News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Congress asked for COVID-19 lawsuit curbs; law school cuts pay for staff and faculty

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Lobbyists seek COVID-19 lawsuit curbs

Lobbying groups for U.S. businesses are asking Congress to curb liability for companies that could face lawsuits in connection with COVID-19. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suggesting safe harbor from privacy laws for employers who inquire about health status, safe harbor from age and disability bias laws if companies follow guidelines regarding at-risk employees, and safe harbor from simple negligence claims for COVID-19 exposure if businesses follow government health guidance. (Reuters, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce return-to-work plan)

Pay cuts and furloughs are on the horizon at Arizona law school

A pay cut has been implemented for staff and faculty at the University of Arizona, including its law school, as the university projects $250 million in losses because of the novel coronavirus. Already, the university has $66 million in losses, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Employees making at least $200,000 will take a 20% pay cut, and people who earn between $150,001 and $199,999 have to take a 17% pay cut. Those earning less than $150,000 will be subject to furlough days of varying lengths depending on salary, ranging from 5% to 15% in pay cuts. The cuts are expected to begin May 11 and run through June 2021. Marc L. Miller, the university’s law school dean, told the ABA Journal that he has not heard of similar plans at other law schools. (The Arizona Daily Star)

Trump vows to freeze immigration; guest workers likely exempt

President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration. On Tuesday, sources told the New York Times that Trump will freeze green cards temporarily, but he has retreated from the idea of stopping guest worker programs. (The Washington Post, the New York Times, Trump’s tweet)

TrialWatch report gives D grade to Kyrgyzstan trial

A fairness report issued by TrialWatch has given a D grade to the Kyrgyzstan trial of a woman prosecuted for killing her husband. The woman, Gulzhan Pasanova, presented significant credible evidence that her husband had physically and psychologically abused her for years, but the evidence was ignored, the report says. The ABA Center for Human Rights monitored the trial as part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative. (ABA press release, executive summary, the report)

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