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“Fiji Water Girl” and Contract Formation

“Fiji Water Girl” and Contract Formation If you watched the recent Golden Globe Awards (or saw photos after the fact), you probably saw the "Fiji Water Girl." As an advertising promotion, Fiji Water Company, LLC, the company that bottles and sells Fiji Water, hired a model named Kelly Steinbach [...]

By |2019-02-14T17:11:58+00:00February 13th, 2019|

Free Speech and Commercial Speech: Ninth Circuit Strikes Down San Fran Billboard Warnings Labels

Free Speech and Commercial Speech: Ninth Circuit Strikes Down San Fran Billboard Warnings Labels With respect to warning labels and similar types of business regulations, there is an ongoing tension in the law between free speech and the interests of consumers and the public. Free speech is implicated because [...]

By |2019-02-14T17:08:33+00:00February 12th, 2019|

San Diego Commercial Leases: To Assign or Sublease?

San Diego Commercial Leases: To Assign or Sublease? If you have commercial space in San Diego, you more than likely have a lease with the property owner. For various reasons — many quite legitimate business reasons — your company may need to be out from under the obligations of [...]

By |2019-02-14T17:05:28+00:00February 11th, 2019|

Mergers and Acquisitions: Three Strategies for Dealing With #MeToo or “Weinstein” Situations

Mergers and Acquisitions: Three Strategies for Dealing With #MeToo or "Weinstein" Situations If your San Diego business is contemplating a merger or making an acquisition, it is increasingly important to include sexual harassment and good behavior representations and warranties in the early part of the process and to provide [...]

By |2019-02-14T17:02:00+00:00February 10th, 2019|

How California Courts Determine the Severability of Contracts

How California Courts Determine the Severability of Contracts Often, people think of a "contract" as some unified whole; a singular "thing." But, in truth, contracts are generally complex and involve a collection of obligations that are agreed to by both parties. Even a simple contract to deliver product contains [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:57:42+00:00February 9th, 2019|

To Initial or Not? Thoughts on Requiring Initials for Contract Provisions

To Initial or Not? Thoughts on Requiring Initials for Contract Provisions Among business executives and corporate lawyers, there is an ongoing and long-running debate about the value of requiring a party to a contract to initial various provisions and clauses in addition to signing the agreement. It is common, [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:53:32+00:00February 8th, 2019|

Employee BYOD: Compliance with California Reimbursement Laws

Employee BYOD: Compliance with California Reimbursement Laws BYOD is an acronym for "bring your own device." It is increasingly common for employers and businesses to allow or require that their employees use their own devices for business purposes. The most common device is, of course, employee-owned cellphones. But BYOD [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:50:37+00:00February 7th, 2019|

Five Reasons for Using In-Writing-Only Contract Amendment Clauses

Five Reasons for Using In-Writing-Only Contract Amendment Clauses At their core, contracts are merely agreements between persons. There is nothing too mysterious about a contract. Contracts can be written out, can be made orally ("with a handshake"), or can be made via actions like "course of dealings." This is [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:48:11+00:00February 6th, 2019|

California Franchise Law: No Franchise if No Franchise Fee

California Franchise Law: No Franchise if No Franchise Fee In California, franchise relationships are governed by statute. See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 20001 et seq. Under the law, for a franchise relationship to exist, there must be an agreement — either in writing or an oral agreement [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:44:49+00:00February 5th, 2019|

Establishing Your Business Credit Rating: What is A DUNS Number?

Establishing Your Business Credit Rating: What is A DUNS Number? Many successful businesses at some point have incorporated and operate via some corporate entity like a C corporation, an S corporation, a limited liability company, or some other limited liability business entity. Using a corporate entity protects your personal [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:32:06+00:00February 4th, 2019|

Franchising News: National Labor Relations Board Reinstates “Entrepreneurial Opportunity” Factor

Franchising News: National Labor Relations Board Reinstates "Entrepreneurial Opportunity" Factor One of the more vexing problems facing San Diego employers is a myriad of overlapping laws, regulations, and jurisdictions. This is readily apparent when considering how to classify a worker as an "employee" or as an "independent contractor." Among [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:45:54+00:00February 3rd, 2019|

Ignore the Looming Fad of the So-Called “Smart Contract”

Ignore the Looming Fad of the So-Called "Smart Contract" With the rise of bitcoin and other blockchain currencies, there has been a smaller boom of "news" about so-called "smart contracts." San Diego Corporate Law suggests that you ignore this looming fad. The only thing "smart" about these so-called "contracts" [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:24:54+00:00February 2nd, 2019|

San Diego Businesses: Prepare to Protect Biometric Data

San Diego Businesses: Prepare to Protect Biometric Data For several years now, Illinois has been on the forefront of protecting biometric data. Biometric data encompasses any sort of personally identifying biological information like a fingerprint or a retinal print or biometric information like the manner in which you walk. [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:21:13+00:00February 1st, 2019|

California Consumer Privacy Act Will Apply to Employees and Job Candidates

California Consumer Privacy Act Will Apply to Employees and Job Candidates As many know, California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act. On its face and by its name, this Act is intended to protect the privacy of consumers with respect to various personal information. The California Consumer Privacy [...]

By |2019-02-14T16:17:49+00:00January 31st, 2019|

San Diego Small Businesses: Take Caution When Using Credit Reports in Hiring

San Diego Small Businesses: Take Caution When Using Credit Reports in Hiring Walmart suffered a major defeat recently involving claims that it improperly used credit reports with respect to applications for employment. Access and use of credit reports for hiring purposes have long been subject to federal and California [...]

By |2019-02-02T01:12:47+00:00January 30th, 2019|

Regulation D: “Accredited Investor” Determination Must be Made Before the Sale

Regulation D: "Accredited Investor" Determination Must be Made Before the Sale In a recent decision from the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), the SEC has held that the determination of whether investors are "accredited" must be done before the sale, not after. The administrative proceeding was captioned In The [...]

By |2019-02-02T01:10:12+00:00January 29th, 2019|

Study: Merger and Acquisition Activity Strong in 2018 and Promising for 2019

Study: Merger and Acquisition Activity Strong in 2018 and Promising for 2019 Mergermarket.com recently released its 2018 study of merger and acquisition trends for 2018. Merger and acquisition activity was strong in 2018 despite political uncertainties, market volatility, and international trade tensions. Merger and acquisition globally activity exceeded $3.5 [...]

By |2019-02-02T01:06:58+00:00January 28th, 2019|

Avoiding Three Common Gray Rhino Events in Running Your Business

Avoiding Three Common Gray Rhino Events in Running Your Business Many of us have heard of "black swan" events in the business world. The hallmark of a black swan event is that it is surprising and shocking at the moment that it occurs, but in hindsight, everyone begins to [...]

By |2019-02-02T01:03:59+00:00January 27th, 2019|

Using the Trademark Registry as an “Idea Generator” for Expanding Your Business

Using the Trademark Registry as an "Idea Generator" for Expanding Your Business A solid business is one that has a "core business" that is done well and done profitably. That being said, every San Diego business should be on the constant lookout for ways to expand into new markets [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:47:18+00:00January 26th, 2019|

Three Essential Components of a Good San Diego Arbitration Agreement

Three Essential Components of a Good San Diego Arbitration Agreement Resolution of legal disputes through arbitration is becoming more and more common. This trend is actually increasing and is driven, partly, by recent strengthening of arbitration law to allow businesses a means of legally barring class action lawsuits. There [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:44:26+00:00January 25th, 2019|

The Well-Drafted Business Contract

The Well-Drafted Business Contract Without question, San Diego businesses run on contracts and every business needs an experienced corporate lawyer to review and draft its contracts. To non-lawyers, contract drafting might seem a mystery. But in truth, there is a path to well-drafted business contracts. Choosing the Right Contract [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:40:59+00:00January 24th, 2019|

San Diego Business Contracts: No Other Agreements Clauses

San Diego Business Contracts: No Other Agreements Clauses A thriving San Diego business will have many and various commercial contracts that govern various aspect of the business. One common problem that must be avoided is that, with so many contracts, sometimes one contract might conceivably govern what is covered [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:37:57+00:00January 23rd, 2019|

What Happens if I do Not Pay My California Franchise Taxes?

What Happens if I do Not Pay My California Franchise Taxes? California corporations, limited liability companies, and other types of business entities must pay annual taxes, called "franchise taxes" to the California Franchise Tax Board. The minimum amount owed is $800 each year, but this is just a minimum [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:35:34+00:00January 22nd, 2019|

Tips for Creating Trademarks That Grow with Your Business

Tips for Creating Trademarks that Grow with Your Business Without question, legally protected trademarks and service marks can help your San Diego business grow. That being said, creating, registering, and establishing commercial marks is a matter that requires advanced planning and good business and legal strategies. While you want [...]

By |2019-02-02T00:30:58+00:00January 21st, 2019|

Common Uses of San Diego Limited Partnerships

Common Uses of San Diego Limited Partnerships Limited partnerships are commonly used here in San Diego and elsewhere in California. For example, films and other theater and musical productions are often produced through the use of limited partnerships. Limited partnerships are a type of business entity specifically allowed by [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:26:07+00:00January 20th, 2019|

Why Business Valuation Provisions are Important for Your Partnership or Owners Agreement

Why Business Valuation Provisions are Important for Your Partnership or Owners Agreement It is important for small, closely-held businesses to have partnership or ownership agreements. An experienced San Diego corporate attorney can provide advice and counsel on what should be contained in these types of agreements. Some of the [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:22:31+00:00January 19th, 2019|

US Supreme Court: “Wholly Groundless” Doctrine Abolished

US Supreme Court: “Wholly Groundless” Doctrine Abolished Arbitration and how to interpret arbitration agreements continues to be breaking legal news. The US Supreme Court just handed down a unanimous 9-0 decision in Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., Case No. No. 17-1272 , 586 U.S. __ [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:18:33+00:00January 18th, 2019|

Does Dynamex Apply Retroactively? Grubhub Magistrate Says “No, for Now”

Does Dynamex Apply Retroactively? Grubhub Magistrate Says “No, for Now” At the end of April 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (Cal. Supreme Court 2018). The decision made a significant change in California law with respect [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:14:46+00:00January 17th, 2019|

California Medical Corporations: Advantages Over Partnerships

California Medical Corporations: Advantages Over Partnerships If you are a licensed medical professional here in San Diego, or if you are another type of licensed professional like an attorney, you can form a corporation specifically designated for professionals under the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act of 1968 (the "Act"). See [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:08:19+00:00January 16th, 2019|

San Diego Business Contracts: What is Ambiguity in Contract Language?

San Diego Business Contracts: What is Ambiguity in Contract Language? When California courts are faced with the task of interpreting contracts because a suit has been brought for breach of contract, the goal is to give the contract the effect mutually intended by the parties. To do that, the [...]

By |2019-01-20T16:00:03+00:00January 15th, 2019|

Corporate Governance: What is a Shareholder Proxy?

Corporate Governance: What is a Shareholder Proxy? San Diego and California corporations are owned by shareholders. Typically, at least once a year, the shareholders meet to vote their shares -- usually one vote per share -- for members of the board of directors. The board runs the corporation in [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:56:56+00:00January 14th, 2019|

California Federal Court: Paypal Data Breach Press Release Not Securities Fraud

California Federal Court: Paypal Data Breach Press Release Not Securities Fraud As we have discussed on this blog, the federal Security and Exchange Commission ("SEC") has advised that data breaches and cybersecurity are issues that must be disclosed in required corporate filings. This is logical, of course, since data [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:54:02+00:00January 13th, 2019|

Data Security and M&A Due Diligence: Lessons From Marriott/Starwood

Data Security and M&A Due Diligence: Lessons From Marriott/Starwood In September 2016, Marriott International, Inc. bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. The acquisition was approved by the shareholders of each company respectively. Starwood shareholders received 0.8 shares of Marriott including $21 per Starwood common stock. In the last [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:51:01+00:00January 12th, 2019|

San Diego Ice Cream Franchising: There Must be Strict Compliance with Disclosure Laws

San Diego Ice Cream Franchising: There Must be Strict Compliance with Disclosure Laws Around the country, there are differing legal frameworks and schemes for business franchising. California law is one of the most protective for the franchisees and requires registration of the franchise with the California Department of Business [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:46:45+00:00January 11th, 2019|

San Diego Franchises, Territories, and Non-Traditional Venues

San Diego Franchises, Territories, and Non-Traditional Venues Many franchise agreements provide and specify an exclusive geographic territory for the franchisee's operation. This protects the franchisee from competition from another franchisee in the "system" and prevents abusive tactics and/or retaliation by the franchisor. It would be easy enough, for example, [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:47:30+00:00January 10th, 2019|

California Business Contracts: What is the Frustration of Purpose Defense?

California Business Contracts: What is the Frustration of Purpose Defense? If your San Diego business finds itself defending a lawsuit claiming breach of contract, one possible defense to the case is the legal doctrine of Frustration of Purpose. This is one of several legal doctrines that will excuse performance [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:31:22+00:00January 9th, 2019|

New California Law: Time to Revise Your San Diego Nondisparagement Clauses

New California Law: Time to Revise Your San Diego Nondisparagement Clauses Given the importance of business reputation, many employers have been insisting on nondisparagement clauses in their employment contracts. Many others have promulgated nondisparagement policies and have included them in their Employee Handbooks. Without such clauses, there are many [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:27:54+00:00January 8th, 2019|

Anti-Secrecy: National Labor Relations Board Says “No” to Litigation Gag Order

Anti-Secrecy: National Labor Relations Board Says "No" to Litigation Gag Order We recently wrote about new laws taking effect here in San Diego and California that are attempting to prevent secrecy with respect to settlements and testimony in sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation cases. See California Senate Bill 820 [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:22:57+00:00January 7th, 2019|

California’s New Sexual Harassment Anti-Secrecy Statutes

California's New Sexual Harassment Anti-Secrecy Statutes Effective with the new year, San Diego and California companies and businesses dealing with sexual harassment cases should be aware of new anti-secret-settlement and anti-confidentiality laws. This article will discuss two new laws - Senate Bill 820 ("SB 820") and Assembly Bill 3109 [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:17:16+00:00January 6th, 2019|

The Palm Restaurant Case: Family Businesses Must Treat Family Shareholders Fairly

The Palm Restaurant Case: Family Businesses Must Treat Family Shareholders Fairly A recent case decided in New York involving The Palm steakhouse restaurant chain is a good reminder that, even in family-owned and run businesses, minority shareholders must be treated fairly. See news report here. Family-run businesses sometimes forget [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:12:09+00:00January 5th, 2019|

Workers’ Compensation and San Diego Small Businesses

Workers’ Compensation and San Diego Small Businesses Any San Diego business with employees must obtain and keep current workers compensation insurance. This is required by California law and there are substantial financial and potential criminal penalties for willfully failing to have workers compensation coverage. Even if you only have [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:07:31+00:00January 4th, 2019|

Business Identity Theft: As Destructive as Personal Identity Theft

Business Identity Theft: As Destructive as Personal Identity Theft Once a corporation or limited liability company or other corporate entity has been formed, a new legal entity comes into existence. This new entity has an identity that is separate and apart from the identity of the owners. That business [...]

By |2019-01-20T15:01:05+00:00January 3rd, 2019|

A Guide for the Annual Maintenance of Your San Diego Corporation or LLC

A Guide for the Annual Maintenance of Your San Diego Corporation or LLC After your San Diego corporation or limited liability company is formed, it is necessary and essential to ensure that your corporate entity receives the necessary annual maintenance. Regular maintenance is needed for any major investment; our [...]

By |2019-01-20T14:57:24+00:00January 2nd, 2019|

Effect of Statutory Conversion of California Corporate Forms

Effect of Statutory Conversion of California Corporate Forms For various good business reasons, it is not uncommon for businesses to seek to shift their corporate forms. As an example, a business owner might start out as a limited liability company ("LLC") but want to convert the LLC into a [...]

By |2019-01-20T14:53:53+00:00December 31st, 2018|

Corporation Not “Doing Business” in California for Owning Only A 25% Passive Non-Managing Member Interest in an LLC Doing Business in California

Corporation Not "Doing Business" in California for Owning Only A 25% Passive Non-Managing Member Interest in an LLC Doing Business in California The California Office of Tax Appeals recently issued a decision that might spur corporate investments by non-California corporate entities. See In the Matter of the Appeal of [...]

By |2019-01-20T14:49:08+00:00December 30th, 2018|

California Supreme Court on Employee Meal Breaks and Waivers

California Supreme Court on Employee Meal Breaks and Waivers In California, laws and regulations with respect to employees are governed by various statutes enacted by the California State Assembly and what are called Wage Orders issued by the California Industrial Welfare Commission ("IWC"). Occasionally, California courts are required to [...]

By |2019-01-20T14:44:58+00:00December 29th, 2018|

Practical Guide for Using and Protecting Your San Diego Trademark

Practical Guide for Using and Protecting Your San Diego Trademark Trademarks and service marks are common throughout the business and commercial marketplace. A trade/service mark is any symbol or mark that identifies a product or service as having a unique commercial source. The symbol or mark can be words, [...]

By |2019-01-14T17:01:54+00:00December 28th, 2018|

Asset Purchases and Successor Liability: California’s “Merely a Continuation” Doctrine

Asset Purchases and Successor Liability: California’s "Merely a Continuation" Doctrine As a general rule, if your San Diego business buys the assets of another company in an asset purchase/acquisition, your business does not automatically assume the liabilities of the seller. In fact, that is one of the reasons to [...]

By |2019-01-14T16:55:28+00:00December 27th, 2018|

Not Much is Needed to Prove Trade Secret Misappropriation in California

Not Much is Needed to Prove Trade Secret Misappropriation in California Trade secrets are valuable business assets, and trade secrets are not the dramatic stuff of Hollywood action movies locked up in high-tech vaults. Under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("CUTSA"), Cal. Civ. Code § 3426.1(d), trade secrets [...]

By |2019-01-14T16:52:41+00:00December 26th, 2018|

Employee Equity as Compensation: Corporations are Better Than LLCs

Employee Equity as Compensation: Corporations are Better Than LLCs In this article, we discuss another difference between corporations and limited liability companies ("LLCs"). Both are corporate entities and serve similar functions (such as providing a shield against personal liability for the owners). However, providing ownership equity as compensation is [...]

By |2019-01-14T16:53:34+00:00December 23rd, 2018|

Helping Your Family Business Survive: Family Business Charters and Family Councils

Helping Your Family Business Survive: Family Business Charters and Family Councils A recent trend with family-run businesses is the use of Family Business Charters and Family Councils to help smooth ongoing business functioning and to help increase the chances of a successful transition from one generation to the next. [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:13:58+00:00December 22nd, 2018|

San Diego Business Contracts: When Mistake in Fact Will Allow Rescission

San Diego Business Contracts: When Mistake in Fact Will Allow Rescission With respect to San Diego business contracts, there are some circumstances in which a party can rescind a contract if there has been a mistake about material facts related to the contract. Avoiding mistakes of fact is one [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:12:46+00:00December 21st, 2018|

Franchise Agreements: Tips on Negotiating the Marketing Fund Contribution Requirement

Franchise Agreements: Tips on Negotiating the Marketing Fund Contribution Requirement Almost every franchise agreement contains provisions with respect to marketing or advertising funds. Sometimes the provisions are called "brand building funds" or "brand awareness funds." In general, the provisions require that the franchisee to contribute monies into a fund [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:11:42+00:00December 20th, 2018|

Revisiting “Impossibility” as a Contract Defense: It is Not Impossible if There is a Suitable Replacement or Alternative

Revisiting "Impossibility" as a Contract Defense: It is Not Impossible if There is a Suitable Replacement or Alternative In general, under California law, "impossibility" is a defense to a breach of contract claim. There are two types of impossibility - legal and factual. A legal impossibility might exist or [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:10:49+00:00December 19th, 2018|

San Diego Business Contracts: Tips for Ensuring Enforceability of Arbitration Provision

San Diego Business Contracts: Tips for Ensuring Enforceability of Arbitration Provision A stand-alone arbitration agreement or an arbitration provision contained within a larger agreement is a useful technique for managing downside risk associated with litigation. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. Admittedly, arbitration is not exactly cheap, but arbitration is [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:08:36+00:00December 18th, 2018|

California’s Slack Fill Law is Amended

California’s Slack Fill Law is Amended Here in San Diego, if you manufacture or package consumer products, your business must be aware of federal and California's slack fill laws. A good corporate attorney can help you stay current with ever- changing legal requirements. Slack fill is empty space in [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:07:23+00:00December 17th, 2018|

Does a California Social Purpose Corporation Have to do Charity Work?

Does a California Social Purpose Corporation Have to do Charity Work? Social purpose corporations formed here in San Diego and elsewhere in California have to engage in some socially beneficial activity, but that activity does not have be "charity work" in the traditional sense; or even giving money to [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:06:26+00:00December 16th, 2018|

Alternative Methods of LLC-to-Corporation Conversion

Alternative Methods of LLC-to-Corporation Conversion When San Diego founders start a business, there are often very good reasons to use a limited liability company ("LLC") as the startup vehicle. There are some tax advantages, there is the ease of corporate upkeep and maintenance, flexibility with respect to division of [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:05:35+00:00December 15th, 2018|

Can I Form a California Corporation to Get Rid of My Personal Credit Card Debt?

Can I Form a California Corporation to Get Rid of My Personal Credit Card Debt? The short answer is "no." You cannot form a California corporation to get rid of personal credit card debt. Any attempt to shift personal debt into a new corporate entity can be seen as [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:03:41+00:00December 14th, 2018|

Top Strategies for Narrowing Scope of a Personal Guaranty in California

Top Strategies for Narrowing Scope of a Personal Guaranty in California One of most important reasons for running your San Diego business as a corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity is to avoid personal liability for business debts and judgments. The corporate entity provides a shield that [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:02:42+00:00December 13th, 2018|

What Constitutes “Doing Business” in California Under the Tax Code?

What Constitutes “Doing Business” in California Under the Tax Code? For years, the California Franchise Tax Board has imposed tax liability on any out-of-state corporation or LLC that was "doing business" in California. See Cal. Rev. & Tax Code, § 23151. Section 23151 allows the taxation of foreign LLCs [...]

By |2019-01-05T23:01:36+00:00December 12th, 2018|