We hope that our clients and friends are managing in these unprecedented times. The Troutman Sanders Tobacco Team is now working in a remote environment, thanks to amazing support from the Firm. As part of our business continuity planning, Troutman Sanders has a plan to address situations where our physical offices may be unavailable or where our attorneys and staff might need to work outside the office for extended periods of time. The plan provides capabilities for attorneys and staff to work remotely and continue to provide legal services to our clients. We continue to actively serve clients (and are as busy as we have ever been), so please let us know how we can help.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has raised a number of issues for our team thus far, including:
- Will there be an extension of the May 12 FDA deadline for tobacco product marketing authorization applications? This is difficult to predict. Given COVID-19’s impact on businesses worldwide, there are good reasons for extending the deadline. And prior precedents would suggest that FDA may extend the deadline. For example, in 2017, FDA extended the deadline for ingredient submissions for businesses in areas impacted by natural disasters. However, FDA is presently under a court order establishing the May 12 deadline, and the FDA may need to petition the court for an extension. Accordingly, unless and until an extension is announced, businesses should continue preparing their submissions and be prepared to meet the deadline.
- For businesses that have been required to suspend operations, will there be relief from other regulatory deadlines? With a number of jurisdictions ordering the closure of certain businesses, including tobacco companies, there will be serious difficulties meeting routine regulatory deadlines, such as monthly federal and state excise tax filings and cigarette companies’ certifications to state attorneys general. As of this date, tobacco regulatory authorities have not granted any relief from these deadlines, even to businesses where the government has ordered their closure. If you have any issues meeting regulatory deadlines because your business has been ordered closed, we can assist.
- Is my business required to close? In jurisdictions that have mandated the closure of certain categories of businesses, we have seen in many cases that it is unclear whether certain businesses are required to suspend operations. Please let us know you have any questions in this regard. Our team has already advised several clients in this area.
- Where can I find answers to other questions about COVID-19? As COVID-19 continues to spread, Pepper Hamilton LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP have developed a dedicated Resource Center to guide clients through this unprecedented global health challenge. We will regularly update this page with COVID-19 news and developments, recommendations from leading health organizations, and tools that businesses can use free of charge. We have assembled a COVID-19 Task Force of Pepper Hamilton and Troutman Sanders attorneys who are available to help companies navigate this evolving public health crisis. They represent diverse practice areas and industries, across multiple geographies. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney on our Response Team, or an attorney with whom you work. Please click here for more information.
As always, please let us know how we can help. We remain accessible days, nights and weekends.