Monday, May 17, 2021

Semi-Retirement - I am moving away from demanding justice under the law and towards demanding justice under politics and policy

My firm demanded justice for individuals and small companies by taking small consumer cases that did not interest other lawyers.  A lawyer has to take a large numbers of small cases just to breakeven.  Nevertheless,  my case load doesn't make a dent in the problem.  For each client I take, many more want to hire me and many more cannot find another lawyer with the same price range and experience. Despite that, I did help over a thousand people per year by merely picking up the phone and providing 5-10 minute consultations.  However, now, bigger issues require bigger solutions.  

July 4th, I will turn away from the law and move toward politics and policy.  No, I will not run for office, because I just don't have the temperament or personality.  However, people can do so much without holding office, and I intend to do that in whatever capacity my personality and abilities allow.  

In the meantime, I will still accept calls from people who want to ask questions or want me to shoot off a letter or settle a case without going to court.  Although the everyday practice of the law no longer interests me, from time to time I will step into court until I get tired of spending my  money on bar dues and continuing legal education classes.   

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Small Business Landlord-Tenant Issues

As I wait for the CDC Moratorium to lift, my focus has turned to small business landlord-tenant issues. It is clear to me that for small business owners hit with personal accelerated lease payments or large back rent judgments, the only option may be bankruptcy.

Due Diligence
Before settling on a location, hire an agent who can assist you in conducting due diligence regarding traffic, the history of other businesses at that location, demographics, product choice, etc. For retail businesses, location, location, location is key.

Read the Lease & Seek Counsel
I understand new business owners are excited about opening a new retail business. However, new owners shouldn't let that excitement cloud the need to review a lease with a fine tooth comb. Indeed, most retail owners open rent an empty space, commit to years of rent that total tens of thousands of dollars, and take out loans to modify that newly rented space. Sometimes, owners are so focused on construction and equipment, they forget to read the lease.

Prior to signing, hire a lawyer to review the document.
Does the document have CAM charges that will increase your monthly expenses?
Does the lease have income charges?
How are repairs allocated?
Who takes care of HVAC replacements?
What happens if the building is destroyed or damaged?
Can the tenant sublease if the business is in trouble?
Can you avoid having a personal guaranty?
Is there a lockout and seizure provision?

These are things an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer can review with you before you sign the lease.

Trouble After Opening
Sometimes, a dispute arises between the landlord and tenant for a myriad of reasons. If this happens, make sure everything is in writing to memorialize the discussion. If the parties cannot come to an agreement quickly, consult a lawyer. Getting a lawyer involved quickly may prevent headaches and costs in the future.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Free Speech Must Be Protected

In light of this new theory that speech must be quashed because it's uncomfortable or violent, this short video shows those who believes this are the true dangers to freedom and liberty.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Numerous People Can Take Responsibility for Yesterday

 I blame so many people for what happened and our current state of affairs:

The people who screamed impeachment on 1/20/17.

The Russian hoax perpetrators.

Pelosi and her crew for the impeachment and other nonsense she instigated.

Biden who allowed his son to act as a vacuum cleaner for money.

The MSM who cannot distinguish fact from opinion.

The MSM for not reporting the news

Facebook & Twitter for being biased.

The biased creation of self-appointed "Fact Checkers" who do nothing but fan flames.

GA, MI, AZ, PA legislatures for not getting control of the situation.

The secretary of states for changing rules unconstitutionally

Those who prevented an honest review of election counts

Trump for not speaking in complete sentences to explain what happened

The Kraken nonsense

Lin Wood for his statements

Trump for not acting like the adult in the room.

The Capitol police for not being prepared for all certainties.

Trump for not calling up reinforcements.

The MSM for continuing to fan the flames.

Congressional Democrats for showboating.

The MSM and Democrats who supported the summer of burning and looting, even in our nation's capital.

Those who entered the Capitol. I still don't know if they were Trump supporters or anarchists.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Enticing a Renter to Leave Before Court Starts Again

For small landlords, if you haven't been paid rent since April, and you want immediate possession to the rental property, you should considering enticing your tenant to leave by entering into a payment plan that does the following:
1. Put the tenant on a payment plan and provides all updated info in a rental application.
2. Get a co-signer/guarantor of that payment plan, if necessary
3. Pay for their moving expenses up to a certain dollar amount
4. Excuse the last payment on the plan if the tenant moves out as agreed.
5. Don't include the security deposit in any part of the agreement because there may be damages to the premises.

If you need further assistance, contact me to discuss your options.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

What Happens if You are Terminated?

In a good year, many employees are terminated at the end of the year.  However, because of COVID, there is a high probability that the termination numbers will be much higher than normal.  If you receive your pink slip and agreement, you may want to consider not signing it right away.  

First, if you are one of a few employees who were selected for termination, ask why you were let go. Don't be surprised if HR refuses to disclose the reason.  Employees at will can be fired for any reason.  Therefore, disclosing the justification is not in the best interest of the employer.  It may invite a lawsuit.  

Second, talk to your co-workers to see who else was terminated.  They may know about the selection process. If the termination group consists of mostly women, blacks, or whites a further review may be required to determine if the employer violated nondiscrimination laws. 

Third, if HR or your supervisor thrusts a termination agreement in your face, you may want to wait to sign it.  Signing anything without reading and understanding the document's terms may lead to regrets later. When you review the agreement,  does it require you to waive suit against the employee in exchange for extra money?  Large companies tend to wave severance pay in front of employees to guarantee a smooth transition away from the company.  Review that document carefully, preferably with a lawyer.  If you are a long term employee, you might consider negotiating for a slightly higher severance package.  

Also, watch for noncompete clauses.  Although the courts have limited these clauses, it's better to nip it at the bud when they arise.  Also, make sure a neutral reference provision is in the agreement.  

I've negotiated severance packages for employees at all levels.  At this point, because COVID has culled the ranks of front line workers, I handle severance packages for management positions only.  However, I will review front line severance letters to explain what is going on and how to handle unfavorable provisions. 

Friday, November 27, 2020