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Troy MI Business & Commercial Law Blog

Michigan company trying to bring lawsuit back to state

The United States government recently filed a countersuit against Quicken Loans, a company based in Detroit, alleging that the financial institution wrote loans improperly when those loans were backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

According to the government, Quicken wrote these loans using figures that overvalued the collateral on each loan and also handled out loans to people who were obviously either not likely to repay the loan or without the means to do so. As a result of what some would call a "fraud", Quicken accessed government funds improperly when their FHA-backed loans failed.

How our office can help you get the benefit of your bargain

The attorneys at Paluda PC understand how important contracts are to the growth and even continued existence of a small business. Business owners in Michigan probably are not even aware of how contracts affect their daily operations until something goes wrong and someone or another business pulls out of an agreement.

In reality though, businesses in the Detroit area count on their investors, vendors and customers to pay when they say they are going to pay and to deliver a product or service when they say they will and at the agreed upon price. When people fail to abide by their contracts, a business's financial projections can be skewed and even their most basic operations stopped.

How earnest money works in commercial sales and purchases

Residents of the Detroit area, whether or not they are business owners, may already know about earnest money deposits because of their experience buying or selling a house. However, many Michiganders might not think about what may well seem like just another fee until they are looking to buy or a sell some commercial real estate in order to grow their business.

Earnest money is a deposit that a prospective buyer makes toward the purchase of a piece of commercial real estate, usually at the time the buyer signs a purchase agreement to buy the property. In addition to marking the start of a real estate transaction, it also serves to hold the buyer's feet to the fire with respect to due diligence deadlines.

Detroit-area skydiving business closed during property dispute

A skydiving operation that has operated near Detroit, Michigan, for many years has been at least temporarily closed down pending the resolution of a dispute with a local airport.

The issue seems to be whether the skydiving business has permission to use the local airport to offer skydiving to its customers. While the business has used the airport for years, the new owner does not want to open his airport to skydiving.

Picking the right business structure

Last week's post emphasized how important it is that a start-up business just getting off the ground in Michigan choose the right organizational structure. Choosing between, for example, a partnership or a corporation can have significant tax and legal consequences. It can be an incredibly important decision for a new business owner.

While some people might feel like they have a basic idea of how corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies differ, there are in fact lots of different nuances that distinguish the different types of business associations, many of which can play an important role in the decision-making process. It may be a good idea, before assuming that a limited liability company or corporation is best, to go over all of the options with an experienced Michigan business attorney.

Sub-S corporations may be best for small MI businesses

As any Michigander who has formed business knows, the legal details involved in creating a new business in Michigan can be complicated and even overwhelming. For instance, a person must decide whether his or her new business will be a corporation, a limited liability company or just an old-fashioned partnership or sole proprietorship.

Assuming that an Oakland resident ultimately settles on the fact that a corporation is the best way to structure his or her new business, then he or she must still decide what type of corporation he or she wants. It should be noted though that these types of corporation both give the business owner considerable legal protection from business-related lawsuits; however, these different types of corporations make a world of difference in how a person gets assessed taxes.

What makes for an ambiguous contract under Michigan law?

Last week's post discussed under what circumstances a Detroit-area business owner in the midst of a contract dispute can rely on other evidence, outside the language of the contract itself, to interpret the contract or to add to the terms of the contract. That post mentioned that, generally speaking, Michigan courts are not going to allow parties to introduce other evidence of a contract's meaning when the language of the document is perfectly clear.

The post may have left some of our Michigan readers wondering exactly what constitutes an ambiguous contract, since after all not every document is perfectly clear in every sentence. A contract that is ambiguous must be capable of more than one reasonable interpretation. This means in practice that two people, both acting in good faith and reasonably, can come to two different interpretations of what the contract means.

Michigan's parol evidence rule and contract disputes

Many type of business disputes arise out of argument about a contract. After all, many Michigan business owners, if they thought about it, would realize that the operation of their business daily is dependent on the making and following through on different agreements, whether it is a lease, an employment agreement, a purchase order or even something seemingly minor like the office's snack service.

With contracts being such a fundamental part of the way businesses operate, it comes as no surprise that sometimes contract disputes will arise between businesses. Oftentimes, these disputes will revolve around what exactly the language of a contract means.

What is a 'trade secret' anyway?

The last several posts discussed "trade secrets" and how they may impact the livelihoods of Michigan business owners. While, as mentioned, most business owners in Michigan know that there are some ideas or designs that they would not want in the hands of their competitors, it may be helpful to review the law of trade secrets in Michigan so that business owners can understand them better.

For example, not every process and procedure that is kept out of the public eye is necessarily a trade secret. Under Michigan law, a trade secret must be something, like a machine or tool or even a particular way of doing things, that has value because of the fact that it is not widely known or remains mysterious to the average person.

Our firm can help protect your business's trade secrets

While Michigan business owners may not think about the precise legal definition of a "trade secret," they do know intuitively that there is simply some information that they would not want leaking out into the public, especially if that meant it would get in the hands of their competitors.

As last week's post on this blog reported, sometimes the end result of a breach of a trade secret can spell disaster, especially for a growing small business. A Troy, Michigan, business owner can only imagine the lost revenue should his or her secret recipe, customer list or even pricing scheme and business plan fall into the wrong hands. It could, in the worst case scenario, even mean that one business will fall prey to the better financial backing of a slightly larger business that didn't bother to innovate its own product or service.

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