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Posts in Business Law
An Independent Contractor Agreement Does Not Make You Independent

Whether a worker is classified as an employee or an independent contractor makes a significant difference in an employer’s duties and obligations toward the worker. The distinction governs everything from the applicability of wage and overtime law to unemployment and workers’ compensation eligibility. All too often employers misclassify workers in an effort to reduce or eliminate expenses and benefits to which the worker should lawfully be entitled. Both employers and workers should be aware that the presence of an independent contractor agreement does not, alone, serve to classify a worker as an independent contractor.

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How Do I Know If a Material Breach Has Occurred?

If you are in the construction industry, you already know how important it is to have a properly-drafted contract in place that protects you and your business before commencing work on any project. A contract, however, can only offer you protection if you understand the terms used in the contract, and understand what happens if a party breaches or defaults on the contract. For example, in the construction industry, there is a significant difference between a simple breach and a material breach of contract. At this point, you may wonder “How do I know if a material breach has occurred?”

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What is an LLP?

For many people, owning a business is a lifelong dream. If you are finally at the point where you plan to make your dream of owning a business a reality, you have many important decisions ahead of you. The first, and most important, decision is what type of legal structure to use for your business. Business entities fall into three basic categories—sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Within the partnership category, there are then a number of sub-categories, such as the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

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What is a Trademark?

A trademark or a service mark is a word, name, symbol or device that can be useful to identify a particular company or brand. The purpose of the trademark is to make it easier for sellers and consumers to distinguish among the different sources of goods and services that are available for purchase.  A trademark is eligible for certain legal protections. To protect your trademark and receive the maximum benefit from its use, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney. However, a basic understanding of trademarks is a helpful starting point.

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What Are General Partnerships?

If you are considering venturing into the world of small business ownership you will have a seemingly endless list of decisions you must make regarding the business before it even gets off the ground. There are three broad categories of business entities from which you may choose – sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Within the partnership and corporation categories there are also a number of sub-categories and hybrids. Taking the time to learn what general partnerships are will help you decide if a general partnership is right for your business.

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What is a Service Mark?

Companies that provide a service to consumers and to businesses must be distinguishable from other organizations that provide a similar service. One of the ways that a company can distinguish itself is by having a unique brand identity. This could be a symbol, word, phrase, series of words, or other identifying marks and phrases that help to distinguish one service provider from the other.

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What Are Some Common Types of Commercial Litigation?

Despite the name, commercial litigation is an area of the law that may include both businesses and individuals as a party. If you are a business owner, or you own a significant interest in a business, there is a very good chance that at some point in time you will be involved in commercial litigation. The longer you are in business the greater the odds are that you will be named as a Defendant in some type of commercial lawsuit. As an individual you may find yourself to be the victim, or Plaintiff, in a commercial law lawsuit.

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Is There Pressure to Settle Commercial Litigation Out of Court?

The term “commercial litigation” covers a wide variety of disputes, making it a relatively large area of the law. Most types of commercial litigation can be extremely costly, both in terms of time and money, for the parties to the dispute. Not surprisingly then, there is often pressure to settle commercial litigation out of court. No one can force you to settle any type of litigation out of court; however, it is often in everyone’s best interest to work toward an out of court resolution to a commercial dispute.

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Should I Form a Partnership?

A partnership is easy to form and much easier to maintain, from a recordkeeping standpoint, than a corporation. Profits and losses in a partnership pass through to the partners and are reported on the partners’ individual tax returns. One of the biggest drawbacks to being a general partner, however, is that you will be personally liable for any debts, obligations, or liabilities of the partnership. Another potential drawback is that a partnership is often not as attractive to investors as a corporation is should you wish to expand the business in the future.

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How Do I Check or Reserve a Name for a New Business Venture in Pennsylvania?

If you plan to incorporate your business you will be required to conduct a name search prior to submitting your incorporation documents. Even if you do not plan to incorporate your business you may still wish to register your chosen name so that no one else may use it. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania name searches as well as registering a business name is done through the Department of State, or DOS.

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How Do I Dissolve an LLC Partnership in Pennsylvania?

When you started your business you likely gave very little thought to how you would end, or terminate, your business should the need arise to do so down the road. Now, however, you have decided to do just that – bring your business to an end. You find yourself wondering “How do I dissolve an LLC partnership in Pennsylvania though?” Dissolving an LLC in Pennsylvania requires you to do more than simply close the business doors. While it is always best to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania business law attorney before attempting to wind up your LLC on your own, the following are common considerations that are frequently involved in dissolving an LLC partnership.

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How Do You Resolve a Business Dispute?

If you are a business owner, sooner or later you will end up in a dispute. This is not a reflection on your business acumen nor on your product or service. Instead, it is simply the law of averages. If you stay in business long enough you will eventually end up in a full blown legal dispute with a client or customer, a supplier or sub-contractor, or even a business partner. With this in mind, the obvious question becomes “How do you resolve a business dispute?”

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Are the Various Business Structures Taxed Differently?

Owning a business has long been considered part of the “American Dream.” If you are planning to start your own small business you will soon need to make a seemingly endless number of decisions relating to the business. One of the most important of those decisions is what type of business structure to choose for your new business. Choosing which type of legal entity you plan to use for your company is a huge decision. One common question new entrepreneurs frequently have is “Are the various business structures taxed differently?”

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Does a Construction Contract Allow the Prevailing Party in a Lawsuit to Collect Attorney Fees?

Although any industry has its share of disputes and litigation, the construction industry has more than most. The reasons for this are varied; however, if you are part of the construction industry the important thing to remember is the need to be prepared for the possibility of a dispute because litigating a dispute can be expensive. One question parties to litigation often have is “Does a construction contract allow the prevailing party in a lawsuit to collect attorney fees and court costs?” While there is no universal answer to that question, it is common for a construction contract to have an “attorneys’ fees” provision.

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Can I Sue the Individual Who Owns the Company?

Unfortunately, business disputes are extremely common in the United States. Regardless of the underlying issue in the dispute, most Plaintiffs are ultimately seeking monetary damages in the lawsuit. If you are contemplating filing a lawsuit against a company, and are planning to ask for monetary damages, you are undoubtedly hoping that the company has sufficient assets to pay the judgment should you be victorious. What happens though if the company does not have sufficient assets? Can you also sue the individual who owns the company? The answer is somewhat complicated.

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Why Is It So Important to Have A Written Contract When There Is a Contract Dispute?

Throughout your lifetime, you will likely enter into hundreds of contacts, both personal and professional. Some are relatively simple and of little importance while others are complex and control major purchases or significant business agreements. There is also a very good likelihood that you will end up in a dispute over one of these contracts at some point in your life – particularly if you are a business owner. Knowing that a contract could become the basis of a dispute is an excellent reason to insist that the contract be in writing. Why is it so important though to have a written contract when there is a contract dispute? 

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How Do I Know When I Need a Business Litigation Attorney?

The job of a business litigation attorney is to provide advocacy and representation for someone who is suing or who is being sued in connection with business law matters.  Many cases end up settling outside of court because an attorney is able to help the disputing parties reach a negotiated settlement.  Mediation or arbitration are also possible methods of resolving business disputes. However, even if you hope to resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or alternative dispute resolution, you still need a business litigation attorney.

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Why Hire a Commercial Litigation Lawyer for a Small Dispute?

Small disputes can arise in many circumstances in the commercial world. Whether the dispute is a disagreement between shareholders and partners, a breach of contract claim, an employment dispute, or any other source of conflict, the issue needs to be resolved quickly for the sake of all involved businesses. Allowing a dispute to linger on for a long period of time can create confusion and uncertainty, which undermines normal operations and affects the ability of the involved businesses to thrive and grow.

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How Contract Disputes Can Seriously Harm Your Business

Because contracts are so pervasive and because contracts set the terms for almost all business and professional relationships, the way in which a dispute affects your organization is going to vary based on many factors. The type of contractual agreement is going to make a difference in how a dispute affects your business, as well the identities of the involved parties.  The type of disagreement can also matter as well.  A dispute over contract interpretation or over the meaning of a contractual agreement must be handled differently than conflict over whether the contract is valid at all and must be handled differently than allegations a breach has occurred.

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