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Legal Considerations for Debt Collection, Explained

You work hard, provide a service, and take pride in what you do. Not only is it frustrating when your invoices go unpaid, it puts your company at risk. As a business owner, there are steps that you can take to maximize the likelihood you’ll be paid in a timely manner and to collect payment from delinquent clients. Rebekah Lusk and her associates are well versed in Maryland law regarding collection of debts. If you are a business owner or landlord who needs help collecting a debt or assistance drafting a payment contract for prospective clients, call Lusk Law, LLC. Understanding Debt Collection Law While you may feel victimized and angry about a client or tenant who refuses to pay you what you’re owed, you have to be careful about how you attempt to collect a debt. Consumers in Maryland are protected by federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices…

What is the MD Consumer Protection Act – And How Does it Affect You?

If you live in Maryland and have been the victim of an unscrupulous landlord, service provider, or seller of consumer goods, you have a powerful tool to help you fight back and win restitution: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Created in 1973 to protect citizens against unfair and deceptive business practices and “restore an undermined public confidence in merchants,” the legislation is designed to “set minimum statewide standards for the protection of consumers” with the recognition that existing laws were “inadequate, poorly coordinated and not widely known or adequately enforced.” More specifically, the CPA strives to offer “strong protective and preventive steps to investigate unlawful consumer practices, to assist the public in obtaining relief from these practices, and to prevent these practices from occurring in Maryland.” Realizing you’ve been duped or scammed is frustrating, embarrassing, and can cost you money that you can’t afford to lose. Call the skilled…

Minimum Standards of Care for Animals

Domestic animals are completely dependent on their human caretakers for food, shelter, medical care, and their overall health and happiness. If they are being abused or neglected, they can’t speak up, and they don’t have recourse to improve their quality of life. We understand that as the proprietor of an animal-based enterprise, you face the same challenges as any small business, and then some. Whether you’re a farmer, veterinarian, dog walker, trainer, groomer, or pet boarder, you have to juggle the needs of customers, employees, and the animals in your care — all while watching your bottom line. The well-being of your charges is paramount. In Maryland criminal code 10-604, the state defines the minimum standard of care that every animal is entitled to receive. Attorney Rebekah Lusk not only knows animal and equine law inside and out, she runs a horse farm and boarding facility herself, giving her valuable…

5 Steps Businesses Should Take to Reduce the Threat of a Lawsuit

It’s an unpleasant part of doing business, but it’s an increasingly common one: If you’re a business owner, you may very well find yourself facing a lawsuit. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of small-business owners in the U.S. have been threatened with or involved with a civil lawsuit. And as luck would have it, the U.S. legal system is the world’s most costly. A report by the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy found that the cost of litigation for small firms can range up to $130,000. That’s a big bill for a small business trying to make ends meet. As a business owner, you might be sued by one of your customers, accusing you of providing faulty goods or services or claiming to have been injured on your property. You might also be sued by employees claiming, for example, discrimination or other breaches of HR policy. Prepare Now to…

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall Liability

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall LiabilityAs a small-business owner, you likely don’t have the deep pockets of a large corporation. If sued, you can’t pay out a hefty settlement and then just move on. One costly lawsuit may have the power to break you and your company. The good news is that Maryland is one of the few states that applies a principle called “contributory negligence” to personal injury claims. As opposed to the “comparative negligence” rule that most states follow, contributory negligence is more favorable to defendants. Basically, it means that in order to win compensation, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is entirely responsible for the incident that led to injury. In comparative negligence states, the party being sued may be on the hook for some damages even if the plaintiff is found to be partly responsible for the accident. That said, it’s in your and your customers’ best interests to make…

Buying a Business? Consider Getting an Attorney’s Help

Business litigation attorneyIt’s part of the DNA of any business: a desire to expand and take on new challenges. One time-honored way for a business to do that is to simply acquire another business. Or, rather, it may seem simple – but as with many transactions in the business world, there are complexities beneath the surface, and a smart business owner will not tread those waters alone. Know the Different Types of Business Purchases When structuring the sale and purchase of a business, there are two options: an asset purchase or a stock purchase. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and to make the right choice, you need to understand the implications of each type, including what is actually included in the sale under each structure and the tax implications of both. In an asset purchase, the buyer agrees to purchase certain assets from the seller, including things such as fixtures, equipment, licenses,…

An Introduction to the Discovery Process in District and Circuit Courts

business law and landlord/tenant lawIn a court of law, the facts of a case are weighed, then a decision regarding them is made based on applicable laws. Discovery is a step in the legal process that ensures that all of the evidence each party will use at trial, is shared with the other side, so both parties can fully prepare for trial with all relevant information. The general process is the same in both district and circuit court. However, the scope and depth of the inquiry, as well as the timeline for the discovery process, differs between the two. Knowing what to expect as you head through the legal process can help set your mind at ease and help assure the best outcome at every stage. Discovery in District Court Maryland's District Court is where all civil cases for claims under $5,000 are heard. For claims that are between $5,000 and $30,000, District Court shares jurisdiction…

Why Is a Business Succession Plan So Important?

Business Succession planning attorneysFor many entrepreneurs, the present day is challenging enough. Starting and managing the day-to-day affairs of a business is a massive effort that can leave even the cleverest owners with little energy left to think about tomorrow. But every small business, sooner or later, will face the reality that its leader won’t be around forever. Planning for what happens after a founder moves on can mean the difference between success or failure for the business. The Second Generation—and Beyond The statistics are inarguable: Family businesses are an enormous part of the American economic landscape. Research has shown that family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country’s employment, and account for 78 percent of all new job creation. But research has also shown that less than one-third of family businesses survive the transition from first- to second-generation ownership. Another 50 percent don’t survive the transition from…

How the Shutdown Impacted Small Businesses

Impact of the Government ShutdownAlthough Congress and the President appear to have reached an agreement to fund the government for a brief period while they work on other issues, a great deal of damage has already been inflicted. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees went without pay or without work for over a month, and many key agencies slowed or stopped their activities altogether. The ripple effects of the shutdown spread throughout the economy in ways both large and small. One key group impacted by the shutdown is small businesses which rely on smooth government operations so they can continue to run. Here are some of the ways the shutdown impacted these companies: Support Businesses: Small businesses often spring up in areas where large numbers of federal workers will utilize their services, especially in Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, DC, areas. Everything from diners/restaurants and coffee shops to office supply stores and delivery services lost…

What is the Impact of Low Unemployment on Small Business Owners?

Low unemployment numbers are great for the economy, but not always for small business owners. In late 2018, unemployment numbers in the United States dropped to 3.7 percent. According to a report from NPR, this was the lowest point in nearly 50 years. This means more Americans are working abd putting more money into the local economies. This is beneficial to business owners, because more money in the local economy means customers and clients have more to spend with businesses. But for small business owners considering making a hire, this lower unemployment number also means that the pool of available employees is shrinking. Here is what today’s business owners need to understand about the mixed blessing of low unemployment. Many Small Businesses Concerned About Filling Available Positions A strong economy means growth for small businesses, and with growth comes a need to hire additional employees. In a recent survey, 29 percent of…