Latest Articles from Our Blog

Waiver of remedy for a breach of contract

Maryland business owners might be interested to learn about special circumstances when a breach of contract does not require a remedy. In general, a party who was involved in a contract that was breached by another party would be entitled to claim remedies for the material breach. However, the aggrieved party may waive its right to receive remedies in some instances. One way that remedies for a breach of contract are waived is through a mutual agreement by both parties to the contract. After the breach occurs, the party making the breach and the aggrieved party may sign an agreement that assures no claim will arise as a result of the breach. A party may also waive its right to remedies for a breach of contract by failing to inform the other party that a breach occurred within a reasonable period of time. In order for the rights to be…

Enforcement of the ADA in Maryland

Employers in Maryland are required by federal law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law allows employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees who have a disability. Providing reasonable accommodations protects employers against employment litigation while also maintaining the civil rights of anyone with a disability. The law does provide exceptions for undue hardships regarding an employer's legal obligations to provide accommodations. Under the federal employment law, a reasonable accommodation may include a change in the physical work environment or in the way that the workplace usually does things in order for an applicant or employee to function in the workplace. The three levels of reasonable accommodation include modifications to the job application process, modifications to the work environment and provision of equal benefits and privileges as employees without disabilities. Examples of what a reasonable accommodation could include are modification of work schedules and enhancing facilities access,…

Registering a trademark for a new business

Many entrepreneurs involved in a business start-up may pride themselves on attending to the myriad details of running a new venture. One thing that even the most conscientious entrepreneurs might overlook during business formation is the registering of a trademark. Having a registered trademark can help a start-up business increase its profile, gain clients or customers and prevent competitors from unfairly taking business away from a start-up company. A trademark can be anything that members of the public associate with a specific business entity. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has registered trademarks for music, words and phrases, and scents. These trademarks are used on packaging, letterhead and other communication and advertising. The USPTO receives hundreds of thousands of trademark filings each year and registers less than two-thirds of these filings. They may decide not to register a trademark for a new business for several reasons. A trademark may not…

Pros and cons of buying an existing business

Purchasing an existing business is an option for Maryland residents who would like to become business owners. Before going ahead with the purchase of an existing business, however, it is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing an established venture. Although there are many advantages of buying a business that has already gone through its startup phase, the disadvantages could give some potential buyers pause for thought. The obvious advantage of purchasing an existing business is the fact that startup costs will be significantly reduced. An existing business may already have inventory, a trained staff and a loyal customer base. If the business is profitable, the new business owner might also gain immediate access to cash flow that can be used for any improvements they would like to make to the business. In some cases, a downside of purchasing an existing business is the high cost. A business…

Rising use of non-compete contracts sparks controversy

Well drafted employment contracts are critical for many employers in the Columbia area. Successful companies often recognize that because employment is at-will under Maryland law, it is important to draw some contractual parameters. At-will employment means that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate employment at any time for any reason that does not violate the law. In many industries, non-compete contracts are a key element of employment contracts. Non-compete clauses are often used to keep a salesperson from leaving the company to work for a competitor, taking along clients and leads. Non-competes are also common in the technology industry where they are used to restrict employee movement in order to insulate companies from the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property. In recent years, however, non-competes have spread into other roles and industries. The New York Times reported about this issue, calling attention to a…

Maryland business owners should protect assets during divorce

The end of a marriage is a challenging time for most Maryland couples. A lot of issues typically need to be addressed, from child support to property division. If one spouse owns a business and fails to plan ahead, those assets may also end up being split, jeopardizing the future of the company and the spouse's income. Taking preventive measures to protect the business may go a long way to minimize the potential impact of divorce. Before the wedding, a business owner can take steps to divorce-proof his or her company. This can be done through a prenuptial agreement that lists the business as individual property, exempt from the division of marital assets upon divorce. If it is too late for a prenup, a postnuptial agreement can accomplish the same goal. If there is no pre- or postnuptial agreement, there are still steps that a business owner can take after…

Will improved Maryland economy affect the divorce rate?

As the economy improves, marriage declines, according to a recent study done by a sociologist at the University of Maryland. The study looked at what, if any, effect the economic climate has on marriage in America. It found that a rosier economic future may lead to a higher rate of divorce. About seven years ago, divorce rates dropped as the economy did the same. In the years between 2008 and 2011 alone, the divorce rate dropped by 4 percent. Some people took this to mean that married couples had pulled together and become closer when met with economic difficulty. They called it the silver lining in an otherwise negative situation. Researchers now think that assumption may have been a false view of what was happening. They say, in reality, many people just could not afford the cost of ending their marriages. The numbers represented economics more than it did renewed…

Divorce in Maryland and elsewhere can prompt PTSD symptoms

Ending a marriage is a stressful, difficult time, whether a person is going through it in Maryland or any other state. People who've endured a particularly contentious divorce say it changes a person in many ways. One recently divorced woman says she now has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition some experts say is more common after divorce than they originally believed it to be. The woman says she feels as if her divorce and the events surrounding it put her in a war zone. She claims her ex-husband allegedly did everything he could to draw out the legal process. She says he subjected her and their children to emotional abuse and made it difficult to function on a daily basis. She is currently undergoing treatment for PTSD and hopes to be fully recovered in the near future. Studies show that a person who undergoes an event that is traumatic…

Valuation and division of business assets difficult in divorce

For Maryland business owners, the end of a marriage can bring significant damage to the structure of a business. Some savvy entrepreneurs will have drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that address the manner in which the valuation and division of business assets should take place in the event of a divorce. However, many business owners did not foresee the end of their marriage, and did not envision a scenario in which they could lose a portion of what they worked so hard to build. Absent a marital contract, business assets are subject to the same process of division as any other form of marital assets. This means that both spouses will share in the divided value of the business, regardless of how much or how little either party contributed to the success of the venture. The first step of that process is placing a monetary value on the business. In…

Division of marital assets in Maryland: Who gets to keep the dog?

Deciding which spouse will gain ownership of the family pet during a divorce can be one of the most difficult aspects of the process. Especially when both spouses are particularly fond of the animal, it could be next to impossible for them to come to some kind of an agreement on pet ownership during the division of marital assets. As divorce rates have risen in recent years, it seems that the issue of pet ownership is becoming even more important in marital separations that occur in Maryland and other states. In one case, a miniature dachshund was a gift, given to one spouse by the other. The present was to be seen as a consolation because that spouse was forced to give up her cat so that the couple could live together. Now, the spouse who received the dog says it has become her soul mate and the ultimate love…