In the summer of 2016 Stormy Sultry aka Peggy Peterson and Dennis Duck aka David Dennison engaged in some alleged hanky-panky. Wanting to nip in the bud any later stories about what happened, Duck’s agent gets Sultry to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in exchange for which Duck happily pays Sultry $130,000 for her silence and her agreement that any dispute over the NDA could only be pursued in a private arbitration. Agreeing that damages for any breach are not readily determinable in dollars, the NDA has a liquidated damages provision that damages are $1 million per breach. Is the NDA enforceable? Continue Reading How to Avoid Trumping Non-Disclosure Agreements

Duncey’s Caps, Inc. hired Bud Dunop as its new human resources manager for 2018.  Bud quickly determined that Duncey’s needed a formal employee policy handbook.  Included within the handbook was an arbitration agreement requiring employees to arbitrate all claims against Duncey’s relating to the employee’s employment.

Bud then held training and review sessions with all Duncey’s employees.  At the end of each session, each Duncey’s employee was required to log into a computer with their own self-created password.  Once logged in, the employee was given the opportunity to fully review the handbook and the arbitration agreement.  The employee was then required to click a box stating that he or she “acknowledges” receiving and reviewing the handbook, and that by clicking the box they “agreed” to abide by the handbook and the arbitration agreement. The employee was then required to enter their initials and click “submit.”

A few weeks later, one of Duncey’s employees who electronically acknowledged the handbook was injured on the job.  The employee filed a lawsuit.  Will Duncey’s be able to get this lawsuit sent to arbitration? Continue Reading Are Your Employees’ Electronically-Signed Agreements Enforceable?

Originally designed to share our practical insights, a little humor and some business common sense, Jamie Ribman and I wrote for our Maverick clients – entrepreneurs who dare big, plan big, think big and often find themselves in big trouble.

When Jamie left to go in-house with a firm client in 2014, Drew York ably stepped in. We re-directed a bit and, of late, have intentionally reacted more to legal issues presented by current events.

As both the world and our lives have changed, so has Tilting… and our clients. Continue Reading Ten Year Anniversary. WOW!

N. O. Smelz, owner of Smelz Rug and Carpet Cleaning, learns that Brite Bank has submitted a request for proposal to clean the carpets at their 15 branches in the DFW area. When Smelz reads the request he notices it includes a diversity provision that requires at least 10% of the total amount paid by Brite to go to a vendor, or a subcontractor, that is a minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, or disabled-owned business. Smelz is concerned because he doesn’t fall into any of those categories, and he doesn’t believe any of his long-time suppliers do either.  But because his cleaning company has the best reputation around, Smelz submits his proposal anyway.  Will Smelz get the contract?         Continue Reading Supplier Diversity Policies

Having won her primary, Starr Struuck is ready to update her campaign website and Instagram feed to jazz up her image and promote the reasons why she should win the general election. Having been chastised by Captain Kurff of Star Warp’d who tweeted Struuck to take her personalized and autographed photograph of the two of them at the Comic-Con convention off her newsletter and website, she remains determined to stick with her Star Warp’d theme. A Getty image photograph of the Starship Enterprise circling an unknown planet is now pasted across her social media. This time Getty images complains. Again, Struuck insists that she was merely publicly confessing her affection for geeky space adventure shows. Is Getty in the right to complain and demand to be paid?

Continue Reading Online Images – Free to Use?

 After setting up new locations in Texas, N. O. Smelz, owner of Smelz Rug Cleaning, obtained a hazardous waste permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the disposal of the company’s cleaning chemicals after use.  In addition to the permit, the TCEQ issued a compliance plan to Smelz.  Because he was too busy managing the financial side of the company, N.O. delegated oversight and implementation of the compliance plan to Wright Handman.  Compliance is running smoothly for about a year, but business is growing quickly and Handman doesn’t have time to train Rhule Brecker, a new carpet cleaning technician.  In fact, Handman never trains Brecker.  During Brecker’s second year on the job, Handman sees that Brecker is pouring the used cleaning chemicals into a storm drain on the street, which violates the compliance plan.  Two weeks later, Smelz gets a notice from TCEQ that it believes Smelz is violating the compliance plan and that an investigation will be conducted.  Brecker fesses up, and Handman also admits he didn’t train Brecker properly.  TCEQ sues Smelz, Handman and Brecker for civil penalties of $50 per day for failing to properly implement the compliance plan.  Are Handman and Brecker personally liable to the State?     

Continue Reading Would You Please Oversee the Company’s Environmental Cleanup Program? Oh Yeah, if it Fails, You’re Personally Liable

Running for office, Starr Struuck sent out a campaign newsletter extolling her qualifications and a list of reasons why she should be elected rather than her incumbent opponent. Prominently displayed in her newsletter and website was a personalized and autographed Comic-Con convention photograph of Starr Struuck perched beside wildly popular and well-known Captain Kurff of Star Warp’d. When advised of her campaign literature, Captain Kurff tweeted Struuck demanding that she destroy all copies of the campaign newsletter and remove his likeness from any of her campaign materials as he was not endorsing her. Protesting that she was merely publicly confessing her affection for the Captain and geeky shows generally, Starr resisted. Is Captain Kurff right?

Continue Reading Great Pic! But Can You Use It?

Agreeing with Benjamin Franklin that there is nothing certain except death and taxes, Sketch Wood and his partner Minnie Brix, owners of Wood & Brix, and their 200 employees are certain that the new tax law will affect them, but they are a bit overwhelmed. Looking for an overview, Sketch asked his favorite non-tax lawyer to hit some of the high points of the first significant reform of the U.S. tax code since 1986. Continue Reading New Tax Law – Impacting Your Small Business and You

After not meeting his 2017 sales goals, Ollie B. Celling knows he might get fired from Duncey’s Caps, Inc. if he doesn’t get his numbers up in 2018.  Celling begins marketing Duncey’s through his personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.  Soon he thinks he’s hit a home run: a customer from Japan wants to buy 5,000 ballcaps for whatever Major League Baseball team Yu Darvish signs with for the 2018 season.  There’s one catch – the customer wants to pay with a new cryptocurrency.  Duncey’s contracts require payment in U.S. dollars.  Celling goes to Jim Duncey, the owner of Duncey’s, and tells him that Duncey’s should change their contracts to start accepting cryptocurrency because “it’s the wave of the future.”  Should Duncey agree? Continue Reading Should You Accept Customer Payments in Bitcoin?