NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Presents: Get Tested & Combat Anti-Asian Bias

On July 13, 2020, from 12:00-1:30 PM, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Partner Engagement Unit will be hosting a webinar on the Test & Trace Corps.

The Test & Trace Corps is an initiative to reduce COVID-19 transmission in New York City by providing guidance and assistance to people who have COVID-19 or are identified as having been exposed to the virus.

Speakers from the New York City Human Rights Commission (NYCCHR) and the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) will also provide resources to Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities to report anti-Asian bias and hate crimes that may occur as NYC continues to reopen.

Panelists will include Dr. Neil Vora from the New York City Health Department, Flora Ferng from NYCCHR, and Eunice Lee from OPHC.

Please send any questions for the panel to engagepartners@health.nyc.gov.

Mandarin and Korean Language interpretation will be available for this event.

Register for the webinar via https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gUZ2JCDeRCaJ4c-vI0Uvcg.

NYCCHR Presents Human Rights Central Queens Community Forum: The Impact of COVID-19, Protections, and Resources

On July 9, 2020, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) will be hosting a virtual community forum on the impact of COVID-19, protections, and resources.

The panel will feature representatives from the NYCCHR, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYC Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, NYC Human Resources Administration, GetFood NYC, and Queens Legal Services.

For more information, see below.

AABANY Co-Sponsors Panel on Small Business Navigation of COVID-19

On June 23, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) presented its Small Business Navigation of COVID-19: A Briefing on Relief and Remedies panel as a part of AABANY’s wider initiative to provide support for those adversely affected by COVID-19. The event highlighted professionals working in a variety of fields and addressed concerns regarding how to safely open up and potential next steps for small businesses. The panel was moderated by Margaret Ling, Senior Counsel at Big Apple Abstract Corp. and Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee, and featured Amol Pachnanda, Partner at Ingram Yuzek LLP and Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee; William Ng, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C.; Anthony Kammas, Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc.; William Hao, Counsel at Alston & Bird LLP and AABANY Treasurer; and Anthony M. Bracco, Partner at Anchin Accountants and Advisors.

Amol Pachnanda began by discussing COVID-19’s effect on the tenant-landlord relationship and best practices for tenants to avoid eviction. Tenants should be familiar with the lease agreement and seek legal counsel in any disputes with the landlord. Communication between tenants and landlords is critical as both parties possess significant incentives to avoid eviction. Tenants should be aware that the Moratorium on Evictions has been extended for an additional 60 days and any rent demands must be nullified if the tenant states that they have been impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, New York State real estate personal guarantees and “Good Guy Guarantees” have been made non-enforceable as tenants are no longer legally bound to vacate within a set timeframe if they are unable to pay their rent.

William Ng addressed how small businesses should reopen and some of the potential legal issues with phase 2 and phase 3 reopening. Business owners must go online and complete the New York Forward safety plan template and keep the plan on the premises at all times. Each business must affirm whether they have submitted a plan or have a plan in place during inspections. Small businesses are also encouraged to maintain a cleaning plan and document daily hygiene and sanitation activities to limit employer liability in the event that an employee does contract COVID-19. If an employee does contract COVID-19, small business owners are responsible for reporting the case to the relevant authorities and putting together a plan that ensures the safety of the other employees. The plan should include contact tracing measures and other appropriate protocols to limit contact and exposure.

Anthony Kammas discussed how small businesses can maintain their insurance coverage while reopening and other ways to mitigate liability. Employers should review their business policies and keep detailed records of their sanitation efforts to make sure they can retain their coverage in the event that individuals claim they contracted COVID-19 on the premises. Moreover, it is critical that employee handbooks are updated to address the challenges currently posed by COVID-19. Employers should also be mindful of the HIPAA liabilities associated with additional employee screenings. If employers contact trace, any information regarding the infected individual must remain confidential. As many policies do not cover the cost of sanitation and cleaning, Anthony Kammas recommends seeking third-party cleaning services to shift liability down away from the business owner and to the cleaning service if an incident were to occur. Small business owners should be more careful when buying new policies as carriers are becoming increasingly narrow in their wording to avoid excessive coverage.

William Hao then explained how Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be a viable option for struggling small businesses. Chapter 11 bankruptcy focuses on restructuring and reorganizing as the business undergoes a court-supervised process by which creditors and debtors come together to discharge bad debts and re-negotiate contracts and formulate a plan moving forward. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides a business a set of tools and leverages to incentivize creditors to come to the table and establish an agreeable plan for all parties. Businesses are entitled to an automatic stay, which stops any litigation and collection efforts that are burdening them. Businesses can also reject bad contracts during this process. Creditors are incentivized to negotiate with debtors as creditors are aware that any contracts paid out during this time would amount to a smaller fraction of the original debt. In addition, the absolute priority rule is voided, and other regulations and costs that had previously barred small businesses from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy have been waived.

Lastly, Anthony Bracco discussed how small businesses can still apply for benefits under the Payment Protection Program (“PPP”) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”). Under the PPP, small businesses can apply for up to two and a half months’ worth of employee payroll costs with any new loans having a five-year repayment period. These loans qualify for 100% loan forgiveness if they are spent within 24 weeks and at least 60% is spent on payroll costs. The percentage of loan forgiveness is reduced if employers reduce the compensation of anyone earning $100,000 by 25% or more or reduce full-time equivalents. However, employers are not accountable for restoring full-time equivalent employment if employees are not willing to return to work or due to government shutdown. Small business owners can apply for loan forgiveness any time within the 24 week window if all of the PPP loan is spent. As for the EIDL, small business owners can obtain a loan up to $150,000 with an advance loan of $10,000. Even if the full EIDL loan is not granted, small business owners are entitled up to the $10,000 advance loan. Small business owners can apply for both the PPP and the EIDL but must deduct the $10,000 EIDL advance loan from the PPP loan. Anthony Bracco also described different options available for small business owners to cover employee costs in addition to applying for the PPP. Instead of cutting headcount by a certain percentage, small business owners can reduce employee salaries by the percentage of those that were to be terminated and the Department of Labor will cover a portion of the pay lost.

We would like to thank Margaret Ling for moderating and organizing this informative event and the panelists for their time and dedication to help those adversely affected by COVID-19. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, click here. To view the recording from the webinar click on the image above.

AABANY Relaunches Pro Bono Clinic Remotely to Assist Asian Pacific American Community

During this period of upheaval caused by the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) will be reopening its pro bono legal clinic in a remote capacity to continue aiding the Asian Pacific American community with legal issues including: immigration, housing, employment, family, and elder law. To promote the remote clinic as well as other rich resources relating to the Covid-19 pandemic that AABANY has developed, student volunteers will be going door-to-door this Friday, July 3, to share informational flyers with Asian neighborhood small businesses and residents in Manhattan and Queens.

AABANY’s Pro Bono Legal Clinic opened in 2015 to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency (“LEP”) so that they can have meaningful access to justice. Mobilizing the skills and experience of AABANY’s diverse membership, the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee has spearheaded the Clinic’s effort in helping nearly 2,000 LEP individuals in the vast yet underserved Asian American community in New York through its Clinics in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhoods. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AABANY’s walk-in clinic hours unfortunately had been suspended indefinitely. However, individuals from the Asian Pacific American community can now call and request remote assistance from volunteer attorneys by phone.

Student volunteers from the Asian Pacific American Law Student Associations (“APALSAs”) of NYU, Brooklyn Law, Cardozo, Columbia, CUNY Law, Hofstra, New York Law School, St. John’s, Fordham, Cornell, and Harvard have been working hard to promote the clinic and AABANY’s compilation of Covid-19 related resources via social media and email through their networks and community contacts. On Friday, July 3, they will go into the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Koreatown, Woodside, and Elmhurst to directly get the information out to the community.

“During these unprecedented times, there is a tremendous need for free legal assistance.  Many cannot even afford to meet their basic needs and yet they still face many legal issues with nowhere to turn. I applaud the Asian American Bar Association of New York for offering this much needed service to the immigrant community and the community at large,” says New York Committeewoman Sandra Ung, who in March was set to open the Queens expansion of the Pro Bono Clinic in Downtown Flushing until the shutdown was announced.

“The serious challenges brought on by COVID-19 have severely impacted the APA community in New York,” states AABANY President Sapna Palla. “AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic has served the APA community for many years before COVID-19 with competent legal services and information, overcoming linguistic, cultural and financial barriers. AABANY is pleased to be able to continue the vital work of the Pro Bono Clinic through remote operations, with proper regard for the health and safety of our community members, so that we can continue assisting them with their legal issues during these unprecedented times.”

See the flyer below for more information and how to contact the clinic for assistance. Check out https://www.aabany.org/page/covid19 for additional resources.

Court System Mandates Screening of Courthouse Visitors due to COVID-19

Beginning July 6, 2020, the Unified Court System will require all courthouse visitors to participate in questioning and a temperature screening. The changes come as New York begins to re-open and adjust following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A uniformed official will take the temperature of all visitors, including attorneys, witnesses, spectators, prisoners, law enforcement officials, and others, with an infrared thermometer, which requires no physical contact.

Visitors will be asked if in the last 14 days, the visitor has (1) experienced fever, cough, shortness of breath or any other flu-like symptoms; (2) tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive; (3) returned from travel internationally or from states covered by Executive Order 205.1.

If the visitor registers a temperature of 100º or below and answers ‘NO’ to the aforementioned questions, they will be permitted into the courthouse. If a higher temperature is recorded or visitors answer ‘YES’ to any of the questions, the courthouse will request additional information for the visitor and will not be let inside.

For more information or tread the complete memo, please click the image above.

NAPABA Events Update: 2020 Convention Going Virtual

Dear NAPABA Community,

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in consideration of the safety and well-being of our members and attendees, NAPABA has postponed all in-person events for the remainder of 2020—the Regional Conference in Charlotte, NC and the NAPABA Convention in Los Angeles, CA. 

NAPABA is planning a dynamic virtual conference in place of the 2020 NAPABA Convention scheduled for Nov. 5-8. We know that the need to connect is powerful, even more so during these unprecedented times. We pledge to use this opportunity to expand the breadth of our reach and explore new ways to keep you informed, engaged, and connected on a global scale.

You will have an exceptional opportunity to visit with old friends and meet new ones, hear recognized experts share insights, identify new business opportunities, and further propel your career trajectory—all from the safety and comfort of your home. The NAPABA virtual experience will be a unique and engaging forum that will bring our community together and serve to touch and inspire each one of us—a NAPABA FOR ALL!

More information about NAPABA’s virtual conference in November will roll out over the summer as we finalize the details. Please make plans to join us for the largest virtual gathering of Asian Pacific Americans attorneys and law students—without the airfare add-ons and travel-sized toiletries.

Thank you for your commitment and support of NAPABA.

AABANY Publishes Flyer with COVID-19 Legal Relief Resources

On June 16, AABANY published a flyer with a comprehensive list of digital resources for those seeking legal relief arising out of COVID-19 related issues.

The flier provides links for resources in multiple areas, including Small Business Labor and Employment, Restructuring and Bankruptcy, and other pages listing more general information, such as knowing your rights if you encounter anti-Asian racism or harassment and frequently asked questions.

Many of the resources are available in other languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese.

Click on the image above to access the flyer as a PDF, which includes embedded links to the resources mentioned above.

Model Minority vs Covid-19: Education through Crisis, For Asians in America

Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 | Time: 4PM to 5PM

This event will be broadcasted via Facebook Live on the Queens Memory Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/queensmemory.

Covid-19 has sparked an increase in racism against East Asians in America, whether immigrant or native born. However, racism against all groups of Asian descent has been around for much longer, with racist stereotypes and the model minority myth. Join Queens Memory and partners for an online discussion about the current higher educational experience for Asians in America, who are facing the continuously evolving challenge of racism. Also to be discussed is how Asians in America can provide ally-ship and solidarity to other groups that are experiencing racial oppression.

Moderator

  • Frank Wu, President-Designate, Queens College/CUNY

Panel

  • Joyce Moy, Executive Director, AAARI-CUNY
  • Vivian Louie, Director, Asian American Studies Program & Center, Hunter College/CUNY
  • John Chin, Professor, Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College/CUNY
  • Madhulika Khandelwal, Director, Asian/American Center, Queens College/CUNY
  • Student Representative from the Student Council, Asian/American Center, Queens College/CUNY

Program sponsored by the Queens Memory COVID-19 Project of Queens College and Queens Public Library, Queens College Asian American Center, and Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York

Family & Elder Law Committee Hosts Second General Interest Meeting

On June 10, AABANY hosted another general interest meeting, this time over Zoom, to discuss the formation of a  Family & Elder Law Committee. AABANY members Beatrice Leong, S. Yan Sin, and May Wong, who all practice matrimonial law, said they proposed creating this committee because they noticed a lack of Asian Americans in the field.

Despite AABANY’s history of over 30 years as a bar association, there have been no committees dedicated to matrimonial law, family law or elder law. The Family & Elder Law Committee aims to focus on issues pertaining to divorce, custody, child support, domestic violence, guardianship, estate planning, abuse/neglect, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and a host of other areas. As a committee focused on specific areas of law, the group would be able to provide support to the general membership – and even those who may not be  AABANY members –  by connecting them with lawyers who specialize in these fields and with other resources. The committee would also serve as a way to raise awareness about these areas of law which are more directly related to helping individuals.

During the webinar, Beatrice, Yan and May shared a short presentation detailing the goals and benefits of their proposed committee, as well as giving an overview of  what family law and elder law entail. The webinar co-hosts also addressed the new challenges that have surfaced due to COVID-19 and detailed the ways they were adapting to the changes in the legal field. 

Also in attendance was Pauline Yeung-Ha, an elder law and estate planning attorney who also supports the formation of this new committee. Elder law focuses on helping older adults with the preservation of wealth during one’s lifetime, aiding the elderly in issues related to health care, government benefits, guardianship and more. Estate planning, on the other hand, is centered more around the distribution of assets after one’s death. The two fields intersect heavily, Pauline said, requiring both extensive legal knowledge and the skill set of a social worker. With COVID-19, especially because of its tremendous toll on the older population, her work has been even more difficult than normal, filled with lots of urgent situations often regarding healthcare proxies or home attendants. 

Following the presentation, the hosts opened up the webinar for a brief Q&A session, where they each explained what drew them to the type of law they practice and why they continue to be so passionate about their field. Although working at separate firms, Beatrice, Yan, and May agreed that being able to guide someone through the most difficult times in their lives — both on a legal and personal level — is what makes their jobs so fulfilling. Bringing knowledge in from a variety of fields, including social work and psychology, has allowed people to entrust them with their most valuable assets: their family and their money. 

Pauline shared a similar sentiment, also noting how underserved elder law and estate planning tends to be. She particularly likes the fact that her job allows her to help people, and often requires her to piece together a puzzle from a host of incomplete stories, ultimately aiding older adults financially, while also connecting with and supporting them through a very emotional, sensitive process. The attorney-client bond has been so strong that Pauline still goes out to dimsum with some of her past clients.

To learn more about this committee-in-formation, or to find out how you can get involved with establishing it,  please contact Beatrice Leong (beatriceleongsq@gmail.com), S. Yan Sin (ysin@ssrga.com), May Wong (maywong.esq@gmail.com), or Pauline Yeung-Ha (pyeung@gylawny.com). 

AABANY’s Pro Bono Committee Hosts a Remote Clinic Introduction Meeting

On Thursday June 4th, AABANY held a virtual introduction meeting for its Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic. Since 2015, the Clinic provided in-person consultation to those with legal questions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Due to COVID-19, these operations have been suspended.  In order to continue serving community needs, the Pro Bono Clinic is transitioning to a remote clinic by setting up a telephone hotline for volunteer attorneys to provide legal information and referrals to all individuals. 

Judy Lee, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair, and May Wong, a Pro Bono Clinic volunteer, led the meeting and discussed logistical concerns, such as how attorneys will be paired with the callers, the intake forms to maintain records, and the coordination of language interpretation. This will be a challenge during unprecedented times.

Judy and May also focused on confidentiality, how volunteers can best assist callers by being understanding and respectful, and how to use IRAC to answer the questions. They posed a housing and COVID-19 related hypothetical of whether a tenant who moved out from the apartment without providing 30 days’ notice to the landlord can recover his or her security deposit. After presenting the question at hand, they provided sample responses to show that many attorneys may have different approaches in solving the problem but at the same time the tenant is directed to the proper forum to seek relief.

The volunteers may not always know the answers to the caller’s issue but AABANY provides experienced coordinators, training materials, and CLEs to help. For example, such information can be found at: 

Anti Asian Violence – Know Your Rights:

COVID-19 Small Business Relief:

AABANY Covid-19 Resources: https://www.aabany.org/page/648

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view the recorded session at https://youtu.be/9FSmNG_Vfxw. We strongly encourage you to consider joining the Remote Clinic.

Please contact probono@aabany.org for more information. To learn more about the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee visit https://www.aabany.org/page/117.