A federal appellate decision warns that arbitration might not be as confidential as the parties in business disputes prefer it to be. If the winner of an arbitration wants to enforce their award by obtaining an ordinary court judgment, they must run the risk of losing confidentiality.
Category: Consumer Law
Unemployment Benefits for Workers Affected by COVID-19
On March 17, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instructed the Texas Workforce Commission to waive the waiting week for Unemployment Benefits. In addition to waiving the waiting week, the Texas Workforce Commission is exercising its authority under the Governor’s declaration of a Statewide Disaster to waive Unemployment Insurance work search requirements effective immediately.
Those seeking to apply for Unemployment Benefits will need to submit an application.
You will need the following:
- Last employer’s business name and address
- First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
- Information related to your normal wage
- Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. citizen or national)
For Additional Services in San Antonio: https://www.workforcesolutionsalamo.org/
Can COVID-19 Excuse You From Contractual Obligations?
COVID-19 has brought about many horrible scenarios relating to public health and serious financial stress on our incredibly complicated financial system. But small businesses are confronting a specific issue–can COVID-19 excuse small businesses or individuals from their contractual obligations?
The answer depends on the language contained in the contract, local and state law (including Emergency Orders/Directives from governors and/or mayors), and the connection between COVID-19 and the parties’ ability to perform their contractual obligations.
Many contracts contain a “Force Majeure” clause or an “Acts of God” provision. These provisions apply when a contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside the control of the parties and could not be avoided by exercise of due care. These clauses allocate risk between the parties when an unanticipated event makes performance impossible or impracticable for each party or both parties.
Also, the more specific the clause, the more limited application it has. Most clauses specify that they are only invoked when performance becomes impossible.
Courts generally require the party claiming force majeure to show that the event was not foreseeable and directly caused the failure to meet its contractual obligations. Thus, a pandemic resulting in mass closures of all restaurants, bars, schools and the like should not be a close call. This is not a normal risk of doing business.
Note that many contracts have specific requirements in order to trigger the “Force Majeure” clause or “Acts of God” provision–namely, notice to the other party.
Many contracts do not allow you to go to Court
Many contracts (employment agreements, lease agreements, credit card agreements, warranty disputes, contractor agreements, service contracts, etc.) include an arbitration provision. They require that you arbitrate disputes instead of litigating them in Court. Know what arbitration is, how it works and what it means for your contract.
Texas Durable Power of Attorney and Form
A financial power of attorney is a legal instrument that gives another person (called an attorney-in-fact) the authority to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney can be as broad, or as specific as you want it to be. For example, a power of attorney can authorize someone to make banking, tax, litigation, and/or financial planning decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney does not, however, encompass medical decisions–a separate medical power of attorney is needed for that purpose.
You can make the financial power of attorney effective immediately after it is signed, or make it effective in the event of your incapacity (the inability to make decisions on your own behalf).
Although the State of Texas has promulgated a standard form to be used (see the link below), you should consult with an attorney when preparing a financial power of attorney to ensure that it accurately reflects your needs and wishes.