Jun 29, 2021

Elizabeth Holmes: A Lesson in Attorney-Client Privilege

Joint Employer Rule

When an attorney works with a company, either in-house or as outside counsel, that attorney often wears many hats. They’ll attend meetings, be copied on all sorts of emails, and give both legal and business-related advice. Given this dynamic and the multiple lines and types of communication, employees may be confused about their relationship with corporate counsel and may mistakenly believe their communications are protected by attorney-client privilege. This confusion can lead to serious implications for the later invocation of the attorney-client privilege both for the company and the employee. Most recently, these blurred lines led to a loss of… Read more


Jun 4, 2021

The Importance of Follow-Up/Oversight on Contract Provisions

Companies should be aware that even when they have a written contract that spells out the parties’ responsibilities, e.g., pay rent monthly, they need to monitor compliance with those responsibilities.  Failure to do so – sloppy follow-up – can result in a “quasi-new agreement.” The Georgia Court of Appeals’ recent decision in The Hatchett Firm, P.C. v. Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc., 358 Ga. App. 607 (2021), vividly illustrates this point.  In that case, a sublessee paid partial rent payments for ten months and no rent for 6 months.  The sublessor sued the subtenant for the unpaid past due rent… Read more


Mar 30, 2021

United States Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects a Causal Link Requirement in Specific Jurisdiction Inquiry

Ford Litigation

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court that the connection between Ford’s activities in a forum state and products liability claims was “close enough” to support specific jurisdiction. The 8-0 decision (Justice Barrett not participating) rejected Ford’s arguments that the state courts lacked jurisdiction because Ford had not designed, manufactured, or sold the particular vehicles involved in the car accidents. The Montana Eighth Judicial District Court case was consolidated with Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court case involved a Ford Explorer that had originally been purchased in Washington that through subsequent repurchases… Read more


Nov 2, 2020

Yellowstone Proceedings and the Pandemic: Do COVID-19 Mandates Frustrate Performance?

For Lease

The legal press is rife with articles and speculation about the defenses of impossibility and/or frustration of performance to lease defaults triggered by state and local mandates prohibiting or limiting access to businesses. A decision released last week addressed that issue. Rame, LLC leased space at 200 Park Avenue from Metropolitan Realty Mgt., Inc. In September 2020, Metropolitan sent Rame a notice of default, alleging that it owed unpaid rent from December 1, 2017 through September 1, 2020 in the amount of $1,863,821.70, and set a deadline of on or before September 14, 2020 to cure the default. Rame sought… Read more


Oct 23, 2020

Do Inability to Perform Catchall Provisions Excuse Non-Performance Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Non-performance lease

Many contracts contain an “inability to perform” provision. And these same provisions also often times provide specific excusable reasons for a party to not perform, followed by a catchall statement, setting forth “or any other cause beyond the parties reasonable control, whether or not such other cause shall be similar in nature to those hereinbefore enumerated”. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full effect, businesses across New York City have begun to face significant economic hardships, and are thus pointing to this catchall statement, as confirmation that they are likely excused from performing their contractual duties. However, they should not… Read more


Oct 5, 2020

The President Authorizes the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act

On June 25, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed identical bills, H.R. 7036 and S. 3377, repealing the sunset provisions of the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act (“ACPERA”).[1] On October 1, 2020, the President signed into law a continuing resolution. The resolution contains the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act, which reauthorizes ACPERA and repeals its sunset provision. [2] ACPERA was enacted in 2004 to encourage antitrust violators to cooperate with government prosecutors and private litigants in antitrust cases. Under the Act, if an amnesty applicant into the Department of Justice’s Antitrust… Read more


Sep 21, 2020

Waiver Of Money Damages And The Inadvertent Consent To Injunctive Relief

When drafting commercial contracts, attorneys often insist on including a provision requiring one or both parties to waive claims for money damages in the event of an alleged breach. For example, commercial leases often include a provision requiring the tenant to waive claims for money damages in matters pertaining to the landlord’s exercise of its judgment in withholding consent or approvals under the lease. While these provisions are intended to reduce risk by removing the exposure to money damages, they may have the unintended consequence of a finding that the parties have contracted for, and consented to, the granting of… Read more


Jul 20, 2020

The East River Divide

NY Litigation

Litigation is not mathematics. There is not always a universally accepted equation or answer. Outcomes are often dependent upon the experience-based tendencies of the trial court, or the composition of a jury or appellate court panel. Many considerations go into filing a lawsuit, such as the various theories of liability to be prosecuted, the nature of the relief sought, and the cost-benefit analysis based upon the anticipated expense of litigation. But occasionally, in a suit to be pursued in New York City, an important threshold consideration is in which of the five counties the proceeding should be filed. New York… Read more


Jul 14, 2020

COVID-19 & Force Majeure – Guaranteed Minimum Royalties No More?

Plan B Apparel Industry

Is it still true, as the old saying goes, that it is better to offer no excuse than a bad one? The old adage has trouble holding up in today’s climate.  Because of the significant and detrimental impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy, and especially the apparel industry, good excuses are aplenty for licensees in the apparel licensing industry. Due to the pandemic, brand apparel licensees that have entered into license agreements with licensors to use their brand names have had unanticipated difficulty meeting the minimum sales standards and paying minimum royalties. In addition, those licensees are now… Read more


Jun 29, 2020

Congress Reauthorizes the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act (“ACPERA”)

Anticompetition

Sections 212-214 of the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act (“ACPERA”)[1] might live to see another day. On June 25, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed identical bills, H.R. 7036 and S. 3377, repealing the Act’s sunset provision.[2] ACPERA, enacted in 2004, aimed to encourage antitrust violators to cooperate with government prosecutors and private litigants in antitrust cases. The carrot: if an amnesty applicant into the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s leniency program provided “satisfactory cooperation” to plaintiffs, the applicant’s Sherman Act (or similar state law) civil damages could be reduced to actual, instead of treble,… Read more