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The Content Rundown

Are Covid-19 Waivers a Help or a Hindrance?, by Luna Law’s Rachel Luna. Many business owners, concerned about potential future COVID-19 exposure claims from employees and/or customers, are deciding whether they should use waivers of liability to help address these concerns. Rachel Luna, counsel to small businesses, discusses the pros and cons of whether to institute a waiver policy.

Exercising Those Engineering Muscles: A Q&A with William Harding, via Grable Martin Fulton, PLLC. We often hear stories about children following in their parent’s footsteps, but for William Harding, his road to a career in law went the other way around. Inspired by his son to pursue a J.D., Bill uses his skills developed from years in the Air Force and private practice as an engineer and tech consultant to provide his clients with tailored patent law knowledge.

The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens: Chapter 8, “The Chainsaw,” via The Castañeda Firm. “I didn’t set out to be a lawyer,” writes oil and gas litigator Chrysta Castañeda. “Growing up in the suburbs of Wichita, Kansas, I liked math and science. I came by my interests honestly. My dad was an aeronautical engineer who worked for decades at Beech Aircraft, which was later bought by Raytheon and is now known as Hawker Beechcraft. My sisters, Cathy and Cheryl, and my little brother, David, also studied engineering, and most of us married engineers. Law wasn’t in my DNA.” In this excerpt from her book, The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens, Chrysta discusses her road to law, how she earned her nickname “The Chainsaw,” and the challenges she overcame to grow her practice.

Serious Defects In Your Recently Purchased Home? Here’s What To Know About Bringing A Claim, by Cawthon Law, Lance Cawthon. For most people, buying a home will be the biggest single purchasing decision of a lifetime, one requiring much time, deliberation, and money. But imagine moving into a newly acquired home only to be surprised by major problems like recurring water intrusion or a faulty foundation. It doesn’t just break your heart. It can also bust your budget. What if you know or suspect the problem was there before you were, but no one bothered to tell you? Are you simply stuck in a “money pit” like Tom Hanks in a wacky comedy from the 80s, or can you hold someone else accountable for what you didn’t know and weren’t told? Real estate attorney Lance Cawthon sheds some light on a complicated topic.

Recent Cawthon Law Results, via Cawthon Law. Big wins, complete verdicts and dismissals with prejudice resulting in recovered attorney’s fees — civil litigator Lance Cawthon has achieved some solid resolutions for his clients. Read on to learn more.

Considerations When an Employee Refuses to Return to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Luna Law’s Rachel Luna. As local businesses have begun expanding and reopening their operations, a unique issue has emerged—some employees are refusing to return to work, often out of concerns related to COVID-19. As a counsel to small business, attorney Rachel Luna provides some considerations that should be made if any of your employees are refusing to return to work as you begin to expand or restart your operations.

A SCOTUS Win for LGBTQ Employees!, by Jackson Spencer Law’s Jennifer Spencer. “As an employee rights attorney,” writes Jennifer Spencer, “I am ecstatic to share the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” Thanks to this new decision, federal workplace discrimination protections now extend to LGBTQ employees. Here’s some background on the cases that led to the decision, as well as what this means for employees across the country.

Title VII of 1964 Civil Rights Act Protects LGBTQ Workers, SCOTUS Rules, by Clouse Brown’s Megan Smale. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in gay and transgender rights cases that were argued in October 2019, at the beginning of the Court’s current term. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a critical anti-discrimination law protecting employees, and the Supreme Court extended the law’s protection against being disciplined, fired, or denied a job opportunity to gay, lesbian, and transgender employees. Executive employment attorney Megan Smale discusses what this means for employers.

Reopening Issues and Resources, by Luna Law’s Rachel Luna. In an effort to provide continued support to the small business community, business attorney Rachel Luna has compiled a list of preliminary issues and steps for business leaders to consider as they begin to slowly expand or restart operations. These steps have been prepared in alignment with recent federal and state orders and guidance and, although not exhaustive, should assist organizations that are expanding operations and/or reopening in a manner that helps prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

How Would T. Boone Pickens Have Bounced Back from the COVID-19 Pandemic?, by The Castañeda Firm’s Chrysta Castañeda. In this article originally published in The Oklahoman, oil and gas litigator, and attorney in Pickens’ last trial, Chrysta Castañeda explores how the legendary oilman’s worldview can be applied to the current crisis. “T. Boone Pickens didn’t live to see the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Chrysta, “but he knew something about weathering difficult times.”

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: How to Stand Up for Your Rights and The Rights of Others, by Jackson Spencer Law’s Jennifer Spencer. As racial tensions reach a boiling point in the United States, employee advocate Jennifer Spencer wanted to take time to discuss racial discrimination in the workplace. Despite laws and progress made in some sectors to curb racial discrimination, it still exists in nearly every aspect of American life. In this article, she provides advice on how to respond if you experience racial discrimination in the workplace, as well as how to protest or take a stand against racial injustice without suffering negative repercussions to your career.

Dallas Bar Association Hosts Lunchtime ‘Last Trial’ Chat and CLE Credit, via The Castañeda Firm. Join Chrysta Castañeda and the Dallas Bar Association’s Trial Skills Section on June 8 at noon for a Zoom discussion of her book, “The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens.” Chrysta and her co-author Loren Steffy will share highlights from their book and the five-week, high-stakes courtroom drama that was final trial for the late and notable T. Boone Pickens.

PPP: Lifeline or Albatross?, by Grable Martin Fulton’s Shannon Chapman. Small business owners and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers may have been wrestling with big financial and employment questions, and news and social media might now be magnifying that stress. Specifically, questions arise about whether a small business actually qualified for the PPP loan in the first place, and whether the business could now be subjected to accusations and investigations of fraud. Business attorney Shannon Chapman clarifies some of these confusion points in her blog post on PPP updates.

Female Disruptors: How Chrysta Castañeda Has Shaken Up the Legal and Energy Industries, via the Castañeda Firm. As a part of Authority Magazine‘s series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, Chrysta Castañeda participated in a Q&A about her experiences as an oil and gas litigator, her trial involving T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Petroleum, and her current run for Texas Railroad Commissioner.

Insurers Are Refusing to Renew Unless Insureds Agree to Infectious Disease Endorsement, by Amy Stewart Law’s Beverly B. Godbey. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging all around us, most policyholders are focused on filing claims for business interruption and extra expense under their property policies – and well they should be – those claims are timely and appropriate. However, insureds should not be distracted from other important business coverages like commercial general liability (CGL) and umbrella excess (UMB), which may be coming up for renewal. Insurance coverage attorney Beverly B. Godbey explains why policyholders need to pay attention to the terms of renewal.

Federal Government Ramps Up Their COVID-19 Fraud Efforts (Part 2 of 2), by by the Law Offices of Dan C. Guthrie, Jr.’s, Dan Guthrie. In part two of this series, white collar defense attorney Dan Guthrie explains what you can do to protect yourself (or your business) and how to respond if you are under investigation for fraud related to COVID-19.

Chrysta Castañeda Named a ‘Trailblazer’ by National Law Journal, via The Castaneda Firm’s Chrysta Castaneda. Chrysta Castañeda has been selected as a “Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, citing her $146 million verdict on behalf of the late and notable T. Boone Pickens and his company, Mesa Petroleum Partners, her run for the Texas Railroad Commission, and her recent book, “The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens.”

From the Frying Pan to the Fire? Reopening Restaurants and the Controversial Face Mask, by Clouse Brown’s Megan Smale. As restaurants around the country re-open, they must develop practices that minimize health risks, comply with local laws, and try to do so in a way that is welcoming to their much-needed customers – many of whom may have different points-of-view on what “welcoming” looks like. Executive employment attorney Megan Smale explores some of the recent restaurant controversies in this blog post.

Federal Government Ramps Up Their Anti-Fraud Efforts (Part 1 of 2), by the Law Offices of Dan C. Guthrie, Jr.’s, Dan Guthrie. In the first part of this series, white collar defense attorney Dan Guthrie describes the government’s current prosecution priorities and why it’s important to stay informed about COVID-19 fraud investigations. “I have been a practicing white collar defense lawyer for more than 35 years,” writes Dan, “and I have never seen the government respond as swiftly or vigorously to fraud as they are right now.”

Ohio Court Rules Bitcoin is Covered Property in Case of First Impression, by Amy Stewart Law’s Robert Fountain. In this blog post, Robert Fountain discusses Kimmelman v. Wayne Insurance, a case that arose when plaintiff James Kimmelman submitted a property insurance claim for stolen bitcoin. While Kimmelman is one of the first cases to grapple with the classification of cryptocurrency under an insurance policy, writes Robert, we anticipate the cautious cryptocurrency insurance market will gradually adapt policies to clarify the extent of coverage, if any, provided for cryptocurrency-related losses.

D Magazine Selects Jennifer Spencer for Best in Dallas Honor, via Jackson Spencer Law. For the second consecutive year, D Magazine has selected Jennifer Spencer for inclusion on its annual list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas. The 2020 list recognized her work in the area of labor and employment law. “I’m honored to be included on the list once again,” said Jennifer. “Now more than ever, the city needs attorneys who will advocate for its workforce. A resource like D Magazine’s list provides our clients with the reassurance that they’re working with trustworthy and effective counsel.”

Oil and Gas Litigator Chrysta Castañeda Reflects on Mesa Petroleum Case, via The Castañeda Firm. Following the landmark decision on behalf of client T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Petroleum Partners, litigator Chrysta Castañeda and author Loren Steffy teamed up to write a book about the experience, The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens. Recently, she and Loren participated in a Q&A with The Texas Lawbook, and Chrysta reflected on her experience in an article published by Oilman Magazine.

Christina DiPintoChristina takes traditional legal marketing copy and upcycles it into snackable, click-able and shareable digital content. As Muse’s newsletter guru, she creates custom newsletters for clients from development to distribution. If you’re looking for a snappy headline or engaging email, send her a note at christina.dipinto@muselegalpr.com.

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