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COVID-19 Resources for Tribes

March 27, 2020

Many of our tribal clients are facing extreme economic and legal challenges as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and emergency response measures adopted by the federal and state governments. Godfrey & Kahn’s COVID-19 Response Team is tracking legal developments on a minute-to-minute basis.

Congress has so far enacted two major laws to respond to this unprecedented crisis. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enacted March 18, among other employment-related provisions, imposes obligations on employers relating to family and medical leave and paid sick leave. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is expected to be enacted very soon. Subtitle A, Title IV of the CARES Act, titled the “Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act,” provides economic assistance private businesses, states and tribes. The Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) has prepared an initial summary of the Indian country-related provisions of the CARES Act.

Godfrey & Kahn can provide valuable assistance to tribes in (1) evaluating and seeking business interruption and other insurance coverage for impacts to gaming, hotel and other business operations, (2) addressing labor and employment issues raised by the FFCRA, (3) addressing force majeure issues relating to contract enforcement, (4) addressing “essential business” exemption issues, and (5) seeking relief under the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act.

We will provide additional, more detailed, information relating to the FFCRA and CARES Act on an ongoing basis. Meanwhile, please be aware of the following Godfrey & Kahn resources available to your tribal government or organization:

  • COVID-19 Resource Center – Godfrey & Kahn has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center to help clients navigate the changing legislation and workforce impacts.
  • The Corporate team’s latest GK Quarterly features guidance on numerous force majeure scenarios.
  • A FFCRA Webinar, a collaboration between Meg Kurlinski and Rebeca López of Godfrey & Kahn’s Labor & Employment team and Suby von Haden Certified Public Accountants, discussed the FFCRA and its impacts on the Family and Medical Leave Act and sick leave.
  • The following G&K attorneys are available to provide advice on key business-related issues:
  • Force Majeure Contract issues: Matt Wuest (414.287.9244 or mwuest@gklaw.com).
  • Insurance coverage/business interruption: Zack Bemis, former Counsel, Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner’s office, (608.284.2224 or zbemis@gklaw.com).
  • Essential Business Exemption: Mike Wittenwyler (608.358.1800 or mwittenw@gklaw.com) and Zach Bemis.


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Media Contact 

If you have a media request or need an attorney with particular knowledge for comment, please contact Kyle Mondy, Marketing & Communications Manager, at 414.287.9481 or kmondy@gklaw.com.

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For more information on this topic, or to learn how Godfrey & Kahn can help, contact our COVID-19 Response Team.

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