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1927

Oregon Health Authority Orders New Statewide Face Covering Guidance

As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives, Governor Kate Brown has authorized the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to create new guidance on masks, face coverings and face shields (collectively referred to as “face coverings”). On August 13, 2020, masks, face shields, and face coverings became required statewide for offices and indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

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Oregon WINGS Posts “Get a Life Plan”  

Oregon’s Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) posted a solid plan for what we should all consider, as part of planning for your life – and death.

These are a good place to start, but for most of us, to obtain a comprehensive Life (and Death) Plan, it is best to talk to an estate, trust and tax planning attorney to set you and your legacy up for success. Fortunately, we have a whole wing of such talent here at SYK.

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Between Two Screens: Tax Law….”Why Not?!?”

Join us for the next episode of SYK Studios presents Between Two Screens, with SYK’s tax section leader, partner Valerie Sasaki. 

Valerie responds with passion, keen intellect, and an abundance of good humor to the question put to her: “Why tax?” As she explains, “Why not tax?” Her perspective on how the tax laws mirror our societal values will give you a whole new appreciation for tax lawyers and the hard work they do.

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Emoji Court

Emojis in Court: The Rise of Case References

With colorful caricatures ranging from mind-blown facial expressions 🤯 to coconut shrimp 🍤, there are hundreds of emoji to express a multitude of different feelings, thoughts, and emotions. In the last decade, emoji have cemented a permanent place in the world of e-communications. Emoji now represent a diverse array of skin tones ✋✋🏻✋🏽✋🏿 and physical disability 🦾 🦿. Oxford Dictionaries’ 2015 Word of the Year was awarded to the Face with Tears of Joy Emoji 😂. It should stand as no surprise that everyone’s favorite new way to communicate has permeated its way into our legal system.

Let’s start with the prevalence of emoji in our virtual vernacular. According to Slate, 92% of the online population uses emoji. As of 2016, 2.3 trillion mobile messages incorporate emoji annually as of 2016. That means nearly 10 trillion emoji-laced messages have been sent in the past four years.

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Investment

SEC Takes Action: False & Misleading Conduct Related to COVID-19

Since February 2020, the SEC has temporarily suspended trading in over 30 stocks and filed several enforcement actions against individuals and microcap securities issuers based on fraudulent COVID-19-related claims.

The enforcement actions have a common theme – fraudulent misrepresentations made in press releases and online forums about the company providing COVID-19 tests or protective equipment, in an attempt to unlawfully drive up the share price of the company’s stock.

These emergency enforcement actions seek to protect the public by freezing defendants’ assets, getting permanent injunctions to bar the wrongdoers from further violations of the securities laws, officer-and-director bars against individual participants, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil money penalties, and penny stock trading bars.

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Eviction

Eviction in Oregon in the Age of COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions

On June 30, 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed HB 4213 into law, replacing Executive Order 20-13 as Oregon’s eviction moratorium. Among other things, HB 4213 restricts and prohibits certain landlord actions during the COVID-19 emergency period – defined as April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 – as they relate to residential and commercial tenants. Landlords and tenants should be aware of the changes made by HB 4213, and we have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to clear the air on some of the changes this new law makes.

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Investor Alert – Fraudsters Target CARES Act Retirement Savings Relief

If you are considering using provisions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to withdraw and reinvest money from your retirement savings, be aware that fraudsters may be targeting you. Be wary when someone encourages you to use your retirement savings to make new investments. When considering new investments, do your own research and consider contacting an unbiased investment professional or an attorney.

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Danger: Stressed Out Lawyers Ahead (Tips & Tricks Also Provided)

As a form of self-help therapy for dealing with a global pandemic, I reached out to numerous legal friends and colleagues to learn how they are coping with COVID-19 and this lack of control that we are all struggling with. My article, COVID-19 Lawyer Stress: SOS, was published last month in the Multnomah Bar Association’s newsletter. We are all in the same ocean paddling as fast as we can, but we are just in different boats right now.

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Digital Assets Webinar: Springwater Wealth Management & Michael Walker

“Do you have an estate plan? Is it complete? Does it address your digital assets? A digital asset is content that is stored electronically. Digital assets include images, videos, files and credentials. If it’s stored on your computer, your phone or in the cloud, it’s a digital asset. ”

Springwater Wealth Management and SYK attorney Michael Walker will be hosting a virtual webinar on July 22nd. The education webinar aims to educate others about digital assets. If you have questions, now is a great opportunity to get them answered, and learn more about what digital assets really are, and when they need to be addressed in your estate planning.

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New Multnomah County Courthouse

Oregon Supreme Court: Churches’ Challenge Struck Down

A group of churches and public officials in Baker County challenged Governor Brown’s executive orders aimed at slowing down COVID-19. On Friday, June 12, 2020, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the churches’ challenge.

Previously, Judge Matthew Shirtcliff of the Baker County Circuit Court granted a preliminary injunction, which rejected a number of Governor Brown’s “Stay Home Save Lives” restrictions related to public gatherings and business operations. Judge Shirtcliff ruled that Governor Brown’s restrictions were unconstitutional.

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Victims of COVID-19 Scams & Cybercrime Need to Act Fast

Cybercrime is becoming ever more pervasive, and with so many more people working at home during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the risk of a fraudulent wire transfer and other financially motivated crimes is higher than ever. 

Fraudsters use crisis events to target good-hearted investors. The SEC and other federal and state regulatory agencies are paying close attention to COVID-19-related financial fraud, such as fraudulent stock promotions and unregistered offerings, charitable investment scams, and community-based financial frauds.

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The CARES Act & Divorced or Separated Parents

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, a sweeping piece of legislation aimed at providing relief to individuals, families, and businesses adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Act will have different repercussions for individuals in different circumstances, but the provision with perhaps the broadest impact is the recovery rebate. More commonly referred to as a stimulus payment, the recovery rebate is a one-time payment to US citizens and residents. For most the recovery rebate is good news, but for unmarried, divorced, or separated parents sharing custody of their children, the rebate may usher in unwelcome complications.

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211info: Community Information Contact Center

Even small children know that they can dial 911 in an emergency. However, many do not know that in Oregon and Southwest Washington they can dial 211 to get access to a variety of community information resources. The 211info contact center is a nonprofit that serves all of Oregon’s and some of Washington’s counties. The organization can provide community members with information and referrals to services in each of the following areas:

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A Pandemic Economy: Modifying Spousal or Child Support Awards

Oregon’s unemployment rate has risen to a historic high of almost 15% in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many in a state of uncertainty about how they will make ends meet. For those who are party to a child or spousal support award, a change in employment may be grounds for modifying the terms of their support award. When there has been a significant, unanticipated change in economic circumstances, the court will consider a petition to modify a child or spousal support award. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic, so if you have lost your job or are otherwise significantly impacted by the pandemic, you may consider requesting a child or spousal support modification.

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FINRA Issues Warning: Pandemic Volatility Highlights Oil-Linked ETPs Unsuitable for Some Investors

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, issued an eye-catching warning in Regulatory Notice 20-14 about a particularly complex and risky type of security: Oil and Gas Exchange Traded Products, or ETPs. High concentrations in the oil and gas sector, especially with complex, risky, and volatile products like ETPs, may become a frequent subject for investor litigation in the upcoming year and fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic. To quote FINRA, “the performance of such products may be linked to unfamiliar indices or reference benchmarks, making them difficult for the average investor to comprehend.”

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Oath of Office: Colleen Muñoz Joins the Oregon State Bar

We are happy to introduce the newest attorney in the SYK family – Colleen Muñoz.

Colleen is a a graduate of Lewis & Clark. During her time in law school, Colleen clerked for Federal Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman, volunteered with Innovation Law Lab to assist detained individuals in presenting their asylum claims, and clerked at Passage Immigration Law. Colleen joined SYK as a law clerk during her third year of law school, where she found a home to begin her professional career as a lawyer. She passed the Oregon State Bar earlier this year. Her practice is centered around commercial and fiduciary litigation focusing on real property, employment, and construction law.

Due to COVID-19, her swearing in was a little different than the usual ceremony. Judge Katherine Tennyson joined us via Zoom to administer Colleen’s Oath of Office.

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Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act Signed Into Law

On Friday, June 7, 2020, the President signed the ‘‘Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020’’ (PPPFA) into law. This Act, recently passed in Congress by large bipartisan votes, makes a number of significant changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was passed by Congress on March 25, 2020, as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Here are the key changes made by Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act.

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