Contractual Attorney Fee Awards May be Contested
In a recent decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, issued a ruling moving the burden of proving reasonableness of attorneys' fees sought by a successful party to the applicant. The underlying contract contained a fee shifting provision.
In Geller v. Lesk, P.3d 2012, 2012 WL 4364241 (App. Sept. 25, 2012), the Court of Appeals held that even where there is a contractual fee … Read More
Arizona Court of Appeals Decision Adds Confusion to the Interpretation of the Anti-Deficiency Statutes
In a decision issued on December 27, 2011, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that Arizona's anti-deficiency statute applies to debtors who purchase vacant land with the intent to reside on the property upon completion of construction of a home even if they do not complete construction or actually occupy the property.
In M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank v. Mueller, 1 CA-CV 10-0804, the debtors purchased a … Read More
I Don't Think We are Going to Remain Friends - What Happens When Owners of Closely Held Companies are Deadlocked or in Dispute with Each Other or Former Employees
You and a friend, family member, or even a spouse, decided to go into business together. At first, things were great because of the possibilities and the excitement that new challenges bring. You may have formed a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership or even operated as a sole proprietorship. If there are only two of you, you might have owned the company equally, which … Read More
Are There Fiduciary Duties Between Members in an Arizona LLC?
In 1992, the Arizona legislature enacted the Arizona Limited Liability Company Act. Since that time the LLC has become the entity of choice for many individuals, businesses, partners and investors. While there obviously are differences between corporations and LLCs, attorneys in Arizona have always believed that there were many similarities.
For instance, when you form a corporation Articles of … Read More
Not All Customer Lists Are Trade Secrets
In a case decided this past April, the Arizona Court of Appeals found that whether a business's customer list is a trade secret requires a factual inquiry. Calisi v. Unified Financial Services, LLC, Case No. 1 CA-CV-0812. The court's holding requires a two part inquiry to determine whether a customer list is, in fact, a trade secret.
First, a trial court must determine whether the customer list has been kept … Read More
BFF's With the Court: How Can My Group Be a Friend of the Court?
How Might an Amicus Curiae Brief Assist my Organization and its Members?
When you think about it, an amicus brief - "friend of the court" is a quite agreeable concept. As a non-party to the case, with no direct interest in the outcome, you can explain to the court - as a friend, not a litigant - why its ultimate decision has larger ramifications. Last March, 212 members of Congress made news by filing … Read More
Commercial General Liability Insurance
A business benefits from adequate commercial general liability coverage, sometimes referred to as "CGL" insurance. Such a policy protects if someone is injured at the place of business. It also covers damage or injuries caused by company employees at a customer place of business or home. Typically, there are four basic categories of coverage in a CGL policy. These include: bodily injury; property damage; personal … Read More
Five Steps to Avoid and Minimize Probate and Trust Disputes
Probate and trust litigation can turn families into enemies and convert inheritances into attorneys' fees. These disputes can fueled by sibling rivalry, blended families, family grudges, financial need, entitlement, revenge, greed, or spite. Litigators have a bird's eye view of the issues which fuel such disputes and are often able to anticipate potential issues before they erupt, so they might be … Read More
So I loaned my friend $25,000 and just found out he is going to file bankruptcy. Now what???
Because he is my friend, he offered to settle and pay me outside of the bankruptcy and he agreed to not include my debt in the bankruptcy case. Can I do this?
No. Once a bankruptcy case is filed an automatic stay goes into effect, whether or not you have actual notice of the bankruptcy filing, which prevents you from taking any action to collect your debt, including negotiating a settlement. If you engage in … Read More
In Arizona, Employers Are Required to Pay Earned Wages to Employees
By Kraig Marton and Jeffrey Silence
When you left your last job, did your former employer pay you everything you were owed? If not, your former employer faces serious consequences under state and federal laws. When an employee quits or is even fired for cause, employers are required to pay their former employee everything they are owed, including wages, commissions, bonuses, and other agreed upon … Read More