Four ShuffieldLowman Partners Named 2020 Super Lawyers and One Partner Named Rising Star

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – William “Bill” R. Lowman, Jr., Heidi W. Isenhart, Alexander “Alex” S. Douglas, II, and Stephanie L. Cook, all partners with the law firm of ShuffieldLowman, have been selected as 2020 Florida Super Lawyers. Partner, Daniel Harris, has been named a 2020 Rising Star.

Super Lawyers, owned by Thomson Reuters, recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice.  The selection process is multi-phased and rigorous.  Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third-party research and validation of the attorney’s professional accomplishments.  The final published list represents five percent of the total lawyers in the state of Florida.

A founding partner of the firm, Lowman’s practice areas include corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, high net worth family planning, intellectual property, securities, tax advice, and non-profit law.

Isenhart practices in the areas of elder law, Medicaid planning, guardianship, probate and trust administration, estate planning and special needs trusts.

Douglas and Cook both practice in the area of fiduciary litigation, with extensive experience in trust, probate and guardianship litigation.

Rising Star, Daniel Harris, practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, tax law, high net worth family planning, corporate law and non-profit law.

ShuffieldLowman’s four offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Port Orange. The firm is a 45 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Specific areas include tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, and mediation.

Update to CARES Act – SBA Issues New Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness

Update to CARES Act – SBA Issues New Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness

On May 15, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released its long-awaited guidance on the forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loans, in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application (the “Application”). The Application contains four components – 1) the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form, 2) the PPP Schedule A, 3) the PPP Schedule A Worksheet, and 4) the PPP Borrower Demographic Information Form. In order to qualify for forgiveness, a Borrower must provide its Lender with a complete PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form and the PPP Schedule A. The PPP Schedule A Worksheet, on which the Borrower must identify each employee employed during the covered period and allocate payroll costs incurred by each such employee (amongst other things), must be completed and maintained within the Borrower’s records for six years after forgiveness, but is not required to be submitted to the Lender at the time of application for forgiveness. The PPP Borrower Demographic Information Form is completely optional. Accompanying the Application are a set of very detailed instructions which highlight several new developments in the manner in which the forgiveness program will be interpreted and administered. The following are a few of those developments:

  1. Expansion of “Covered Period” –The CARES Act provides that forgiveness will apply to certain costs incurred and payments made (more on this later) during the “Covered Period”, which is defined as the 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of the PPP Loan (i.e. the date the loan is disbursed to Borrower). The Application clarifies that Borrowers now have the option of designating an “Alternative Payroll Covered Period,” which will begin on the first day of the Borrower’s first pay period following the date of disbursement. This Alternative Payroll Covered Period may be used instead of the “Covered Period” for calculations related to payroll costs and forgiveness reductions, but not for the calculations related to non-payroll costs eligible for forgiveness, such as interest on mortgage debt, rent, and utilities.
  2. Loans greater than $2 million, affiliates included – The Application contains a check-box which must be checked off by Borrowers who, together with their affiliates, have received PPP loans in excess of $2 million. The FAQ for Lenders and Borrowers (the “FAQ”) published and periodically updated by the SBA, in questions 39 and 46, had already made clear that such Borrowers would be subject to a review of their loan file by the SBA and Department of Treasury, so it should be no mystery why this check-box is included in the Application. However, the significance of this inclusion is that Borrowers must now actively confirm whether their loan amount combined with their affiliate’s loan amount(s) exceeds the $2 million threshold in order to provide the accurate information on the Application. This will require such Borrowers to interpret the affiliation rules contained in the regulations concerning the Small Business Act and the prior regulations released regarding the CARES Act in order to accurately check the box.
  3. Payroll Costs incurred but not paid may be forgiven– According to the instructions for the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form, payroll costs fall within the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period, and are therefore eligible for forgiveness, when they are either 1) paid, meaning a paycheck has been distributed or an ACH credit transaction has been originated, or 2) not paid, but incurred during the last pay period of the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period, as applicable, and paid on or before the next regular payroll date. This clarifies the meaning of the phrase “costs incurred and payments made during the covered period,” as used in the CARES Act with respect to payroll costs eligible for forgiveness.
  4. Payroll costs forgiveness capped at $15,385.00 per employee – the CARES Act has always specified that “payroll costs” do not include “the compensation of an employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000.00, as prorated for the covered period.” Now, that exclusion has been condensed to a specific number – $15,385.00. In the PPP Schedule A Worksheet, Borrowers must not allocate more than this amount to any single employee.
  5. FTE calculation revealed – Under the CARES Act, a Borrower’s forgiveness amount will be reduced by a factor based on a reduction in the average “full-time equivalent employees” (“FTE”) during the covered period. After much speculation as to whether FTE’s would be calculated in accordance with I.R.S. standards or otherwise, the Application has revealed two ways in which FTE’s may be calculated for purposes of determining the reduction factor – 1) for each employee, enter the average number of hours paid per week, divide by 40, and round the total to the nearest tenth, capped at 1.0 or 2) employees who work 40 hours or more per week are assigned 1.0 FTE, and all other employees are assigned a .50 FTE (the “simplified” method).  Under the first method, for example, if an employee Is paid an average of 35 hours per week, he or she will count as .9 FTE (.875 rounded to the nearest tenth).
  6. New exceptions to reductions in forgiveness – Now, the reductions in the forgiveness amount due to reduction in FTE will not apply 1) for any positions for which the Borrower made a good-faith, written offer to rehire an employee during the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period which the employee rejects, and 2) for any employees who were fired for cause, voluntarily resigned, or voluntarily requested and received a reduction of their hours, during the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period. The exception will not apply to either if these categories if a new employee is hired to replace the one lost. One thing to note is that these exceptions are limited to events occurring in the 8-week Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period. This may be significant since some of these events may have occurred outside the 8-week period but may nonetheless factor into the reduction calculation. For example, if any employees voluntarily resigned after February 15, 2020 (the date which a Borrowers FTE numbers during the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period are compared against) but before the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period begins, then they will presumably factor into the reduction in FTE’s per the calculation in the Act, even though they were not terminated by the Borrower.

Here is a link to the Application, in its entirety – https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/3245-0407%20SBA%20Form%203508%20PPP%20Forgiveness%20Application.pdf

For the latest updates on PPP Loan Forgiveness Guidance, contact our corporate law or banking and finance teams for more information. To see other legal updates that are occurring from COVID-19, visit our resources page HERE.

Attorney Dillon L. McColgan Joins ShuffieldLowman

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – ShuffieldLowman recently announced that attorney Dillon L. McColgan has joined the firm’s Orlando office, practicing in the areas of fiduciary litigation, commercial and civil litigation and employment law.  McColgan brings solid experience from years of practicing law at one of Southwest Florida’s largest law firms.

McColgan is admitted to practice law in Florida and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.  He is a member of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Defense Research Institute, and the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

He holds his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law, where he earned a prestigious merit scholarship.  During law school, he served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Ivan Fernandez of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal.

He has been an active volunteer with the United Way, and enjoys serving on behalf of food banks and other organizations that provide for those with food insecurity.

ShuffieldLowman’s four offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Port Orange. The firm is a 45 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Specific areas include tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, and mediation.

Attorney Lori N. Hagan Joins ShuffieldLowman

DELAND, FLORIDA – ShuffieldLowman recently announced that attorney Lori N. Hagan has joined the firm’s DeLand office.

     Hagan formerly served as a Senior Assistant Attorney General for more than 20 years representing the State of Florida in both state and federal court.  Hagan’s experience in the courtroom, coupled with her research and writing skills, and her prior experience in private practice will now be put to work in the firm’s commercial litigation section.

     Hagan holds her J.D. with honors and her B.A. with high honors from the University of Florida.  She is admitted to practice law in Florida and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  She is a member of the Volusia County Bar Association and the Volusia-Flagler Association of Woman Lawyers.

Hagan is an avid supporter of horse rescue and rehoming.  She also assists and serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Reins, Inc., a licensed therapeutic riding program in New Smyrna Beach which pairs children in crisis with rescued horses.

ShuffieldLowman’s four offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Port Orange. The firm is a 45 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Specific areas include tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, and mediation.

Attorney Carleen A. Leffler-Nicastro Joins ShuffieldLowman

PORT ORANGE, FLORIDA – ShuffieldLowman recently announced that attorney Carleen A. Leffler-Nicastro has joined the firm’s Port Orange office, practicing in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, and business law.

Born and raised in Ormond Beach, Leffler-Nicastro is a fifth-generation Floridian from a long line of Central Florida attorneys and judges.  She holds her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law and her M.B.A. from Jacksonville University.  She attended both programs simultaneously and graduated with both degrees on the same day.  She earned her B.S. degree in Business Management from Webber International University. She is admitted to practice law in Florida and the U.S. District Court for the Middle and Northern Districts of Florida and is a member of the Volusia County Bar Association where she serves as the Director of the Young Lawyers Division.

Leffler-Nicastro is active in the community, serving as the President-Nominee of the Rotary Club of Downtown Ormond Beach, the Chapter Vice President of the Business Network International, Power Team, and the State Public Affairs Committee Co-Chair of the Junior League of Daytona Beach.

ShuffieldLowman’s four offices are located in Orlando, Tavares, DeLand and Port Orange. The firm is a 45 attorney, full service, business law firm, practicing in the areas of corporate law, estate planning, real estate and litigation. Specific areas include tax law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, estate planning and probate, planning for families with closely held businesses, guardianship and elder law, tax controversy – Federal and State, non-profit organization law, banking and finance, land use and government law, commercial and civil litigation, fiduciary litigation, construction law, association law, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, labor and employment, and mediation.

ShuffieldLowman Ranked as a Top Central Florida Law Firm in the Orlando Business Journal

ShuffieldLowman Ranked as a Top Central Florida Law Firm in the Orlando Business Journal

ShuffieldLowman has once again been ranked as a top law firm in Central Florida by the Orlando Business Journal. Every year, the publication recognizes the leading law firms ranked by Central Florida attorneys in the Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties of Central Florida.

Last year, ShuffieldLowman was also named a 2019 Readers’ Choice Winner by the OBJ for Best Local Law Firm. OBJ readers were invited to submit votes in several categories in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard and Volusia counties for the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards. Thousands of readers participated and then the top finalists in each category went head-to-head in an OBJ Business Pulse poll.

The results for the Central Florida Law Firm List is published in the January 17 weekly edition and can be found online on their website here: https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/subscriber-only/2020/01/16/central-florida-law-firms.html.