Tuesday
Dec182012

Is Client and Debtor Information a Trade Secret?

In 2012, the Colorado Court of Appeals addresssed whether a corporation's client and debtor information is a trade secret.  After analyzing certain factors, the Court's answer is yes.  To make this particular information a trade secret, the corporation must use "reasonable efforts" to maintain the claimed secrecy of information.  This would include not allowing the information to be known outside the business by using a user name, password and other security measures.  The Court further commented that a wrongful act exists when someone "improperly discloses or acquires" the confidential information.  Actual use or commercial implementation is not necessary for a company to suffer damages.  Therefore, a business would be wise to install simple security measures in order to protect its client and debtor information and protect a possible claim for its wrongful aquisition.

Thursday
Oct252012

Death and Digital  Assets

The question of who can access and control  the online accounts of a deceased is not settled in Colorado.  In this era of electronic social media being the main source of information for some people, control of a deceased's online presence could be very important.   Several states including Idaho and Oklahoma have statutes that grant a designated personal representative control over the deceased's digital assets.  Colorado has not joined those states that grant this power explicitly to the Personal Representative.   While we can expect legislation fairly soon, in the meantime, we suggest that you and other members of your family  share your digital account information including your passwords  with a trusted family member or friend.  You can also specifically  empower your personal representative to take charge of your accounts, but in the absence of a statute, the providers, (e.g. Facebook) may not honor that directive. 

Friday
Sep142012

NEW PROCESS FOR BUSINESS LITIGATION IN JEFFERSON COUNTY.

All “business actions” in Jefferson County filed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013 will be subject to a new mandatory litigation process which requires parties to meet and disclose relevant documents and information much earlier in the process.  This new process will also dispose of depositions of expert witnesses, as well as other changes.  The purpose behind the new procedure is to make the civil process more streamlined for businesses.  It only applies to the claims of the plaintiff and does not apply to amount in controversy or type of remedy which is being sought.  If you have any questions concerning this new process or other legal issues, please do not hesitate to contact Toussaint, Nemer & Coaty, P.C. at 303-674-0800.

 

Thursday
Aug252011

TRADENAMES AND DBAs

            A trade name or DBA (“doing business as”) is a name other than the true name of the entity under which it is authorized to do business in Colorado.  So, for example, if Colorado Enterprises, LLC opens a pizza shop named Rossi’s Pizza, “Rossi’s Pizza” is Colorado Enterprises, LLC’s trade name.  If the trade name is anything other than owner’s true name, Colorado law requires that Statement of Trade Name be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.  

 

            A Statement of Trade Name allows the public to identify the real owner of a business when the business name does not identify its owner.  Without an effective Statement of Trade Name, an entity cannot maintain a court proceeding for the collection of debts and may also subject the ownership entity to monetary penalties or an injunction from continuing to transact business.  

 

            Filing a Statement of Trade Name does keep any other company from filing a Statement of Trade Name and using the same name or otherwise protect the business name.  There may be Rossi’s Pizza shops up and down the same street, all with different owners; however, by investigating the on-line records of the Colorado Secretary of State at www.sos.state.co.us and matching the specific business name with its address, the identity of the actual owner is easily obtained.   

 

Thursday
Jul142011

Ordered to Mediate?

If you are in the process of a divorce or other litigation you may be subject to a COURT ORDER TO MEDIATE.  What is the impact of this order?  Will you be required to settle all your issues?  Will you be denied your day in court?  This article addresses a few misconceptions and opportunities presented by a court order to mediate.

1. THE MEDIATOR OR MEDIATORS DO NOT DECIDE YOUR ISSUES. 

Participation in the mediation process is voluntary, and intended to help you resolve your issues, but not intended to dictate resolutions to you.  If, after mediation, you and the other party are unable to reach agreements acceptable to both of you, you still may ask the court to decide your case at a hearing.

2. MEDIATION IS MORE THAN AN ADDED EXPENSE, IT IS ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE MONEY.

Most mediation sessions are charged to you at an hourly rate of between $60 and $150 per person per hour.  Some mediation services are available free of charge for low income participants in community programs, such as in the program at Jefferson County Mediation Services.  Because mediation provides you with an opportunity to resolve issues, it can save thousands of dollars in legal fees.  Every issue you resolve should simplify any upcoming hearing and therefore reduce your overall cost.  If you are able to resolve all issues, you will not need to have a court hearing.

3. MEDIATION INCREASES OPPORTUNITIES TO SETTLE, AND DOES NOT ELIMINATE POSITIONS YOU MAY TAKE IN COURT.

Because mediation is confidential, and the conversations held are not disclosed in court, mediation presents you with an opportunity to discuss matters freely, and to brainstorm solutions to your issues.  If the conversations and brainstorming do not result in resolution, you can still go back to "square one" in presenting your issues in court.

These are just a few issues frequently raised about mediation.  It is worth remembering as well that you do not have to be ordered to mediate in order to use mediation to help resolve your case.  You can find mediators through community programs; through the Colorado Council of Mediators, now known as the Mediation Association of Colorado, or theMAC; through the Colorado Judicial Department's Office of Dispute Resolution; and through searches on the internet or in QwestDex.  As with any professional service, it is helpful to have a personal referral from someone who has had a good experience with a professional in the field.  If you do not have a personal referral, you can do your own research by contacting mediators and interviewing them about their background, procedures, costs and approach.  My name is June E. Anglin, I am a mediator, and I would be glad to help you with services or with information about services in this field.