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McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC offers a full array of legal services to meet the needs of businesses and individuals. Our attorneys represent diverse backgrounds, interests and legal emphasis, but we share one common goal – providing the highest quality legal services to our clients through the combination of our talents, experience, and expertise. In each case, we strive to tailor those services to meet each client’s specific circumstances.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements are essential agreements used to protect an individual or company's sensitive information and proprietary ideas.
A Confidentiality Agreement, additionally known as an NDA, essentially acts as a document shield, preventing your company information from being revealed to your competitors. Though, its power derives entirely from its capability to make potential disclosers think twice prior to giving the game away. The clearly specified threat of severe legal action is usually enough to ruin the plans of a former employee, business partner or third party to use your proprietary information for personal gain.
Yet your confidentiality arrangement will just work as a deterrent if it's composed and also executed effectively.
Here are 5 legal tips on NDA from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC corporate lawyers.
1. Don't use template agreements from the Internet
Templates are fine, as long as you use them as just that: a template. The trouble with using templates is that lots of them on the Internet are generic and will likely fail to meet your requirements.
Your absolute top priority when drafting your confidentiality arrangement is to be specific and take into account the special aspects of the industry, deal, arrangements, and the needs of the parties involved.
You can also easily find a variety of NDAs online from huge companies as well as market leaders. Reading these examples can give you some understanding of what believed leaders are doing to protect their work, which conditions you need to include, and also what language is being used by others in your job. McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC has rich experience of drawing up such agreements and will advise what else should be included.
2. Do not be ambiguous
Among the greatest mistakes is to compose your confidentiality agreement with language that's overly broad or too vague.
If your agreement encounters scrutiny in court as a result of a violation, there's a high risk that your arrangement will be considered to be "void for vagueness" if the used definitions are uncertain or vague thus making it impossible to follow its terms and conditions
3. Include Third Parties
One more typical omission is forgetting to include the third parties. Disclosing Parties are frequently so concentrated on protecting themselves from one of the most immediate hazard, that they neglect to look and take into consideration other parties who may be included.
For instance, your may be contracting with a programmer to assist get your new exclusive software program prepared for the general public market.
The programmer, the instant Recipient Party of your secret information, likely doesn't function alone. The programmer may contract 3rd parties to perform part of their services.
If your Confidentiality Agreement does nothing to hold those people to confidential standards, then you risk leaving an open hole in your protection. Do include all involved.
4. Set a time frame
Another usual trap when it comes to NDAs is not setting a reasonable time frame for how long the duty of confidentiality must last.
Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of creating an unrealistic duration, while others fall short to include this detail completely.
The significance of this period is that it aids to establish a definitive obligation for the Recipient Party. Otherwise you risk having your NDA nullified in court since it's simply too unclear to be imposed.
Do be realistic. While you are justified in your intention to protect your information, you also have to be reasonable otherwise the Recipient Party might find no point in signing your agreement at all.
Bare in mind that some confidential information has a finite lifespan. Trade secrets must not.
5. Don't delay signing
Some business owners feel uncomfortable broaching the topic of signing a confidentiality agreement while others take an even more careless attitude and wait until the discussion "gets more serious."
The risk in waiting is that, for one, early conversations can easily include pieces of secret information. A discussion can quickly escalate, especially if the parties are eager or excited.
The last point you want is to stop a great exchange of your thoughts dead in its tracks since you understand you cannot say much words without revealing something important. Simply put, even if you didn't intend on having a comprehensive discussion right away, it might easily happen in the heat of the moment.
It's also crucial to bear in mind that anything you state, even in preliminary conversations, can be at risk to disclosure. So even if you seem like you've been very careful about what you say, there is a chance that the other party took something seemingly insignificant that you stated and ran with it.
Do sign a confidentiality arrangement upfront. While it may not be possible to learn about every conversation before it takes place, you reasonably know about vital conversations beforehand, especially with designers, staff members, potential business partners, etc.
McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC functions as "general counsel" to many clients offering legal advice that is driven by the needs and pace of business. Non-disclosure agreement is the document that can save your business and guarantee its top place in the industry. Legal help is vital here. Contact our corporate lawyers to draft the agreement that will protect your information.
Why Divorce Quickly?
When there are certain crucial aspects within the divorce itself, one or both parties may demand that the procedure finishes as quickly as possible. These factors often affect particular concerns such as the ownership of a business, child custody and also when one or both are leaving Tennessee or even the US. Some areas require the separating parties to stay in the location till the divorce is completed. Some custody matters entail others such as extended family or a foster treatment scenario. Speeding the divorce is important to fixing various issues between the marriage, in the household as well as with external elements.
One reason to accelerate the divorce involves the expenses of legal assistance. When both parties require to retain a divorce lawyer, the costs might grow. If the two parties have any chance of settlement, the attorneys may still need to help along the procedure with mediation, arbitration or a lawsuit. Presenting the case to a court or the 3rd party frequently calls for the help or assistance of an attorney. With other expenses and fees added to the final amount, the difference between weeks and months of working together with an attorney is substantial.
Speeding up the Divorce
Reaching an agreement with the partner is generally the quickest way to speed the divorce to make sure that it does not take weeks or months to finish the procedure. This is additionally possible through mediation with an open dialogue as well as complete understanding of all the details such as custody, spousal support and the division of marital property. When both sides are absolutely ready for cooperation and compromise and all assets are open and disclosed, the process might go much faster.
The quickest divorces typically exist when they are both uncontested and no-fault.
The uncontested divorce is one of the primary means to move the divorce procedure along promptly. This is when one party does not contest the specific issues within the dissolution of the relationship such as taking on more liability or letting go of additional assets. When there is no competition within the divorce, the time used will reduce significantly. This likewise reduces prices with the legal representative and also before a judge.
The problems that are common within divorce usually do not appear in no-fault or uncontested divorces. Peaceful agreements with custody, visitation, support, division of property and debt and any other argument that may exist are reached much faster and with no headache. Yet, both will need to unentangle all lawful matters to include financial issues that may involve retirement accounts and life insurance policy plans on each other. When all material is available to include in a parenting plan, a settlement agreement and also specific Tennessee state items, the two may hire a family lawyer to continue via the divorce rapidly.
The Legal Assistance for a Quick Divorce
When divorcing in a short time, the person will require a family attorney to assist gather and present a case before a court or mediator. The agreement records and also conformity with the other partner might increase the speed of the divorce. The attorneys at McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC will do everything to finish your divorce case as soon as possible. Get in touch with us regarding options available for you.
Then when you receive your check, it's suspiciously light.
This is not as uncommon as you would certainly think. One sly way firms avoid paying overtime is by misclassifying staff members as exempt.
Who Is Exempt from Overtime Pay?
There are 2 types of employee categories: exempt and non-exempt.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay non-exempt staff members at least the minimum wage, plus time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week.
However some categories of employees, those that are classified as exempt, don't receive time-and-a-half regardless of how many hours they work. Exempt staff members may include:
Despite the name, you do not have to be at the top of your firm's management to get the executive exemption.
The bare minimum qualification is making at least $455 a week on a wage basis, leading a division or department, supervising a group of at the very least 2 people, as well as having the authority to hire and fire.
While this summary includes C-level executives, it might additionally describe lower-level managers and supervisors, depending on your business as well as duties.
Management employees that are exempt should also make at least $455 a week on a wage or salary basis. Their major work responsibilities might include administrative office management, along with the exercise of discretion and also independent judgment relative to matters of significance. Taking into account the broadness of this description, companies are set loose when determining who is exempt and who isn't.
Learned or Creative Professionals
There are 2 types of professional exemptions: "Learned professional" and "creative professional".
Learned professionals rely on sophisticated knowledge in an area (such as scientific research) acquired throughout a duration of long term study to do their task. Creative professionals carry out duties including creativity and initial creation in an acknowledged imaginative field.
Both of these need to make at least $455 each week on salary to be considered exempt.
There's a lengthy checklist of the specific tasks as well as task titles appropriate to employees under this classification, but the idea is that if you work with computer systems, hardware or code all day, you most likely fall under this heading.
This is one of the few categories that can be either per hour or wage to be considered exempt. If you have a fixed salary, you have to make a minimum of $455 a week to qualify. If you have an hourly rate, you must be paid at least $27.63 per hour.
To be considered an "outside salesperson", your primary responsibilities must consist of selling products, services or agreements -- off your company's location. If you spend a lot of time on the road making sales, you're most likely an outside salesperson.
What to Do if You Think You're Being Misclassified
When it comes to classifying who is or isn't exempt, your work obligations matter more than your title. So if your title includes "outside sales" yet you hardly ever leave your office, you might have a misclassification trouble.
It's illegal to fire a person for bringing this error up, so it's OK to go after the discussion with your HR manager.
If it's clear to you that your employer is misclassifying you and also isn't intending to deal with the issue or reimburse you, you might need to seek legal help. The Chattanooga employment law attorneys of McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC, have decades of experience representing public and private sector employees throughout Tennessee. Our employment law attorneys in Chattanooga handle state and federal court litigation, including trials, appeals, mediations, arbitrations, and settlements. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding the employment law.
Your debts become the obligation of your estate after you die. Your estate is every little thing you owned at the time of your death. The procedure of paying your costs and also distributing what remains is called probate.
The executor of your estate, the individual responsible for handling your will and estate after your death, will certainly use your properties to repay your debts. This can suggest creating checks from a bank account or selling home to get some cash. If there are no sufficient means to cover your debts, creditors generally are out of good luck.
On the other hand, particular types of debs can become other people’s burden.
If there's a joint homeowner or if someone inherits your house, this person will be responsible for your debts. Yet federal regulation bars lenders from forcing a joint owner to repay the mortgage instantly after the death of the co-owner. If there's no joint property owner, the executor can pay the mortgage out of the estate. If there’s not enough money in the estate, a family member who inherits the house can simply take over the mortgage payments.
Home Equity Loan
The same goes for a home equity loan if somebody inherits it. A lender can require him/her to repay the loan instantly, which might imply selling the house. That said, lenders may work with new owners to let them simply take control of the settlements on the home-equity loan.
If the estate runs out of assets to pay bank card balances, credit card companies run out luck due to the fact that this debt is not secured by properties the way mortgages and car loan are. Yet any type of joint account owner would be accountable for the unpaid bills. Individuals that are simply authorized users of a credit card are exempt for paying the balance.
The executor can also pay the car loan out of the estate. If payments stop, the loan provider can repossess the automobile. If the estate can not repay the car loan, whoever acquires the car can just proceed paying as well as the lender is unlikely to do something about it.
The estate must pay off personal student loan debt, however lenders have no choice if the estate does not have possessions to settle unprotected debts such as student loans. But, co-signers of private student loans will be in charge of remaining debt. Some lenders might even forgive the debt upon death, but this is not typically the case. To make sure no one will be responsible for your student loan after you pass, it's best to use federal student loans since they are discharged upon your death. If a student’s parent has a federal PLUS loan, it will be discharged upon the death of either the parent or student.
If you need assistance with planning your estate, asset protection, or other elder law issues, contact the dedicated and skilled Chattanooga estate planning attorneys at the McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC.
Have you contacted a Chattanooga Business Lawyer?
It's usual to think people only require a lawyer when something is going wrong. This is a common misunderstanding! You don't have to wait for a catastrophe to strike to hire a lawyer. This will benefit you both in the beginning stages and also before finding yourself in an urgent state. Below is a list of reasons why every business needs a lawyer.
1. Business Entity Formation
Your business structure will determine what liabilities you deal with, just how your entity is taxed, as well as how your profits are split. Right here is a brief checklist of the various types of business structures:
- Sole Proprietorship
- S- Corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
To learn more about this aspect, contact Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce for a free legal consultation.
2. Trademark and Intellectual Property
You can have a wonderful product or service, but get lost it comes to picking the name. Did you know that Starbucks was nearly called "Pequod's"? Or that Pepsi was first released as "Brad's Drink"? However, a dull or ordinary name may just be the least of your concerns if you receive a cease and desist notice for unconsciously using somebody's trademark.
Consulting with a lawyer first, can help you avoid this issue altogether.
At Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, we understand that this is our work to research trademarks to make sure that you prevent infringement and to search any kind of potential issues. When your brand is developed, we will additionally assist in protecting your business's name. Developing a trademark can be time-consuming. Having a lawyer take care of these matters can let you completely dedicate yourself to getting your new business started.
3. Contracts, Contracts, Contracts
Contracts play essential role in business, regardless of size and profits. This is a legal tool to handle sales, employees, and leases. Here are some examples:
- Bill of Sale – Formally specifies a property's transfer of ownership
- Warranty – As you may already know, a warranty compensates a customer if s/he receives a product that is defective or breaks down during its expected lifetime.
- Employment Agreement – Though you may have discussed working conditions with an employee at the interview, this is not enough. You should have a legal document that outlines responsibilities and methods of payment to an employee.
- Commercial Property Lease Agreement – One of the most crucial contracts you will have to sign. It’s the terms and conditions that you have with a property owner when renting out a space for your business. This concerns offices, stores, restaurants, and etc.
An experienced lawyer at your side can assist you in creating contracts to avoid potential legal issues. Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC will additionally lobby for your benefits in the contracts you make or enter into with the third parties.
4. Exit Strategy
Individuals most likely to have attorneys prepare a will to ensure that when the day comes, any type of disputes including the succession of their properties can be avoided. A Chattanooga business lawyer can help establish an exit strategy for your business as you expand, ensuring it will continue (or dissolve) in whatever manner you choose.
In an ideal world, business partners stick together, nobody generates terrible ideas, and contracts are always upheld.
Yet, this is not always the case.
If there is anything lawyers are best at, it's settling disputes. Nevertheless, when these problems do emerge, wouldn't you want to have a lawyer that knows you personally and understands the aspects of your business?
When things fail, you'll already have a legal team to lobby for your best interests. Contact McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce - Chattanooga lawyers experienced in business law matters, large and small. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)
The amount of supposedly stolen products is a determining factor. It will influence whether shoplifting will be met with a mere citation, or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony. Exactly how you act when faced claimed shoplifting can also influence your case.
Here are five points to expect and also think about if you're confronted a shoplifting accusation.
Going mad could make things even worse and also often results in spoken hostility that you'll want you might take back. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before you act or make any kind of statements. In fact, silence could be gold as just what you say could be used against you in court, so it might be best to request a Chattanooga criminal defense attorney and afterwards simply refuse to talk.
Know Your Rights
In terms of law, an owner of a store or security officers can actually detain you on suspicion of shoplifting while they wait for polices to arrive. Moreover, they have the right to check your bag or pockets for the proof of shoplifting, but should do it IMMEDIATELY and better with some independent witnesses. Otherwise, there's a chance that somebody just planted a product on a person.
What you should also know is that they must have a strong reason that you were shoplifting, and can use only reasonable means and reasonable force to detain you. Any pressure or force that can lead to bodily injury is restricted and can serve as basis for a lawsuit down the road.
Know The Law
You do not need to actually "shoplift" to be charged. State legislations about theft differ, yet in several states, being a "lookout" or deliberately distracting bystanders' focus away from a shoplifter could be prosecuted under shoplifting regulations. The crime of theft could likewise include changing or swapping price tags.
As for the Tennessee Law, the shoplifting or theft is defined by the following actions:
- Concealing or removing the goods;
- Changing or removing any price tags;
- Removing the product from one container to another;
- Causing a sales recording device (i.e. cash register) to show less than the actual price on a product;
- Removing, destroying, deactivating, or evading a component of an anti-shoplifting device to commit or facilitate a theft;
- Using an instrument, device, or container to commit or facilitate a theft; or
- Activating or interfering with a fire alarm system to commit or facilitate a theft.
Contact A Lawyer
Criminal penalties are possible for all types of theft. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could assist you examine proof and also obtain the most effective possible result for your particular situation. First-time founded guilty thiefs can usually get social work or participate in an education program instead of tougher fines. In more serious shoplifting cases, a plea deal may be possible. That's why spending some money for an attorney could possibly pay off big-time when you're charged of theft.
If you need help with a shoplifting charge, contact a Chattanooga criminal defense lawyer immediately. McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC our Chattanooga criminal defense attorneys can protect the rights of the accused in the state and federal courts of Tennessee. We have the resources and experience to handle a wide range of criminal charges, we are ready to step in and protect your rights as soon as possible.