David C. Tobin
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Category Archives: Business Law

Recent U.S. Supreme Court Arbitration Law Decisions

Two recent Supreme Court decisions, Oxford Health Plans, LLC v. Sutter and American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, have clarified issues regarding class arbitration. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. that the Federal Arbitration Act bars class arbitration unless the parties affirmatively agree to it. This decision… Read More »

Obtaining a Mechanics’ Lien in Maryland

In most states, a person who has improved real property can obtain a mechanics’ lien from the court on the improved property if he or she is not paid. Courts tend to construe mechanics’ liens broadly to provide subcontractors with a remedy when they have already delivered materials or supplied the labor. In Maryland, an… Read More »

Protecting Your Business’s Trade Secrets

Trade secrets can be crucial assets to your company. When a trade secret has been misappropriated, a business can seek an injunction and monetary damages. Under Maryland Commercial Law, a trade secret is defined as information such as a formula, pattern, program, device, technique or process that “derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from… Read More »

Hallmarks of a Good Contract

What constitutes a good deal is specific to your industry and the market conditions at the time. What constitutes a good contract, however, is universal. A good contract must balance clarity and flexibility — providing unambiguous solutions for common issues that arise and workable guidelines for contending with unanticipated problems. Boilerplate contracts simply do not… Read More »

Reasonable Accommodation Basics for the Disabled

Reasonable accommodation is one of the most complicated concepts businesses must contend with under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unfortunately, this complexity means that even well-meaning employers can find themselves facing substantial civil liability for misunderstanding the full scope and effect of this important provision. But the concept of reasonable accommodation also has limits designed… Read More »

Tax Treatment of Foreign Workers

While resident aliens working in the United States have tax obligations similar to those of citizens, employers and employees alike are often confused about their duties regarding non-resident temporary workers. But temporary workers do indeed have tax obligations in the United States — many of which are substantially more complicated than those of residents. Moreover,… Read More »

Intracompany Transfers and U.S. Immigration Law

In an increasingly globalized economy, companies are no longer bound by national borders. And while U.S. immigration policy and law aims to reserve domestic work for domestic workers, it also recognizes that companies operating in the U.S. should be able to use their current employees when necessary, regardless of their national origins. For this reason,… Read More »

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Your Business

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it unlawful for companies and their representatives to make payments to foreign officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business — even when such payments (bribes) typify business practice in that country. Historically, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has prosecuted both the individual businessmen and the companies involved… Read More »

Avoiding Business Litigation: Some Tips

Business litigation rarely revolves around fundamental principles that deserve defending, no matter what the cost. Business owners, corporate officers, and managers should keep in mind — no matter how frustrating the behavior or offensive the claims that led to litigation — the company’s best interests will nearly always be better served by settling out of court… Read More »

The PCAOB and You

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in 2002 in response to the corporate scandals and numerous accounting restatements of the 1990s and early 2000s. These scandals cost investors and employees millions of dollars in lost value of stocks and retirement accounts.  Sarbanes-Oxley requires the PCAOB to protect the interests of… Read More »

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