Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Working your way around business litigation

In order to protect yourself and your business, it is crucial to have a firm understanding of the laws and regulations in place. There may be instances where you find yourself in an uncomfortable or unwelcome situation either facing business litigation or the victim of another business's illegal tactics. In order to best understand how to proceed, let us first take a look at the basics of business litigation.

In every business litigation suit, there are two sides, the litigant also known as the accused, and the complainant, commonly known as the accuser. When there is more than one complainant, it is often referred to as a class action suit.

Protecting your loved one from nursing home abuse

One of the inevitabilities of human life is that as we age, our bodies start to break down. Everybody is different. Some people at the age of 90 are healthier than others at the age of 70. If you have an elderly loved one who is getting up in age, you will eventually notice that their abilities start to diminish. This could be both mentally or physically, or both.

For some, they could be perfectly healthy physically and able to care for themselves by shopping, cooking, personal care and maintaining their home. But if their mind starts to go, they may forget things such as where they are going, or may forget to turn off the sink or worse, stove. Others may still have all their mental capabilities, but their body starts to break down, leading them vulnerable to falls, injuries or illnesses more likely to affect older folks. No matter the reason, there may come a time that a family decides to move their elderly loved one into a nursing home.

A quick look at types of unincorporated business entities in PA

Different business entities have different characteristics in different areas, including: ownership and control; liability; taxation, reporting requirements; formation and dissolution requirements; distribution of profits, and so on. The type of entity selected when forming a business is important to get right, as making a wise selection will help ensure the success of the business.

One way to break down business types is: incorporated and unincorporated. Distinguishing between business forms based on incorporation is useful because of the special characteristics and rules that apply to corporations. 

PA law made broad changes to law governing unincorporated entities

Earlier this year, a new Pennsylvania law went into effect which made significant changes to several types of partnership entities and limited liability companies. The changes were fairly widespread touching upon matters of formation, dissolution, registration, governance, distribution and liability for general and limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and limited liability companies.

The basic idea behind the changes was to bring the law governing unincorporated associations up-to-date. One of the ways the law did this was by providing default rules for voting and fiduciary duties for LLCs, which may be modified through an Operating Agreement, though with certain limitations. Another change is that the economic rights to distributions of an LLC interest are now transferable as personal property. 

Why you need to make a succession plan for your small business

Part of owning a company and preparing your estate is forming a business succession plan. This entails deciding what will happen to your small business once you no longer are willing or able to run it.

You do not need to wait until you want to move on to another enterprise or are ready to retire before contemplating these matters. The sooner you establish a clear arrangement for the future of your business, the more benefits you will receive.

How do prosecutors build DUI cases, and why is experienced defense advocacy necessary? P.3

We’ve been looking in recent posts at the two bases on which the government can build a drunken driving case, and some of the issues that need to be considered when building a strong defense against DUI charges. As we’ve noted, meeting or exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit and intoxication sufficient to render one incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle are two potential bases for DUI charges, and each involve their own unique considerations.

In cases where an individual is charged with DUI based on inability to safely operate a motor vehicle, prosecutors usually rely on several pieces of evidence. Prosecutors will rely on things like traffic violations, the odor of alcohol, a demeanor suggesting intoxication, and the drivers own admissions. Roadside sobriety tests can also come into play as well. 

How do prosecutors build DUI cases, and why is experienced defense advocacy necessary? P.2

In our last post, we mentioned several important factors that need to be considered when scrutinizing the reliability of alcohol tests in drunken driving cases. As we mentioned, the scientific acceptability of breath testing software; proper calibration, use and maintenance of breath testing devices; proper performance of blood testing and chain of custody issues should all be scrutinized with breath and blood test results.

Whenever prosecutors rely on alcohol testing to build a DUI case, there are also biological factors that should be considered. These include: whether the defendant’s blood alcohol level may have been higher due to the issue of timing; whether the testing device may have been thrown off by other substances in the defendant’s system at the time of testing; and whether the defendant’s body temperature or lung capacity may have thrown off the readings. 

How do prosecutors build DUI cases, and why is experienced defense advocacy necessary?

Most people understand that it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing drunken driving charges, if for no other reason than they do not understand the legal process and how to build a strong defense case. While in every drunken driving case, the goal is to resolve the matter to the best benefit of the defendant, each case is different, and different strategies are used depending on the facts of the case.

As in other states, there are two general ways an individual may be charged with drunken driving in Pennsylvania. One possibility is for a driver to be charged based on the level of intoxication. By statute, those found to be driving, operating or in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of between 0.08 and 0.10 percent within two hours of driving may be charged with driving under the influence. These cases are also known as DUI “per se.” 

Basics of Pennsylvania contracts for small business owners

As a business owner, you can expect to sign a lot of contracts. You will enter into contractual relationships with vendors, customers, service providers and employees. Knowing how contracts work can help you deal with some common problems.

First of all, you need a valid contract if you want performance to be legally enforceable. Generally, a contract may be verbal or in writing if it does not deal with the sale of goods over $500. In practice, you may encounter a lot of difficulty proving the existence or terms of such an understanding. Generally, the best way to reduce the chance of a dispute is to prepare a written, detailed and clear contract. You may prefer to retain a lawyer for this task, especially for more complex types of agreements.

Work with experienced attorney to fight DUI charges, minimize penalties, P.1

Drunken driving is a serious problem affecting highway safety, and state are always looking for better ways to address the problem, whether through better public education, enhanced enforcement efforts, or passing stricter laws. Pennsylvania lawmakers, as Pittsburgh readers may be aware, have been working to get tougher laws in place to fight DUI, though with limited success.

Over the last two years, lawmakers attempted to pass over 20 drunken driving measures, including education and prevention requirements and tougher sentencing options. Only one measure was signed into law in that time, and that was a requirement that first-time DUI offenders install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. 

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If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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