The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably had a massive effect on nearly all aspects of American life. However, now that COVID-19 is and continues to be a known risk, parties should carefully consider when and to what extent it can be invoked to obtain an extension or continuance with respect to discovery obligations.
As a Litigation senior counsel, Laura Stafford focuses her practice on complex business disputes, with a particular emphasis on bankruptcy litigation. Recently, she has had a lead role in representing the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico in litigation involving the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s finances. In that capacity, she has, among other things, managed the claims reconciliation process while litigating numerous other adversary proceedings and contested matters.
Laura has litigated a range of matters in the federal courts, including serving on the successful trial teams in MobileMedia Ideas v. Apple and ADREA v. Barnes & Noble, as well as before the International Trade Commission. She is experienced in all stages of the litigation process, including pre-suit due diligence, discovery, summary judgment and trial.
In addition, Laura maintains an active and diverse pro bono practice, with a focus on immigration law and gun control issues. She has secured permanent residency for numerous unaccompanied minors immigrating to the United States. She has also filed numerous amicus briefs in federal and state court supporting the constitutionality of legislation.
Prior to joining Proskauer, Laura worked for the New York County District Attorney’s Office as a paralegal in the Frauds Bureau.
Millions of people across the country are waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine. For businesses, immunity is sought not against the virus but against liability, and, in some cases, businesses have been successful in invoking COVID-19 as a means to do so. Recently, the Southern District of New York held that the pandemic immunized a defendant, Phillips Auctioneers LLC, from liability under its contract with the plaintiff, JN Contemporary. Under the terms of the contract, Phillips agreed to present a painting at an auction scheduled for May 2020 and guaranteed JN that it would receive a minimum of $5 million from the sale. Phillips’ contractual obligations, however, were subject to the contract’s force majeure provision which read as follows:
In a recent order from Livingston v. City of Chicago, Magistrate Judge Young Kim of the Northern District of Illinois provided useful guidance to litigants in the use of technology assisted review, or TAR. Importantly, Judge Kim affirmed what is known as “Sedona Principle Six,” the notion that a responding party is in the best position to design and evaluate procedures for preserving and producing its own electronically stored information, or ESI.