Guarantors Beware: Guaranty May Survive Underlying Settlement

It is not uncommon in a business deal for individuals—owners, for instance— to personally guarantee the business’s obligations to a third party (such as a lender or landlord). These types of arrangements are beneficial in situations where, for example, a lender is unwilling to do business with a startup or similar company that has a few or no assets, but will agree to enter into the deal so long as the business owner personally guarantees that the lender will be repaid on the debt or investment even if the business fails. Read more in this month’s newsletter.

Newsletter_May 2018

Limited Liability Under the Massachusetts Wage Act for Board Members and Investors

The Massachusetts Wage Act (Ch. 149, §§ 148-150) permits lawsuits for unpaid wages to be brought against a company’s president, treasurer, or officers or agents having the management of the company. While the terms “president,” “treasurer,” and “officer” are relatively well-defined, until recently there was significant uncertainty about who qualified as an “agent having the management” of a company to be held personally liable under the Wage Act.

Read about the scope of personal liability for two groups of non-officers: investors and board members.

Newsletter_February 2018

Massachusetts Enacts Law to Protect Pregnant Workers

Beginning on April 1, 2018, employers must comply with the newly-enacted Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”), which prohibits employers from discriminating against, ring, or refusing to hire a person due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.

Newsletter_October 2017

Starting Your Own Business- The Franchise Model, Part II

While the purchase of a franchise affords a business owner many crucial advantages in the marketplace over a traditional, non-franchise business, a prospective franchisee’s failure to properly conduct its due diligence, both independently and with the assistance of experienced advisors, can prove fatal to the business’s success. There are four important areas of due diligence. Read more in this month’s newsletter.

Newsletter_June 2017

Starting Your Own Business- The Franchise Model, Part 1

Franchising is a popular avenue to entrepreneurship where the business owner is able to take advantage of the brand, systems and experience of a larger, more established enterprise. What makes franchising attractive to entrepreneurs is the ability to go into business for themselves but not by themselves. At its essence, franchising is a way to sell goods and services that involves a relationship between an entity that has an established brand and system (the franchisor) and an independent business owner (the franchisee).

Newsletter_May 2017

Chapter 93A Claims Against Corporate “Outsiders” Who Aid-and-Abet Insiders

Massachusetts businesses and their owners are by now familiar with the rule that General Laws chapter 93A, a statute that bars unfair competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices and provides for the possibility of double or triple damages plus attorneys’ fees, is inapplicable to intra-corporate and employment disputes. But could a claim under chapter 93A be brought against an outsider who aids and abets an insider’s breach of fiduciary duties? Read our newsletter for more information.

Newsletter_January 2017

The Bathroom Bill: What Every Massachusetts Company Needs to Know

As of October 1, 2016, transgender individuals will have the right to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice in Massachusetts. This summer, the Governor signed into law An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination (the “Act”), adding gender identity in the list of protected classes covered by Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) have separately issued guidance to assist businesses in understanding and complying with their obligations.

Newsletter_October 2016

Stock or Salary– A Business Owner’s Dilemma

Clients, particularly those starting new, closely-held businesses, commonly ask whether they should give stock in the company in lieu of or as a supplement to compensation.  The answer is: it depends.

Newsletter_September 2016

 

A “Top Down” Approach to Managing Cyber Risk

There are few ‘hotter’ topics in corporate boardrooms these days than understanding the risks from a cyber attack and the measures to thwart, or at least minimize risk of, a cyber breach.  Indeed, the consequences of a cyber breach can be severe, including loss of valuable intangible property, a drop in share price, disclosure and reporting obligations to the SEC and other agencies, and litigation against the company and its board of directors.

Newsletter_June 2016

To Arbitrate or Not to Arbitrate– That is the Question

Arbitration – the private means of resolving a dispute – is a well- accepted and often encouraged alternative to the court system. Whether arbitration is the right choice for your business contract, however, is a more nuanced question.  As a starting point, all contracts should contain language regarding the resolution of disputes, including which state and/or country’s law will apply, where disputes will be resolved (a particularly important issue when parties are located in different states or countries) and whether arbitration or the court system will be used. It is this last choice that is the focus of this article.

Newsletter_March 2016