Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Business Operations Category

Its creators call it a 'life skills' program that contributes to 'restorative justice.' A California judge called it extortion. And a new lawsuit against the anti-shoplifting course's creators and the retail stores that use it, including Walmart, minced no words:

"Defendants are not small-time Mafia thugs. They do not break kneecaps; they do not torch storefronts ... But despite their glittering credentials, Defendants are all participants in a long-running, highly profitable extortion scheme that has extracted millions of dollars from thousands of poor, desperate people across the country. And RICO applies, with equal force, to street hoodlums and Harvard MBAs alike."

Corrective Education Company has been accused of railroading shoplifting suspects into admitting guilt and paying up to $500 to avoid store security contacting law enforcement, and the lawsuit even refers to Walmart as a "co-conspirator" in the extortion scheme. Needless to say, you might not want to use CEC to battle shoplifting in your store. So here are five other options:

If you're going to have a warranty that covers your product, you'd like to be reasonably sure that some third party hasn't been messing with it. For example, if a customer is claiming that your product is malfunctioning and trying to invoke your warranty, you want to be sure the malfunction isn't occurring because some repair shop has been monkeying with the product.

So, you might have included some language in your warranty, voiding it if the customer used an unauthorized repair service, or you could've added a "Warranty Is Void If Broken" sticker or seal on a device. But those days are over, according to the FTC.

There are four main elements to any defamation claim: that a person made a false and defamatory statement; that the statement was published (meaning that it was conveyed to at least one other person); that the plaintiff is clearly identified as the person about whom the statement was made; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the statement. And if your name pops up in a false statement on a conspiracy theory website or show, you may have difficulty proving that last element, especially if that website is InfoWars. This is, after all, Alex Jones we're talking about -- if he makes negative comments about you it might be a boost to your reputation.

Not so in the case of Marcel Fontaine, who was misidentified by InfoWars writer Kit Daniels as a suspect in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Fontaine is now suing InfoWars and Jones for $1 million, claiming the false report "irreparably damaged" his reputation.

Marijuana Entrepreneur Sues San Bernardino Over City Ordinance

Although marijuana continues to be decriminalized or legalized in states throughout the U.S., it's still a highly regulated business. And, this can lead to certain businesses feeling like certain laws and regulations are unfair. For example, Stephanie Smith, who owns Bubba Likes Tortillas, has filed a lawsuit against San Bernardino over an ordinance that addresses commercial marijuana businesses.

Bubba Likes Tortillas owns property that's used for marijuana businesses, and according to the lawsuit, a city ordinance that was approved by the San Bernardino City Council violates Prop. 64 and other California laws.

Tips to Improve Workplace Safety on a Budget

Ensuring you have a safe workplace benefits everyone, whether you run a construction site or a cubicle farm. It can save your employees and visitors from injury and it can save you money in the long run. And improving workplace safety doesn't have to break the bank or cripple productivity. Checkout the tips below for ideas on improving safety on a budget.

Suing a Contractor for Unfinished Work

Working with contractor can often be frustrating, especially if disputes occur in the middle of a project. For example, what happens if the contractor leaves his or her work unfinished? Well, the easiest option is to talk to the contractor to see what's going on. But, if that doesn't resolve the issue, then it may be time to pursue a legal action against the contractor.

Is Your Business's Online Content Illegal?

Many big companies have employees, or even departments, to specifically assess the risks and liabilities of the company. But, as a small business, you probably don't have the budget to have employees dedicated to risk management. One risk that's important to identity and address is the possibility of your business having illegal online content. According to the Business 2 Community article written on this topic, here are a few common ways that your business's content online may be violating laws.

Lyft Sued for Discrimination by Wheelchair Users

When you own and operate a business, it's always important to comply with all applicable small business laws. A new lawsuit filed against Lyft is alleging that the rideshare company is in violation of laws that guarantee equal access to those with disabilities. More specifically, Disability Rights Advocates have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Lyft "discriminates against people who use wheelchairs by not making available wheelchair-accessible cars in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Casino Changes Policy to Check Hotel Rooms Every 24 Hours

Caesars Entertainment will check guests' hotel rooms every 24 hours even with a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, under a newly announced policy. The company, one of the largest casino operators in the world, joins a growing list of hotel and casino operators that have taken similar steps following last October's mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This raises familiar questions for balancing guest security and business liability against guests' privacy interests. So what does it mean for other business owners?

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Liquor License?

Starting a business takes time, money, and knowledge of not only the area of business that you'll be engaged in, but also of laws and regulations that apply to your type of business. For example, most businesses are required to obtain various licenses and permits in order to legally operate in a particular area. Additionally, if a business is looking to sell alcohol, it will need to obtain a liquor license.