23 05, 2014

Breach of Contract Basics and Attorney’s Fees

By |May 23rd, 2014|Contract Law, Uncategorized|1 Comment|

I decided to write this short article based on the fact that increasingly my litigation work tends toward breach of contract cases. There seems to be a whole lot of contract breaching going on these days. And secondly I was struck by the fact that a recent client was complaining about a couple former attorneys and how they always feel overcharged or misled by all the fees.

The Contract

So first – when do you go to an attorney for a breach of contract case? This is simply a business relationship gone bad, and it happens ALL the time. When two people (or more) or two companies get together to form a business relationship, it’s all excitement and dreams about how much money they are going to make. This allows for many improperly drafted contracts that don’t properly address what happens when things go south. I would of course advise having an attorney draft a proper contract that covers all the basics, but if you don’t want to spend the money then at least do a significant amount of research. There are actually a lot of free samples online that are better than nothing. But this also brings me to fees. It is sort of hard to quote someone a flat fee to draft a contract as an attorney because sometimes a contract becomes more complicated than when it started. However – it is a good idea to go with an attorney that can at least provide a range of hours along with an hourly rate. That way you know what to expect and whether or not you want to hire an attorney to do the [...]

14 05, 2014

Book Review – Social Media and the Law (PLI Institute)

By |May 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

I got this book a few months ago and I like it a lot. This new guide called ‘Social Media and the Law’ by Kathryn L. Ossian is an excellent and useful tool for both attorneys and tech-savvy businesses alike.

There are really not a lot of resources or guides for attorneys practicing in the area of social media law. It is true that much of the practice crosses over into general business issues, contracts, etc. but to have a guide dedicated specifically to social media law is truly useful. This book is very well put together and I highly recommend it. It gives a general overview of many issues and topics like privacy, copyright, trademarks, defamation, advertising and more. What I particularly like about it is that it doesn’t speak in broad general terms but actually references social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and how they are used by businesses and attorneys, and what we need to understand and look out for as practitioners. I do think that this book will need frequent updates, however, considering it references current social media trends. Nobody would take a book seriously in 2014 that made a lot of references to MySpace, for example. In a world of constantly changing social media platforms, frequent updates will be crucial.

Not only is this book helpful to attorneys but it is actually quite useful for business owners as well. It pretty much gives a complete outline of social media law issues that businesses need to keep in mind and may not be aware of. Of course it doesn’t benefit me personally as a practitioner to suggest a business owner [...]

5 02, 2014

Non-Compete Agreements in Employment Contracts

By |February 5th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

In many industries, a new employee will be made to sign an employment contract. A standard clause in such a contract often used is a non-compete clause, also called a covenant not to compete or a restrictive covenant. It is that particular clause that I will be discussing here.

From a business perspective, putting a non-compete clause into your employment agreement is a good idea. You want to gain some kind of loyalty from your employee, so that they don’t just up and leave after gaining all kinds of knowledge at your company, and go make money for the competitor. But how much weight do they carry? Can you just make your employee sign a contract that says “I agree not to compete for 5 years in the same industry”? The short answer to that is no – but at the same time, unlike a lot of other contractual clauses, if a court feels that what you have imposed is unreasonable, they will actually “fix” it to be reasonable, rather than get rid of it all together.

So what is a reasonable non-compete clause that will make it through the court system? The standard in New York, for example, is that a non-compete clause must be “reasonably limited temporally and geographically, and to the extent necessary to protect the employer’s use of trade secrets or confidential customer information.” Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v. Randello, 55 A.D.3d 871, 872, 866 N.Y.S.2d 334 (2d Dept. 2008). Now you are probably saying “reasonably limited – what the hell does that mean?” Welcome to the world of the law. Generally this determination is going to follow closely to the facts of each individual case [...]

22 01, 2014

Getting Facebook Photos Removed

By |January 22nd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Sometimes you want a photo on Facebook taken down and the poster simply refuses to do it. I once had a client who was in the midst of a custody battle and there were photos posted on Facebook of the child with the client’s ex-spouse and step-parent. The client wanted these photos removed from Facebook but of course the ex-spouse was unwilling to do this, preferring to add fuel to the fire of the already contentious custody battle. Facebook’s legal department is notoriously difficult to get through to – an attorney can speak to someone on the Facebook legal team to solve the situation, but if you want to do it yourself you need not necessarily go that route. Additionally, Facebook’s policy is now to only respond to California subpoenas.

You can request to have a photo removed from Facebook for violating privacy rights by complaining about specific pictures here – https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/144059062408922. Under Federal law, for example, a child under 13 years old cannot provide information to a website without their parents’ permission. Of course in the scenario I outlined above, the child had one parent’s permission (the actual poster) while having the other parent’s actual dissent. In cases like these, Facebook is likely to simply take down the picture, even in the absence of an ongoing lawsuit. If not, an attorney can probably get it done. This is not intended to be advocating a new tool for one parent to antagonize an ex, but this information can be useful in such disputes to keep the child out of the situation as much as possible, which really should be the goal.

21 10, 2013

Facebook Sweepstakes Rules Make it Easier to Run a Contest

By |October 21st, 2013|Facebook|2 Comments|

More and more brands are finding that sweepstakes and contests are now not only an appealing way to advertise, but are a necessary way to get branding information out there.
11 10, 2013

The Importance of Well-Crafted Sweepstakes Rules

By |October 11th, 2013|Contract Law, Facebook|0 Comments|

Running an online sweepstakes can be a very effective tool for a brand, if the rules are followed. Don't make these common mistakes!
29 08, 2013

There is no privacy on the internet!

By |August 29th, 2013|Contract Law, Social Media Law|0 Comments|

If you are an avid user of social media, or even just an American born since 1980, chances are your web footprint is everywhere. Many social media sites such as Facebook have elaborate 'privacy policies' filled with legal jargon, and make a point of informing consumers that they are committed to protecting privacy. But people should be aware that such privacy policies are not intended to help out consumers, rather they are intended solely to protect the sites themselves.
25 01, 2013

Contracts and Agreements: When good business goes bad

By |January 25th, 2013|Contract Law|0 Comments|

The importance of a good contract cannot be overstated.  As an attorney who regularly deals with good contracts, bad contracts, broken contracts and amicable contracts, I can say that it makes a huge difference for a business or an individual if and when they are faced with legal trouble. When a client comes in needing a contract drafted, the goal as a contract attorney is to look ahead to the worst-case scenario and to try to best protect the client in case of a future dispute.
22 12, 2012

The Laws of Facebook

By |December 22nd, 2012|Facebook|0 Comments|

The world of Facebook advertising has become a large business. Big movie studios, retail chains, restaurants – you name it – are paying large amounts of money to marketing companies to run strategic advertising campaigns. With all this comes a need to adhere to Facebook’s own ever-changing set of rules. It would be wise for businesses and organizations initiating a social media campaign to have a knowledgeable social media and technology attorney to guide them through the process.