Buying or Selling A Business in New York? Do Your “Due Diligence”

Before buying or selling a New Yorkbusiness, make sure you understand how to perform a “due diligence” for the business. This is essential for all businesses whether you are the buyer or a seller. A good motivated seller of a business will, usually, receive a better deal if pre-due diligence work is performed in order to satisfy the potential requests of a buyer – in a timely fashion. We often see a buyer questioning documents produced when the documents are not produced in a timely manner. Recently, I was approached by a prospective client about selling a small business, and I asked if she knew what performing a “due diligence” was. The blank stare on her face was all the answer I needed. Many small business owners have heard the term, but know nothing about what it means to properly carry out the due diligence process. “Due diligence” is a

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New York Non-Compete Agreements

The validity of a non-compete agreement in New York is measured in light of relevant principles and the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your business. Non-compete clauses are commonly found in employment agreements across many industries regardless of size or products / services offered. Non-compete agreements impose restrictions on future employment of employees.  The validity of a specific non-compete clause is taken on a case-by-case basis via courts in New York.  New York courts shall, generally, consider what is reasonable.  Those non-compete agreements that are considered “reasonable” are agreements with: The non-compete clause is no broader than is required to protect the NY business’s legitimate business interests; The non-compete clause does not unduly burden the employee; The non-compete clause does not injure the public; The non-compete clause is not for an unreasonable duration of time; and The non-compete clause has a reasonable and limited geographic scope. If an employee to a

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Frustration of Purpose as a Tool to Avoid Contracts in New York: The BREXIT Fallout

We have clients that are supplying products to UK companies and UK companies that are being supplied products by U.S. companies. With the surprising outcome of the Brexit vote, the purpose of these agreements are now frustrated because, often, these products are used in finished products assembled in EU nations. This situation often arises in complex products. For example, a U.S. business has a piece of technology that is integrated into a British component. The British component is then further integrated into a finished product manufactured in Germany. The situation is not as rare as you think. We suggest an immediate review of your contracts. With the potential for UK companies to have decreases in sales, a fixed supply contact may be invalidated based on the Frustration of Purpose principle. Obviously, the opposite may also be true. A UK company may be unable to provide products (Impossibility Principle) or provide

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Validity and Enforceability of Electronic Signatures in New York

Federal law governs, in most cases in New York, when the use of an electronic signature is valid and enforceable.  The U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (also called ESIGN Act) defines an electronic signature as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic record and executed or adopted by a person with intent to sign the record.” This definition covers a broad scope, as businesses use different means, methods and technologies that create electronic signatures, including: Check boxes or buttons that state you agree to certain terms and conditions; PIN numbers or passwords; Signing an electronic keypad; or A graphical representation, image or a scan of a handwritten signature. The ESIGN Act protects the validity and enforceability of signatures made electronically, including: A signature, contract, or other record relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or

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When Must Your NY Business Agreements Be In Writing?

While it is always advisable to put all your New York business agreements in writing, there are special rules that govern whether a particular contract must be in writing.  The following is the basics of the New York’s Statute of Frauds Sales of goods Like most states, sales transactions are governed in New York by the Uniform Commercial Code, which has a specific section on when it is necessary for your agreement to be in writing.  The section is referred to as the Statute of Frauds.  The Statute of Frauds in New York states that contracts in New York for the price of $500 or more is not enforceable unless there is some writing sufficient to indicate that a contract has been made.Please note that this doesn’t necessarily require a formal long-form contract – only some writing proving there is a contract.  Of course, the UCC contains conditions and further

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Private Placement Memos Get Start-Ups Moving

Recently, I wrote about the two tools available to small businesses to stir interest and investment – the business plan and the private placement memorandum.  Let’s focus on the private placement memorandum. A Private Placement Memorandum (or PPM for short) is a legal document that organized businesses provide to prospective private investors who may be interested in buying stock or some other kind of security in your business in some kind of private transaction. The PPM will put all of your cards on the table: 1.  Your company’s basics:  Who you are, what you are looking to accomplish and the nature of your business.  This can also include the description of your company and management structure. 2. Your terms:  First and foremost, you will need to identify the rights, restrictions and class of your securities.  This section includes the capitalization of your company before and after offering the securities or

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Every New York Business Owner Needs A Will

No one ever wants to think about it, but sooner or later we all meet our maker and before meeting your maker – have a will drafted that complies with New York law and your wishes. Small business owners especially need a will, as their businesses can suffer based on the time it requires to resolve the estate matter.  Not let this happen.  Having a professional drafted will is cheap and painless. A “Last Will and Testament” helps protect your loved ones and allows you to determine what happens to your property – on your terms.  With a will you can leave your property to whomever or whatever entity you want, ensure that any minor children get proper care and settle financial concerns that would be left to your grieving loved ones.  In New York, the alternative to passing without a will, is “Intestacy” and not your own wishes, but

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Terminating A Franchise Agreement In New York: NY Franchise Law Basics

The termination or cancellation of a New York franchise relationship requires planning, a thorough understanding of your particular New York franchise agreement and procedural formalities.  Typically, it is advisable to consult with your franchise lawyer. New York Franchise Terminations (Franchisee Considerations) For example, preparation should begin before signing a franchise agreement by a New York franchisee.  Before signing, a would-be franchisee should consider the written terms outlining the right to terminate the franchise agreement.  Other clauses, of course, should be reviewed.  This post, only, addresses one issue of many that a franchisee should consider. Typically, a franchisor shall lay out several conditions it would consider to be breaches of the franchise agreement that trigger termination.  These conditions will not afford an opportunity for either party to cure or correct the specific condition.  These incurable breaches are, typically, material breaches of franchise agreement and, often, New York law.  In some cases, a

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Enforcement of Liquidated Damages Clauses in NY?

When NY businesses contract with others, and those contracts include a clause for liquidated damages, be careful that your New York liquidated damage clause is enforceable in New York and not a mere penalty, or you may have negotiated your way into a New York court. In New York, parties generally are free to set the terms of their own contracts and may agree on the damages for breach in certain circumstances. Specifically, parties are free to agree to liquidated damages, which is damage calculation, typically, used when: damages are difficult or impossible to calculate; and where the amount agreed upon bears a reasonable relationship to the probable loss. Our New York law office drafts, has enforced and has challenged liquidated damage clauses in numerous industries including real estate, service agreements, supply agreements and vendor agreements. When damages resulting from a breach are readily calculable or where the agreed upon

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Successor Liability Pitfalls in New York

When buying or selling a New York business or any of a business’s assets under NY law, potential successor liability of the buyer is of primary concern.  New York Successor Liability Law is complex and the following is, only, intended as a brief overview of the matter. Successor liability in New York is liability that the buyer of a New York company’s assets may have for the liabilities of the seller of those assets performed prior to the purchase.  Essentially, a buyer would be compelled to pay off debt that the seller accumulated prior to completion of the transaction. The general rule in New York is that the buyer of company assets does not assume and is not liable for the seller’s liabilities unless otherwise expressly stated in the asset purchase agreement.  However, exceptions exist. New York Successor Liability Exception to General Rule Express or Implied Assumption by Buyer. This exception

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New York Non-Compete & Confidentiality Agreements

Business in New York can be highly competitive, and relies, in part, upon a business’s ability to protect valuable information disclosed to current and past employees. Many NY companies feel that implementing non-compete agreements and other contractual obligations will encourage employee retention overall and protect information should an employee leave. It is important for New York businesses to understand, however, that there are restrictions to when and how non-compete agreements can be enforced. Traditionally, non-compete agreements in New York are used in companies and industries involving sensitive proprietary information and/or trade secrets. Non-compete agreements are commonly found across many industries regardless of size or products or services offered. They can take many forms depending on the information to be protected, including confidentiality agreements (prohibiting use or revealing information) and non-solicitation agreements (prohibiting approaching customers, poaching employees or contacting vendors). New York Courts consider the enforcement of a specific non-compete agreement

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Reasons for a New York Landlord to Hire an Real Estate Attorney

If you are a New York landlord that owns or manages one or a few rental properties, then you are unlikely to have a New York lawyer on retainer. To save costs and avoid frustration, landlords should recognize that when these five situations arise, it is time to hire a real estate attorney in New York.  We see too many issues and the issues, normally, fall into one of the following: Evicting a Tenant in NY In New York, an eviction lawsuit is a summary proceeding that takes much less time than other New York civil matters.  But, in exchange for the expedited treatment of cases, landlords must follow detailed court rules to the letter. These rules range from serving proper and timely notice on the tenant to filing the right papers in court with the appropriate legal arguments.  Additionally, landlords should know at the outset that New York Landlord-Tenant

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Some Uber Drivers May Be Entitled To Unemployment Benefits

An administrative ruling out of New York state found that, under certain conditions, Uber drivers may be entitled to state unemployment benefits. The NYS Department of Labor (DOL) ruled that two Uber drivers were eligible for weekly jobless benefits. This represents the first time that a state government determined that drivers for a ride-sharing company are employees. To date, states have found – and companies like Uber have argued – that drivers for ride-sharing companies were independent contractors who are ineligible for jobless benefits. We here at The New York Law Blog have discussed the differences between an employee and an independent contractor in the context of continuing federal litigation involving Uber. Uber and other ride-sharing companies are part of a larger development in business termed the “gig economy,” which is an environment where independent workers contract for temporary positions for short-term engagements. Uber’s critics have argued for some time that it

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New York City Forcing Certain Employers To Sign “Labor Peace” Agreements

New York City is trying to force certain employers to sign “labor peace” agreements with unions. Last month, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order requiring property developers receiving at least $1 million in “financial assistance” to require any large retail and food service tenants on the premises to accept “labor peace” agreements. These so-called “labor peace” agreements would prohibit companies on these premises from opposing the union organization of employees. These kinds of agreements already exist in the state’s Public Authorities Law, which requires hotels, convention center operators and certain contractors to negotiate a “labor peace” agreement with corresponding labor organizations. The New York law applies specifically to all “retail or food establishments” on the premises of any New York “city development project” that is expected to be larger than 100,000 sq. ft, that (a) sells goods, food, or drinks, (b) that employs, or will employ 10 or more

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NY Agency Law Basics: Obtaining an agent to distribute your products in New York

New York Agency law deals with the relationship between an “agent,” and a “principal.” An agency relationship forms when a principal asks an individual to act on behalf of the principal and the action of the agent may bind the principal in some way.  Agency, in short, is a fiduciary relationship where an agent acts for a principal subject to control of the principal. Under these circumstances, a principal will be liable for contracts entered into by agents when (1) the a fiduciary relationship exists between an agent and principle  (2) the agent acted with some kind of authority, and (3) a contractual obligation is created between the agent and a third party.  The idea of authority can be a tricky one to nail down. Actual, Apparent  & Inherent Authority to Act for a Principal in New York An agency relationship can be, and often is, enforced by written agreements

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NY Franchising Red Flags

If you are thinking about entering into a franchise agreement in New York, please consider these New York Franchise Warning Signs.  All of the laws in New York that are intended to protect potential investors in franchises are not meant to act as a substitute for good business sense, so be aware of these common red flags, do your due diligence and hire a New York franchise lawyer to assist in the negotiation and evaluation of the franchise opportunity. Failure to Disclose Legally Necessary Details to Franchisees Under New York law, no offer or sale of a franchise can take place until the franchisor has registered franchise disclosure documents (FDD) with the state of New York.  Sometimes called a prospectus, the FDD contains 20+ different items of information about the franchise including the the history of the fanchisor, required fees and investment costs – among other things.If you do not receive

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Vital Business Agreements Before Starting a Business in New York: NY Startup Basics

The following is a list of the basic business agreements that we advise prior to operating a New York business. This list is not intended to be exhaustive and some types of NY companies require specialized business agreements that are unique to the specific industry. Basic New York Corporate Agreements Operating/Shareholder Agreement Employee Agreements Consulting/Independent Contractor Agreements Confidentiality Agreement Terms of Use/Privacy Policy for Website Vendor Agreements License Agreements Service & Sales Agreement Intellectual Property Agreement Lease Agreement Joint Venture Agreement/Shareholder Agreements For a no cost consultation, CONTACT US for an appointment. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. info@ipglegal.com.

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