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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

Bankruptcy filing puts business formation under public scrutiny

The legal form a business should take is often not the most attractive thought for an entrepreneur in California, but the right plan for a commercial entity is one of the earliest and most important decisions to make. The legal form of a business dictates how it is run, who can manage it and how its proceeds are taxed.

The recent bankruptcy filing by a California utility giant has brought the form and responsibilities of business entities back into more public attention. Large companies with substantial public responsibilities are often different from other business enterprises because there are some implicit duties beyond those to a shareholder or a company's employees.

Contract voided by California appeals court ruling

Employees of all sorts of enterprises in California find themselves agreeing to wide-ranging employment agreements, from injury waivers to nondisclosure orders. Most of these documents are designed to give employers the upper hand in the case of a claim, but many rights cannot be legally signed away even if that's what an employee wants.

A court of appeal in California's Third Appellate District recently denied an attempt to force an employee into arbitration over a workplace dispute. Many employers try to maintain control of dispute resolution methods by requiring complaints to be arbitrated under their own terms and occasionally by their own personnel. But the construction of the agreement made it unenforceable under California law, leading the judge to render the entire agreement moot.

What construction defects land builders in court?

More new buildings go up in California than any other place in the United States. They are often built by specialized professionals who adhere closely to industrial guidelines as well as local codes. When there is a problem with builders' or contractors' work, civil court may be the right place to address the issue.

What is an example of a construction defect?

Independent contractors may not be in California

Construction is big business in California, and it is a complicated business everywhere. From foundations to rooftops, from plumbing to interior design, new buildings take an army of workers possessing a wide variety of skills. It is no surprise that most construction work is done by contractors.

A new California judicial ruling that clarified the definition of independent contractors has many small business owners worried about the consequences. The new test of contractors is an "ABC" list to check if a worker is getting these done that are outside an employer's typical scope and level of engagement with the worker.

Why is it so expensive to build low-cost housing in California?

New construction is one of the requirements of California's booming economy. The strength and diversity of the state rely on new housing and office solutions for all sizes and shapes of families and businesses. The government in Sacramento may attempt to tackle the challenges to making new homes affordable to developers and buyers alike.

What's one of the challenges that developers face?

What is the right type of business entity for your company?

There are many types of business structures that can be used in the construction industry. The right legal structure for a business is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs have to make. Knowing the key advantages and disadvantages of different business entities is vital in the early stages of your business.

What are the common types of businesses in California?

California court will decide sponsorship contract dispute

Contracts are one of our best ways of cooperating across industries and jurisdictions. Most businesses and individuals like the system of contracts that keeps costs and risks down for large ventures. Fortunately, the system also comes with ways to resolve disputes.

A popular brand of performance beverage and related merchandise recently won a case in a California circuit of the U.S. District Court related to its intellectual property. The company claimed a firm with a similar name capitalized on it by also using their signature color scheme. As the court renders punitive damages to the defendant, the plaintiff is facing its own contract dispute challenge.

New ruling in Los Angeles expands California construction law

Construction is one of California's largest industries, as the state and its municipalities try to stay ahead of an expanding population and more industries drawing workers to the West Coast. The demand for extra residential and commercial space can cause some projects to move too fast or too far, leading to litigation over sites and what can be built there.

A recent case in Los Angeles County resolved a dispute over the level of environmental review required for a project that was moved due to legal opposition. A multinational corporation headquartered in Minnesota requested land-use entitlements for a Hollywood site that would include a three-story department store among other facilities. The city granted several variances for the building's planned height and parking area.

Possible state law changes may affect new construction

From the snow-capped mountains in Shasta County to the golden beaches stretching south of Los Angeles, California has an undeniable allure that no other state can claim. Although the state is one of the largest in the country, many sections of it are suffering a housing crisis that is acute enough to make lawmakers in Sacramento and citizens everywhere reconsider housing laws.

A current debate is over whether to end the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from allowing rent controls on housing built after the law became valid in 1995. Berkeley is slated as the first to react to possible changes, allowing rent controls on housing after 20 years past its first residence certificate.

Lack of internet access endangers rural California

The expansion of states' and municipalities' legal requirements on the internet has made resources for businesses more accessible than ever. Many businesses can file important documents, legally required reports and even their taxes online.

There are several limits to online business creation. It is often easier to get into a business than get out of it or change it. Many first-time business creators do not know the advantages and disadvantages of specific tax structures and regulations, which can save or cost them thousands or even their business.

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