Hurricane Sandy Presents Preparedness Issues for Law Firms; Potential Legal Issues for Individuals

October 29, 2012

sandy.jpgREAD the LPT Special Edition: Dealing with Disasters - Emergency Preparedness: A Joint Effort of the Law Practice Management Section and the ABA's Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on my backyard (in Southern New Jersey), it reminded me of an all-too-timely issue of the American Bar Association's Law Practice Today from last April. For the past two years, I have served as the special issue editor for the Law Practice Management section, working with George B. Huff, Jr., Special Advisor, Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness.

The articles included the following timely subjects, which may be relevant in the days and weeks ahead:

Fight or Flight: On Enforcing Mandatory Evacuations
By David Bohannon
When a disaster strikes, sometimes the best response is to get away. But many hesitate to heed mandatory evacuation orders.

Aftermath Recovery: Beyond an Afterthought
By Guy Sapirstein, PhD
In the field of contingency planning, there are often phases for continuity of operations, IT disaster recovery and sometimes mitigation plans, but what about planning for the aftermath?

Consequence-based Analysis: An Emerging Risk Assessment Paradigm
By Donald Byrne
Media coverage of recent catastrophes has heightened the legal community's awareness of these events' potential to disrupt business. In some cases entire communities have been shattered for prolonged periods while others have disappeared forever.

Protecting Civil Liberties During Quarantine and Isolation in Public Health Emergencies
By Sarah Pope, JD, MA; Nisha Sherry, CPH; and Elizabeth Webster, JD
If you were diagnosed with a communicable disease tomorrow, would you know your rights in regard to government-forced quarantine and isolation? There is a delicate balance between public health and our individual rights.

The Mandatory Vaccination of Health Care Workers
By Daniel Goodman and Christopher Webster
Many of us have spent time during the last few winters in search of flu vaccines, as outbreaks of H1N1 and other strains have focused global attention on pandemic prevention.

The Value of the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act Model Bill: Encouraging Volunteer Response
By Markus Rauschecker
You would think that health care professionals volunteering in emergencies would be welcome. In the case of Dr. Anna Maria Pou, her dedication to helping others during Hurricane Katrina led to charges of second-degree murder.

Metro Bag Searches: Inconvenient or Unconstitutional?
By R. Sabra Jafarzadeh and Megan Timmins
Bombings on commuter trains in Madrid, London and Mumbai killed hundreds and injured thousands. Extra security measures in New York, Boston and Washington subway stations have given rise to debates over the constitutionality of random bag searches.