Message to Clients and Friends on Coronavirus / COVID-19
We want to let you know what our firm is doing to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
First and foremost, our priority is clear: the health and safety of our colleagues, clients and community, and continuing to provide the highest quality service to our clients.
We have instituted a remote working plan for all of our professionals and staff to ensure the safety of our people as well as to maintain seamless business continuity for our clients. Our business remains open and we are fortunate to have the tools and technology in order for our attorneys and staff to work remotely so we can continue to provide our clients with the best possible advise and support.
As we navigate this time of uncertainty together, we want to reaffirm our commitment to your continued success. We will continue providing updates, as needed, in the coming days and weeks. We also include information below on areas where we can provide assistance during these challenging times.
Overview of Relevant Practice and Services:
Our attorneys are closely monitoring the COVID-19 emergency, combining capabilities in insurance law, dealer and sales representative matters, contract analysis, and insolvency related issues to provide critical guidance to clients in an urgent and quickly evolving situation.
A sample of our capabilities includes:
Insurance Recovery & Advisory
Our Insurance Recovery & Advisory Group is currently litigating over 80 cases in the Puerto Rico state courts all over the Island against all insurance companies in Puerto Rico for losses and damages sustained as a result of Hurricanes Irma and María covered by our clients’ commercial policies. Those litigations include claims for property damage and business interruption. We are also litigating claims for failure to defend. At the outset of COVID-19, some insurance companies and brokers are generally stating that Business Interruption coverage does not apply to this pandemic. That may or may not necessarily be correct. Business Interruption coverage—indeed any coverage—will always depend on the specific language of the policy at issue and the specific factual circumstances of each case. Likewise, many clients may have policies which include other types of coverage that may apply, such as, by way of example but without limitation, Civil Authority and Event Cancellation. Our team is ready to advise you and, if necessary, litigate to enforce your rights under your insurance policies.
Contract and Lease Analysis
The coronavirus outbreak may significantly impact many companies' commercial and financial agreements. Under any given contract, the application of the different clauses that may come into play will need to be reconciled. Those clauses may include representations/warranties, force majeure or "material adverse event" clauses, notice requirements, termination rights or dispute resolution provisions. Contract terms should be reviewed closely in order to ascertain whether a party is, in fact, prevented from complying with its contractual obligations. Parties facing questions over whether performance under a particular contract may be suspended or excused will need to analyze the language of any force majeure clause. Legal doctrines such as impossibility, frustration of purpose or others may also be relevant. Our team has vast experience assisting clients in consultations regarding contracts and contract law, as well as litigating disputes aimed at protecting or asserting any contractual rights. Our team is ready to assist our clients in the analysis of their contracts to determine the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their terms and conditions.
Insolvency & Corporate Restructuring
Our team is prepared to assist clients to develop business solutions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We have deep experience providing business-critical advice to a wide variety of financial institutions—from banks to private equity and investment funds – and to companies in various industries. Our broad industry experience spans all facets of restructuring, bankruptcy and litigation-related challenges. We generally advise bankers, lenders, investors, lessors, asset purchasers, and debtors on the myriad of issues facing these companies in the wake of COVID-19, including the acquisition and disposition of distressed real estate, loan modifications, workouts and restructuring. During this crisis, moratorium and other insolvency related relief is under consideration under both state and federal law. Lack of liquidity, diminished revenues and other factors will likely increase debt-restructurings. Our team is closely monitoring such projects and is prepared to assist in drafting and negotiating debt relief, moratorium and restructuring agreements and in others insolvency matters.
Dealer & Sales Representative Issues
The Dealers’ Contracts Statute of Puerto Rico, commonly known as Law 75, as well as its sister statute, the Sales Representatives Statute of Puerto Rico, commonly known as Law 21, overarch the relationship between the principals (suppliers) and their Puerto Rico dealers and sales representatives, respectively. While each statute presents different subtleties, they are very similar—to the point where courts look to decisions regarding the other to fill-in gaps one may have in jurisprudence, and both protect against the impairment of the dealer or sales representative’s contractually acquired rights without just cause and the termination of their distribution or sales representative rights without just cause. The statutes define the term “just cause” as the dealer or sales representative’s noncompliance with any of the essential obligations of the agreement with the principal, or any act or omission of the dealer or sales representative that may adversely and substantially affect the interests of the principal in the development of the market or the sale of merchandise. COVID-19 will undoubtedly affect the way dealers and sales representatives can develop the market for their principals’ products in Puerto Rico, and it will undoubtedly affect the principals’ operations and capabilities to supply their products to the dealers and to the sales representatives’ clients. Our team is ready to advise our clients, whether dealers or suppliers, regarding their rights under Laws 75 and 21 and their distribution or sales representative agreements and, if necessary, litigate to protect those rights.