February 15, 2016
Employers and other defendants got a big win last week at the appellate court in Connecticut. In Palumbo v. Barbadimos (you can read the opinion here) the appellate court held that the defendant-employer had obtained a "vested right" to a trial before a judge once the plaintiff failed to claim a jury trial within the 10 day statutory time limit. Connecticut requires parties to file a jury claim within 10 days of the last pleading being filed to preserve the constitutional right to a jury trial. A party can file the claim sooner, but that wasn't the issue here. In fact, the issue was... Read more.
February 6, 2016
I blogged last month here about a recent Connecticut Superior Court case, which showcased some typical issues with non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. Another interesting part of the decision that caught my attention was the court's discussion about the interplay between two Connecticut statutes: CUTPA and CUTSA (don't you love acronyms). CUTPA is our unfair trade practices act, and CUTSA is our uniform trade secrets act. Employers almost always plead violations of these two laws when a former employee breaches restrictive covenants in an employment agreement. But this... Read more.
January 24, 2016
You want a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement your company can enforce, right? Stupid question, you say. Well, companies need to analyze the language in their contracts if that's their goal (some agreements I've seen make me doubt what the company's goal was, as if simply having something signed protected them.)
Trade secret litigation is always intellectually interesting for us, but expensive for clients to pursue or defend. Avoiding litigation and protecting your trade secrets starts with a good written agreement with restrictive covenants (promises to not do certain... Read more.
January 19, 2016
It seems, from our practice at least, that the number of Connecticut Department of Labor investigations is increasing. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor has collected $1.6 billion dollars in back wages since 2009 through its investigation efforts. And the Connecticut Department of Labor noted in a press release that it has ramped up its efforts at investigating the missclassification of workers as independent contractors. The acting Commissioner of the CT Agency, Dennis Murphy, no doubt will maintain those efforts in 2016. The Internal Revenue Service and the State DOL have agreed to... Read more.
January 17, 2016
A finale to my prior two blog posts on the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision in RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. SKF USA, Inc. You can read the decision here. Read my prior two posts here and here. In that case, the plaintiff RBC got burned because it basically never enforced its rights under a contract with the defendant, which was supposed to purchase a minimum amount of ball bearings each year from RBC. While the contract in that case appears to be a negotiated single contract, many contracts between buyers, sellers or distributors are created through an exchange of forms, such as... Read more.
January 13, 2016
The powerball jackpot is all the buzz. Besides thinking - just a little - about what I'd do with the money, I am also thinking about contracts to share in the winnings. You see, the alumni Facebook page for my college (Go Bonas!) has a feed where alumni purchase a ticket from their state and post it to the page, and agree to share the winnings. One alumnus posted the terms of the "sharing" agreement:
We share equally (for Jackpot (5+PB) and/or 5 matching ($1M))
Everyone that posts a ticket before drawing tonight. Owner of ticket keeps smaller prizes.
Cash, not... Read more.
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.