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Hackensack Business and Commercial Law Blog

Small business owners in unique situations when starting off

When it comes to starting a business in New Jersey, there are certain steps owners will need to take. From planning around structuring to addressing issues involving employment, business owners need to have a solid plan when first starting off. 

At Schiffman, Abraham, Kaufman & Ritter, P.C., our legal team focuses on the legal needs of business owners. And while our firm provides advice and assistance for all types of businesses, our team understands the often times unique needs many small business owners face.

Atlantic City and Meadowlands have a little something in common

It is hard to read about Atlantic City's Revel casino and not think about American Dream Meadowlands. Both projects were plagued by setbacks during development, from construction issues to money problems to lawsuits filed by neighboring property owners. This week, NJ Spotlight reported that construction on American Dream has resumed. And this week, papers all over New Jersey were reporting that the purchaser of bankrupt Revel has pulled out of the deal.

Revel opened in April 2012 with such high hopes. It never realized anyone's expectations -- unless you count the critics. The casino's revenue kept it solidly behind the rest of Atlantic City's casinos. After struggling for 10 months, Revel filed for bankruptcy protection; a month later, in May 2013, it would exit bankruptcy court with restructured financing.

Is your business living dangerously by underestimating cyber risks?

In our Nov. 7 post, we promised to explain why New Jersey businesses should be interested in a lawsuit filed by P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro Inc. against its commercial general liability insurance carrier, Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut. The lesson is simple: This could happen to you. Are you prepared?

The Association for Financial Professionals surveyed 970 finance and banking executives about the risk of a cyber breach, and the results were a little surprising. First, 70 percent of the respondents said cyber risk was the highest or a very high priority for their companies. Next, 60 percent said their companies had been subject to a cyber attack or an attempted cyber attack.

20-percent rise in construction predicted over next 2 years in NJ

A construction boom is on the way in the Garden State. Or at least that is the prediction from leaders of private and public organizations represented at the recent construction forecast seminar in Edison, New Jersey.

The gathering has been held every year for 30 years by the New Jersey Alliance for Action. According to seminar attendees, who included representatives from The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), the Turnpike Authority, NJ Transit and the Port Authority, construction in New Jersey is expected to increase by 20 percent in 2015 and 2016, representing about $39.8 billion in work.

Major newspapers battling breach of contract issue

It is not often that newspapers become the subjects of the very stories they are reporting. However, last month the Los Angeles Times became just that. In a piece published mid-month, the Times reported on the fact that it is suing the Orange County Register for breach of contract. Any breach of contact issue can be contentious, but such an issue becomes a uniquely interesting and complex business law affair when the very parties involved in the issue are in direct positions to broadcast their positions to the public.

It is vital that anyone involved in a breach of contract issue speak with their attorneys about the limits that the issue may place on their free speech. Some matters must be kept secret on legal grounds, while others simply benefit from discretion. On the other hand, there may be select cases in which publicity can actually serve the purpose of the suit. No matter what the situation, it is best to obtain legal guidance before speaking about it openly.

Legal bases to cover in a commercial real estate project

If you're planning a commercial real estate development in New Jersey, then to limit risk and protect against liability, you'll need to be aware of any applicable state or federal laws. Local land use and zoning laws may restrict what kinds of structures can be built on a particular piece of property, and state and federal environmental laws require strict compliance. Failure to comply can be extremely costly.

Contract disputes are also common in construction projects, and it is important to have a commercial real estate attorney to protect your interests. Major construction projects typically involve multiple contractors, and your written agreements with contractors should clearly indicate what you expect and when you expect it to be done. A lawyer with experience in commercial real estate transactions can negotiate and write agreements that are enforceable.

Travelers solemnly swears not to cover PF Chang's data breach p3

We are picking up where we left off in our Nov. 3 post. The restaurant chain P.F. Chang's reported in June 2014 that a data breach had occurred several months earlier. Beginning in September 2013, hackers gained access to information from 7 million customer credit and debit cards. Several cardholders have since filed a number of lawsuits that may or may not be become class actions.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. -- owned by New York-based Centerbridge Partners L.P. -- looked to its insurer, Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, for assistance. The chain argued that a data breach is covered by its commercial general liability insurance policy. Travelers disagreed and took the matter to court.

Meet other franchisees to assess a franchise opportunity

Opening a franchise can be a very exciting opportunity for any business owner. But there are a number of questions and concerns people have before making any firm decisions. According to entrepreneur.com, there are six important steps involved in sizing up a franchise opportunity. Although all of these steps are important, perhaps the most important aspect of assessing whether a franchise opportunity will work for you is talking with other franchisees.

The franchisor's contract, the interview with the franchisor and visiting the franchise's home office are all important steps, but discussions with other franchisees can give you a more personalized, in-depth and unbiased understanding of the potential value of a franchise for your objectives.

Travelers solemnly swears not to cover PF Chang's data breach p2

Insurance intimidates some people -- some very smart people, even. There are probably business executives in Bergen County who have run their companies successfully for decades but who hand off insurance decisions to a trusted lieutenant because it just doesn't make sense.

The truth is that an insurance policy is a contract. It is a specific type of contract, but it operates the same way a contract to mow your lawn operates. One party offers to pay, the other party accepts -- their promise is the basis of the contract.

Travelers solemnly swears not to cover PF Chang's data breach

Popular restaurant chain P.F. Chang's may be left holding the bag for a breach of customer credit card and debit card data. The breach reportedly began in September 2013; parent company P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. learned of the problem nine months later, after information from seven million cards had been acquired illegally.

The company now faces a potential class action lawsuit from customers affected by the breach. The plaintiffs maintain that the company could have prevented the breach and allege that the failure to prevent it constituted a breach of implied contract.

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