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

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

How to avoid a defamation lawsuit in the business world

Whether they like it or not, business owners often find themselves amidst conflict. Sometimes this friction is caused from the negotiation of a contract or laying out a business plan with partners. However, some conflict arises from interactions with employees. This is particularly true in the hiring and firing process. If these issues are handled improperly, then a business may find itself at the center of litigation, which can be bad for a business's reputation and bottom line.

One way this can occur is when a business or business owner is accused of defamation. In order for a court to find that defamation has occurred, a plaintiff must show that his or her reputation was damaged by statements that the defendant knew were false. Therefore, when former employers are contacted by potential employers, the former employer needs to be careful about what he or she says.

Motorcycle accident may result in personal injury claim

With consistently warm weather just around the corner, many Pennsylvania residents may be preparing themselves to take their motorcycles out of the garage and hit the road. Although riding a motorcycle can be a peaceful, relaxing, fun and cost-effective way to get around town, it can also be dangerous. Some motorcycle accidents are caused by errant motorcyclists, but the fact remains that approximately two-thirds of all motorcycle wrecks are caused by drivers of other vehicles.

Making matters worse, motorcyclists are nearly 26 times more likely to die in an accident when compared to those involved in crashes involving passenger vehicles. The number of motorcycle fatalities seem to continue to increase each year, showing just how devastating of a problem this issue can be for Pennsylvanians. Even those who are fortunate enough to survive a motorcycle accident may suffer extensive damages, including physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.

What steps can I take to help my business grow?

As a new Pittsburgh area business owner, you may feel excited and ready for the challenges that come with growing and maintaining a successful company. Here at the outset is the ideal time to anticipate potential legal and ethical issues that might arise so you can put plans in place to mitigate them. 

Consider the following pointers to enhance business growth and mitigate legal risks

Contract negotiation tips

There are essential documents when it comes to starting and running a business. Contracts can provide a solid foundation for conducting business, hiring employees and ensuring that competition is minimized. However, a contract is only as strong as the terms contained within it. Since a contract is essentially a bartered exchange, strong negotiation can make all the difference when it comes to the ultimate outcome of a contract's terms. This means a lot can be at stake.

Therefore, those who are entering contract negotiations need to ensure that they are prepared to protect their best interests. The first way they can do this is to identify their objectives. Having a clear sense of the end game will help focus negotiations. Second, a party should be sure to research all relevant facts and laws so that strong arguments in support of their position can be made. Third, it is crucial to identify what are "gives" during negotiation and what absolutely must be obtained. By doing so, a party can better develop negotiation tactics.

Hospital employees facing felony conspiracy charges

The war on drugs has been raging across the U.S. for a number of decades now. The only difference is that the drugs receiving the most attention now and those accused of violating the state's drug laws are different than they were in the 1980s and 90s. Today, the focus has significantly shifted away from street drugs and toward common painkillers, including opiates. Those who are accused of violating drug laws in Pennsylvania can be up against some serious potential penalties, which is why they need to consider how best to present their criminal defense.

Two Pittsburgh doctors are in this position now after being taken into custody on felony conspiracy charges related to the distribution of prescription painkillers. Reports indicate that the two doctors, who work in the radiology department at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, wrote false prescriptions for hydrocodone to each other's family and friends in exchange for cash and favors. According to the report, thousands of pills were given out to individuals who did not have a valid prescription.

Criminal mischief in Pennsylvania

Some criminal offense may seem relatively minor to Pittsburgh residents. Some may not even seem like crimes at all. This is particularly true when young adults vandalize the property of another. It can be easy to write these instances off as young people making mistakes, but Pennsylvania law views it as a punishable offense. This means that individuals can find themselves facing the possibility of much harsher penalties than they ever envisioned.

Under Pennsylvania law, vandalism is generally classified as criminal mischief. This category of criminal offenses includes damaging mailboxes, spray painting someone's property or even lighting off a smoke bomb in a school. Even property damage that is negligently caused by fire can classify as criminal mischief. When criminal mischief involves a church or a school, though, the penalties can be heightened. The same holds true when agricultural property is harmed.

Pittsburgh firm handling variety of business law cases

On its face, the business world is pretty easy to understand. Companies are created to sell goods and services to customers. Once you dig a little deeper, though, you can see that the business world can be fraught with legal complexities. Merely starting a business can be a legal and financial challenge, and so, too, can disputes over how a business should be run moving forward. Issues with suppliers and employees can threaten a company's bottom line, and intellectual property disputes can threaten to undermine profits and a business's reputation.

The good news is that business law provides an outlet for these issues to be rectified. When handled correctly, businesses can protect their best interests. Whether dealing with contractual, business structure or consumer fraud issues, businesses need to ensure that they understand the law and how it can be used to their advantage.

The standard of care owed in premises liability cases

Entering onto property owned by another should not give rise to fear. Unfortunately, though, far too often unsuspecting individuals invited onto the property of another are subjected to dangerous property conditions that can leave them with serious injuries. Oftentimes, this occurs in a retail or grocery store, but it can also happen when visiting others for social reasons or walking through a business's parking lot. Regardless of where the accident took place, those who suffer harm in one of these incidences may be able to recover compensation for their damages by pursuing a premises liability lawsuit.

In premises liability cases, different standards of care apply to a defendant depending upon the plaintiff's status. Those who are deemed to have been invitees onto the property, which includes store customers, are owed a duty of reasonable care. This means that property owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is free of hazardous conditions. When such conditions are identified, they should be remedied quickly and invitees should be warned of them. Those who are deemed trespasser, on the other hand, are owed no duty of care.

Business law: Cosmetics retailer sued for selling used goods

Businesses have a lot of issues that must be dealt with on a consistent basis. Many of these matters have a direct impact on a business's bottom line. Whether it is a contract dispute that threatens to slow the delivery or sale of a product, an intellectual property infringement that waters down the potency of a company's trademark or allegations made by consumers that threaten a business's reputation, business law disputes can eat into profits. This is why businesses need to diligently work to protect themselves, regardless of the allegations that are made against them.

Cosmetics retailer Ulta has found itself in this position after being hit two lawsuits alleging that the company repackages returned items and markets and sells them as if they are new. Although the company has a policy whereby customers are asked if their returned products have been used and, if so, they are marked as damages, former employees claim that only a portion of these used cosmetics are actually marked as damaged. According to them, a significant amount of these goods wind up on the shelf being sold as if they are new. The lawsuit claims that, as a result of this practice, customers were unknowingly exposed to harmful bacteria, which could include those that are quite serious, like E. coli.

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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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