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Maumee Ohio Legal Blog

Business litigation and implied contracts

Most people in Ohio are aware that contracts are generally written agreements wherein the parties to the contract agree to some sort of bartered exchange. These contracts most often entail the exchange of money for some sort of goods or services, but these agreements can address a whole host of issues. As simple as contracts may seem, they can be extraordinarily complicated, which gives rise to misinterpretations, bad actors and contract disputes. When a breach of contract has occurred, business ligation may be the next step.

But breach of contract doesn't just pertain to written agreements. This is because an implied contract, which does not exist in written form, may be created between parties. This type of contract most often comes into existence when the actions or circumstances of the parties set expectations that are contractual in nature. One of these contracts can also be created when the past conduct of the parties creates a relationship where goods and services are exchanged.

Ohio firm dedicated to helping resolve eminent domain issues

When the government needs to acquire private land for public use, it may need to exercise its power of eminent domain. Here, the government can seize an individual's property against his or her wishes in exchange for just compensation. The caveat is that the taking must be in furtherance of the public good, and the compensation given to the property owner must be just.

If you're thinking that these terms are a little vague, you're right. This is why they often serve as the subjects of eminent domain litigation in Ohio and across the nation. Many times, what the government considers to be in furtherance of the public good is not in line with the community's view on the matter. Also, the purpose of the taking must often be evaluated in light of the long-term prospects of its use. Additionally, while just compensation is often interpreted as fair market value, the market value of a piece of land can vary significantly depending on the property's uses and how a partial taking can affect the value of the property that isn't being taken.

Litigation, discovery and request for admissions

Previously on this blog we gave a brief overview of the discovery process. This includes obtaining witness and exhibit lists as well as conducting depositions and issues requests for production. The information gathered in this process can help an individual gauge the strength of his or her case and develop a legal strategy that works for him or her. However, to draft a compelling legal argument, an individual has to know how to spin the facts in light of the law to support his or her side of the story. Yet, there is another discovery tool that can streamline the process and make litigation a little easier: the request for admissions.

Requests for admission are demands that the other party either admit or deny certain facts. For example, one party can request that the other admit that he or she ordered a certain amount of goods or engaged in a certain act on a particular date. The answers to these requests should provide a certain amount of clarity and can impact the direction of the case. If the responding party cannot admit or deny the fact at issue, then it must specify why it cannot provide a clear-cut answer.

Is a spendthrift trust right for your estate plan?

One of the biggest reasons to engage in estate planning is to provide for your loved ones. After all, who is in a better position to determine who would benefit most from your money than you? But estate planning isn't about handing over a check to your spouse or your children. Instead, the process allows you to retain control over your assets so that they can be utilized on your terms. This control is powerful in a number of ways, but it is most readily apparent when leaving assets to an individual who may be at risk of quickly depleting those assets.

By utilizing a spendthrift trust, you can limit your estate's exposure to an individual who is susceptible to over-spending and poor financial management. Through a spendthrift trust, a specified amount is paid out to a beneficiary at certain intervals. This ensures that a beneficiary receives consistent payments that provide financial stability while at the same time protecting the integrity of the trust's assets for years to come.

Can you fight against the government taking your land?

You received a letter in the mail that the government wants to purchase a portion of your property. Presently, you have your lawn landscaped nicely, and the portion they want would devalue your property in Ohio and ruin the work you'd put in.

You want to avoid them taking the land, but you're not sure if you have the right. What should you do?

Eminent domain: What is just compensation?

The U.S. Constitution allows for the governmental taking of private property for public use, but only after "just compensation" is paid. This is known as eminent domain. This process may seem wholly unfair, and in some instances that is the case. However, eminent domain can be challenged in a number of ways. One way is to question whether private property is truly being taken for public use. Another commonly contested matter is what constitutes "just compensation."

The process of determining just compensation can be enormously complicated. While the goal of just compensation is to leave a property owner in the same financial position he or she would have been in if the taking never occurred, valuing a property and its depreciation due to government action can be challenging. To determine what constitutes just compensation, the parties involved typically try to calculate the fair market value of the land in question.

What is a nondisclosure agreement and its enforceability?

It can take a lot of time, money and effort to build a successful business. A lot of that work goes into the development of unique strategies and processes that allow the business to operate efficiently and effectively, all while building a strong clientele, marketing strategy and brand of compelling products and services. Because these strategies and processes are so valuable, businesses often want to keep them a secret. These are known as trade secrets. As simple as it may sound, it can be extremely challenging to keep these secrets away from competitors who are looking to gain an edge in the marketplace.

One reason it is challenging to maintain trade secrets is the fact that employees will become exposed to them. With time, employees leave a business and, due to their experience in the field, sometimes get hired by competitors. This is where secrets can be released. Fortunately, businesses can attempt to prevent these secrets from getting out by having employees agree to a nondisclosure agreement. Through these agreements, an individual can be sued for financial compensation if they disclose any of the information identified in the nondisclosure agreement. Although these agreements are frequently used to protect trade secrets, they can also be utilized to protect discussions of business plans and inventions as well as the specifics of intellectual property.

Estate planning and the ancillary probate process

The carrying out of an estate plan can be shrouded in grief. Family members of a deceased individual are often struggling to find a way to cope with their loss, which oftentimes brings families together. Yet, when the details of an estate plan come to light, family members sometimes find themselves in a state of confusion and disbelief. To these individuals, the terms of an estate plan are counter to their expectations and their beliefs of what the testator wanted for the estate. These situations often lead to litigation.

Take, for example, the recently filed claim by two daughters of Pat Bowlen, the late owner of the Denver Broncos football team. They claim that the trust executed by Bowlen, which controls the team and its significant others, should be invalidated due to Bowlen lacking the mental capacity to know and appreciate what he was signing when he created the trust. Their attorney also claims that Bowlen may have been subjected to undue influence at the time of the trust's creation.

Estate planning and the ancillary probate process

To many Ohioans, estate planning is nothing more than creating a simple will that equally divides their assets amongst their children. Although this is a commonly utilized estate planning strategy, it may be insufficient to meet an individual's needs. Failing to adequately address all legal issues pertaining to one's estate can lead to a long, drawn out and even contested distribution process.

This is often seen when individuals neglect to consider the assets that they own in another state when creating or modifying their estate plan. Because assets are subjected to the laws of the state in which they reside, an individual who passes away with assets in multiple states will have to proceed with the probate process in each state. This is known as ancillary probate, and it can be costly and time consuming. Additionally, those individuals who die without a will may wind up with differing lines of succession in each state because the laws may vary. This may mean that an individual's out of state assets may fall into the hands of someone who was never intended to inherit in the first place.

Understanding eminent domain law

When we own property such as land, we will likely have an assumption that no one can legally take this property away from us. This is a reasonable assumption, but it does not always hold true. Under certain circumstances, the government is entitled to take property from private owners.

The power of the government to take property from private owners is known as eminent domain. There are specific laws in place that govern the eminent domain process. Most notably, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlines a "Takings Clause" which demands that the federal government provides just compensation to those who have their private property taken for private use. The following is an outline of the limits of eminent domain property seizure, and an overview of the rights of private owners.

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