Boston Business & Commercial Law Blog
We Can Help You. Call: 617.830.2713
Medicine is created to cure illnesses as well as alleviate pain and suffering. Prescription painkillers are important tools for doctors who are looking to help their patients deal with pain from injuries or sickness. On the other hand, some of these painkillers can become addictive in certain instances of abuse. However, that does not necessarily mean that certain painkillers should be banned, which is what one drug maker is arguing in a recent business litigation case in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts governor had recently signed an order banning Zohydro, which is a new painkilling prescription drug. The order banned local medical doctors from prescribing as well as dispensing Zohydro. The governor ordered the ban due to fears related to the state's recent dramatic increases in addiction to heroin and opioids. Officials have warned that the controversial new drug could make the epidemic worse.
Diamonds are often a girl's best friend, according to that old saying. However, diamonds can also be the source of a lawsuit in some cases. This is what one diamond company based in Boston found out recently in a contract dispute with a buyer. The Massachusetts diamond company, Hearts on Fire, had recently filed a lawsuit against the diamond buyer.
The initial lawsuit was filed against CIRCA, a jewelry buyer from out-of-state. The two companies had signed a contract calling for the diamond company to sell CIRCA excess merchandise. In exchange for selling the excess merchandise, CIRCA promised to provide advertisement placements for Hearts on Fire. The lawsuit is alleging breach of contract by the defendant company.
When executives leave a Massachusetts company to work for a competitor, it is not unusual to make sure that no confidential and proprietary information regarding the inner workings of the company are taken. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation to be sure this is not the case. Recently, a man claims he was a victim of wrongful termination of employment with Amazon over this issue.
Netflix's former Director of Content Acquisition was more than happy to accept a new position with Amazon when the opportunity arose. However, when he left, Netflix had reservations about whether the man took confidential information with him. Netflix demanded access to the man's personal computer and email to determine whether he disclosed or somehow used confidential information acquired during his time at Netflix to benefit Amazon. At first he refused, but Amazon convinced him to turn the information over to Netflix.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently released a report indicating that discrimination and harassment claims have dropped in Massachusetts. The instance of these employment matters decreased from 426 claims in 2012 to 400 in 2013. This represents a 6 percent decline statewide.
The report goes on to say that educating everyone in an organization from upper management, to managers and supervisors and to rank and file employees plays a large role in the prevention and handling of such claims. First, of course, an employer must have a comprehensive policy outlining what conduct is inappropriate and how it will be dealt with should it occur. Many employees are simply not aware of what to do if they believe they are being harassed or discriminated against.
Legal contracts are the basis of just about any business agreement, whether the agreement is between a company and a consumer or between two businesses. This is definitely true when a mortgage company decides to loan money to a consumer to purchase a home. In this type of transaction, there is a legal contract formed between the two parties in which the consumer promises to repay the loan according to an agreed-upon payment schedule. However, if the consumer fails to meet his or her legal obligation, it could result in a breach of contract in Massachusetts or any other state.
A mortgage company has filed a lawsuit against the couple, alleging that the defendants failed to fulfill their legal obligation to repay funds loaned to them for purposes of purchasing their home. The mortgage contract was entered into in early July 1998, according to the plaintiff's legal filings. The plaintiff claims that the couple still owes over $5,000 and has failed to make payments on the debt as of mid-Dec.
Usually in the free market, businesses and other entities are allowed to work with the companies they choose with minimal regulation. However, there are still some instances when significant regulations do exist. One situation may include a city government agency making decisions on which contractors to use to implement services to the public. Recently, a decision regarding choosing a contractor to provide railway services has resulted in a business litigation lawsuit in Boston.
The dispute arose after the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) awarded a new contract for operating the commuter railway system in Boston to Keolis Commuter Services for $2.68 billion. In doing so, the MBTA passed up a bid from Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR), which had been contracted since July 2003 to operate the railway system. The MBCR responded by filing a legal injunction against MBTA.
Lawsuits against companies can come in various forms. When an alleged wrongdoing purportedly affects an entire group of people, a business litigation lawsuit may be granted class-action status in Massachusetts or in any other state. This seems to be what may be happening with a recent legal dispute involving the web company Google.
The lawsuit against the web company is asking the court to grant class-action status to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are alleging that Google had improperly mined email data from users of the web company's Gmail service. If the plaintiffs are granted class-action status, it could include more than 400 million users of the web company's Gmail and Google Apps services. On the other hand, the judge in the case has expressed skepticism regarding the likelihood that the plaintiffs will be able to prove their case to move forward as a class action.
People often don't like to be mimicked, as they enjoy feeling original. The same goes for companies, which need to stand out not just for the sake of being unique but also for the sake of their bottom lines. This is why trademark infringement, or the violation of a company's right to exclusively use a certain mark, can be so detrimental to a business in Massachusetts. The popular shoe company Nike is involved in business litigation stemming from this very issue.
In this out-of-state case, Nike has sued the company DBV Distribution Inc., as well as Dragon Bleu, claiming that they have been utilizing a trademark that Nike registered first. Nike claimed it has been promoting its "Venom" mark for years, having registered it in 2005. However, Dragon Bleu registered a similar trademark, "Venum," just three years later.
Businesses need to be careful when working with employees, since there are many laws which regulate how an employer is allowed to deal with workers in various situations. For example, in Massachusetts and other states, there are rules and regulations regarding under what conditions and reasons an employer is allowed to fire a worker. This can lead to some confusion regarding the relevant laws and how to apply them, which may have been what happened in a recent wrongful termination of employment lawsuit filed against political activist James O'Keefe.
O'Keefe came into the spotlight for his organization's undercover sting operations aimed at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Project Veritas, O'Keefe's organization, secretly videotaped himself and his accomplice pretending to be a pimp with his prostitute in order to show that ACORN supported prostitution as well as tax evasion. This led to a lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy, which O'Keefe eventually settled for $100,000.
Following the settlement by Assurant Inc. and J.P. Morgan for $300 million over allegations of deceitful mortgage lending practices, many firms in the financial industry have become worried about their own potential for legal liabilities. The high-profile case, which was settled last year, demonstrates how financial companies need to be wary of compliance with rules and regulations in Massachusetts or in any other state. One banking firm found this out recently after facing business litigation over its own insurance practices.
The banking firm, Citigroup, had recently been sued in federal court for allegedly forcing home owners to pay for additional property insurance coverage. The coverage was aimed at protecting the bank's interest in residential real estate in the case of a lapse in the homeowner's property insurance. Apparently, the mortgage contracts issued by Citigroup allowed the bank to force-place the property insurance.