Last year was a bad legal year for me and my biz. Here are some legal costs and lessons learned for small biz owners.
  1. Seasonal Employee Claimed Unemployment Benefits After Temp Work Finished
    Turns out if you pay people over a certain amount, they can claim unemployment benefits even if it was clear this was temporary seasonal work. Lawyers Fees: Pro Bono Favor. Result: did not dispute unemployment benefits and now insurance rates went up to 8% from .4% - point 4% to 8%... Sucks!
  2. Terminated Contractor Filed Lien On Landlord's Property Claiming We Didn't Pay Her Enough For Her Crappy Work
    Turns out anyone can file a lien on any property for a few dollars at the courthouse. lawyer Fees: $850. Result: bat shit cray contractor wouldn't settle so had to "bond off" lien to insurance policy ($200). Waiting for lien to lapse in November.
  3. Cleveland Indians Challenged Trademark Registration for ModernTribe. Claimed Right To "Tribe"
    Small biz gets bullied by big franchise. Indians claim was silly, as we were registering for Jewish Gifts. Lawyer Fees: $750. Result: negotiated agreement where we disclaim use of ModernTribe in relation to sports, sports teams, stadiums, sports gear, sports... But not poker :). Trademark registration was approved.
  4. Fired Employee Claimed Unemployment Benefits After Not Showing Up For Work
    Again, anyone can claim benefits and it has to go through a process with appeals and hearings. Lawyer Fees: Free Phone Call. Result: went through appeal hearing and won because one can't get benefits if fired for cause, and not showing up for work is legitimate cause.., duh.
  5. Cease and Desist Received For 10 Plagues Coasters
    ModernTribe makes products. We created 10 Plague Coasters this year to put under your Seder wine and catch the drops of wine one empties out during the reciting of the plagues. We got a cease and desist claiming infringement. Lawyer Fees: $500. Result: lawyer wrote letter arguing 10 Plagues are public domain, issue dropped.