Archive for the ‘Business Law’ Category

Why You Should Have a Kansas City Business Law Attorney Review Your Commercial Lease

Monday, May 15th, 2017

As a human being, we are not perfect creatures. While human beings are much more advanced than other life forms, we are far from infallible creatures.  In fact, it seems no matter how much more innovative the human race has become, it seems like there are certain pitfalls that we just cannot seem to escape. The biggest part of being human is to know that we are bound to make mistakes. Some mistakes are minor and not much worth talking about even the very next day. However, some mistakes are so big that they seem to penetrate every facet of our lives and have the power to haunt us forever. As a business owner, knowing that you could make a mistake that you would regret for years to come can be an unsettling thought. That is why it is important as a business owner to know when you should consult with a business law attorney. Signing a commercial lease without consulting with a qualified business law attorney first is the perfect example of a mistake that can have far-reaching negative effects.

It is critical to have a business law attorney review a lease agreement since commercial leases by their very nature are skewed towards landlords as they are written by the landlords. As a business owner, this means that commercial leases often contain numerous provisions that unfairly favor the landlord. Areas that are of particular concern include the following:

  • Lease term. A long lease normally benefits the landlord while a shorter lease term favors the business owner. It is important to negotiate this area of the lease since commercial leases are not easy or without significant financial cost to break.
  • Renewal clause. Once you find the perfect spot for your business, you want to make sure that you can keep your business at the location for as long as you see fit. Some leases have unfavorable renewal clauses or have no option to renew at all.
  • Fee provisions. In addition to the monthly rent, tenants are usually responsible for a share of the CAM or Common Area Maintenance fees. CAM fees are similar to the fees condo owners pay in addition to their mortgage. CAM fees can vary greatly from lease to leave and in some cases can exceed the monthly rent.
  • Oral promises. While oral promises are in certain cases enforceable, it is always better to have every term related to a lease contained in writing within the lease documents.
  • Hidden provisions. Often buried within a commercial lease are terms that can be quite detrimental to a tenant. One such term is personal guarantee clause. A personal guarantee clause is problematic because it opens a business owner up to an attack on their individual assets, something is otherwise not possible given the protections of incorporation.

If you are a business owner, who is considering signing a new lease, consult with a business law attorney first. Your attorney will discuss any potential pitfalls in the proposed lease and negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

As a business owner, it is important to find a Kansas City Business Law Attorney who knows and understands your business’s special needs. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. our experienced Business Law Attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients protect their business. Our attorneys have assisted clients in both Kansas and Missouri with their business needs for almost two decades. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. we understand the needs of business and want to be there for your business. No matter what your business needs, our team of attorneys can handle it all. To discuss your business needs with one of our seasoned business law attorneys, contact our office today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation.

Kansas City Business Law Attorneys Offer Tips For Selecting The Right Attorney For Your Business

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

As a business owner, your business is your pride and joy, your baby. Few people can understand and truly appreciate the amount of work it takes to start and grow a business. The amount of time and sweat equity put into any business can almost be compared to first-time parents caring for a newborn. The worry and anxiety can only be topped by the thrill and excitement of the whole experience. Just like a parent would not trust their infant with just any person, a business owner needs to be selective in finding the right people to help start, grow and maintain your business. The difference between success and failure can sometimes be as simple as finding the right business law attorney to make sure your business gets started and stays on the right track! While finding a good business law attorney may sound like a daunting task, these tips can help you find the perfect fit for your business:

  • Look for attorneys whose main practice area is business law. While it may sound intuitive, people often fail in their search for the right attorney to eliminate those attorneys whose focus area is not the area of business law. However, it should go without saying that if you would not select a dermatologist to perform your brain surgery, you should not select an attorney whose practice is overwhelmingly dedicated to the practice of criminal law to meet your business’ legal needs. So while the attorney that handled your custody dispute with your ex may be a great attorney, he or she may not be the best person to give you advice on ways you can minimize your tax liability.
  • Focus on attorneys who can handle both transactional AND litigation matters. The right attorney should be someone who can meet all of your business’s needs. As a busy owner, the last thing you need to do is to find an attorney that can help you with the formation of a limited liability company or review a contract but is unable to be of assistance if your business has litigation needs. You want to find an attorney who has extensive experience, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
  • Make sure the attorney you select has a positive reputation in the community. Smart small and large business owners alike, know the importance of having a good reputation. Your business’s goodwill is as important as any other aspect of your business. Therefore, when you are searching for the right attorney, make sure to check out his or her reputation as well.
  • Trust your gut. When you meet with an attorney, listen to your gut. You are not only looking for a skilled and experienced attorney, but also one who is as passionate about growing and protecting your business as you are. If your gut does not trust the attorney to do just that—then move on!

As an owner, it is important to find the right Kansas City Business Law Attorney to represent your business. This where the experienced and highly skilled Kansas City Business Law Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. come in. Our attorneys have assisted clients in both Kansas and Missouri with their business needs for almost two decades. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. we understand the needs of business and will be there for your business every step of the way. Whether you are just starting your business, need assistance to grow your business, or have litigation or tax needs, our team of attorneys can handle it all. To discuss your business needs with one of our seasoned business law attorneys, contact our office today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation.

Avoiding Liability for Employee’s Cell Phone Related Accidents

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Our law firm routinely receives calls from Kansas business owners inquiring about their liability for serious auto accidents where their employee is at-fault while engaged in company business.  Juries throughout the country have been awarding motor vehicle accident victims massive judgments in cases where an employee causes catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in auto accidents while talking or texting on a cell phone.  An employer that issues a company phone to an employee to use to conduct business is particularly vulnerable to liability for injuries caused by an employee’s distracted driving.

For example, a Florida jury awarded $21 million to the family of a wrongful death victim against an employer whose employee collided with the other vehicle while engaged in a sales call for the company.  The company neither directed her to make the call while she was driving nor to even use her cell phone but also had no company policy that prohibited cell phone use while driving.  This is just one of a number of massive verdicts against companies based on an employee car accident while using a cell phone.  The issue of liability for injuries caused by employees involved in cell phone related car accidents has become so prevalent that twenty percent of all Fortune 500 Companies have implemented complete bans on cell phone use by employees during business hours.

While our law firm defends companies who face liability for injuries caused by the negligence of their employees, we know the best approach is to develop company policies and procedures that minimize exposure to such liability risks before they occur.  If a company plans to issue company cell phones, it is imperative that the company takes clear steps to prevent cell phone use while driving.  Some measures that can help reduce a company’s exposure for cell phone related accidents by its employees include:

No Company Cell Phones: If it is not essential to issue company cell phones, a company can reduce its potential liability by not issuing cell phones to its employees.  If company cell phones are issued, then it is essential to develop elaborate and carefully articulated rules concerning when and how the cell phones may be used.  Employees should be asked to sign a form indicating they are aware of the policy and understand the disciplinary measures that may be faced if the rules are violated.

Written Policy Limiting Personal Cell Phone Use: The company should have a written policy clearly prohibiting ALL cell phone use while driving during company hours or while performing company business after hours.  A warning should appear on the cell phone and in an obvious place within all company vehicles.

The business law attorney section of our practice is aware that a one-size fit all policy is not appropriate for all businesses, but a company must have a risk management policy for this growing business liability risk.  The policy that the company implements to avoid liability must be carefully considered to be effective.  A case against International Paper Company settled for $5.2 million when its employee rear-ended another vehicle while talking on his cell phone.  This case is particularly noteworthy because the employee violated a company policy limiting use of a cell phone while driving to hands free use only.

Our Kansas business law attorneys can advise you regarding your potential liability exposure and conduct a risk assessment including recommending policies to avoid liability for injuries caused by your employees including cell phone related auto accidents.  Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.