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.
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.