April 12, 2017
Wow. Just when you think our courts are becoming more business friendly, the Connecticut Supreme Court issues a decision on whether businesses can enforce oral contracts. The answer for Homemaker Companion Agencies is a resounding “no.” This isn’t too surprising because, similar to home improvement agreements which must be in writing and signed by the homeowner, contracts between consumers and agencies that provide homecare services must also be in writing and signed by the consumer. There are other examples, including agreements to sell a piece of real estate, and loans over $50,000,... Read more.
April 1, 2017
Connecticut Contractors beware, that cartoon was reality for one of your peers, and cost him a ton of money. A recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision (meaning it’s the law of the state) took away a contractor’s $214,039 court judgment it had won for services it had performed for a homeowner. You can read the decision here. We’ve blogged about home improvement contractor laws here and here.
Bottom line is you must ignore the voices in your head that tell you “you don’t need a written agreement” or “none of my contractor friends use agreements.” If you don’t use an agreement that... Read more.
March 19, 2017
So many businesses rely on independent contractors to provide services to their customers. Home improvement contractors quickly come to mind. Businesses realize many benefits from using independent contractors, rather than employees. Not having to pay unemployment tax for the independent contractors is one huge benefit, and unemployment claims are usually when a business gets into trouble in this area.
Typically the law, and the Department of Labor’s (both federal and state) enforcement efforts frowns upon independent contractor relationships, and in recent years the agencies... Read more.
March 12, 2017
Yes, there is, but not when compared to the loyalty of a pet. So what can you do if you discover a seriously disloyal employee? Even if you do not have a written agreement with the employee such as a non-compete agreement or non-solicit agreement (you can read up on these here), you can still protect your business from an employee that competes with you behind your back. All employees owe their employers a "duty of loyalty." This means that your employees cannot do things that violate the trust and confidence you have bestowed on them. Employees sometimes violate this trust by working for... Read more.
January 19, 2017
Why do companies have some employees sign noncompetition agreements and nonsolicitation agreements? Well, it's simple. So they can protect their business, its goodwill, income, the business owners' livelihood, and all of things that make the business valuable.
And why do businesses often hire employees that they know have these types of agreements with their former employers? Well? That's simple also. Often times they want to capitalize on the information that the employee has about their competitor. Well, at least sometimes that is the case. But not always. But when it is, and... Read more.
December 26, 2016
I was wondering whether Santa Claus has ever really been in court charged with a crime. Sort of like "Miracle on 34th Street." Alas, he was. Santa was arrested and prosecuted in Ohio for knowingly possessing a fictitious identification card, a first degree misdemeanor. It seems Santa had collided into the rear of another vehicle. After handing some cash over on the spot to the other driver as compensation, the cops came and Santa dutifully provided his state-issued photo identification card. The police officer wasn't in the same Christmas spirit and arrested Santa for the "fake" I.D. ... Read more.
December 12, 2016
Words in contracts almost always mean something, especially in distributorship agreements, invoices and purchase orders. The thing is, you never really find out what they mean until there is a dispute. In a recent federal court case in Connecticut, (read the decision here) the district court transferred a case from Connecticut to South Carolina because of a forum selection clause (or choice of venue, meaning the location of the lawsuit) in a credit application that also appeared in the fine print on the reverse side of invoices. But in this case, the party that won the decision (the... Read more.
November 27, 2016
When does a prevailing party have to apply for an award of attorney's fees in Connecticut state court? Lawyers received an answer from the Connecticut Appellate Court last week in Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v. Buchman. You can read the decision here. We've discussed attorney's fees before, which you can read here and here. Connecticut attorneys follow the Practice Book, which contains our rules of civil procedure. A particular rule, Practice Book Section 11-21, says that any application for attorney's fees "shall" be filed within 30 days of the final judgment. This means if you win your... Read more.
November 15, 2016
THE NEXT STEP – APPEAL
We talked last time about the hearing that takes place to determine if an employee should receive unemployment benefits. You can read that blog post here, and the others in our series for employers, here and here. In our last post we gave our view that having an attorney present isn't necessary and may cause more harm than good. At the next level, however, having an attorney represent your company is a good idea. It's the last chance really to present testimony and evidence, and if successful could save your company thousands of dollars. Here are the basics... Read more.
November 7, 2016
We've been writing lately about the unemployment benefit process in Connecticut. You can catch up on prior posts here and here. The process is pretty informal, but your company should know the basics of the hearings and appeals. In this post we will discuss hearings, and then next time, appeals.
If an employer indicates on the “pink slip" (it's not even pink, but you can access the form here) that the former employee quit or was discharged for misconduct or some other reason, a hearing will normally be scheduled with a Department of Labor adjudications... Read more.