the use of a neurovascular stent for a procedure call “stent-assisted coiling” was considered a breakthrough treatment for treating brain aneurysms. The medical device offered a non-surgical method to address weak spots in blood vessels in the brain. An aneurysm occurs when a weak point in a vessel allows blood to bulge out the vessel wall. If the aneurysm bursts, it can cause traumatic consequences, particularly when the aneurysm is located in the brain.

A non-stent assisted coiling treatment for an aneurysm involved running a stint from a patient’s leg up into the location of the aneurysm in the brain. The catheter would then inject a string of soft platinum into the aneurysm, which coils upon itself within the “bubble” of the aneurysm. After the platinum was fully deployed, the blood in the aneurysm clots along the coil and eventually fills the either aneurysm, such that is no longer poses the threat of rupture.

The procedure described above worked well, unless the aneurism had a “wide neck.” Where a normal aneurysm looks like a bubble stuck on the side of the vessel, a wide neck aneurysm looks more like a semi-circle. Instead of having a small weak spot in the vessel bulge out into a bubble, the wide neck variety involves a larger weak spot that expands the vessel in a distorted manner. Introducing the platinum coil into the aneurysm is not feasible, as the coil is too exposed to the blood flow and will not remain in place.

“Yeah, that’s going to be a problem. That’s going to be a problem for them.”

In so few words, Jackie Chiles, legendary consumer rights warrior, issued a battle cry, distilling public safety litigation into its most primal essence. Dangerous products impose a cost upon the consumer. Product liability lawsuits reallocate the cost wChiles-Top-of-Bloghere it belongs: the manufacturer. A dangerous product is a problem, but this time, it will be a problem for them.

This article is the first installment in a series that explores the evolution of personal jurisdiction as it relates to product liability litigation, concluding with a discussion of two personal jurisdiction cases pending before the Supreme Court. In those consolidated cases, Ford Motor Company is asking the Court to severely limit the number of courts that can hear a case against a company that serves a regional or national market.

Cottage-225x300Northern Michigan has been a beloved vacationing destination for many years. Families develop annual traditions, with each generation introducing the next to the beautiful countryside and artistic spirit found throughout the region. Frequently, a member or several members of the family decide to purchase a cottage, preserving the summer tradition for all the generations to come.

The family cottage has invaluable sentimental value; however, oftentimes it appreciates in financial value over the years. Over the last 40 years, the greater Grand Traverse region has become a premier national vacation destination. The local real estate market has seen near constant appreciation, which has accelerated to sometime outrageous rates since the housing bubble collapsed in 2008. It is not uncommon for a modest cabin, purchased or built in the 1960s, to now be worth in high six, or even seven figures, if it has a significant amount of frontage on the right lake. Finally, the vacation rental industry has exploded into a major economic factor. The family cottage may not only be an appreciable asset, it can become a significant source of revenue, if the owners so desire.

The significant value associated with a family cottage can become problematic after its ownership has been distributed amongst a number of family members after the death of the first generation. Subsequent generations may have less attachment to the Cottage. In some cases, new owners may financial constraints on how much they can contribute to the maintenance of the property. Other owners may see the property as an investment, rather than a vacation destination.

Trust-300x225The trust. For many people, trusts are an intimidating legal construct they don’t want to be bothered with, perhaps feeling as though it is a needless complication created by lawyers to make money. Although having a trust may not be appropriate for some families, it can be a stable platform with which to address a number of problems outside of a courtroom, ultimately saving money and heartache. Consequently, it has become central to most. Below, I touch on several common trusts, but please note, these descriptions are far from exhaustive on the subject.

But first, what is a trust? Well, imagine that the concept of ownership isn’t one right, it is a bundle of rights. If I own a piece of real estate, I have the right to sell it, to develop it, to live on it. These rights can be split from one another. For instance, I can rent the property to someone, so I no longer have the right to live on the property, but I still own it. I can transfer my right to sell the property by selling someone an exclusive option to purchase it, but still maintain possession of the property. This concept of fractured ownership rights is important to a trust.

The trust itself can be viewed as a separate, individual person. It can open a bank account, purchase land, invest in the stock market, etc. But of course, someone must direct it to do so. This person is the trustee. The trustee has the authority to direct the trust and to act on its behalf, which is the “ownership interest.” However, unless the trustee is also a beneficiary, he or she cannot use any of the trust assets for his or her personal benefit.

Child-199x300Every parent wants to provide the very best they can for their children, directly or indirectly dedicating most of their waking hours towards building a safe and happy home life, and part of the beautiful innocence of little children is their complete ignorance of their parents’ hard work and sacrifice dedicated to providing a home. The child feels safe because of the mother’s and father’s mere presence.

Sadly, we live in a world of not only childish innocence, but one of tragedy and loss. Although a parent would gladly trade places with his or her child in the event of disease or physical trauma, we are never given that choice. Yet sometimes, children do have their parents torn from them at a young age. Losing a parent at a young age is one of the most devastating life events a human can experience. Not only is there a terrible sense of loss, the child’s future is suddenly uncertain. Who will raise the child? How will they pay for the child’s needs? Will there be a family fight to determine both?

Under Michigan law, a minor that loses his or her parents will either be placed with friends or family, or in the absence of a willing caregiver, be placed into the foster care system. As parents, we do not want our bereaved children to go through any unnecessary distress or uncertainty. Consequently, it’s a parent’s responsibility to have an estate plan that nominates the children’s caretakers in the event of their death. To learn more about estate planning, you will find an article discussing the basics here.

melinda-gimpel-wkfZyteTMOA-unsplash-300x169“I can find a will one online . . . Easy-peasy, right?”

Although one can certainly complete a will online (some a very well drafted), and it will effectively transfer your property upon your death, an estate plan is much more than a list that tells ‘who gets what.’ Proper planning provides desperately needed certainty in times of crisis, often before anyone passes away. About half of the operative instruments in an estate plan are only effective during one’s lifetime—they cease to have power upon your death. Below, I try to comprehensively outline the major components of an estate plan Please note that there is more to estate planning than what is discussed below. This article only covers the common foundational instruments of a typical plan.

Broadly speaking, an estate plan addresses two main goals: (1) empowering friends and family so they might assist you while you are living, and (2) instructing those you choose to manage your affairs in death. While there are certainly people in the world that can get by without an estate plan, if you have any meaningful assets, children, family tension, or health condition, proper preparation will make the road much easier for those closest to you. Moreover, every last one of us could suffer an injury or illness. The protection an estate plan can afford you while you’re still living is invaluable.

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