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Maumee Ohio Legal Blog

A primer on unfair competition

Business professionals in Ohio can find themselves embroiled in a whole host of legal issues. Contractual disputes, intellectual property misappropriations and product liability complaints can all threaten a business's financial status and its reputation, possibly leading to business litigation. Therefore, businesses need to understand the law and how to use it to their advantage.

One area where this knowledge can be crucially important is unfair competition. In a quickly moving economy, businesses need to be on the front line of change to meet market demand and keep pace with their competitors. Although most competition is healthy for businesses and the economy, unfair competition harms consumers and cheats other businesses.

Estate planning and the charitable trust

The estate planning process can be customized to meet your needs. If you simply want to ensure that your assets are evenly divided amongst your children, then a simple will may suffice. If you want to place conditions on the release of those assets and ensure that they provide long-term financial support, then one or more trusts may be of use to you. Even if you want to "disinherit" someone, then your estate plan needs to clearly indicate that intent.

Some Ohio residents find themselves wanting to give back to their communities and further the public good. An estate plan can help with this, too. A charitable trust allows assets to be invested for the benefit of a named charitable organization while allowing named beneficiaries to still receive income from those investments. That income may be in the form of a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of the trust's value.

The interplay between litigation and summary judgment

Litigation is often seen as presenting eloquent legal arguments to a judge and jury and utilizing skilled questioning to elicit wanted information from witnesses. While this does make up a significant portion of litigation, it is just the culmination of thorough preparation. Without this preparation, one's presentation in the courtroom is sure to be less than stellar.

In fact, courtroom litigation can often be avoided by bringing a case to quick resolution. This is often accomplished through negotiation, but it can also be achieved through pretrial practices. One such tactic is to seek summary judgment. Summary judgment occurs when a court find in favor of one party prior to trial, but it can only be obtained to pretrial motion and if certain elements are met. First, there must be no dispute as to the material facts at play. Second, given the undisputed facts at hand, the party seeking summary judgment is entitled to that judgment as a matter of law.

When can the government take your home?

The government can take your home. Eminent domain gives federal, state and local governments the power to buy your land when they feel it’s needed for a larger public interest. But it’s not always clear who the government thinks of as “the public.”

Are Texans part of Ohio’s larger public? As fellow citizens of the United States, they may be. But what about Canadians? Should we allow the government to seize Ohioan’s private property so that Texan corporations can pipe natural gas to Canada? That’s the question at the center of a legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve a 275-mile pipeline through Oberlin.

Ohio wage dispute heads to federal court

The workplace can be home of various disputes. Employment law disputes can have a profound impact. For an employee, it can mean lost wages and diminished opportunities. For an employer, it can mean lost revenues and harm to its reputation. Depending on the number of employees involved, the amount of compensation in question and the opportunities at issue, the stakes can be quite high. This is why those who find themselves embroiled in one of these disputes need to consider having a strong legal advocate on their side.

Two employees of a soon-to-open Cleveland hemp manufacturer have done just that. They have filed a lawsuit against North Coast Natural Solutions for allegedly failing to pay them for a month's worth of training that was supposed to be paid. Others may join these employees in a class action suit, as many others have alleged that they were not paid either.

Can the government take your land?

What happens if you’re approached by the government about selling your property so they can build on it? It’s understandable if you would feel intimidated. The process of the government acquiring private land for public use is known as eminent domain and has been around for over 100 years in Ohio.

A recent example

Litigation and the expert witness

Although the ultimate decisions that are made by judges and juries are based on facts, those facts are open to interpretation. Lay witnesses, meaning those who possess no additional knowledge than the average person, can testify to their personal knowledge and observations, but their testimony regarding their opinion is limited in scope. This is why it is often helpful to have expert testimony when dealing with complex issues. The testimony of these individuals can carry great weight and make the difference between winning and losing a case.

One of the greatest benefits of an expert witness is that he or she can provide opinion-based testimony even if it is based on evidence that is not otherwise admissible. Therefore, a witness who is qualified as an expert can base his or her opinion on hearsay, for example. This can open up the evidentiary gates and allow a powerful opinion to be presented even if other evidentiary issues exist. These experts can sometimes provide testimony that directly speaks to the legal issue at hand.

Watch out for things that can invalidate a will

A thorough and effective estate plan may encompass one or more of a number of legal documents. Wills, trusts and powers of attorney can all play a pivotal role in the protection of an estate's value and the distribution of its assets. Although a well thought out estate plan can be ironclad, even seemingly minor errors can have tremendously large ramifications. This is why it is often wise to have the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney when dealing with these matters.

For example, an improperly executed will may be deemed invalid. This can leave the distribution of estate assets subject to state laws, which may be contradictory to an individual's wishes. It can also set the stage for family contention and litigation that is drawn-out and costly. An attorney will know the common pitfalls related to the drafting and execution of a will, though, and how to avoid them.

Can a verbal offer constitute an enforceable contract?

One of the most common documents used in business dealings are business contracts. These are important documents that spell out a lot of details. Unfortunately, a lot of business litigation centers on contract disputes. Breach of contract claims are quite common, but the frequency with which these matters are alleged doesn't reduce their significance. A breached contract can cause harm to all parties involved.

On the one hand, a party may not receive the materials, compensation, or service that it bargained for. The other party may suffer financial loss, harm to its reputation and damage a business relationship when it fails to live up to its end of an agreement.

The importance of the record on appeal

Losing a case is never easy, especially when significant financial and emotional resources are on the line. Those who lose at trial often feel like the extensive amount of time they put into the case was for naught, which leaves them angry and frustrated. Yet, losing a case at the trail court level is not the end of the road. This is because those who lose a lawsuit have a legal right to appeal the decision made by the trial court or a jury at the trial court level. However, it is important to note that an appeal is not another bite at the apple. Instead, an appeal allows a party to have the trial reevaluated to ensure that a fair outcome is reached.

How is this accomplished? It begins by reviewing the transcript of the trial. Everything said during the trial is recorded, and every exhibit admitted into evidence is forwarded to the court of appeals. Therefore, litigants need to be careful and detailed in everything that they say in court. Objections must be made in a timely fashion, and responses to those objections need to hold up to appellate scrutiny. Those who don't make a good record at trial can find themselves at a severe disadvantage on appeal.

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