January 11, 2016
Back to the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision in RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. SKF USA, Inc., a fun UCC read for any law junky. You can read my first post on this case here. Manufacturers (if there are any left in Connecticut...) should pay attention to this case. This case is really, really interesting. If you remember, the plaintiff was the seller under two long-term contracts to sell ball bearings to the defendant-distributor, a lot of ball-bearings. Both contracts required the defendant to purchase a minimum amount each year. There were two contracts because after a few years... Read more.
October 6, 2015
I always get a kick when, after reading a case, you get a laugh out of its name. That's one of many takeaways from the Connecticut Supreme Court's recent decision in RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. SKF USA, Inc., a Uniform Commercial Code case. These types of cases can only be interesting to UCC geeks like me. Somehow, distributor agreements, contracts, and minimum purchase requirements make it feel like Christmas. But seriously, the case is a great read for Article 2, franchise and distribution lawyers. It's chock-full of fun UCC concepts like waiver and course of performance.
There... Read more.
September 21, 2015
I don't typically comment on pending lawsuits like this, other than discussing or analyzing an important court decision or filing. But this morning, an article in the Connecticut Law Tribune prompted me to alter my typical course. Nothing needs to be said about the Sandy Hook school shootings. But there's a lawsuit now, a couple of them. One targets the Town of Newtown. Friday's article discusses that lawsuit, and focused on the families' attorney's criticism of Newtown's litigation tactics, specifically the town's attorneys' intent to question the state marshal that served the lawsuit,... Read more.
September 6, 2015
Contractors rely to a great extent on the mechanics lien as a way to secure payments they are owed. Most states, including Connecticut, have a statutory scheme that provides security, in the form of a lien on real estate, for payment for work performed. But what about when the work is performed on property that is leased to a tenant, commercial or residential? A contractor can still assert the lien, but what if the tenant wants to get rid of, or discharge the lien? Can it? No is the answer a Connecticut judge recently held in the first case of its kind. Many commercial ground leases... Read more.
August 28, 2015
Small businesses often call us and ask if they should cash a check they received from a purchaser or customer that still owes them money. Somewhere at some point they heard that if you do, you are accepting that amount in full satisfaction of the debt, and lose the right to collect any remaining balance. The legal term for this is "accord and satisfaction." Since it comes up so often, we want small businesses to understand a little bit about the concept. "Accord" basically means an agreement. And "satisfaction" in this scenario means exactly that: to satisfy the agreement, or to... Read more.
August 18, 2015
I was reading Michael Lowry’s recent post in his great ABA Law Journal Top 100 Blog, “Compelling Discovery,” and the topic reminded me of a case that still, well, makes me laugh. Sometimes . . . sometimes I say, this job gives you a real LOL moment while simultaneously forcing you to get up to speed in an area that’s foreign to you. A pun I definitely intended as you’ll realize after reading this post. I was defending a general liability case where the plaintiff claimed that his fall off a three-story roof was caused by my client’s failure to run a safe workplace. While we had good... Read more.
July 27, 2015
On the same day that the Connecticut Supreme Court announced an important unfair trade practice decision, read my comments about that decision here in the Connecticut Law Tribune, it announced another decision that received less attention but is just as important. The Court held a small business owner personally liable under Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practice Statute, or CUTPA. What’s personally liable? This means even though the owner was working through his business, he and his personal assets are subject to paying damages separate from the business. CUTPA is a statute modeled after a... Read more.
July 20, 2015
The New York Times recently obtained a copy of Bill Cosby’s 10 year-old deposition taken as part of a civil action against him by one of his alleged victims. I have not read the complete deposition, and confess to having read only The New York Times’ article. Nevertheless, the article caused me to recall the rules surrounding pleading the Fifth in a civil case and ask: Why didn’t Cosby take the Fifth?
The rules in Connecticut are pretty clear concerning pleading the Fifth Amendment in a civil action, or even asserting other privileges such as attorney-client. You are clearly allowed... Read more.
June 22, 2013
Who wants to pay an attorney? Seriously? About as much as wanting to go to the dentist. But under the American Rule, which is the law almost everywhere in the country, you are responsible for your own attorney’s fees. And average attorney’s fees in New England are pretty steep.
I tell clients that no matter how strongly they feel they have been wronged, and how good I feel about their case, litigation costs money, and a lot by most measures even in smaller commercial disputes. But it’s the... Read more.
January 11, 2013
Under Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practice statute, CUTPA as its commonly known, parties are required to provide the Attorney General’s office with a copy of any complaint seeking relief under the statute. Until recently, lawyers had to mail a copy of the complaint, and allege they did so in the body of the complaint. Now, the Attorney General’s office accepts them electronically for faster review by the trade practice division to determine if the division wants to get involved. A January 11, 2013 “Connecticut Law Tribune” article sought Attorney Anthony Minchella’s CUTPA experience on this... Read more.