Monday, March 31, 2008

Deceptions in Accounting and Disclosures

Lately, many business companies have been plagued by controversies surrounding phony accounting, misrepresentation of company financial status, and other misleading information. These deceitful acts are often made to cover up for losses or to give false impressions of a company’s real score.

In the article, “Overstock.Com and Patrick Byrne: Phony Accounting and False and Misleading Disclosures”, posted in February 4, 2008, one of the fraudulent acts in business was enumerated and identified.

According to the article, declaring an increase in sales without proper documentation is one of the most deceitful acts in securities fraud. In most cases, companies who try to project themselves as a growing business often inflate and exaggerate the statistical information.

The article, which is actually a reply to a prior message of another business executive, has accused the company of giving a false statement on its growth by using misleading information on its sales record. The writer of the article said the false disclosure was made by using the shipping record of deliveries instead of the actual sales.

Why do companies do these?

Some companies do these to attract buyers and prospective investors. In order to avoid being defrauded, here are some important pointers to remember when investing:

  • Select a broker or investment advisor who understands your financial objectives. Interview several people to compare experience, education and professional background.

  • Get written financial information such as a prospectus or an annual report before making an investment in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

  • Understand how the broker is compensated and what fees you will pay to purchase and sell securities and to maintain the account.

  • Be wary of promises of quick profits, offers to share inside information, and pressure to invest before you have an opportunity to investigate.

  • Talk with the firm's manager if you have a problem with your broker or your account.

  • Contact the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers, or your state securities regulator if you cannot resolve the problem.

There are expert lawyers who can help you with many corporate issues such as securities fraud. Consulting with an expert corporate lawyer is definitely a good start.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Proof of Claim in Case of Car Accident Injury

After sustaining an injury, the next step that should be done is to file a claim for such injury against the offending party. But filing a claim is not easy as it may seem. Of course, you can’t just file your claim then state an amount then expect for the other party to pay exactly said amount. In fact, the offending party and its insurance company will give you all reasons to defeat your claim. Insurance companies even play hard ball in minor crash injury claims

The question is how much would your claim will be? Well, the best way to determine how much your injury claim is worth when you are injured in a car accident is to observe at how an insurance company would assess your claim. An insurance company will first look to the types and amounts of damages sustained and then to percentage of fault.

In determining the worth of your claim, it is inevitable to deal with the following topics: handling the accident scene and compensation for vehicle damage.

How you gather and preserve the evidence at the scene of the accident will affect how much claim you are entitled to get. Moreover your acts before, during and after the accident will more or less determine the costs of your claim. This includes caring for the car that was destroyed in the accident.

Is it strange that you still have to take these steps to make good your claim? Isn’t the injury enough proof of claim already?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Limitations of Trust in Confidentiality Agreement

I consider information to be the man’s greatest tool of the modern age. The future of modern society always nearly depends on the right use of resources and information that can either contribute to society’s development or downfall.

Just by reading the article, “Misuse of Information in Confidentiality Agreements”, posted in January 30, 2008, one can actually see the danger posed by some people when information is misused.

The article discusses two cases involving breaches in confidentiality agreements. One of the cases involves the sharing of information between a company and a prospective investor. Because the transaction between the two would require sharing of information from electronic documents in a secured website, the two entities agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The agreement required the following actions from the investor:

  • maintain confidentiality of certain information confidential

  • return or destroy it at an agreed time

  • Refrain from using the sensitive material for any purpose other than evaluating the potential transaction.

According to the article, no transaction ever materialized between the two but one of the investors who gained access to the company’s vital information proceeded to conduct business, competing with the company in the same line of services.

As a result, the company sued the investor for breach and was later ordered by the court to pay $ 80 million for damages covering the amount of lost revenues and costs suffered by Hawaiian

The court decision in the said case is highly important in private equity deals because of the type of information covered by the confidentiality agreement.

According to the article, the information were vital to the company hence the damage was gross. Among the information in the agreement contained the following:

· Projections of future operational and financial performance of the business

· A list of contracts with third parties, identifying the other party to the contract and listing the starting and ending dates of each contract

· Customer profile

· Details about expansion plans, marketing strategy and pricing policies

· Details about credit card relationships

The court decision in this case underscores the importance of honoring the provisions of agreements we sign. It also highlights the need for close scrutiny when entering into confidentiality agreements. It also shows the potential for confidentiality agreements to be the subject of litigation.

In this respect, I think it is often a necessary first step in business transactions to evaluate documents we sign and think about the consequences of our future actions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Planning is Vital in Corporation Establishment

Certainly, every businessperson’s objective in staring a business is to generate good income from his operations. However, because of imprudent planning and lack of sufficient studies on the proper way of corporation establishment, many companies fail to prosper.

Generally, creating a good business plan is the key to having a successful business. A careful determination on which business matters to give emphasis can lessen the possibility of facing operational problems, especially those that involve business legalities.

In an article entitled, “Starting a Business--Seven Deadly Sins”, the author discussed the things that businesspersons should consider before establishing his company. Although he favored brainstorming sessions as an effective business tool, he also stressed out the “importance of having a proper plan in avoiding potentially fatal problems in the future”.

To come up with an excellent plan, you must try to discuss all these issues:

  • The manner of generating income for the business
  • The potential expenses involved in the operations
  • Your company’s probable competitors and how does it differ from the m
  • Your company’s operational procedures

In discussing your business plan, you might as well find out other things that you must furnish or resolve before continuing. In addition, this draft will serve as your guide on what is really your goal for your company.

On the other hand, some aspects of corporation establishment and proper planning require adequate knowledge about the laws and procedures related in running a business. Therefore, you might need the advice and assistance of a credible corporate attorney be make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Aside from that, an attorney who has a wide range of knowledge and expertise on corporation establishment can help in accomplishing the requirements before you may start your business. With his advice and assistance, you will be able to understand other legal matters involved in your particular business.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Waiver Request Process in Overpayment Claims

Most claimants receive notices for overpayment claims. However, some claimants simply ignore them without knowing that this could lead to having their checks completely cut off.

Why do overpayment claims happen?

Overpayment claims are often caused by errors in computation and entitlement issues. This happens mostly to claimants who are already receiving disability benefits but decides to continue working to augment his income.

Social Security Disability Overpayment”, an article posted in September 2006, provides information on what to do when one receives a notice of overpayment claim.

As often as it would be necessary, a claimant should always contact the social security office to clear things up, unless, of course he has a lawyer who can easily give an opinion on issues such as overpayment claims.

At any rate, you should visit the local social security office to know the cause of overpayment. If necessary, you must request to have the collections stopped while the problem is still unresolved.

How do you do this? By accomplishing a request for waiver or a reconsideration request.

In preparing the waiver, you will likely need the following requirements:

  • bills records
  • receipts for power, gas, and other utilities
  • estimated clothing and car repair expenses, if necessary.

Submitting a waiver request is the first step in the process. After the request has been sent, a claimant is obliged to attend a personal conference together with the claims representative at the local social security office. In the conference, a claimant is expected to explain his side on the issue and in case he disputes it, he must justify his reasons why the overpayment should not be repaid.

The claims representative often decides whether the request for waiver will be granted or not. If a waiver is denied, an administrative hearing will follow.

During the administrative hearing, a claimant must present his evidence before an Administrative Law Judge. The decision often takes several months to be handed down. If despite all this, the judge turns down your request for waiver, you can present new evidence and seek review by the Appeals Council. The council has to decide only on two things - whether to review your case or not.

The process of request for waiver of overpayment claims takes months or years to be resolved and in this situation, the services of a lawyer is truly important.

Unveiling Sexual Harassment of Men

A government survey revealed that sexual harassment or man in workplaces has increased in numbers.

The hidden world of man sexually harassed by their superiors was unveiled.

The general pattern of the male superior harassing the female subordinate have been considered as the thing of the past.

With the growing number of women having a considerable powerful position in workplaces, it is inevitable that cases of male harassment would rise up.

Sexual harassment generally means as relating to any unwelcome attention of a sexual nature. Also, the term is considered as a form of illegal discrimination and abuse.

Our sexual harassment law was so broad and controversial.

A varying application and coverage have been followed from among the different sectors of society.

In workplaces for instance, sexual harassment may have some application that is not so applicable with the educational sector.

There are however, some similarities from among them, and that is:

  • All has provided a penalty for their commission,
  • Applicable to either sexes; that is, it does not discriminate as to the gender of the victims. Whether you are a male or a female, you could be a victim of sexual harassment, and thus protected under the law.

In workplaces, sexual harassment is prevalent. In most companies or offices, plenty of complaints for sexual harassment have been lodged to the company’s sexual harassment board.

From among of these cases, a good number of it was brought by a male victim.

In the former setting, unlike a female victim, male victims are less likely to complain. Most males don’t bother to complain or file a suit. They just take the thing with themselves, maybe for fear of rejection and male pride.

But under the present condition, a good number of male victims have come out in the open and bravely faced the challenge of filing a case against their harasser.

In our courts, there were several reported cases of a male victim of sexual harassment or discrimination that have been listed in our courts.

Still, a few male victims are hesitant to come out and have not overcome the fear that the event has caused them.

But the hard fact is that cases of male harassment in the workplaces are escalating.

An Unlikely Source of Compensation for a Car Accident Victim

Normally, car accident victims can get compensation for their injuries from the person who causes the accident. In most cases, the victim hires an attorney to determine the liability and prove who is at fault in the incident.

In the article, “Southern California Residents Hit by a Car Can Get Compensation for Injuries from Many Sources, posted in January 25, 2008, the victim’s attorney has found a restaurant as an unlikely source of compensation in the car accident.

According to the article, the victim was served too much alcohol which resulted in the accident. The victim’s attorneys argued that the restaurant did not exercise care by serving their patron alcohol “when they should have known she was already drunk”.

After getting drunk in the restaurant, the patron allegedly got in her car and ran head-on into an oncoming traffic. The accident resulted in the death of an innocent person, a driver running the opposite direction of traffic.

According to reports, the drunk driver was later convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. The restaurant agreed to pay for injuries caused by the drunk driver, who was served too much alcohol. The settlement helped to provide compensation to the family of the dead victim.

With a careful and tenacious attorney, the victim’s family was able to get justice, and restaurants were sent a clear signal about their responsibilities.

Getting injured in a car accident is a truly unfortunate incident. Accidents are not only disruptions to one’s life but they can also be the cause of several injuries that may threaten your life and your future.

However, if you happen to get involved in an accident in Los Angeles, it is good to have an attorney who can help you in this time of need and protect your rights.

There are Los Angeles attorneys who specialize in car accidents. They can help you obtain damages in an accident in case you are injured. Aside from that, these lawyers are knowledgeable in the complex nature of the accident and may represent in the case if a settlement cannot be reached.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lawyers do complicate matters in negotiating severance packages for laid-off employees

Lawyers “do not” complicate matters in negotiating severance packages for laid-off employees.

This is a direct statement that is both true and accurate.

Indeed, employment lawyers help simplify matters and get results when the parties were not able to.

The employment lawyer’s task in the negotiation process was merely to improve the offer of the company executives. This was the highlights of the services of a lawyer in the negotiation table, at all times.

The job on the employment lawyer is to mitigate the effect of the lost of employment. Their goal is to keep the process professional so that both parties can move on with their lives or business in its normal course.

Most employment lawyers indeed applied and used the incremental approach in dealing with laid-off employee’s severance packages. This is of course not a biased move especially in the negotiation process.

This is only a matter of adherence which the employment lawyers advocated.

As understood, in the United States setting, there was no legal requirement for a company to place a severance pay policy. Like many jurisdictions, the United Sates law does not provide a strict government regulation in this matter.

Customarily, provisions for severance packages were outlined in the company’s policy respecting employment.

Whenever, an employee retires or was laid off, the company is bound to honor the provision in their company-made policy and consequently would pay the employee who retired or was laid-off.

Nevertheless, if the company does not provide one in their policy, especially to the laid-off employees they would be left empty pocket upon their exit.

In the latter instance, that is where the employment lawyer would enter into the picture to at least provide those laid-off employees a sort of compensation at the interim period while he/she was economically drain.

Actually, the employment lawyers would help negotiate for a better package. They normally stay at the background of the negotiation and usually coach either party to achieve the best result.

Employment lawyers would help either party comprehend the dynamics of the negotiation. They help identify potent legal and business factors that would motivate the company executives to give a severance pay or if there was an existing severance package, to increase the same.

With this enlightenment, it is not safe to assume that lawyers make things worst, instead they make the battle even.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Issues on Patent Reform Litigation

One of the vital issues which remain unresolved today, pending action of the US Senate, is the controversial patent reform bill. Though an issue with very little publicity, the changes on the bill will expectedly affect how people think and treat intellectual property issues in the future.

Three key areas in the bill have been identified to be changed. They are:

  • Improvement on the quality of patents
  • Litigation reform
  • Adjustment of the US patent law in relation to the laws of its major trading partners

In the article, “Patent reform is again before Washington legislators, as Congress continued to fail to reach a consensus on the legislation in 2007, posted on February 19, 2008, some of the main issues in the reform include the following:

  • First to file versus Original Inventor (Not covered in the article)
  • Stopping patent trolls who profit on damages while contributing/advancing nothing
  • Litigation issues of small entrepreneurs
  • Limiting damage amounts (willful infringement)
  • Making the US code more similar to other countries

Last year, the House of Representatives passed the Patent Reform Act without trouble at all. Yet this time, many people see that the Senate will have a hard time putting all the necessary changes to it without getting the ire of patent holders, the infringers and the small entrepreneurs who support the inventors.

In the issue of litigation alone, the Senate will face a tough time explaining the legal issues behind the reforms they are proposing. Under the proposed law, known as the “Georgia-Pacific factors,” a set of 15 guidelines which most courts now use for determining damages in patent cases, would be reduced to a single concept of ‘apportionment’.

In this way, calculations of damages would be based on an economic analysis to ensure that “a royalty damage award captures only the economic value attributable to the patent’s specific contribution over previous inventions.”

But who is to determine any so-called ‘specific contribution’ of an invention to society? Who is to say an invention has no social contribution because it failed commercially and therefore, has no economic value?