Wells Fargo tower

A bad sign?

By | business | No Comments

From the offices here at Rubric HQ, we can see one of the signs mounted high on the new Wells Fargo towers near the Vikings stadium. Because of an injunction issued by a federal court on June 23, 2016, however, we may not be able to see that sign much longer.
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Minnesota’s Revised Limited Liability Company Act

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We Minnesotans like to be different. Just look at our football stadium, our beer, or our music scene. When Minnesota first created a limited liability company act, it did so in a unique way – most other states modeled LLCs after partnerships, but Minnesota mirrored laws governing corporations. In 2014, Minnesota decided to revise the limited liability company act, making it much closer to the majority rule. But as you may expect, the Revised Limited Liability Company Act retained characteristics unique to Minnesota. Read More

The Uniform Voidable Transfers Act

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When operating a business, minimizing risks is nearly as important as maximizing profits. Creating a legal entity such as a limited liability company or corporation is one simple step to minimize risks. We have written about the corporate shield and the limits to its protection. Even if you maintain the corporate shield, there are circumstances where your business’s creditors may be able to avoid the shield. Read More

Minnesota’s amended architectural barrier law

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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

Insurance Policies are Contracts

Insurance policies are contracts

By | Insurance | No Comments

Insurance policies are contracts.

Though that sounds obvious, it’s worth remembering because the terms of that contract with your insurance company govern whether you get coverage for your loss. And sometimes those terms don’t mean what you (or the insurance company) might think they mean. Read More

Illustration depicting a computer dialog box with a downloading copyrighted material concept.

“If it’s on the internet…”

By | Copyright & Trademark | No Comments

Nearly 2 decades into living with the internet as part of our daily lives, a surprising number of people – and businesses – still seem to think that anything posted on the web is theirs for the taking – to copy, put on their own websites, or incorporate into some other publication.

That’s because most of us have a sort of subconscious conviction that “if it’s on the internet, it’s free.” Read More