Lesser Law Group

San Rafael California Insurance Law Firm

Adidas and Skechers settle sneaker design lawsuit

California residents who follow business news may be aware that Adidas and Skechers have been embroiled in disputes over sneaker designs for more than two decades. Adidas filed a lawsuit in September 2015 alleging that the Onix sneaker made by Skechers was a virtual copy of its iconic Stan Smith shoe, and the German company's arguments were convincing enough to persuade a judge to prohibit Skechers from selling athletic footwear featuring a three-stripe design or the Supernova name.

Adidas prevailed in court again in August 2017 when its attorneys provided evidence showing that Skechers intentionally copied the Stan Smith design. The court then dismissed Skechers' motion for summary judgment. Many legal experts were unsurprised by the ruling because Adidas has used its three-stripe design on footwear, apparel and accessories for decades. The court was convinced that the mark has become synonymous with the Adidas brand around the world and its use by other manufacturers would confuse consumers.

Avoiding insurance premium fraud

A California security company owner has come under scrutiny for underreporting his payroll expenses in an attempt to lower workers compensation costs. Accused of cheating his insurer of $3.2 million, a San Jose business owner will face workers compensation insurance fraud charges.

His idea to operate two businesses as one entity for the sake of lowering insurance premium costs with their insurance carriers landed him in hot water. Noticeable reporting irregularities in the number of workplace injuries triggered an investigation. During an extensive investigation, it was found that workplace injuries were being underreported. Employees were being instructed to not report work-related injuries stemming from accidents occurring onsite.

Who is responsible when a commercial business floods?

For Sheila Harris-Young and her daughter, Toni Young, opening Bumzy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies was a dream come true. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the pair opened the shop in the Fillmore neighborhood of San Francisco in 2010.

The dream is no longer so sweet now that the family business received an eviction notice. The landlord served the notice for failure to pay rent. The mother and daughter contend the failure to pay rent stems from continued flooding at their commercial property, including one instance of a raw sewage flood that kept the doors closed for almost 10 months. Harris-Young states the repairs cost $18,000.

Taking steps in the aftermath of accounting malpractice

California business owners often turn to an accountant to help manage their finances. Hiring such a professional can reduce the odds of paying too much in tax or being accused of breaking the law. However, it is possible that an accountant will engage in malpractice that could leave a company vulnerable to criminal or civil penalties. To prevent this from happening, accountants should follow either Generally Accepted Auditing Standards or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

If an accounting professional deviates from these guidelines, it could be a breach of contract. This is because most efforts to deviate from GAAP or GAAS are intentional, and that could be considered negligence depending on the facts of the case. As a general rule, an accountant must have had a duty of care toward a client that was not maintained. Furthermore, that breach of duty must be the proximate or direct cause of harm to the client.

California bill aims to help patients

Patient brokering is a practice that involves recruiting those who have substance abuse issues and referring them to rehab facilities. This is seen as a predatory practice that can lead to the death of patients as well as insurance fraud. However, proposed legislation in the California Senate would end the practice in that state. It would require that recovery programs that refer patients to be licensed and to only send them to facilities that meet certain standards.

Currently, New York and Florida also ban the practice of patient brokering, which some compare to human trafficking. Facilities that patients are referred to would need to have tools such as naloxone to help save anyone who had overdosed. In some cases, staff in sober living and other recovery facilities are not trained to help those who are experiencing a potentially life-threatening emergency such as an opioid overdose.

How unfair business practices are dealt with

Unfortunately, unfair competitions can hurt many consumers and businesses in California. Practices that are deemed to be unfair include trademark infringement, false advertising and misappropriation of trade secrets. Both state and federal laws aim to protect consumers and businesses from being hurt by such illegal acts. Consumer protection laws are generally distinct from those that protect companies from such activities.

Congress has the power to regulate commerce through the Commerce Clause in the Constitution. The federal government also derives such power through legislation like the Langham Act. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act further protects companies from having trade secrets or other sensitive information used against them by the competition. If a company believes that its rights have been infringed upon, it could seek both an injunction against the infringing party as well as monetary damages.

Mistakes business owners should avoid with websites

Californians who are planning to launch new websites should take care to avoid several common pitfalls involving intellectual property. If business owners are not careful with their website launches, they may be sued in court. It is important for businesses to conduct due diligence before they launch their websites.

One common issue that may arise is when business owners choose a brand name and have invested money in promoting it only to learn that someone else has already trademarked it. This can be very costly. Business owners can avoid this problem by choosing several different potential brand names and then researching each one on the USPTO's website and on the internet. Business owners should also make certain that the name they choose is one that can be trademarked.

Recommended insurance for restaurant ownership

Restaurants are a unique kind of business. Manufacturing, sales and consumption all happen simultaneously. As a result, restaurant owners have to juggle several different responsibilities while managing the risks of the food service industry.

In this busy role, insurance coverage is extremely important. If an accident happens, California restaurant owners should be able to rely on their policy to help them return to business as usual. There are a few types of coverage that commonly save a restaurant’s bacon, so to speak.

Understanding insurance bad faith as a policyholder

In modern-day America, having insurance isn't merely a luxury. It's often essential. And certain types of insurance, such as auto insurance, are legally required here in California.

If you've ever felt frustrated by or powerless against your insurance company, you're not alone. Too often, insurers have primary discretion over which claims get covered and for how much money. Appealing or contesting these decisions is an uphill battle. The good news, however, is that you do have rights as a policyholder. And if your insurer fails to uphold the terms of your policy in good faith, you may be entitled to compensation.

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