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Troy MI Business & Commercial Law Blog

Crowdfunding may be an option for Michigan business start-ups

There are many businesses in Detroit, Michigan, that started small, but have grown significantly over the years. Owners of such businesses would agree that one of the biggest challenges that an entrepreneur faces during business formation is gathering sufficient capital to help the business sail through its formative years. The traditional practices of borrowing from friends and family and obtaining loans from banks remain the most popular means of doing so, even to this day.

However, a recent development that can be seen in Michigan and other parts of the United States is called crowdfunding. According to reports, a crowdfunding portal that operates in states such as Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Texas, has now started its operating in Michigan after a brewing company from Michigan became the first company from the state to register on that portal.

Dispute leaves new transit center empty and riders out in cold

Many Troy residents can only shake their heads when they see the brand new Troy Transit Center along the Amtrak line, which is ready to operate, but still remains closed.

Although several months have passed since the transit center building's completion, Troy's rail commuters still have to use rudimentary outdoor facilities and platforms because of a dispute between the city and a local land developer.

Large commercial real estate sale in Farmington Hills makes news

Michigan business owners know that commercial real estate properties are a big concern when managing a business of any substantial size. No one wants to pay for space not being used or, conversely, not have enough space when expansion is required to grow the business. Making the right decision in commercial real estate matters is crucial to the growth and sustainability of many businesses. Any misjudgment in the sale, purchase or valuation of a property owned by a business can easily hurt the enterprise's owner.

Recently, a 46,500-square-foot industrial complex in Farmington Hills was sold by 200 Elm Realty to JR Investment Properties for an undisclosed amount. According to reports, the Regency Court deal was negotiated by brokerage firm Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions on behalf of the seller.

Oil giants accused of violating antitrust laws in Michigan

All companies doing business in Michigan are required to follow state guidelines as well as federal laws while they carry out their business. Most businesses comply, but some can fall victim to illegal or deceptive practices that ultimately affect their reputations and ability to lawfully address their business matters.

That may be the case behind the Michigan attorney general's recent charges in State Court against Chesapeake Energy and Encana Corp. Both are accused of violating state antitrust laws.

Senior development moving forward in Pittsfield, Michigan

Businessmen and women in Troy, Michigan, know the importance of a business contract. In addition to clearly stating the roles and responsibilities of each party in a business venture, it also states the consequences that the business partners and third party individuals face should they breach it. And although the contracts are agreed upon and finalized before the venture begins, contract disputes often arise between stakeholders and can jeopardize the future prospects of the business and the stakeholders.

Recently, a $30 million real estate contract was at risk of being scrapped after stakeholders disagreed over the development plans of the project. The project is a senior living village in Pittsfield Township, Michigan. According to reports, some members of the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission and the township's planning consultant were pressing the developer to initially build some of the five buildings that were planned for the second phase of the project.

Michigan students awarded $113,000 for three start-up businesses

Troy, Michigan, business owners would agree that every new business needs guidance and mentorship during its initial phases. In addition, another important factor that can boost entrepreneur morale during the start-up stage is monetary assistance.

A recent competition conducted by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business recently awarded prize money amounting to $113,000 to three student start-up businesses. The four-month competition began last year with 68 student teams affiliated with the university.

Michigan-based firm sued over confidentiality agreement dispute

Business owners in Troy, Michigan, would agree that guarding trade secrets is an integral part of ensuring the growth and sustenance of any business. Trade secrets can pertain to a variety of aspects of an operating business, such as patents, technological breakthroughs, customer or client lists, information about stocks, inventory data and production capability, among other things. Unfortunately, there are times when an employee leaks these secrets and, as a result, a business may suffer irreparable damage.

Recently, Stryker Corp., a Michigan-based medical technologies firm, was taken to court by Zimmer Inc., which is a nationwide manufacturer of orthopedic devices. In addition to Stryker, a former employee of Zimmer is also named in the lawsuit. The man is currently employed by Stryker. While the lawsuit accuses the former employee of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair and deceptive trade practices, it also accuses Stryker of tortious interference and civil conspiracy.

Commercial real estate may see upswing in downtown Detroit

With the upswing in the economy over the last two years, Detroit is witnessing something of a revival in the real estate market. Several residential and commercial properties in the greater Detroit metropolitan area have recently been put on the market for prospective buyers. Analysts view this as the most active period for the commercial real estate market since Dan Gilbert moved the headquarters of his Quicken Loans Inc. businesses to downtown Detroit in 2010.

Of particular interest are four midsize buildings totaling 295,000 square feet that are now for sale in the downtown area. The buildings range from 15,000 square feet to 164,000 square feet and are located within a few blocks of one another in the downtown core. Buildings at Library Street and West Congress Street are 100 percent and 53 percent occupied, respectively, but two other buildings are vacant.

Former executives embroiled in antitrust law issues

Business owners throughout Michigan would probably agree that running a business is challenging no matter how long they have been in business. Certain unsavory practices, however - especially restraint of trade, breach of contract and unfair competition that lead to economic loss - often require a sound understanding of the law to handle these business matters effectively.

Recently, two men who previously served as high-level executives of a Japanese automotive parts supplier pleaded guilty to illegally setting prices on ignition coils they were supplying to car manufacturers such as Ford, Toyota and Subaru between 2003 and 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, both executives pleaded guilty to price fixing and bid rigging, offenses which run counter to the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.

Settlement requires MSU to pay back wages

Michigan State University has apparently agreed to pay back wages to 345 graduate teaching assistants following settlement of union-filed grievances. According to an agreement between the East Lansing School District and the Graduate Employees Union, 1,400 graduate assistants filed these grievances and 345 of them will be paid $115,000 for an extra day of employment for the summer term that overlaps the spring and summer terms at the university. The dispute arose when teaching assistants working in two classes were paid for just one class.

Wage and business disputes like these often arise in the course of business. Detroit and its surrounding metropolitan areas are home to businesses of all types and sizes. While starting a business is a big challenge, both sustaining and growing it are even bigger challenges. Rarely do businesses operate and grow without conflicts or disputes somewhere along the line, and contract disputes with employees are among the most common.

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