It has become much easier for trade contractors and their attorneys to follow the herd and plod along in a wasteful and costly construction defect matter. Challenging the norm is all too rare in this business. However, there can be great advantages to being the pot-stirrer. Trade contractors and their attorneys (insurance retained or private) should plan out a meaningful strategy at the outset of every case, including exploring motions challenging the pleadings. The outcome, if successful, can save the trade contractor (and its insurer where applicable) tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs owed to its own attorney, the attorneys for the general contractor, the Special Master, and others who feed at the trough of the mass defect actions.
New civic and infrastructure projects have spurred secondary private investment, further reinforcing the current swell of economic development. While the economy is starting to regain its former stability and construction demand is picking up, employers see the opportunity for business expansion. For those who are willing to grow, it is the perfect time to invest in the systems that will protect your business now and for years to come.
In a difficult economy employee layoffs are inevitable. Unfortunately, even when employers must terminate employees out of economic necessity, employers are not immune from lawsuits brought by terminated employees. All an employee requires to file a lawsuit is a willing attorney. Fortunately, there are a few steps employers can take prior to downsizing to discourage post-termination lawsuits. We suggest the following…
Notice to Employers Regarding Supreme Court Decision on Enforceability of Written Employment Contracts
If you are an employer in the State of California and use a written contract of employment to define the terms of employment with your employees, there is a good chance that, as a result of a decision of the California State Supreme Court, the contract you are currently using with your employees will not be enforced by the Courts of this state. It may therefore be necessary for you to consider revising your employment contract.
Workers Compensation Serious and Willful Misconduct Claims – Brought Before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, but Not Covered by Your Workers Comp. Insurance (California Labor Code Section 4553)
The amount of workers’ compensation that may be awarded to an injured worker may be increased if the injury was brought about by the serious and willful misconduct of the employer or the employer’s managing representative. Serious and willful misconduct is best defined as any intentional act, or failure to act, coupled with the knowledge that serious injury will be the probable result from that act or failure to act.
It is the declared policy of California that there should not be discrimination against workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. Therefore, any employer who discharges, or threatens to discharge, or in any manner discriminates against any employee because the employee has filed or made known his or her intention to file a workers’ compensation claim, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and the employee may seek extra forms of compensation from the employer.
[LINK TO PDF OF DAILY JOURNAL ARTICLE] [EXCERPT] Allow me to first illustrate the issue with a familiar nightmare story, then let me describe the solution. The story is that of a longstanding family construction business. For decades, the business has been profitable. The owners have built considerable wealth and look forward to a happy and abundant retirement.
One of the most overlooked methods of asset protection for small businesses is found in the registration of trademarks and service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Many business owners might presume that their legal rights are fully protected by the mere use of their business name for years. After all, if you’ve been using the name for decades without issue, no one can suddenly come along and force you to stop using the name, right? Well…not necessarily.