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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When young adults are away from home in a collegiate atmosphere, sometimes they get into trouble. So, what is a parent to do? First, have a basic awareness of the rules that govern student conduct– rules that may have changed dramatically since our collegiate days. Discuss them with your college-bound children. A school may impose an array of disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion, a potentially devastating, life-altering consequence for a young man or woman. If a student is facing any kind of disciplinary charge, it is important that he or she consult with an attorney immediately– before speaking to the authorities and making potentially damaging statements with far reaching (including criminal) consequences. Experienced counsel can guide the student through the disciplinary process, advocate to the administration on a student’s behalf, and keep an eye out for due process issues.
A recent ruling of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, while reaching the fair and just result, serves as a cautionary tale of the importance of written agreements and a reminder of the adage that no good deed goes unpunished. Learn more about this case study: A couple lent money to their son-in-law’s business after the son-in-law promised to provide personal guarantees for the loans. Despite his promises, he never signed written personal guarantees and never repaid his in-laws. Was the promise enforceable? Barrie-Chivian v. Lepler, 87 Mass. App. Ct 683 (2015).
Following a sharp increase in mortgage foreclosures, in the wake of a steep decline in the housing market, growing numbers of defaulted mortgage borrowers (typically homeowners) and their attorneys seized on the so-called “try-title statute,” G.L. c. 240, §§1-5, as a simple and low-cost way of forestalling foreclosure.
Laredo & Smith offers clients big-firm expertise with the client-centered, cost-effective strategy that only a small firm can offer.
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