Strict Liability for Operators of Places of Public Accommodation Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination
In a landmark decision (01/31/2019), the Washington State Supreme Court held that employers are strictly liable under the Washington Law Against Discrimination for their employee's discriminatory conduct towards a customer in a place of public accommodation.
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How we let this happen is another story, but we all "do business" with the major consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In this crazy world of identity theft and hacking of companies that hold our confidential consumer financial information, a good and free step to protect against identify theft is to freeze your credit report with all of the major consumer credit scoring companies. I recommend that everyone do this today.
The links are below:
Do this now.
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Judge Weinstein of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York has described the four general types of online contracts. These are: (1) Browsewrap; (2) Clickwrap; (3) Scrollwrap; and (4) Sign-in-wrap agreements. Berkson v. Gogo LLC, 97 F. Supp. 3d 359, 394-402 (E.D.N.Y. 2015). Briefly summarized:
Clickwrap agreements "necessitate an active role by the user of a website. Courts, in general, find them enforceable. Drew, 259 F.R.D. at 462 n.22. "Clickwrap agreements require a user to affirmatively click a box on the website acknowledging awareness of and agreement to the terms of service before he or she is allowed to proceed with further utilization of the website." Id. By requiring a physical manifestation of assent, a user is said to be put on inquiry notice of the terms assented to."
Scrollwrap agreements requires users to physically scroll through an internet agreement and click on a separate "I agree" button in order to assent to the terms and conditions of the host website.
Sign-in-wrap agreements couples assent to the terms of a website with signing up for use of the site's services.
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The following list are some of the rules courts apply when construing statutes in legal disputes, with citations for my law student and legal professional readers.
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mMost business owners and executives are at a real disadvantage when it comes to selecting a law firm. They know many of the large law firm players and have reason to trust the skills and reputations of these big firm lawyers. However, they also know that part and parcel with the big law firm lawyer, is high prices to support the big law firm overhead.
How do you know if you might be over-paying for legal services?
I could add to this list, but you get the point.
Part of what you pay for when you hire a lawyer, is the lawyer's law firm overhead, and to be honest, most lawyers do not need that much overhead to deliver high quality legal work.
Most businesses would be better served by working with experienced attorneys who work at smaller, lower overhead, law firms form some if not all of their legal work.
Yes, like mine.
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Florida Statute Sec. 69.081 - Sunshine in litigation; concealment of public hazards prohibited.
(1) This section may be cited as the “Sunshine in Litigation Act.”
(2) As used in this section, “public hazard” means an instrumentality, including but not limited to any device, instrument, person, procedure, product, or a condition of a device, instrument, person, procedure or product, that has caused and is likely to cause injury.
(3) Except pursuant to this section, no court shall enter an order or judgment which has the purpose or effect of concealing a public hazard or any information concerning a public hazard, nor shall the court enter an order or judgment which has the purpose or effect of concealing any information which may be useful to members of the public in protecting themselves from injury which may result from the public hazard.
(4) Any portion of an agreement or contract which has the purpose or effect of concealing a public hazard, any information concerning a public hazard, or any information which may be useful to members of the public in protecting themselves from injury which may result from the public hazard, is void, contrary to public policy, and may not be enforced.
(5) Trade secrets as defined in s. 688.002 which are not pertinent to public hazards shall be protected pursuant to chapter 688.
(6) Any substantially affected person, including but not limited to representatives of news media, has standing to contest an order, judgment, agreement, or contract that violates this section. A person may contest an order, judgment, agreement, or contract that violates this section by motion in the court that entered the order or judgment, or by bringing a declaratory judgment action pursuant to chapter 86.
(7) Upon motion and good cause shown by a party attempting to prevent disclosure of information or materials which have not previously been disclosed, including but not limited to alleged trade secrets, the court shall examine the disputed information or materials in camera. If the court finds that the information or materials or portions thereof consist of information concerning a public hazard or information which may be useful to members of the public in protecting themselves from injury which may result from a public hazard, the court shall allow disclosure of the information or materials. If allowing disclosure, the court shall allow disclosure of only that portion of the information or materials necessary or useful to the public regarding the public hazard.
(8)(a) Any portion of an agreement or contract which has the purpose or effect of concealing information relating to the settlement or resolution of any claim or action against the state, its agencies, or subdivisions or against any municipality or constitutionally created body or commission is void, contrary to public policy, and may not be enforced. Any person has standing to contest an order, judgment, agreement, or contract that violates this section. A person may contest an order, judgment, agreement, or contract that violates this subsection by motion in the court that entered such order or judgment, or by bringing a declaratory judgment action pursuant to chapter 86.
(b) Any person having custody of any document, record, contract, or agreement relating to any settlement as set forth in this section shall maintain said public records in compliance with chapter 119.
(c) Failure of any custodian to disclose and provide any document, record, contract, or agreement as set forth in this section shall be subject to the sanctions as set forth in chapter 119.
This subsection does not apply to trade secrets protected pursuant to chapter 688, proprietary confidential business information, or other information that is confidential under state or federal law.
(9) A governmental entity, except a municipality or county, that settles a claim in tort which requires the expenditure of public funds in excess of $5,000, shall provide notice, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 50, of such settlement, in the county in which the claim arose, within 60 days of entering into such settlement; provided that no notice
Owners of federally registered trademarks own the exclusive right to use their mark for the classes of goods and services in the United States. So, let's say you own a federally registered trademark for the Class 25, which is for clothing, footwear or headgear, and someone approaches you with an offer to license your trademark to them.
First, a bit of terminology. The owner of a trademark who grants to another party the right to use its mark is called a "licensor". The party who is granted the right to use the trademark is called a "licensee." I try to avoid hard to understand legal words when possible, so I don't like to use the word "licensee", i prefer "License Holder", or I will just use the party's name.
When drafting a contract for a trademark own to grant to a prospective, License Holder, here are a few contractual considerations to work through.
Will the trademark owner give the License Holder exclusive or non-exclusive right to use the trademark. Exclusive mean only the License Holder can use the trademark, not even the trademark owner. Non-exclusive means the License Holder and others can use the mark. Generally speaking, a prospective License Holder should pay more for the exclusive right to use the mark compared to the non-exclusive right to use the mark.
Geographical limitations are also a potential consideration. The trademark owner may want to license the right to use the mark in the Pacific Northwest; and again, we still have the exclusive and exclusive issue to work through in this agreement.
Trade channels are another consideration. The license grant could be limited to online sales, for instance, or to certain retail stores.
The actual goods that the License Holder can use the trademark on is a potential consideration. For example, our Class 25 trademark owner could grant the License Holder to use the trademark only on headgear, and not other clothing or footwear.
Royalties are also an important consideration. Royalties are "mailbox money" that can flow from a passive income stream that a trademark license could bring base on a percent of the License Holders's sales of goods that display the trademark owner's trademark. Of course, trust but verify; the trademark owner will want to have the right to audit the License Holder's sales to verify the accuracy of the royalty--mailbox money--payments.
While this list is not exhaustive, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the trademark owner will also need to have detailed rules about how the License Holder can use the trademark to make sure the use of the mark is proper and to avoid losing the mark for failing to police its use.
These are just some of the considerations to work through. Most people will need an experienced intellectual property attorney for a contract such as this, so consult your friendly IP attorney if this opportunity comes your way.
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9-13.420 - Searches of Premises of Subject Attorneys
NOTE: For purposes of this policy only, "subject" includes an attorney who is a "suspect, subject or target," or an attorney who is related by blood or marriage to a suspect, or who is believed to be in possession of contraband or the fruits or instrumentalities of a crime. This policy also applies to searches of business organizations where such searches involve materials in the possession of individuals serving in the capacity of legal advisor to the organization. Search warrants for "documentary materials" held by an attorney who is a "disinterested third party" (that is, any attorney who is not a subject) are governed by 28 C.F.R. 59.4 and USAM 9-19.221 et seq. See also 42 U.S.C. Section 2000aa-11(a)(3).
There are occasions when effective law enforcement may require the issuance of a search warrant for the premises of an attorney who is a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients. Because of the potential effects of this type of search on legitimate attorney-client relationships and because of the possibility that, during such a search, the government may encounter material protected by a legitimate claim of privilege, it is important that close control be exercised over this type of search. Therefore, the following guidelines should be followed with respect to such searches:
Why We Ask Non-Owner Spouses to Consent to Shareholder Agreements and LLC Member Operating Agreements
Washington is a community property state, which means the spouse of a business owner holds a 50% ownership interest in his or her spouse’s business as part of the married couple’s community estate. In cases of divorce, this means that the non-owner spouse could be awarded 50% of his or her spouse’s interest (stock) in the business as part of a property settlement. In the case of death, most of the time it means the non-owner spouse will obtain 100% of the deceased spouse ownership interest (stock) in the business.
Companies your size typically require the owners to actually work in the business for the company to function. The owners have full-time jobs in their business.
So this comes into play in divorce, disability or death situations.
As harsh as this may sound, most business owners do not want to be in business with a non-owner spouse of their partner. The non-owner spouse often knows very little about the business and cannot participate as a true owner. Plus, the non-owner spouse often has his or her own career that they prefer over being a business owner.
So, in a Shareholder Agreement, we often adds language that says:
In the case of divorce, the divorcing spouse will pay cash to his or her spouse in the property settlement (as opposed to the spouse being given actual stock in the corporation in the property settlement).
In the case of death, the remaining business owners will buyout the surviving spouse. Life insurance is often used to fund this.
In the case of permanent disability, the remaining owners will buy-out their disabled partner because they need to get someone in to fill the shoes of the disabled owner. Disability insurance can be used to fund this, but it’s expensive.
We ask the non-owner spouses to sign off that they understand and agree to all of this.
Contact Mark D. Walters