Lesser Law Group

San Rafael California Insurance Law Firm

Bad faith issues continue to plague the insurance industry

Insurance is all but mandatory in certain instances, such as if you wish to drive a car in California or if you carry a mortgage on your home, and is seen as a necessity for things like health. And while it's certainly true that as much as most people would prefer not to have to pay for insurance, they absolutely never want to have to access the benefits of insurance by needing to file a claim. But when they do, they want their insurance company to be there for them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Insurance is a unique type of business in the sense that it is very much self-regulating. An insurance company will offer coverage for protected losses, and it is the main, and often sole, arbiter over whether the loss claimed by the policyholder is covered by terms of the policy and if so, to what extent. Considering that an insurance company is ultimately a for-profit business that very much wants to keep shareholders happy by increasing their bottom line, it is easy to see where there may be potential conflicts of interest. Legal commentators indicate that when an insurance company fails to perform its obligations properly, it may be an act of bad faith.

Esports team problems lead to breach of contract lawsuit

Many people in California dream of breaking into esports, but the industry of competitive video gaming carries the same risks as other enterprises. Former NBA star Rick Fox has sued two of his former business partners, saying that they breached their contract with him to build an esports team. The case was filed in California Superior Court, and Fox accuses his former business partners of misleading him when he bought the leading stake in an esports firm, Echo Fox.

Before the lawsuit was launched, Fox was involved in a public dispute with one former business partner who was accused of using racist language against the former CEO of the esports team. The former business partners deny the allegations and instead accuse Fox of mismanaging the team, leading other partners in the concern to seek his removal from his role with the team. Fox's suit accuses the former partners of engaging in self-dealing, including paying themselves high salaries, funding their personal homes and issuing large loans. However, the former business partners say that general partners of the esports team have voted to remove Fox from his leadership position at the concern and that he has filed this lawsuit in revenge.

Satellite companies' failed merger leads to litigation

California business relationships that start with a promising future can sometimes end in an acrimonious dispute. One telecommunications company, Intelsat, known for delivering broadband services through satellites, is suing a company in which it previously invested, OneWeb. It is also suing OneWeb's biggest investor, SoftBank. Intelsat accuses the other companies of conspiring to steal its proprietary information, breaching contracts and committing fraud. The lawsuit emerged from the cooperation agreements concluded between OneWeb and Intelsat following the latter's $25 million investment in the former.

In 2015, Intelsat and OneWeb concluded an agreement in which Intelsat customers were able to access OneWeb's communication services. Intelsat also received the rights to exclusively distribute OneWeb services to aviation, maritime, government and oil and gas industries in exchange for its investment. The following year, after a $1 billion investment from Softbank, OneWeb agreed that Softbank would be the exclusive global distributor of its communication services. Intelsat objected to the deal, and a contract amendment was reached. Intelsat would keep its distribution rights but would arrange services through SoftBank. Intelsat says that it disclosed confidential information about the four markets and its plans for selling services with OneWeb and SoftBank.

Has your insurer rejected your EPL claim?

Whether you own a large company or a family-run business, if you have employees, you may spend much of your time trying to keep them happy. Because you have seen the recent events involving accusations of misconduct that have ruined the careers of numerous successful people, you have decided it is wise to carry insurance in case your company should face similar allegations.

If you have purchased an Employment Practices Liability Coverage policy, you would be wise to read it carefully and understand exactly what it covers and what it excludes. Some policies may have terms that are confusing, and you don't want to discover your policy does not cover you when it is too late.

Content creator sues YouTube for breach of contract

A lawsuit filed in a California federal district court on Aug. 28 alleges that the online video platform YouTube retaliated against a popular content creator by deleting his channels and removing all of his videos. YouTube is accused of doing this after the content creator threatened legal action when his videos stopped being recommended by the platform and his subscribers stopped receiving notifications about new ones.

According to the breach of contract lawsuit, the content creator began uploading videos to YouTube in 2007 and built a following of more than 250,000 subscribers. In early 2016, the man says that his videos began to receive an unusually large number of copyright claims. He maintains that these claims were groundless. The lawsuit claims that YouTube agreed with this assessment and continued to monetize the man's two channels and allowed his videos to remain on the platform. YouTube's monetization program allows content creators to earn money from advertising that appears before their videos begin to play.

Walmart takes Tesla to court over faulty solar panels

Those who shop at Walmart in California or elsewhere throughout the country may have heard about the partnership between the company and Tesla. However, Walmart has filed a lawsuit in the state of New York against Tesla saying that solar panels placed on top of seven different stores caught on fire. According to the lawsuit, the solar panels were not installed properly and were inspected by employees who were not properly trained to do so.

The lawsuit further claims that there were multiple physical defects with the solar panels. Therefore, Walmart asserts that Tesla's actions represented a breach of contract and negligence. Walmart is seeking reimbursement for damages caused by the fires that include lost inventory as well as damage to other company property. In addition, the retailer wants Tesla to remove solar panels from another 240 Walmart locations.

Unfair competition is a business tort

Unfair competition is essentially a business tort. This makes it a civil wrong, not a criminal violation. However, unfair competition standards are established under both federal law and California state law, both of which allow an aggrieved business to sue the offending business for monetary damages and injunctive relief to halt the illegal behavior. The relevant federal laws are found under copyright laws, trademark laws and the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. Section 1125.) Unfair competition does not refer to monopolies or antitrust violations.

In general, what constitutes unfair competition varies with the type of business involved, the specific action being considered and the individual facts of the case. Legal commentators cite the following types of unfair competition most commonly reported -- trademark infringement, misappropriation, unauthorized substitution of one brand of goods for another, false representation of products or services, false advertising, use of confidential information by a former employee to solicit customers, trade libel, theft of trade secrets and breach of a restrictive covenant.

Ethereum co-founder's suit underscores importance of pre-contract legal review

California blockchain investors may be interested to learn that Harrison Hines, the founder of the Token Foundry, is suing a former business partner for breach of contract. His lawsuit was filed in the New York County branch of the Supreme Court of the State of New York on June 5.

According to court documents, Hines is seeking over $13 million in damages from Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of the Ethereum cryptocurrency project and also the co-founder of the ConsenSys project, which helped provide funding for Hines' Token Foundry. The Token Foundry, which specialized in helping new blockchain companies issue and market tokens, had to lay off most of its employees, including Hines, during the crypto market crash of 2018. However, the lawsuit contends that ConsenSys lied about the amount of equity available to employees when Token closed down and cheated them out of their rightful disbursement percentages.

Holding Your Insurer To Its Promises When Making a Claim

As a California business owner, you undoubtedly know the importance of having various types of insurance for your company. You likely have general liability insurance, property insurance and maybe even business income insurance.  Many companies need errors and omissions, directors and officers and cyber coverages as well.  Though you likely hoped to never need to file a claim, you knew that having this coverage was an important safeguard.

Now, you may find yourself feeling differently about your insurance coverage because of difficulties you face with the insurer after having to file a claim. In fact, you may worry that you will not obtain the payout you need even though your policy covers the claim. What are your remedies for the carrier's conduct?

About accountant malpractice

Many people in California do not feel comfortable handling their own accounting. They may opt to use an accountant who can assume the responsibility of ensuring that their taxes and other financial matters are in good standing. However, if the accountant does not properly manage their accounts, they may be the victim of accounting malpractice.

The Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are protocols by which accountants are bound to abide by. GAAS pertains to when accountants provide an objective and transparent auditing of their clients' accounts. GAAP applies when accountants prepare financial statements on the behalf of clients. There are various forms of accountant malpractice that could take place when accountants stray from the standards and principles established by GAAS and GAAP.

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