How to Handle Theft or Embezzlement of Investment Funds

By | Blog, Investment Litigation | 2 Comments

With the economy recovering at a slow pace and the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis still felt nationwide, many people are reluctant to invest their money. Theft or embezzlement of investment funds is a reality that many Americans face, and it can have financial and emotional repercussions on victims for years to come.

If you are facing embezzlement of your investment funds, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. A skilled investment lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to report the embezzlement and regain financial security.

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Lawyers of Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, S.C. Win Milwaukee Civil Rights Case

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Civil Rights Lawyers in Milwaukee, WI

A Milwaukee jury unanimously found that a Milwaukee Police Officer violated the civil rights of our client by falsifying an affidavit in support of a search warrant that led to a SWAT Team invading an innocent man’s home and shooting him in the hand and shoulder (the shooter was attempting to shoot him in the chest.)  In this civil rights case, the jury awarded not only $750,000 in compensatory damages but awarded punitive damages of $250,000.

Milwaukee Lawyers Fights Civil Rights Case For Over 5 Years

The City of Milwaukee fought this civil rights case for over 5 years including an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (next step the U.S. Supreme Court) which confirmed the client’s right to a jury determination of whether the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally and whether the false affidavit led to the client’s injury.  The City of Milwaukee attempted to use the fear of  guns claiming that merely because the client owned multiple hunting rifles, the SWAT Team was justified in a executing a “no knock” search warrant with 15 team members, which included the use of an armored vehicle known as the “Bear Cat”, storming his house, shooting him and exercising a technique called a “shield stun” while the client was sitting on the floor, blood spurting from the finger shot from his hand and the wound in his shoulder that tore out much of his deltoid muscle.

Years of hard work by the dedicated civil rights lawyers of Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, S.C.  led to a positive result and vindicated the client’s claim that he did not fail to comply with police commands.  Due to a briefing by the defendant, the SWAT Team was “wired” due to the unsupported belief that the client “disliked the police” leading to the “high man” on the entry team shooting without first warning.

“The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the personal rights that it secures has a long history.  At its very core stands the rights of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from governmental intrusion.”  Justice Potter Stewart.  A Milwaukee jury held a policeman accountable for our client’s privacy being invaded due to his misconduct and awarded substantial damages.

You can read more on the story here via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

For civil rights lawyers you can trust, call Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, S.C. at (414) 273-1144 today!

Insights From a Business Lawyer: What Qualifies as a Misrepresentation or Fraud Case?

By | Blog, Business Law | No Comments

Misrepresentation is a common crime that can best be described as a civil wrong or tort. As any business lawyer will tell you, misrepresentation can create grounds for civil liability if it leads to the victim suffering any financial losses. For example, a speculator in real estate who sells swampy land masqueraded as an expensive, commercially-viable zoned plot is guilty of misrepresentation. The entity who purchased the property based on the speculator’s misleading declarations may sue to forestall or recover any monetary losses incurred as a result of the transaction.

If you’re not a business lawyer, it can be difficult to understand what constitutes a misrepresentation or fraud case.

Insights From a Business Lawyer on Misrepresentation & Fraud

What is Needed to Establish a Fraudulent Misrepresentation Case?

You don’t have to be a business lawyer to understand that misrepresentation involves making false statements to convince someone to enter a legally-binding agreement. Fraudulent misrepresentation is the most serious of the 3 major types of misrepresentation recognized under contract law.

Basically, the legal concept of misrepresentation allows a business lawyer to seek remedial action on their client’s behalf for any rescissions or damages resulting from fraudulent contracts. For the maker of a fraudulent contract to be proved liable, three things must be established by your business lawyer:

  1. There must exist a misrepresentative statement that was uttered by the defrauder to the victim in any reliable form that can be determined in court.
  2. The defrauder must be fully aware that the victim is completely reliant on the factual correctness of all their statements.
  3. Finally, the victim’s belief in the validity of the defrauder’s proclamations must have been strong, justifiable, and reasonable enough to have caused the misrepresentation to result in pecuniary losses.

What this meaMilwaukee | Business Lawyer | Fraud & Misrepresentationns is that for something to qualify as misrepresentation, it must be shown that one not only lied or falsified facts about a contract, but that you also did it intentionally, with the sole aim of defrauding the victim. As your business lawyer will inform you, this makes it the gravest among all types of misrepresentation and it attracts the most severe complementary penalties as well.

One must note, however that the misrepresentation does not necessarily have to be expressed as a positive assertion for liability to be established. Virtually anything that can be shown as having been intended to deceive the victim will suffice. Expressions like body gestures, hints, innuendos, allusions, half-truths, undertones, and even silence, can all be used to successfully prove misrepresentation. This is where a business lawyer will truly help your case, as they will guide you through the complicated process of building a misrepresentation case.

Legal Countermeasures Against Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation is classified as a civil offense, for which you can only sue for damages in civil court with a business lawter. The criminal court equivalent of this particular offense is aptly known as “false pretenses.” Civil court decisions made as a general remedy for most cases of confirmed misrepresentation will often involve rescission. As your business lawyer may inform you, the court will essentially assume that the misrepresented contract or transaction never actually existed in the first place. The victim will thus be compensated and all parties will be restored to their initial financial positions before the misrepresentation was perpetuated. Your business lawyer will help guide you through the legal process and ensure that you are properly compensated in your misrepresentation case.

Why a Business Lawyer Can Be Helpful

Though fraudulent misrepresentation may have the distinction of having the most significant consequences with respect to recognized types of fraud, it also happens to be the hardest to prove. Demonstrating the defrauders’ “intent” is ordinarily a tricky undertaking, because most can simply claim that they were unaware that their claims were false at the time. A competent business lawyer is essential for misrepresentation victims to successfully pursue their civil cases to a fruitful conclusion. Misrepresentation legislations and statutes are applied differently across every state, so an experienced business lawyer is best placed to inform you on how best to proceed with your suit, and to explain the kind of rewards you may expect.

Get a Reliable Business Lawyer Today

If you feel you are the victim of misrepresentation or fraud in Wisconsin, you’ll need an experienced, reliable business lawyer to shepherd your case. Gutglass, Bonville & Larson Law can connect you with the business lawyer you need. We serve the Milwaukee area. Contact us today for a consultation with a business lawyer.

Business Law: Tips for Running a Family Business

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business lawIf you practice good business law, running a family business can be a great way to make money and ensure that your family members are employed, as well. Family-run businesses are often very successful due to the fact that many employees have a personal stake in the success of the company. There are special regulations that make a family business different, however. The business law guidelines are discussed in depth below.

Business Law 101:

Business Law Consideration #1 – Spouses Working Together

If you are considering starting a business with your spouse, there are many factors to consider prior to doing so. Having a solid marriage is the single most important factor, with effective communication as one of the key contributors. Additionally, partners should be able to work with each other as a team, rather than be competitive. Finally, it is crucial that home and work life be kept as balanced as possible – this means hopefully keeping ‘shop talk’ to a minimum when spending quality time with your spouse outside of the office.

Once the above factors have been taken into consideration, the next step is to speak to a qualified tax professional and an attorney who specializes in business law about how to legally structure your new business. This is important because there are a number of factors that contribute to whether  the business can be considered a corporation, a partnership, or an LLC. After speaking with a professional in your area of business law, you will be able to decide which choice is best for your business.

Business Law Consideration #2 – Employing Your Parent

When paying a parent employed by you or your company, the business law guidelines may be different. For instance, payments are probably not going to be subject to Federal Unemployment Tax. Payments also may or may not be subject to Medicare Tax and Social Security, depending upon the circumstances. Again, speaking with a tax professional and a business law attorney is highly recommended in this situation.

Business Law Consideration #3 – Employing Your Children

Many times in a family business, your child or children will become a crucial part of the workforce. Not only does employing your child bring extra income into the household, but it can also help teach adolescents and teenagers responsibility, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment.

The first thing to consider when deciding whether or not to employ your child is how you can do so within the child labor law regulations. There may be exceptions to these business laws in some cases of a child working for their family’s business, so long as no child under 16 is performing any hazardous work.

As far as taxation of a child’s pay is concerned, this often falls under different guidelines than taxing a non-family employee. Sometimes payments to children are not subject to Medicare Tax or Social Security withholding. It is important to reference a business law professional if you are unsure, though. In addition, business law states that payments to children who are under the age of 21 also may not be subject to the Federal Unemployment tax.

Integrate Good Business Law into Your Family Business Today

Starting a family business is a great way to bring your family members closer together and give them a sense of pride in their collective teamwork; however, practicing good business law is of the utmost importance. Before starting any type of business, family or otherwise, it is always best to consult with an attorney and a tax professional to make sure you are following the business law guidelines set up by your state and federal government.

For more information about business law, contact Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville and Larson Law Firm today at (414) 273-1144.

Trademark and Trade Name: Know the Difference

By | Business Law | No Comments

As a business, it is crucial that you know the legal differences between a trademark and a trade name. Many people fail to draw a distinction between these two entities.

Failure to know the difference between a trademark and a trade name can create confusion, or worse, get you into legal trouble. In an effort to help prevent any issues down the line, we have summarized the main differences.

trademark, trade nameTrademark

A trademark refers to a distinctive sign that identifies services and goods provided or produced by a specific enterprise or person. To keep things simple, associate trademark with a company’s brand — think names, words, slogans, symbols, and design.

When Should you Get a Trademark?

Deciding to register a trademark depends on an individual business’ discretion. You can register a trademark on both a state and federal level. Although both are not always required, they are highly recommended.

Having a registered trademark assures that you have exclusive use, preventing anyone else from using your trademark. How is done? The government serves to provide protection from any infringement or liability issues that might surface at a later date. Getting a trademark is a simple way to protect some of the things that make your business unique. Once you are ready to get a trademark, you can hire an intellectual property lawyer to register a trademark on your business’ behalf . You can also apply for the trademark registration personally.

Trade Name

As a business, it is important that you don’t confuse a trademark with a trade name. A trade name refers to a name that is very different from the name of your partner, your personal name, the name of your Limited Liability Company, or corporation that is officially registered. Just as the name suggests, a trade name is the name of your business. Things such as billing, tax filing, and formal identification are some of the issues that fall under the trade name of the company.

Know the Limits of a Trade Name

A business may get into trouble by relying solely on a trade name. This is because there are some businesses that assume a registered trade name gives them the freedom and right to use that name for any business-related purpose. However, in the event that a business uses its trade name in identifying its services and products, the trade name is serving the function of the trademark, hence there must be a consideration of the trademark law. A business is only legally allowed to use its trade name as a trademark to the limit of not infringing upon any existing trademarks.

If your trade name is very similar to a registered trademark, you may cause customer confusion. In the event that this happens, you may have to change your trade name and incur a considerable amount of expense in advertising to correct the mistake. Additionally, you might also end up paying for the lost profits of the original trademark holder. How can you avoid this from happening to your business? The best way to protect your business is to establish a good relationship with a skilled and experienced trademark attorney who will be able to assist you in this crucial process.

Protect your Business with a Registered Trademark or Trade Name Today

What sounds similar in name actually has very different legal implications in the business world. Because of this, it is crucial that you make the distinction between these two terms. Failure to do so can result in some serious legal consequences. When it doubt, play it safe and seek legal counsel.

For information about how Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville and Larson Law Firm can help you with trademark or trade name-related needs, contact us at (414) 273-1144.

How to Handle Employees Called to Active Military Duty

By | Blog, Business Law | 17 Comments

Active Military Duty EmployeesActive military duty refers to when the military forces are called for full time active services. Protecting the people of the state and defending the borders are very important duties of all the armed forces. Handling these employees when they are called on such tours is not an easy task. Employers, under the services of Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), must follow all such rules that are required for the care of their military employees.  An employer must also focus on the following things:

How to Handle Active Military Duty Employees

  • Inform them about all their rights under USERRA, as well as the importance of the military duty.
  • Continue providing health coverage benefits to both the employee and their dependents for 24 months. The employee may select not to remain under the health coverage but under USERRA they will be entitled for reinstatement under the health coverage after they are reemployed.
  • Employees who are called into active duty must be offered reemployment in the position that they would have attained had they not been called away, including seniority, status, benefits and pay
  • Provide reemployment of a military service employee for up to five years following the date they were called into active service.

Military duties are usually spontaneous, so the most important part of it is to create a policy for all the employees that must be followed in any case. They must be given all the guidelines by their employers according to USERRA.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.