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Britton Law Blog

Wrongful death lawsuit filed against condo's building security

North Carolina residents may be interested in a recent lawsuit that demonstrates the dynamics of a wrongful death claim. It raises important issues for landlords, condominium management boards and those in the hired security fields.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estates of two people murdered in their Boston condo. The alleged assailant was working for a security firm hired by the building owners. He is believed to have called on the victims under the pretense of official business to gain access to their apartment. The victims were later found dead with their hands bound and throats cut.

The art of investing in professional sports

As North Carolina continues to grow into a lucrative professional sports market, prospective investors are starting to inquire about opportunities in team ownership. A few years ago, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made headlines as he plunked down $2 billion to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. Even though the sale was carried out under duress due to a scandal involving the former owner of the team, the exorbitant price tag prompted many analysts to question the value of the franchise.

Being an ardent lover of professional basketball, Ballmer has proven to be one of the most beloved team owners in the NBA. From a financial standpoint, however, he is probably losing money now. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the team is increasing in value. Should the Clippers be crowned NBA Champions in the next few years, Ballmer could conceivably sell the team for a handsome profit to another billionaire or to a group of investors.

Sleep apnea screening rule withdrawn

North Carolina highways may have gotten a bit more hazardous in light of a notice that was issued on Aug. 4 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency, which is part of the Department of Transportation, has stated that it was withdrawing a proposed rule that would have standardized screening procedures and protocols for truck drivers who were suspected of having sleep apnea.

In July, the DOT had indicated that the proposal might be in jeopardy. It had spent much of 2016 seeking feedback from truck drivers, trucking companies and others involved in the industry, but now says that it did not obtain enough data that would have justified a new rule. Presently, medical personnel use one of several different types of screening protocols in order to determine who should be referred for an apnea test. It has caused some criticism from drivers who believe that some of the referrals are unnecessary. The proposed rule would have given more clarity to the situation and would have also required mandatory referrals for drivers who exceeded a specified body mass index.

When to buy or sell a business

Entrepreneurs wanting to purchase or sell a business in North Carolina should know that many factors can affect whether a deal is successful. It is important to know when it is wise to pursue the completion of a deal and when to walk away from one.

Once there is an agreement regarding the sale of business, a number of actions should take place. The purchaser will have to draft and sign a letter of intent that details the sale terms, including the agreed-upon price. Both parties will have to do their due diligence, which is a critical step as information can be found that may indicate the deal may not be the right choice.

More baby boomer businesses may be available

More businesses created by baby boomers in North Carolina might be for sale in the years ahead. Younger generations who are interested in buying companies may be able to take advantage of these opportunities. However, the volume of businesses on the market does not mean that all of them are good. Potential buyers should have a set of criteria in mind and do their research.

It is important for an entrepreneur who wants to buy a business to make sure the financing is available. The person should understand financing requirements, down payments and what banks may be willing to loan. However, it is also important to buy a business that is in good shape. If the business is faltering, the buyer should be prepared to work hard on their businesses. No enterprise will be perfect, but a careful buyer may find a very good deal.

Vitality measures to consider when buying or selling businesses

In many cases, North Carolina entrepreneurs make the decision to purchase a business without looking at all the necessary data. New buyers and sellers may want to follow the path of professional investors, which involves focusing on what are known as key performance indicators.

The first step is in understanding that some KPIs are specific to the sector a business operates in. In other cases, certain indicators won't matter to that particular business and still others can be applied generally across all businesses. These latter KPIs can be considered the vital signs that help an entrepreneur understand when capital return can be expected from the investment. The price when buying or selling businesses will largely represent the vitality shown in KPIs.

Working with employees when selling a business

People in North Carolina who are considering selling a business may be concerned about when and how to inform employees. While the business owner might want to make sure that employees are taken care of, it is important to not mention the potential sale if it is not yet a sure thing. Doing so could drive away key employees and weaken the business if the owner then decides not to sell. If the business must be sold by a certain date for some reason, the owner might want to inform the employees of this date.

It may be possible to negotiate with the buyer of the business to protect the employees. For example, a business owner might sell the business for less than its valuation if the owner agrees to retain employees. If it is unlikely that the buyer will be able to do this, the owner should let employees know as soon as possible so that they can begin to make other plans.

Unannounced brake safety blitz sidelines trucks

Road users in North Carolina and around the country may be alarmed to learn that nearly 2,000 large commercial trucks were ordered out of service after the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted an unannounced safety crackdown on May 3. The nonprofit association's inspectors checked the braking systems and other safety equipment of more than 9,000 semi-tractor trailers in 10 Canadian provinces and 33 U.S. states during the one-day safety blitz according to a press release.

The association of provincial, federal, state and local traffic safety officials and industry representatives say that it conduct this kind of unannounced operation to both identify vehicles that are violating safety regulations and monitor how well crucial equipment like anti-lock braking systems are being maintained and repaired by commercial vehicle operators. The focus of the May 3 CVSA effort was brake safety, and the organization reports that 1,146 of the 1,989 tractor-trailers ordered off the roads during Brake Safety Day were pulled out of service for brake-related issues or violations.

Truck and bus accidents on the rise

Large trucks and buses have been involved in a number of serious crashes in North Carolina and across the United States. Data shows that the number of fatal crashes could be escalating, even if it remains below its 21st-century high point. In 2015, there were 4,311 large trucks and buses that were involved in deadly auto crashes around the country.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has assembled data to depict the current state of road safety in regard to large vehicles. When trucks and buses get into a car crash, the results can be devastating for passengers and for other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. The large size of these vehicles means that truck or bus accidents can cause devastating personal injuries.

Maintaining company culture after an acquisition

North Carolina entrepreneurs understand that they set the tone for a company culture and establish its mission. When a large company acquires a smaller startup, the small company might expect to lose its identity, but steps can be taken to ensure that the company maintains its valuable attributes that attracted the buyer in the first place.

The example of Plum Organics after its acquisition by the Campbell Soup Company proves informative. From the beginning, the CEO wanted to preserve the mission of the organic baby food company. He achieved that goal by reincorporating the business as a public benefit corporation owned by Campbell. The corporate bylaws included language about the company's mission of selling high-quality food and social responsibility.

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