Monthly Archives: May 2016

Minnesota’s amended architectural barrier law

By | business | No Comments

Minnesota’s Human Rights Act (Minnesota Statutes 363A) duplicates and often expands rights protected under federal laws. One provision that has garnered attention recently is 363A.11 – public accommodations. This provision parallels federal protections found in the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically addressing architectural barriers that prevent persons with disabilities equal access to public accommodations.

Under the ADA, a person excluded from a business due to an architectural barrier can bring a lawsuit seeking an injunction – an order that the business remove the barrier. While the plaintiff could recover attorneys’ fees, damages are not available under the federal ADA. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, though, a plaintiff may recover damages.

Although these laws have been in place for more than a quarter century, they’ve come under scrutiny recently because a group used the state law as means to leverage monetary settlements from businesses without actually requiring the businesses they sued (or threatened to sue) to remove the architectural barriers. This had the unique effect of uniting business groups and disability advocates. Read More

The corporate shield and its limits

By | business | No Comments

Owning and operating a business is full of risks, and one important job of a business owner is to limit those risks. Some small businesses are sole proprietorships or are individuals operating under an assumed name. Doing so may provide your business some branding benefits, but it does not protect you. Under these circumstances, the company’s debts and liabilities are your debts and liabilities. If a creditor brings a lawsuit against your business, the lawsuit is against you personally and all your personal assets are potentially in jeopardy.

It is very simple to limit this risk. Read More

trademark

Multi-Time Machine, Inc. v. Amazon.com

By | Copyright & Trademark | No Comments

It often seems like Amazon.com sells just about everything. But sometimes it doesn’t have the one thing you’re looking for. Instead, when you search for that one special thing, Amazon shows you a list of similar items it does sell. Maybe you decide to buy one of those instead (ordering from Amazon being so convenient), or maybe you look elsewhere (because you really wanted that one special item).

A company that sells one of those products you won’t find on Amazon didn’t like the fact that Amazon searches pulled up a list of competing products, and so it sued for trademark infringement. It lost. Then it kind of won. And then it lost again. Read More