12th Jan 2015
Lawsuits against businesses have the potential to destroy both the reputation and the finances of the respective company. There are many cases of business lawsuits not just seriously damaging the income and reputation of a company, but bringing the company to a level beyond repair. There are several new business lawsuits filed every month, commonly caused by the same mistakes that have been seen previously made by other companies. Let’s talk about some of the more notable ones in the past few years and some of the mistakes these companies made to land them in legal and financial hot water.
5. AT&T Attempts to Build Large Cell Tower at the Boundary Waters’ Edge
A cell tower that was proposed in Northern Minnesota caused quite a fight with environmentalists who felt the tower would have a big impact on a large tourist attraction called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This was commonly considered a place for people to escape civilization and enjoy the great outdoors. It was considered one of the last remaining wildernesses in America that environmentalists felt a large tower illuminated 24 hours a day would be a negative mark on the beauty of the land. The tower was such a noticeable structure that it was visible from eight miles away during the daylight. While regular cell towers are typically large anyway, the structure that was proposed to be built was substantially taller to provide service to the surrounding communities.
The environmental group Friends of the Boundary Waters pleaded with the company to build a shorter tower that was less obtrusive, but their request was ignored. The case went to trial and it was found that AT&T could have built a shorter tower or two smaller towers and achieved the same results with less damage done to the environmental aesthetic. In the end, the construction of the tower was halted by the decision.
4. Charges of Sexual Discrimination and Nepotism Against University of Minnesota
John Harris was head coach of the University of Minnesota’s golf teams. When Kathryn Brenny was hired to be the assistant women’s golf coach, her job description was listed as including the responsibility of assisting in the selection, supervision, and athletic excellence of the players. However, as alleged in her suit, she was looked down upon and given menial tasks that were beneath her position. She claimed she was denied the opportunity to coach the team and that her sexual orientation as a homosexual caused her to be denied rights to travel with her own team. Further, her suit accused the group of nepotism. She felt her job was downgraded to allow John Harris’s son-in-law, Ernie Rose, to take over her coaching duties.
While the suit has yet to be resolved, the potential outcome could easily land in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of over $50,000.00.
3. NFL & Players Association
Judge David Doty has many times been involved in legal matters involving professional football. In this particular case, Adrian Peterson alleged that the NFL’s treatment of players was modern day slavery. The players wanted to decertify their union in order to file antitrust actions, which would not have been possible within the confines of the union. It was noted that the players showed a strong solidarity in the lawsuit that ended with them not getting more pay, which wasn’t their goal, but making the changes they felt necessary to perform comfortably in their positions.
2. Mayo Clinic Vs. Prometheus Laboratories
While there were many confusing legal issues involved in the lawsuit, essentially Prometheus Laboratories claimed that Mayo Clinic was in violation of a patent simply by observing results from testing Thiopruine levels in the blood through testing that involved treatment of individuals with Crohn’s disease. While still being appealed in courts, there is some belief that it may come out in the favor of Mayo Clinic, as the idea of putting a patent on a test and observation, over an actual product, is somewhat absurd and counterproductive to the development of advancements in medicine and treatment.
1. James Allen Vs. ICD’s
New Yorker James Allen had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) put in his heart that ended up malfunctioning and shocking him several times without him having any need for any kind of jolt. Another individual that had received a similar device actually died from it short circuiting. The company was asked to issue a public warning, which they rejected.
Ultimately, the public warning would have been a wise decision as the company has paid out over $500 million in damages due to the malfunctioning devices.
As you can see, in spite of regulations being what they are for companies, it is very possible for companies to make mistakes and find themselves in serious legal trouble. It’s important that if you manage a company, no matter the size, you take into consideration certain precautions to ensure that your business is protected in the event of a lawsuit, or protected from a lawsuit entirely. The best protection is being proactive in preventing a lawsuit in the first place through such methods as ensuring your business operates within the confines of the law and that you take care of your clients.
If you find yourself in the middle of a business lawsuit, a good first step is finding yourself a professional attorney that can ensure you have the best chance of surviving a business lawsuit with minimal damage to your reputation and company or personal finances.
Dwight Tompkins, an Orange County estate planning attorney, is happy to consult with you regarding your legal troubles. For questions, or to schedule a consultation, contact the office at 714 385 0044.
Don’t let a business lawsuit sink your company. Contact Dwight Tompkins today, and ensure yourself the best chance of success with representation that will give you and your case priority!