Showing posts from 2013

The Importance of Employee Handbooks in California

Although there are many advantages to utilizing an employee handbook, from a purely legal perspective, the employer is usually hoping to establish ground rules of acceptable conduct and prevent the company from being subjected to legal liability. The sources of such liability are many, from wage disputes to wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment claims. A good employee handbook will not prevent such a claim from arising, but can assist the company in defending its actions. A poorly drafted handbook can actually be used against the company to prove the claimant's case. For example, some preprinted handbooks contain sections dealing with the progressive discipline of employees, containing a comprehensive scheme from oral warning to termination. Courts have found that a company that does not follow this disciplinary scheme can be held liable for wrongful termination. Other courts have held that such policies may imply that the company can only termina

Mediation vs. Arbitration

In a perfect world there would be no business lawsuits because the parties involved would resolve their differences without resorting to court action.    At Jacobs & Dodds each of our lawyers has been trying cases for over 30 years. Last year partner Paul Jacobs spent over four months in trial. However, before resorting to litigation, every attempt is made to settle our clients' business disputes before a lawsuit is filed. There are several alternative dispute resolution methods that can be effective in resolving business disputes. The two most common are mediation and arbitration.   Mediation   Simply put, a mediator seeks to help parties to develop a shared understanding of the conflict and to work toward building a practical and lasting resolution. Mediation usually does not take place in front of a judge (although it can). Mediation typically takes place before a lawsuit is filed, although mediation can o

What is a California Corporation?

     A California corporation is a distinct legal entity separate and apart from its officers, directors and shareholders. As a result, a shareholder, officer or director is not the employer of those working for the corporation, nor are they considered the owner of the corporate property. As a separate legal entity, a corporation has the power to act in any way permitted by the laws that created it. A corporation can own and convey property. It can sue and be sued. A corporation can commit torts and crimes.      Although a corporation can sue or be sued in its name, with the exception of small claims court, it cannot appear in court and represent itself. Nor can it appear on its own behalf as defendant in a criminal proceeding. In general a corporation must be represented by a lawyer when it appears in a civil or criminal case. Even where a sole shareholder's interests are identical to those of the corporation, a non lawyer shareholder cannot intervene in the

Alter Ego Law In California

When you incorporate in California, your new corporation and its shareholders are suppose to be distinct and separate entities. A key principle of corporate law is that a shareholder of a corporation is not personally liable for obligations of the corporation beyond the extent of the shareholder's investment in the corporation. Limited liability serves an important public policy, encouraging investment by limiting risk. However, limited liability for shareholders is not absolute or automatic and can be defeated in instances when the corporation is deemed to be the alter ego of the shareholders, and the veil of the corporation is pierced. Piercing the Veil of California Corporations Courts apply what is referred to as the "alter ego" doctrine to determine whether the veil of a particular corporation should be pierced (i.e., whether the corporate identity should be disregarded and liability should be placed on the shareholders). The alter ego doctrine

Business Law Firm of Jacobs & Dodds - Commercial Collections

The business law firm of Jacobs & Dodds specializes in handling the collection needs of businesses seeking a commercial collection law firm with time proven debt collection methods that are cost effective and efficient. Using the latest technology in skip tracing and asset location, and backed by in-house attorneys with over 30 years of commercial collection experience, our firm is capable of handling claims from inception to post judgment.    The amount owed on each debt must exceed $50,000.   Call us today.  (949) 645-7300.   Jacobs & Dodds performs the following services for its Orange County business clients:   ** Advanced Skip Tracing and Asset Location   ** Accounts Receivable Collections   ** Commercial Account Collections   ** Deficiency Accounts    ** Retail Accounts Collections.   ** Commercial Unlawful Detainer Judgment Collections.   Did you know, that the older a delinquent commercial account becomes, the more difficult it is to coll

California Breach of Contract Law Simplified

The basic rule is that parties to a contract must perform as specified in the contract unless (1) the parties agree to a change in the contract's terms, or (2) the actions of the party who deviates from the terms of the contract are implicitly accepted ("ratified") by the action or non-action of the other party. If there is no acceptance of deviation from the terms of the contract, and the deviation is serious enough to make any real difference in the intended result of the contract, then the deviating party is said to have breached the contract. Of course if one party fails more or less entirely to perform the contract, or totally prevents the performance of the contract by the other party, the situation is straightforward. The situation becomes more complex where the argument is over such things as the quality of materials, the timing of work, or the quality of the work performed when the contract involves services.   Breach of contract leaves the nonper

Buying or Selling a Business

Buying or selling a business is a big decision. If you are contemplating buying or selling a business consider retaining the services of a qualified business broker. Keep in mind, however, that business brokers are not regulated the same way that real estate agents, attorneys, medical doctors and accountants are regulated. There is no state agency in California that licenses business brokers. Many business brokers have a background only in real estate sales. Make sure your business broker has a strong background in finance, marketing and business valuating. A business attorney is essential if you are buying or selling a business. If you are buying a business, a business attorney can make sure the business you are buying has complied with all local, county and state laws. The attorney can make sure the business location is zoned properly for the business you are buying. The attorney can make sure that the purchase agreement is properly drafted, and that it contains a non-compete c

California Unfair Competition

The law of unfair competition is primarily comprised of torts that cause an economic injury to a business, through a deceptive or wrongful business practice. Unfair competition can be broken down into two broad groups or categories. Unfair competition can refer to business practices that confuse consumers as to the source of a given product or service. Or, unfair competition can include such business activities as false advertising, bait and switch selling tactics, unauthorized substitution of one brand of goods for another, use of confidential and protected information by former employees, or independent contractors to solicit customers of a former employer, theft of trade secrets, breach of a restrictive covenant, trade libel, and false representation of products or services. In California, many business owners are concerned about employees that leave the company and then either go to work for a competitor, or open up a competing business. Employers are concerne

Business Start Up

     Before you begin business operations, it is important that you make appropriate decisions regarding what kind of business legal entity should be put in place to protect your business. At  the business law firm of Jacobs and Dodds, we can help you decide what business entity is right for you based upon the nature of your business and tax considerations. Sometimes we may advise against certain kinds of business entities based upon financial considerations and other avenues available to offset potential liability.

What We Do

A business requires legal representation from startup through dissolution. Whether you are considering business formation, need counseling on an in-house legal matter or are facing litigation, Jacobs & Dodds provides comprehensive legal services to business owners throughout Orange County and California. We are dedicated to devising legal solutions that protect our clients' business profits and legal interests.