Law in the time of coronavirus – Article by Chris Meier
April 3, 2020
THE CONWAY DAILY SUN, Friday, April 3, 2020
As all of the Mount Washington Valley and the world alter our lives to the temporary social distancing and quarantine rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, so, too, must we adapt as business owners, employers and employees to a new (temporary) economic and legal reality. Below is an outline of some of the changes that I felt were important for us here in the valley to consider and keep in mind.
Governor’s Stay at Home Order — Effective March 27 at midnight, and through May 4, the governor has ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close, schools to remain closed and remote learning, and state beaches to close. The list of what businesses are essential can be found on nh.gov, but note that grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open, as will restaurants but only for takeout or delivery. The order also allows for residents to leave home for fresh air and exercise, as long as social distancing and “staying-local-to-your-area” protocols are observed.
Federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Stimulus Act) — This bill is enormous, and 880 pages. Here are some highlights:
Direct Payments — Up to a certain level of income, citizens will receive cash payments up to $1,200 based upon their 2019 tax filing. These likely will issue within three weeks and will either be deposited in an account on file with the IRS or a check will be sent. The Washington Post has created an easy calculator to estimate any payment you might receive.
Unemployment Insurance Support — Under the Act, the current N.H. maximum for unemployment benefits will increase from a weekly benefit of $427 to $1,027, and laid-off employees are entitled to an additional 13 weeks of benefits (changed from 26 weeks to 39 weeks). The benefit is dependent on your recent income amount, but if you are laid off from your employment, you should file for unemployment as early as you can. NHES will work with you through the process, but note that there are particular days and times to file based upon the first letter of your last name. For more information, check the website: nhes.nh.gov.
Families First Act — There are three substantial parts of Families First: Emergency Sick Leave — This provision says that employers are required to provide 80 hours of emergency sick leave (related to coronavirus) in addition to existing sick leave or paid time off. This emergency leave goes away on Dec. 31 (or if an employee is laid off or terminated). Emergency Family Leave — The Leave provision provides for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for employees whose child care (or school) is unavailable due to coronavirus restrictions. The first 10 days can be unpaid; however, for the remainder, an employee must receive a benefit t of two-thirds their normal rate of pay (up to $200 per day or $10,000 total).
Payroll Tax Credit — There will be an employer credit against payroll taxes for emergency sick leave or emergency family leave used by its employees.
Temporary prohibition of foreclosure and eviction — All eviction and foreclosure actions in the state are suspended until further notice. Note that this order does not waive or forgive any rent or mortgage (or other) payment; it only delays any foreclosure or eviction proceeding.
Court proceedings — Generally, courts are open only on a restricted basis, and closed to the public. Emergency matters are still being heard, and anyone with an emergency can contact the Trial Court Info Center at (888) 212-1234. A New Hampshire lawyer can also help you navigate how to obtain legal relief during this time.
Note that this is a brief summary of the new law, and everyone should investigate further how these changes apply to them individually, with their own lawyer, accountant, bank, and HR advisor. I look forward to seeing you all in the restaurants, in the stores, and on the trails, rivers, and mountains of the MWV when all this is over, but until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay informed — we will get through this together.
Chris Meier is an attorney specializing in business affairs at Cooper Cargill Chant, a North Conway law firm.
Cooper Cargill Chant Continues Annual Support to Mountain Top Music Programs
June 14, 2018
Pictured (Left to Right): Attorney Christopher Meier and Jeanne Mason.
Cooper Cargill Chant, PA – Legal Counsel to a Great Community for 40 Years
February 6, 2018
The law firm of Cooper Cargill Chant, PA. is pleased to announce it is celebrating 40 years of providing legal services to individuals, businesses and organizations throughout northern New Hampshire and western Maine.
Today, as the largest law firm in Northern New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant reflects on 40 years of service to its communities. The firm’s history began when Robert Dickson, Peter Fauver and Randall Cooper combined their practices to form the firm of Dickson, Fauver and Cooper.
Steady growth followed and in the early 1980s resulted in expansion of the firm’s Pine Street office, nearly doubling its size. During the 1980s Robert B. Dickson was appointed as a Superior Court Judge and Dorcas “Penny” Deans became a partner of the firm. In the 1990s, Peter Fauver was also appointed as a Superior Court Judge. Ken Cargill and Paul Chant became partners of the firm.
In 2002 the firm moved to its current location on White Mountain Highway in North Conway and later in the decade the firm added a second office located in downtown Berlin. Through the years, the firm continued to grow and evolve. A mainstay through it all has been a strong commitment to clients and community. The firm sought and brought the highest caliber personnel to join its practice. Over the years, Dennis Morgan, Chris Meier and Leslie Leonard grew from associates to become partners in the firm. Associates Deborah Fauver, Tyler Ray and Andy Dean add to the breadth and depth of the firm’s knowledge and ability.
The firm’s partners, associates and staff have always been committed to giving back to the community through pro bono work, charitable gifts, donations and sponsorships as well as dedicated involvement in community and civic organizations.
As the firm reflects on the last 40 years, partner Paul Chant stated “We are humbled by the dedication of our employees and the loyalty of our clients, as well as the opportunity to represent and make a difference for so many local companies and organizations. We are proud to give back to and be involved in our communities through service and philanthropy”.
Cooper Cargill Chant, PA looks forward to many more years of service and extends heart-felt appreciation to the many people that have contributed to the firm’s success.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm in Northern New Hampshire with office in North Conway and Berlin. Its attorneys represent a wide range of individuals, businesses and organizations in central and northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Practice areas include: personal injury; real estate; business and corporate; planning; zoning and municipal; civil litigation; family law, bankruptcy, employment law, criminal defense and DWI.
For more information about firm, call (603) 345-5439 or visit the website at www.CooperCargillChant.com.
Cooper Cargill Chant Attorney Chris Meier Accepts Special Recognition for the MWV Trails Association From Governor and Executive Council
September 14, 2016
Photo Caption: Chris Meier (third from right) Accepts Special Recognition for the MWV Trails Association From Governor Maggie Hassan (center) and Executive Council.
NORTH CONWAY, NH – Volunteerism and public service is part of the culture at Cooper Cargill Chant, northern New Hampshire’s largest law firm. This fact was exemplified on September 7, 2016, when Attorney and Partner Chris Meier received special recognition on behalf of the non-profit Mount Washington Valley Trails Association, on whose board Meier serves as President. Meier and the MWVTA received a special proclamation from Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Council members at their North Country meeting last week at the North Conway Community Center in North Conway, NH.