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  • Reminder: If You Have a COVID-19 Insurance Claim, Be Aware of Impending Policy Deadlines

    The United States declared a national emergency in response to COVID-19 on March 13, 2020, and states quickly followed with stay-at-home orders that impacted businesses and institutions nationwide. It has now been nine full months since the pandemic emerged in the United States and businesses began to shut down in the face of contamination and civil authority orders effecting restrictions on access to and use of their premises.

  • Recent Court Decisions Reflect Possibility of Coverage for Losses Suffered by Colleges and Universities Due to COVID-19

    Like many businesses, colleges and universities across the country have had to dramatically alter their operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Most students completed the spring 2020 semester through online instruction after campuses closed in response to rising infection rates and government shutdown orders. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, roughly one-quarter of institutions of higher education are providing instruction this fall semester either fully or primarily in person, one-quarter are using a hybrid model, and the remainder operating fully or primarily online.

  • Pillsbury Elevates 11 New Partners for 2021

    Pillsbury announced that it has elevated 11 lawyers to partner, effective January 1, 2021. This year’s class reflects the firm’s broad strengths across industries and practices. The newly named partners advise clients in each of the firm’s four core industries—Technology & Media, Energy, Financial and Real Estate & Construction—and handle everything from business-critical financings and transactions to complex regulatory issues and high-stakes litigation.

  • Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory Practice Hailed As Practice Group of the Year by Law360

    Following another strong year of successes for clients, Pillsbury’s Insurance Recovery & Advisory practice has been selected by Law360 as a 2020 Practice Group of the Year winner. This latest recognition marks the group’s fourth such award, having previously earned Practice Group of the Year by the publication in 2017, 2016 and 2010.

  • Striking the Right Balance: Rep & Warranty Due Diligence Coverage

    Rep and Warranty Insurance (RWI) generally provides coverage for financial losses resulting from breaches of representations and warranties made by target companies or sellers in company purchase agreements. Like all insurance policies, RWI policies have exclusions. However, those exclusions, like RWI insurance, are highly specialized.

  • The U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2021 “Best Law Firms” List Awards Pillsbury with 90 Tier 1 Practice Rankings

    Pillsbury has earned a total of 162 national and regional practice rankings in the latest U.S. News – Best Lawyers 2021 “Best Law Firms” survey. Of those rankings, 27 were listed as national Tier 1 and 63 were listed as Tier 1 within their respective metropolitan markets.

  • Navigating D&O Fiduciary Duties in the Zone of Insolvency

    Pillsbury Counsel Benjamin Tievsky participates in a Strafford webinar providing bankruptcy counsel with a review of fiduciary duties of loyalty and due care owed by directors and officers to the corporation and shareholders as a company heads into insolvency and when those duties may be enforced by creditors.

  • Ninth Circuit Rejects “Improper Erosion” Argument, Rejects Excess Carrier’s Refusal to Acknowledge Exhaustion of Underlying Policies

    Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit awarded Pillsbury client Northrop Grumman a significant appellate victory, reversing an adverse decision from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on a question of first impression within the circuit. The court’s decision in AXIS Reinsurance Company v. Northrop Grumman Corporation not only restores Northrop Grumman’s access to millions of dollars in insurance coverage; it provides stability and predictability in insurance law by rejecting an excess insurer’s assertion of wide-ranging authority to “second-guess” coverage decisions made by underlying insurers.

  • The Insurance Implications of COVID-19 in the Sports and Entertainment Industries

    Pillsbury partner Richard Giller will speak at the PLI virtual “Technotainment” conference covering COVID-19 impacts on the sports and entertainment industries.

  • A Policyholder’s Guide to Trade Credit Insurance
    10/19/2020 | Law360

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has roiled markets around the world, companies are now seeking out trade credit insurance—a form of coverage that shields a business against the risk of its customers failing to pay for shipments. “Trade credit policies are very valuable means of transferring [accounts receivable] risk, especially for companies that are transacting business across international borders,” said Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner Joseph Jean. “The key to transferring that risk is having the broadest coverage available, on the most simplified terms.”

  • Federal Contractors Argue Cyber Insurance Isn’t a Safe Bet for Better Security
    10/16/2020 | Nextgov

    Federal contractors fear a watchdog report on the government’s role facilitating coverage of cybersecurity risks—included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act—will lead to a mandate that their companies hold related insurance policies.

  • Out of the COVID Frying Pan: Valuing Business Interruption Claims from Wildfires in a Pandemic

    One word that aptly describes the devastation that is 2020 is “relentless.” The COVID-19 pandemic has caused both personal and economic suffering throughout the world for over six months. Against the backdrop of the already devastating effects of COVID-19, several regions in the United States have recently experienced powerful storms and historically large wildfires. The wildfires in the western United States and Canada have been especially catastrophic this year—burning millions of acres, forcing evacuations, damaging air quality, and creating blankets of smoke extending over much of the country. The fires have destroyed homes and businesses and will lead to hundreds or thousands of insurance claims under homeowners, commercial property, and business interruption policies.

  • The Production Company Behind Ben Affleck’s COVID-Stalled Film Sues to Protect Its Pre-COVID-19 Policy Coverages

    His daughter missing and a secret government program uncovered …

    Ben Affleck’s detective thriller Hypnotic was next in line to be on the actor’s list of blockbuster films. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic halted the film while it was still in pre-production. To insure against such business interruption risks and delay, Hypnotic’s production company, Hoosegow (Hypnotic) Productions Inc., had purchased a Film Producer’s policy from Chubb National Insurance Company.

  • Pillsbury Among the Ten Most Feared Firms for Litigation, Says BTI Consulting

    In its annual Litigation Outlook 2021, BTI Consulting Group recognized Pillsbury as one of the ten most feared law firms for litigation. Beyond this overall recognition as an “awesome opponent,” Pillsbury earned particular praise as a standout performer in the class actions, cybersecurity disputes, complex commercial and commercial litigation categories.

  • The COVID-19 Insurance Wars Are Just Beginning

    We have been carefully monitoring the litigation filed across the country, where businesses are seeking coverage for the business interruption losses arising from the government closure orders issued to address COVID-19. Some of the Closure Orders expressly refer to property damage, but it is important to actually plead facts that address the language in the relevant insurance policy and the insured losses sustained. In all the trial court decisions we have reviewed so far, the policies generally cover property coverage and related business interruption where there has been a “direct physical loss or damage” to the insured premises. Many also include separate civil authority coverage for business interruption losses sustained if the premises are ordered shut or partially shut down due to properties within a defined radius of the insured premises suffering from “covered causes of loss”—again, generally physical loss or damage. Some of the policies also include virus exclusions, but early motions to dismiss have focused on the question of whether COVID-19 has caused physical loss or damage to the premises insured.

  • Managing Risks Related to Physical Space

    Never before have traditionally innocuous physical spaces presented such a great risk to society. As we turn the corner into the fall of 2020, and as the pace of large scale re-entry accelerates, our panel of acclaimed lawyers, scientists and business executives will discuss the biggest challenges keeping campuses and businesses up at night.

  • Current Insurance Issues Facing the Cannabis Industry

    Pillsbury Counsel Benjamin Tievsky will participate in a webinar hosted by the New Jersey State Bar Association discussing insurance coverage issues and considerations impacting cannabis businesses.

  • COVID-Related “Physical Loss or Damage” Is Subject to Interpretation
    09/11/2020 | Bloomberg Law

    This article was originally published September 11, 2020 on Bloomberg Law.

    As the Covid-19 public health crisis continues, the insurance industry has closed ranks behind the position that commercial property policies are “not designed” to cover pandemic-related losses, including business interruption. But the justifications advanced by insurance companies for this assertion often collapse under scrutiny of relevant policy language.

  • Hurricane Laura: Insurance Implications
    Category 4 Hurricane Laura strikes Louisiana coast causing significant damage. Those in the affected area should prepare for insurance recovery.

    • Historical Category 4 hurricane with sustained top wind speeds of 150 mph caused massive damage in Louisiana.
    • Business interruptions before and after landfall.
    • Certain steps are key to maintaining and maximizing insurance coverage.

  • Correcting the Record on Insurance Industry Hucksters and Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 Coverage

    Businesses buy property insurance to protect their bottom line in the event that something bad results in lower sales or increased costs. Insurance companies seek to improve their bottom line by increasing sales and reducing their largest cost item, claim payments.

  • COVID-19 Business Interruption Litigation and Industry-Wide MDL Versus Insurer-Specific MDLs

    With hundreds of cases now pending nationwide involving insurance coverage claims for business interruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal panel has been considering the prospect of consolidating the litigation into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) to promote their efficient resolution. On August 12, 2020, the panel issued a decision ruling out a single nationwide MDL, but leaving open the possibility of smaller, insurer-specific MDLs.

  • Studio 417 Finds Potential Coverage for COVID-19 Losses Under the “Plain and Ordinary Meaning” of “Physical Loss or Physical Damage”

    As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to surge globally, the insurance industry has largely closed ranks behind the position that, with few exceptions, commercial property policies are “not designed” to cover pandemic-related losses, including business interruption. But the various justifications advanced by insurance companies for this assertion often do not hold up under scrutiny of the relevant policy language. Insurers have taken an early stand on the threshold issue of whether the actual or threatened presence of coronavirus and/or COVID-19 can even trigger coverage as a matter of law, telling both their insureds and the courts that the virus’s presence does not constitute “physical loss of or damage to property,” the event typically required for property policies to respond. In a decision of potentially national significance on this issue—and a resounding victory for the policyholder plaintiffs—a federal court in Missouri rejected this argument in an August 12, 2020, denial of an insurer’s motion to dismiss. In so doing, the court left the door open for potentially broad recovery for the insureds’ losses under multiple coverages in the policies at issue.

  • COVID-19 Business Interruption Litigation May Be Consolidated for a Select Few

    The Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation declines petitions for an industry-wide MDL, but will consider four insurer-specific MDLs.

    With hundreds of cases now pending nationwide involving insurance coverage claims for business interruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal panel has been considering the prospect of consolidating the litigation into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) to promote their efficient resolution. On August 12, 2020, the panel issued a decision ruling out a single nationwide MDL, but leaving open the possibility of smaller, insurer-specific MDLs.

  • COVID-19 Business Interruption Litigation May Be Consolidated for a Select Few

    With hundreds of cases now pending nationwide involving insurance coverage claims for business interruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal panel has been considering the prospect of consolidating the litigation into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) to promote their efficient resolution. On August 12, 2020, the panel issued a decision ruling out a single nationwide MDL, but leaving open the possibility of smaller, insurer-specific MDLs.

  • Richard Giller Featured in The Ross Tucker Football Podcast
    08/11/2020 | The Ross Tucker Football Podcast

    Richard Giller, Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner at Pillsbury, was featured as a guest on The Ross Tucker Football Podcast where Richard analyzes the different types of disability insurance policies for athletes including permanent total disability, temporary total disability, loss of value and critical injury and illness coverages. Listen to the full episode here.

  • Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 “Back to Office” Expenses

    As businesses around the world continue to assess when and how to reopen their offices, the marketplace has become saturated with innovative “back to office” products and services. Whether a business chooses to invest in the latest body temperature scanner (such as Kogniz, a thermal security platform that uses AI to track fevers from a distance), room occupancy monitor (such as Density, which measures the depth and body patterns of people walking through doors to ensure social distancing is enforced), or UV light sanitizing stations and self-sanitizing keyboards (such as the Cubby and Defender), the decision may be influenced, in part, by the availability of insurance coverage for the additional investment. At a more basic level, businesses may provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, or make changes to their workspaces such as social distancing signage.

  • Disgorgement/Restitution Defense Continues to Lose Steam in Wake of Supreme Court Decision in Liu v. SEC

    Late in June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Liu v. SEC, a closely watched case in which the Court in an 8-1 opinion curtailed the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek disgorgement of profits from private parties in judicial enforcement proceedings. The Court articulated restrictions on the SEC’s disgorgement power, including (1) limiting disgorgement amounts to the net profits from wrongdoing, (2) limiting the SEC’s ability to seek disgorgement of profits on a joint and several basis, and (3) directing the SEC to return disgorged monies to aggrieved investors rather than depositing them in the U.S. Treasury. Although it does not address insurance issues directly, the Court’s analysis of the disgorgement remedy is bound to revive discussion of the issue of insurability of losses suffered as a result of settlements or judgments characterized as disgorgement.

  • Schools Ask Athletes to Accept Health Risks Amid the Pandemic
    07/21/2020 | Wall Street Journal

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner Richard Giller was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on the future of collegiate sports as several universities are asking athletes to accept the health risks of playing during the pandemic. The quotes originated from Giller’s webinar with the LEAD1 Association entitled ‘Survive and Advance: Understanding the Legal and Cultural Impacts of COVID-19 on College Sports.’

  • Appraisal May Be a Viable Option for Policyholders When Damages Calculations Are Contested

    Even if an insurance company attempts to deny its coverage obligations, there are still processes that a policyholder can explore, short of litigation, that could resolve a coverage dispute. Appraisal is an alternative dispute resolution process designed to efficiently resolve measurement disputes between policyholders and their insurers. Appraisal can streamline a coverage lawsuit and narrow the disputed issues—it may even limit the need for expert reports and depositions. There is a strong public policy favoring appraisals throughout the country, not only because they may provide a less expensive alternative to litigation, but also because appraisal rulings are enforceable and strictly applied in court. Some states even require that form standard insurance policies include an appraisal clause requiring either party to, on demand, submit a dispute over the amount of a loss to an appraisal panel. (See Virginia Code § 38.2-2105; Cal. Ins. Code § 2071; McKinney’s Ins. Law§ 3404; N.J.S.A. § 17:36-5.20.) That panel typically consists of two appraisers, who select an umpire.

  • COVID-19: Pandemic Risk Insurance Act Can Have a Positive Impact on American Sports
    07/14/2020 | Sports Business Journal

    In the latest installment of Sports Business Daily, Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner Richard Giller and Public Policy partner Brian Finch explored the new Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) and its positive effects on sports in the U.S.

  • Insuring Patrick Mahomes’s Massive Contract
    07/13/2020 | Sportico

    The 10-year contract extension Patrick Mahomes signed with the Kansas City Chiefs will make him among the richest athletes of the modern era. The deal is reportedly worth up to $503 million and contains a signing bonus of $63 million. Another feature is an injury guarantee that rises to $141 million by 2022, Sportico reported.

  • Richard Giller Featured in the July 2020 Edition of College Athletics and the Law

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner, Richard Giller was quoted in the July 2020 issue of College Athletics and the Law on the legal and cultural impacts of COVID-19 on college sports. The quotes we’re stemmed from Giller’s May 27 webinar with the LEAD1 Association entitled 'Survive and Advance: Understanding the Legal and Cultural Impacts of COVID-19 on College Sports.’

  • Richard Giller Quoted in Sportico’s Inaugural Issue on Insurance Policies, College Sports and the Pandemic
    07/09/2020 | Sportico

    As COVID-19 continues, an inevitable legal battle awaits the sports industry.

    Richard Giller, an Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner at Pillsbury in Los Angeles, told Sportico that until late January, sports policyholders could pay extra to extend their policies to explicitly cover communicable disease losses. Some sports organizations, including the NCAA, the Big East and Wimbledon, did so. Many did not.

  • Return to Play for U.S. College Sports — Legal Risks, Liability Waivers and Best Practices
    07/07/2020 | LawinSport

    This piece was written for and first published by LawInSport. The original is available to view here.

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery & Advisory partner, Richard Giller, explores the potential legal risks involved with return to play for college sports in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic 

  • Tamara Bruno Comments on 2020 Rulings and Cases in Law360
    07/07/2020 | Law360

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery and Advisory partner Tamara Bruno commented on the Montrose v. Superior Court ruling in an interview with Law360, explaining that the California high court’s decision was vital because some insurers have invoked horizontal exhaustion as a means of avoiding liability altogether for environmental pollution, asbestos personal injury and other long-tail claims.

  • Avoiding a Cyber Mouse Trap: Three Common Cyber Insurance Pitfalls

    Almost four months have passed since the World Health Organization declared COVID‑19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Continued social distancing and other precautionary measures have driven many organizations to expand work-from-home protocols for the foreseeable future or even permanently—in turn prompting many organizations to review their cyber insurance policies in addition to the rest of their insurance portfolios. While cyber risk policies are not widely standardized, there are several common traps that are found in many cyber risk policies, and early awareness of them can be the difference between a covered claim and a hard-fought coverage battle. While these traps are not specific to COVID-19 concerns, they may become increasingly important as organizational cyber exposures increase. Three of the more salient pitfalls are discussed in this post.

  • Buyer Beware: Search for Litigation Time Bombs in Your Policies

    Insurance policies are legal documents. In the event of a dispute, their scope and meaning will be submitted to a court or arbitrator for interpretation. Most brokers are not attorneys. Most risk managers are not attorneys. And few companies seek counsel to review policies before a claim arises. But underwriters, assisted by their counsel, increasingly are including litigation-focused provisions in their policies. Although these provisions often appear innocuous to readers unfamiliar with insurance litigation issues, they are like time bombs designed to explode in the event of a contested, litigated claim.

  • Policyholders Caught in a Reservation of Rights Catch-22 May Still Be Able to Get Out of the Bind

    As coverage counsel, we witness firsthand the precarious positions policyholders are often left in due to the actions (or inactions) of their insurance carriers. A prime example of such a catch-22 scenario is when an insurer refuses to consent to a settlement offer while defending under a reservation of rights.

  • Cannabis, Commercial Insurance and Coverage

    In “Potential Insurance Coverage for Looted Cannabis Dispensaries in California and Beyond,” our colleague Benjamin D. Tievsky explains how affected businesses can look to their commercial property policies for potential property damage and business interruption coverage, and discusses coverage issues insurers may attempt to raise.

  • Pillsbury Ranked in 2020 Legal 500 U.S. Guide as a Leading Firm in 27 Practice Areas

    In its 2020 guide, The Legal 500 U.S. ranked Pillsbury as a leader in 27 practices areas nationwide, spanning the firm’s litigation, regulatory and transactional practices and industries.

  • Potential Insurance Coverage for Looted Cannabis Dispensaries in California and Beyond
    06/15/2020 |

    Despite the historic difficulties faced by legal cannabis businesses in obtaining insurance—due to, among other factors, the reticence of insurers to underwrite the risk, and the industry’s lack of access to credit and other financial institutions—the situation has improved in recent years.

    During the widespread unrest in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, looters appear to have specifically targeted cannabis dispensaries for theft and vandalism. It has been reported that 43 businesses in California and Oregon were essentially destroyed, as well as dispensaries in Boston and Chicago that had only recently opened. The Bay Area was particularly hard-hit, with industry sources reporting that nearly every pot retailer in Oakland was targeted, along with most dispensaries in San Francisco and Berkeley. Many of these businesses were already suffering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — and may not have qualified for federal aid due to the federal illegality of marijuana — and they may now be teetering on the edge of financial ruin as a result of the recent wave of property damage, theft of inventory and cash, and further business interruption.

  • Insurance Coverage for Forced Labor Liability

    Times of crisis can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, times like this can also be an opportunity for exploitation of inexpensive, and potentially forced, labor. As America reopens its economy, it is likely that we will begin to see a surge in many industries. The resulting demand for labor, coupled with unprecedented unemployment and related desperation not only in America, but worldwide, could lead unscrupulous individuals and companies to exploit American and foreign workers. We saw this with previous disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, where foreign laborers were exploited in the rebuilding process with false promises of citizenship. Now, to be clear, exploitation occurs even during times of economic prosperity; however, it can be even more pronounced and egregious when people must deal with uncertainties and hardships never before experienced in their lifetimes.

  • Liability and Lawsuits: What to Know in The COVID-19 Era

    Pillsbury’s Richard Giller Featured in College Sports Podcast

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery and Advisory partner, Richard Giller, was featured on the June 10, 2020 edition of the Trustees and Presidents — Opportunities and Challenges with Intercollegiate Athletics Podcast, discussing “Liability and Lawsuits: What to Know in the COVID-19 Era.”

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and D&O Coverage

    The coming months will inevitably bring new charges brought by the DOJ against borrowers for false statements made in PPP loan applications. In “Implications of PPP Certifications for D&O Coverage,” Peter Gillon explains why, before signing a PPP certification, you should check your D&O coverage.

  • COVID-19 May Complicate Civil Unrest Interruption Claims
    06/10/2020 | Business Insurance

    Legal experts say, while commercial property insurance policies generally provide coverage for physical damage and business interruption losses arising from civil unrest, COVID-19 losses will complicate the claims process for some businesses, Business Insurance reported.

  • Pillsbury’s Richard Giller Featured in TSN Radio on Sports League Cancellations and Insurance Coverage

    Pillsbury Insurance Recovery and Advisory partner, Richard Giller, was featured on an episode in The Sports Network’s Vancouver radio broadcast where he discusses questions sport leagues will have around the COVID-19 stoppage.

  • Insurance Coverage Claims for Theft, Vandalism and Curfews

    Many U.S. businesses face income losses from theft, vandalism and resulting curfew orders, which have affected numerous cities in recent days.

  • Insuring a Newly Remote Workforce Post-COVID-19: Coverage Considerations Under Cyber and Other Commercial Insurance Policies

    In response to the uncertainties presented by COVID-19, many companies have shifted employees to remote work on a temporary basis. State and local law in locations across the country further required remote work for many companies. A few months into the pandemic, indications are that some of these companies are considering or already implementing a transition to permanent remote work for most or all of their employees. Such a change to long-term remote work impacts a company’s risk exposures in a variety of areas and in ways that affect many of the company’s insurance programs. Any company considering permitting or requiring its employees to work remotely as a long-term strategy should have its insurance policies reviewed carefully by experienced coverage counsel to identify potential gaps or coverage issues and recommend changes in policy terms to align the company’s coverage with the different risks of remote operations. To date, commercial policies generally have been written based on the premise that the policyholder’s employees mostly work in company offices; in a remote workforce world, many policy terms will no longer match that risk profile. While companies’ insurance policies and risks differ, there are some common issues that may arise under several types of commercial insurance policies in connection with a remote workforce.

  • A Primer on Bringing First-Party Insurance Claims

    The profound impact of COVID-19 leading businesses to file first-party insurance claims is now well known. Further, insurance companies are systematically pushing back on potential coverage for COVID-19, with some issuing blanket coverage denials without investigation. In other words, this is not an ordinary claims environment. Against this backdrop, many policyholders are facing what may be their first significant insurance claim. This primer will familiarize such policyholders with the initial steps of the first-party insurance claims process. Whether a potential claim is related to COVID-19 or not, understanding the claims process is the best first step towards avoiding pitfalls and maximizing chances of recovery.

  • Implications of PPP Certifications for D&O Coverage

    The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a key feature of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), was enacted to provide forgivable loans to certain small business and self-employed individuals demonstrating urgent financial need in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (See H.R. 748 § 1102.) Loan recipients must certify their compliance with the terms and conditions of the loan, and violations expose them to a wide array of potential civil and criminal penalties, forfeiture, and other liabilities. If you or your company have already obtained, or are considering applying for a PPP loan, it is highly advisable for you to carefully review your D&O Liability Insurance Policy, as coverages for defense or ultimate liability vary significantly.

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