Legal-Ease column: “Virus changing habits and laws”

State and federal legislatures have recently moved swiftly to change laws to address the unique circumstances presented by the current virus pandemic.  Many of those laws have short-term durations, and the traditional (pre-virus) law will automatically return as the “norm” in several months or a couple years.  Other of those laws passed by legislatures address the virus and are not set to automatically expire after a certain time period.

However, many laws have never been and never will be voted upon or passed by any local, state or federal legislature.  These laws are referred-to collectively as the “common law”.  The common law generally relates to what simple, basic duties we owe to each other in our society and what happens when we breach those duties that we owe to each other.

Legislatures will sometimes redefine the common law, but much of the common law only changes when society changes its definition of reasonable.  Thus, society’s norms and practices lead the common law to change over time. Those changes in reasonableness are sometimes gradual and barely noticed.  For example, the addition of smart phones to our society has gradually changed our shared definition of what is reasonably expected to be kept private.

Read more about this in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: “Legal-Ease: Virus changing habits and laws,”

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Virus changing habits and laws,” by Lee R. Schroeder, April 11, 2020.

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Posted in COVID.