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If you are a friend or client of Fowler Law, or member of a chamber of commerce, trade, professional, civic or community organization served by The Fowler Law Firm PC, you are welcome to contact us 24/7 for a free unlimited in length or topic consultation in confidence about anything at no charge with no obligation to hire anyone. We aim not only to inform; we want to reassure. We believe that there is a bright future ahead for us all. There is much occurring about which we all should be grateful, even joyful. In this time of great challenge and uncertainty, the outpouring of loving kindness by so many towards those less fortunate and in need has moved us greatly. Some day we all will be together again. Contact us at 512-441-1411 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thoughts By...

Laura Sanders Fowler

Dear Ones:
I speak to you today not only as a lawyer who has advised many employers over the past month, but as a small business owner and employer. Every day I serve the needs of 26 of the most heroic individuals on the face of this earth. March 26, 2020 Fowler Law team dutifully assumed very new and unfamiliar battle stations in their homes. All have continued to provide high quality legal services without hesitation or complaint. All have remained eomployed full time. Fowler Law allowed all employees to work from home, even tough legal services are defined by federal, state and local law to be essential services.

Attached are Texas Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order GA-16, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce revised April 17, 2020 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Poster. Many businesses will begin to reopen soon. Many others, private employers, charitable and nonprofit administrators, were authorized to operate throughout this challenge because lke Fowler Law, they are defined by the orders as providing or supporting Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure.

Those employers who have reached out to us for legal advice over the past month to a one have been loving, kind people who are facing one of the greatest challenges of their professional lives. They love their team members and families and want to do the right thing by all. They know that no business, charity or governmental unit can remain closed or allow its workers to remain largely at home indefinitely. Meanwhile, some workers are enraged by the prohibitions and want to return to work; others are too fearful to return.

We advise those who employ fewer than fifty (50) employees consider following which should greatly easse your decision making process. The moral and spiritual dilemma many will face, to be kind while taking the steps necessary to ansure the continued life and livelihood of your team, will likely be among the most significant decisions you ever make.

1. Review your employee paid and unpaid leave policies first. Make sure you are reviewing the most current version of your leave policies. Don't guess.

2. Review and post Families First Coronovirus Response Ace (FFRCA) Poster and FAQ document BEFORE you speak to any employee about benefits.

3. If any employee is ill with Coronavirus or requests leave for one of the specific Coronavirus related reasons, the empoyer receives dollar for dollar credit for the sick leave paid the worker. Empployers: remember to tell your CPA and payroll admininstrator to record the sick leave payments as Coronavirus related and take the employer deduction.

4. Employers who are authorized to open and operate may insist employees who are not ill with Coronavirus or entitled to leave for one of the specific reasons stated in FFCRA, return to work. If those workers refuse, the Employer may terminate those employees for cause unless the Employer has created additional rights in the worker's employee contract that limit the Employer's rights, or unless the employee asks for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

5. Before you terminate an employee who refuses to return to work, think deeply with kindness and compassion. Many are very afraid; the past few weeks are unlike anything they have experienced. You are not making just a legal decision but one of the most important moral and spiritual decisions of your career.

Laura Sanders Fowler

Terry Belt

Dear Friends: We all know that the Covid-19 has changed our lives at home and at work, and that it has changed our government on many levels. We can look for the silver linings, learn and move on. However, we can also use this sudden change of circumstances as a reminder to us that we cannot know the future, and planning for the end of our life is a good mature way to show your heirs that you love them. A good estate plan should include a will for each adult, a power of attorney for both medical, general purposes and a directive to physicians. Transfer on Death Deed (TOD) could change your entire estate plan for the better. I will offer at deeply discounted rates all these services by telephone, with one day turn around and a safe secure means by which you can sign your documents at a location at which you feel comfortable. I may even have a custom tailored mask to give you by then! Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for your free, laminated hard card Texas Intestate Succession Chart to see if our property really will go where you want it to go if you don't have a valid will!
During these unusual times, I encourage you to be kind to each other.

John Gabriel Lione, Jr.

COVID-19 has changed how we conduct our business. Social distance is a new term and something we are not used to. Here are a few helpful pointers which we will discuss in greater detail next week at a series of webinars I will cohost:
1. For our wonderful friends who are real estate professionals, construction contractors or skilled trades, both residential and commercial, work has not stopped. People still need help with their real estate and construction needs. Real Estate and Construction are Essential Businesses as defined by Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA- 14 effective April 3, 2020.Texas notary publics may provide services by video conference following Texas Governor Abbott’s newly announced protocol effective April 3, 2020. Texas notary publics may provide services by video conference following Texas Governor Abbott's newly announced protocol effective April 8, 2020.

2. Builders are still building. Real estate agents are still showing homes listed for sale. Brokers in Central Texas are following different internal policies. Suggestion - if you are showing a home it is advisable to obtain written permission from the seller to authorize the showing in today's environment, especially if teh house is still occupied, and it is good advice to follow even if the house is vacant.

3. Court hearings for virtually all types of proceedings that are not truly an emergency, have been postponed. Texas Supreme Court extended to April 30, 2020 its prohibition on residential evictions and until May 17th, all writs of possession. Nevertheless, tenants rents and borrower’s mortgages remain owed with interest and penalty accruing. Landlords and lenders may continue to give notice and file pleadings. Tenants and borrowers should reach out and negotiate in writing some delay in payment that addresses what happens not just about the payment but interest and penalties. Don’t just accept someone’s word on the phone. At a minimum confirm by e mail what a landlord or lender told you that you could do. Landlords, lenders, the same applies. Don’t trust that your generous nature will cause a tenant or borrower to remember what you said. Follow up in writing, at a minimum by e mail that identifies who you talked to, how you talked to them and the date and time the communication occurred.

4. The COVID-19 addendum allows extensions, and possible termination under certain circumstances but only if signed by both parties.

5. Leases signed are still contractual obligations. No law allows the tenant to terminate a lease early because of COVID-19.

6. Signed contracts for the sale of real estate are still in effect and binding. Title companies are still conducting closings subject to social distancing.

The Fowler Law Firm is available seven days a week by phone or email to assist you in these uncertain times considering COVID-19. 512-441-1411.
Stay Safe. John Lione