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Michigan Business Law Blog

In the Company of Giants

I've dealt with hundreds of start-ups and established closely held companies over 30 years of practicing law.  Sometimes people are good at asking for help and sometimes not.  Good counsel and a good CPA can be invaluable relationships for any closely held business.  But what if you can't afford it?  There are still ways to obtain the involvement and advice of seasoned business veterans and it is an opportunity too often overlooked.

                So here's my brilliant idea (actually it's not my idea, but for purposes of this post, I'll take credit); ask more experienced people, or those with varied experience, to be on your board of directors, i.e people who know more than you (Egad! Giants!).  As a general rule, people like it when you ask them for help and to be involved.  It's flattering to them and helpful to the business. Besides, with success, relationships can grow.

Business litigation centers around condo bylaws in Michigan

When a child is born, the community usually rejoices. However, this turned out not to be the case when a couple recently gave birth to their second child in Michigan. The condominium complex forced the couple to sell their home due to bylaws in their condominium association that forbid more than three residents in the couple's home. This resulted in a business litigation lawsuit filed against the condominium association.

The bylaws of the association state that the couple was required to sell their home due to the family exceeding the occupancy limit for their three-bedroom, two-story unit. The lawsuit describes several incidences with neighbors who had informed them that they were in violation of the association's bylaws. The association agreed, telling the couple they were required to sell their home within a year of the birth of their second child.

School sues medical technology company in commercial litigation

Laws affecting business are generally designed to enhance economic activity within the applicable jurisdictions. This also includes laws pertaining to intellectual property rights in Michigan or in any other state. Intellectual property laws ensure that the creator of a novel business idea or technology will be able to bring the product or service to the market without worrying that somebody will steal the idea. However, disagreements over intellectual property rights can require commercial litigation in order to resolve conflicts.

Recently this is what happened with Varian Medical Systems Inc. which manufactures medical imaging equipment. The company ran into a dispute with a local university over patent rights involving some of the technology the company uses in its equipment. The university sued the company over the alleged patent violation in 2007.

Michigan fund helps with business planning for medical startups

The medical industry has always been an important part of society. Medicine has the ability to enhance the quality of life of those suffering from illness. This is why many advocate for the further development of the medical industry in order to better help those in need of medical care. One program created by the Michigan State Medical Society attempts to help develop the medical sector by assisting with business planning for startup medical businesses.

The university-based medical group launched Quantum Medical Concepts in March and is now looking to find small medical business startups to support. The program is the first venture capital fund created specifically for medical startup companies located in Michigan. Companies chosen for assistance will also be able to obtain business coaching and consulting support.

Hewlett-Packard settles securities litigation lawsuit

Corporations that sell stock shares to the public market are regulated by various securities laws. These laws are designed to keep companies responsible for the interests of the shareholders who are part owners of the companies they invest in through purchasing stocks. However, if a company ends up breaking some of these rules, it could find itself facing a securities litigation lawsuit in Michigan or in any other state.

Hewlett-Packard had experienced this in August 2011 when stockholders sued the corporation shortly after the current CEO had made a surprising announcement regarding major changes in the company's business plans. The plans proposed that the company sell the PC portion of the corporation as a spin-off business. The corporation was also looking to sell WebOS, an operating system for mobile devices, while at the same time acquiring software company Autonomy.

Fitbit prepares to defend business litigation lawsuit

Wearable technology is one of the newest market trends that can be seen in the popularity of products such as Google glass. Many companies in Michigan and elsewhere have become profitable by offering wearable technology products to consumers. However, there are still some risks associated with this particular sector. One of these is the possibility of business litigation lawsuits resulting from defective products.

One company is currently facing this problem after its product was found to be defective. It has even allegedly caused consumers to require medical attention. Fitbit is the maker of a digital bracelet known as the Force. The product is designed to track sleep patterns and physical activity. Problems for the company began to arise when consumers complained of experiencing skin irritations of varying seriousness.

Equity Crowdfunding - Harder Than it Looks

The toughest thing for any entrepreneur is to find funding.  Brilliant ideas abound but funds are scarce. Hiring lawyers to prepare a private placement memorandum is expensive and the money raise requires endless meetings and telephone calls to cobble together the full offering amount.  Rewards crowdfunding (kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com) has exploded but its limiting.  Congress and the State of Michigan have both recognized that the business of raising money has been headed to the internet and both have passed legislation in an attempt to allow and encourage equity crowdfunding online.  Instead of getting a t-shirt or a record album, which are typical rewards when "investing" on kickstarter, an entrepreneur can now actual seek equity investors online.  But the rules imposed by the government may have taken all of the fun out of the popcorn.

Commercial real estate developer may acquire historic property

People place significant importance on historical landmarks and will create public policies geared toward preserving these landmarks if possible. However, due to the nature of historical landmarks, it can be costly to maintain the properties, especially if a property has been neglected for an extended amount of time in Michigan or in any other state. This is why one commercial real estate development company is looking to demolish a particular historic building.

This building was constructed about a century-and-a-half ago. The local city government currently owns the brick house and is now looking to sell the property to the commercial real estate development firm. The firm had submitted a proposal and was given informal designated developer status by the city council. The company is now looking to secure official city council approval to move forward with the project, which is calling for the demolition of the historic building.

Residents file business litigation lawsuit against energy company

Believe it or not, the weather plays a large part in many markets. This is definitely the case with the energy industry in Michigan or in any other state. One energy company is finding this out following a recent spate of cold weather in its area. This caused energy bills for consumers to increase, which has prompted consumers to file a business litigation lawsuit against the energy company.

The energy company had promised local residents lower electricity bills if they switched from their previous provider to the company's services. After local residents made the switch, their bills were significantly lower for the first two years. However, after a recent period of unprecedented cold weather, local residents experienced skyrocketing electricity bills.

Google faces business litigation, possible class action

Privacy is important to most Americans. This has become a pivotal issue in American society in the midst of the rise of the NSA and the Edward Snowden scandal. Now, Google is being accused of invading the privacy of its users, including many people in Michigan. The company is now facing a business litigation lawsuit that may become a class-action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the case are accusing Google of scanning its users' emails over a period of five years. The lawsuit is asking the court to order the company to pay each user who had been affected by the alleged improper data mining. The legal complaint is asking for $100 per each day during this time period to each user affected. This would include anybody who had sent or received an email message from the web company's Gmail service.

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