Are Handshake Deals for Real?

handshake deal

Is a verbal contract enforceable in Florida? Not all agreements have to be in writing to be enforceable, but having a written contract is best. For a verbal contract to be enforceable, you must be able to prove an offer was made and accepted. The offer must be for an exchange of value through goods, services, or money. For an explanation on the two types of Florida contracts, read our article.

While certain verbal agreements are enforceable, it is always best to have a written contract in place. Written contracts make agreements easier to enforce and can help avoid litigation during disputes between parties.

According to Florida law, there are special circumstances in which a verbal agreement cannot be enforced. The Statute of Frauds declares that certain types of agreements are not enforceable without a written contract. This statute states that the agreement must be in writing and signed by the party to be charged before it can be enforced.

Some examples of special circumstances where the Statute of Frauds requires a written contract are:

  • Contracts for the sale of lands
  • Agreements that are not to be performed within 1 year from the date of the contract
  • Any special promise to answer for the debt of another person
  • An agreement made upon consideration of marriage
  • A lease thereof for a period longer than 1 year
  • A newspaper subscription

When in doubt, hiring an experienced attorney to create a written contract to protect your interests, is the best choice.

If you have any questions about the enforceability of a verbal agreement or contract, contact us today!

How T-Shirts Modernized Trademark Law

#@&!

Some say “community standards” are “F-U-C-T” after a recent trademark case was reviewed by the Supreme Court.  Erik Brunetti, of Pennsylvania, founded his clothing company in 1990, the acronym for Friends U Can’t Trust. 

In 2011, Brunetti filed for a trademark of his business’s name. The United States Patent and Trademark Office denied his request, on the basis that the company’s name was vulgar and scandalous. The “immoral/scandalous clause” of the Lanham Act prohibits “offensive” or “vulgar” marks.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard the case of Iancu v. Brunetti, last month, and reversed The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision.  Although the company’s name is designed to be read by each letter, Justice Kagan notes “… you might read it differently and, if so, you would hardly be alone.”  The majority wrote, the brand name doesn’t matter and trademark law “discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.” While one person might find the company name vulgar and alarming, another may view it a normal part of everyday speech.  Ultimately the Lanham Act’s disparaging and offensive references were deemed overly broad and a violation of Brunetti’s right to free speech. 

Reminiscent of Roth v. United States, this case is challenging material (or words) once determined obscene in the eyes of the “average person, applying contemporary community standards.”  Although not actually quoted, Justice William Brennan’s majority opinion on obscenity has been colloquially known as “I’ll know it when I see it.” SCOTUS did not find Brunetti’s clothing line vulgar.

If “knowing it when you see it” isn’t working for you and you need help trademarking your idea, contact our experienced trademark attorney today. 

Business Disasters

Business Disasters

Let’s be real, no matter how successful, every business has experienced their share of surprises. While many factors can attribute to a company’s down fall, it’s not easy to predict. Some of these issues may seem farfetched but they tend to catch company owners off guard the most.

  1. Disruption in Cash Flow – This mayappear to be a no brainer but still can be a problem. Though you may have many customers, it doesn’t always mean customers are paying on time, or that something won’t break and require immediate cash.

  2. Personal Matters – Many personal matters can bleed over into our business. Personal legal matters such as bankruptcy, debt collection, divorce or criminal record of a partner can affect the company considerably. Health issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease, drug addiction, incapacitation or disability of a partner can also have an impact.
  • Business Lawsuits – Lawsuits can significantly impact on the profitability of a company. In short, litigation is expensive. These suits can be triggered by unintentional intellectual property infringement, product liability, personal injury, employment disputes, contract disputes, or partnership disputes.
  • Scandals – Scandals are easiest to avoid when you and all who represent your company are being honest and up front when presenting your business. However, these events could be caused by anyone representing your company. Scandals can significantly damage your company’s reputation. As a result, customers may lose their trust in you or your product.
  • Forces of Nature – Natural disasters are unpredictable. Even calm parts of the world could experience dangerous weather or disasters. It only has to happen once to strike a major blow to any business. Consider getting some sort of disaster insurance if it is available.
  • Fraud – Fraud can happen even with the most loyal employees, partners, or customers, especially at the start of growing your business. No matter how much you may trust these people, one of them may still end up mishandling funds or stealing from your business outright. 

Even for well informed, experienced entrepreneurs, it is impossible to prepare your business for every situation you may encounter. There will be situations beyond your control and/or put you and your business to the test.

Hiring an experienced business law attorney to incorporate comprehensive disaster protocols within your operating agreement can prepare you for most situations.

An experienced business litigation attorney can help mitigate the over-all impact, if you are experiencing such a disaster.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Florida Preventative Business Law

The best defense against a legal action is never to have the problem occur in the first place. Preventative business law action should be taken from the beginning in order to protect your business, and hiring a business law attorney as a business advisor is one of the best methods to ensure this.

Attorney Boyer has an american degree in business administration and is Board Certified as an Expert Specialist in International Law by the Florida Bar. By scheduling a business planning meeting with Attorney Boyer, he will go above and beyond a normal business consultation by discussing the specific needs of your business while offering potential solutions and other advice.

Our Florida Preventative Business Law Attorneys Handle the Following Areas:

  • Corporate structure
  • Document review
  • Contract review
  • Contract drafting
  • Regulations and laws that apply to the client
  • Contingency plans
  • Business process
  • Risk management
  • Products liability
  • Documentation and records policies
  • Hiring practices
  • Employment policies
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Protection of confidential information
  • Ownership of real property
  • Review of contracts and forms
  • Contract procedures
  • Environmental issues
  • Reliable referrals, including CPAs, banks, Brokers, and other professionals

Don’t just run your business days-to-day without thinking about tomorrow. Consider an annual “legal check-up” for your business to ensure fewer legal problems and lower legal costs over time. In the long run, you will save your company’s precious resources, including time, money, and manpower.

Contact one of our preventative business law attorneys today to schedule a consultation!

Attorney-Client Privilege/ Confidentiality

One of the greatest benefits to hiring an attorney as your business advisor is Attorney-Client privilege. Attorneys have a legal and ethical responsibility to keep their clients’ information confidential.

Do not hesitate to contact us.

Just Because You Can… Should You?

Would you extract your own tooth? Or perform surgery on your own leg?

Shopping on amazon for things I don’t really need, I came across a few interesting items. Did you know amazon sells a surgical bone saw? Or a human rib spreader? Or dental extraction tools? Neither did I until now. And the reviews though! While it’s possible to save a little cash in performing surgery on yourself, is it really valuable? Your nerves and emotions prevent you from staying focused. Additionally, you don’t possess the skill or knowledge to perform serious professional work on yourself.

Along that same lines, should you handle your own legal affairs?

Similarly, the emotional aspect that exists when you are personally invested in a cause can cloud your judgment. Picture it: your partner takes all the profit out of the operating account, signs over all rights to the company to his shell corporation, then disappears. This is your baby, a business you have built from the ground up. Your partner was merely a passive investor and had no say-so in the business until you hit it big. Now he’s taking all your profits and your business?

You must take him to court and all you have is your basic knowledge of business law. You’re too emotion-driven in this fight to lead a serious discussion, much less pose a winning argument to the court. Will you be able to think clearly enough to object when needed? Can you focus enough to anticipate his arguments? Do you know the procedure or the statute well enough?

In addition to being emotionally charged, there are complex procedural requirements of which most people are unaware.

How to put items into evidence, correctly question a witness, or object to a question are all procedures that are learned in law school. If someone does not have the requisite knowledge to handle these topics, they will not be successful in getting their side of the story accurately heard in court. Because they are invested in the case personally, it is hard for them to logically and legally anticipate and defend opposing arguments. This is damaging and often leads to the demise of the case.

So, if you are like me and would not risk pulling your own tooth, I would recommend getting the advice of a sound attorney who has the training and experience to take you through the legal process. They have the knowledge, impartiality, and calm demeanor to take your case through to victory while you may be too saddled with emotions, lack of experience, and inability to see around your own point of view. So, as they say, don’t cut your nose off to spite your face!