ABA Journal

Natural Disasters

Disaster response news from the ABA Journal, American Bar Association legal resources, volunteering opportunities and disaster helplines.

Hurricane Florence/Sasa Kadrijevic via NASA (Shutterstock.com.)

6th Circuit rules against restaurant seeking insurance coverage for losses after shutdown order

A shutdown order that barred in-person dining was not a direct physical loss or damage to property covered by a "business interruption" insurance policy, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Few federal courts report that they require COVID-19 vaccines for court employees

Few federal courts have reported that they are requiring COVID-19 vaccines for court workers, although an order this week requires the employees to report their vaccination status.

House’s continuing resolution would give $40M in disaster aid to Legal Services Corp.

A continuing resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday would give $40 million in disaster aid to the Legal Services Corp. to support legal aid groups helping low-income Americans affected by extreme weather events.

Newly minted lawyer challenges COVID restrictions in ‘impenetrable thicket’ of arguments

Ohio lawyer Thomas Renz quickly gained prominence in conservative circles by challenging COVID-19 mandates in a series of lawsuits filed after he passed the bar exam in November 2019 on his fifth try.

National mean scaled score for August MBE slightly decreases compared to 2019

For the July 2021 Multistate Bar Examination, which had 45,872 test-takers, the national mean scaled score was 140.4, according to a Wednesday news release from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Will employer vaccine mandate survive? OSHA would act under little-used statutory provision

President Joe Biden’s plan to require businesses with more than 100 workers to require vaccinations or testing relies on a little-used provision of a 1970 law.

Jenner & Block settles with landlord in dispute over rent payments during pandemic

Jenner & Block has settled a rent dispute with the landlord for its Chicago building that stemmed from unused office space during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawyer accused of drawing gun in social distancing tiff should get 9-month suspension, hearing board says

A Vermont lawyer accused of trying to knock down a social distancing sign and pulling out a gun should be suspended from law practice for nine months, according to the Vermont Professional Responsibility Board.

Supreme Court will resume in-person oral arguments, but the public can’t attend

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will resume in-person oral arguments when its term begins Oct. 4, but members of the public will not be allowed to be there.

New York extends eviction protections in wake of SCOTUS decision blocking federal ban

New York has become the first state to extend its eviction moratorium since the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the federal ban on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic late last month.

Judge grants Capitol rioter’s request to join Cajun Army’s relief efforts after Hurricane Ida

A federal judge has allowed a man who brought weapons to the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 to leave Texas to help with Hurricane Ida relief in Louisiana.

Where in the world is John Pierce? Lawyer for Jan. 6 Capitol riot defendants goes missing

A lawyer representing 17 defendants charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has made no contact with federal prosecutors since Aug. 23, and there has been conflicting information about his health, according to recent court filings from the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Many BigLaw firms are planning for a Sept. 21 office return, but will it happen?

More than 40% of the BigLaw firms that have announced plans to return to their offices are aiming for a Sept. 21 start date, according to a new analysis of data by legal technology company nQ Zebraworks.

This law firm says it’s mobilizing to help clients in the wake of Hurricane Ida

As Hurricane Ida wanes but leaves thousands in need of rescue and millions without power, lawyers are among those surveying the damage from the storm and mobilizing to help those in need. One of those attorneys is Bill Hines.

Court backlogs have increased by an average of one-third during the pandemic, new report finds

The average case backlog for state and local courts across the United States increased by about one-third amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released this month from Thomson Reuters.
Disaster Response Resources
Volunteering Opportunities

Florida attorneys can visit the Florida Bar Foundation to find post-storm volunteer opportunities for legal aid and pro bono attorneys, or visit Florida Pro Bono Matters.

North Carolina attorneys can find info on volunteering on the North Carolina Bar's Hurricane Florence page.

South Carolina attorneys can volunteer for the South Carolina Bar's disaster relief legal service hotline by filling out this form.

Not licensed in those states but looking to donate your time or money? Check out ambar.org/DisasterRelief.

ABA Journal Coverage
Disaster Helplines

The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.

For low-income individuals with disaster-related legal needs, the following phone numbers are available:
North Carolina residents: 1-833-242-3549
South Carolina residents: 1-877-797-2227 ext. 120
Virginia residents: 1-804-775-0808 in the Richmond area, or 1-800-552-7977.
Florida residents: 1-866-550-2929.