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Cincinnati Business and Commercial Litigation Legal Blog

Disputes over ownership: What you need to know

When you first got into business with your partner, you were both excited and full of creativity. You were so focused on the development of your ideas that you didn't bother with the picky details about who owned the intellectual rights to those ideas. You also didn't worry much over who handled which part of the business -- you both handled everything and mostly agreed.

Somewhere down the line, things changed. Now, your business partner has a totally different vision for the product, the company and the general direction things need to go. You both had some drastically different ideas about whose company this really was and who owned those great ideas.

Are you prepared for litigation if your company faces a lawsuit?

Starting a business of your own may have always been a goal of yours. When you finally took the steps to start your own company, you may have had days where you wondered whether it would really happen. The day you opened for business, had your first customer and experienced so many other thrilling events may stay in your memories forever.

Because you put so much time and effort into creating a business of which you could be proud, you undoubtedly do not want anything to threaten your company and its success. Of course, any company can face a claim or lawsuit, and you may even have to file a lawsuit of your own. It happens to numerous businesses, so you may want to prepare.

What employers need to know about lie detector tests

Someone has been stealing from your company. Maybe it's the office or break room supplies or maybe something more expensive, like laptops. Perhaps someone has been embezzling money or disclosing trade secrets. Before you call in law enforcement, you'd like to get to the bottom of it yourself. Can you require your employees to submit to a lie detector test (also known as a polygraph test)?

Probably not. In most cases, they're prohibited by federal law -- specifically the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA). Enacted over thirty years ago, the EPPA generally prohibits private employers from requiring or even asking applicants or employees to take these tests. Further, they typically can't ask to see the results of any such test a person has taken or use the results of a test for any disciplinary or discriminatory purpose.

Business formation issues are more common than you think

Starting a business is not an easy feat. If it were, anyone would try his or her hand at it. Of course, you feel passionate about your business idea and feel ready to put in the hard work needed to create a sustainable company. Still, even with your best intentions in mind, you could still fall victim to certain business formation mistakes.

Because starting a business is so complicated, anyone could stumble when just starting out. Unfortunately, some of those mistakes could spell doom for a new business, so you may want to watch out for some of the common errors that prospective entrepreneurs make.

Federal court ruled in favor of Ohio insurer

Businesses often try to stay out of court, as legal actions can often cost a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, legal representation can help lessen these losses if a business does have to defend its interests.

An Ohio-based insurer was vindicated by a federal district court when it ruled on a motion against it regarding a provision of building coverage. The lawsuit regarded damage to a property that the insurance claimed was accidental and therefore exempt under their coverage.

Creating an anti-discrimination policy for your employee handbook

When you started your small business, it may have just been you and perhaps a family member or close friend helping you out. As your business grows, you decide you need to hire employees to take some of the burden off you. This is most likely a good strategy to keep your business viable and growing, but when you take on employees, you also take on certain responsibilities.

Part of your job as an employer is to make sure the work environment is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Even if you start with only one employee, you may want to put together an employee handbook since even one employee receives legal protections under federal and Ohio law.

What's involved in releasing someone from an NDA?

You may require your employees to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) for a host of different reasons. Often, NDAs are used to protect confidential or proprietary information from being shared with anyone outside the company.

However, employees who reach settlements with their employers regarding sexual harassment, as well as discrimination and other offenses, have also been required to sign them in order to receive their money. The NDAs typically prevent either side from discussing the matter publicly. If they're required to handle these allegations through arbitration rather than by filing a lawsuit, an NDA may be the only way they can get any sense of justice.

Pay attention to the fees section of your business lease

Before you finalize any of your business contracts and leases, it is vital to make certain that you understand every word and every term appearing in the document. Failure to understand what you are signing off on can sometimes be detrimental to your operating expenses.

For instance, signing a business lease for a commercial space is not nearly as straightforward as you may think. Often, these documents contain language with which many business owners are unfamiliar. A prime example is the term CAM fees. It stands for common area maintenance fees, but some entrepreneurs have no idea exactly what they are paying for with these fees. Below, we have provided a brief explanation of CAM fees.

Get assistance with the probate process after a loved one's death

When a loved one passes away, there are many things that those who are left behind have to do. Not only are there funeral or memorial plans to make, you also have to deal with the person's estate. This will involve going through the probate process for many people.

Probate is an unfamiliar thing for many people. Some aren't sure exactly what they need to do or how they need to do it. We're here to help anyone who's going through this situation to handle the probate matters, so they can focus on healing and learning to live without their loved one.

Why a comprehensive partnership agreement is essential

If you're going into business with a friend or someone you've known for a long time -- maybe from your college or military days -- you may not be very concerned about your partnership agreement. You both have the same goals for the business, so you assume that you'll work things out as issues come up.

That's a big mistake. Business partnerships, which consist of two or more owners, benefit by having clear, detailed, comprehensive agreements from the start. This means having some serious discussions now about how the business will be run in the hopes that it will minimize conflicts down the road.

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