How to Protect Your Business from Copyright Lawsuits

Think your company has the next ‘big idea’, good enough to break into your industry? Chances are, someone else has had the same idea. At Von Esch Law Group, we’ve seen too many start-ups and business owners face patent litigation from companies waiting to file lawsuits against unsuspecting entrepreneurs. Here are 4 tips for avoiding copyright infringement throughout each stage of your development.

  1. Be cautious if it’s not your own.

 

You may think this goes without saying, but so many business owners get caught in this tricky copyright trap. If a piece of content was not created by you or your company, whether in person or on the internet, a high level of caution is required when deciding if it’s acceptable to reuse. If you find content you want to use for business purposes, especially photographs and music, check the permissions or license to see whether you can use it for free or need to pay a fee.

  1. Big companies do care.

With so many massive corporations pushing out content daily, it can be tempting to take a small piece of their content – like an Instagram post or 3-second video clip – for your business’s personal use. However, more often than not, they’ll be looking out for this small form of plagiarism. New software has made it possible for companies to monitor any content being republished on the web, no matter how small. Play it safe and avoid this type of copyright infringement.

  1. Don’t forget to look for “fair use”.

While these infringement laws may seem scary, there may be a way around them. “Fair use” is an exemption offered to those who wish to use a piece of content with a copyright license for educational purposes. While this option requires you to read the fine lines, it often allows you access to otherwise prohibited content for educational use.

  1. Start early.

Just had an idea for a business, product, or service? It’s never too early to start researching the current patents associated with your idea. Whether you assign it to your development team or look into it yourself, thoroughly researching the copyrights related to your product can help you avoid a major headache (and lawsuit) in the future.

In addition to following these tips, our team at Von Esch Law highly recommends hiring a legal team to walk you through each step of your business or product development. We specialize in business law and have helped countless clients avoid costly lawsuits. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with our team!

4 Facts You Should Know About Domestic Violence

When it comes to domestic violence, California already has special rules that have been put in place to combat this heinous crime. Domestic violence may consist of anything from threatening, stalking, abandoning, inflicting any kind of physical injury, or damaging of property. And as for the rule governing domestic violence, these crimes are distinguishable. They are of different types as mentioned above.

There are laws meant to protect victims who suffer from corporal injury from their current or former intimate partners. The California Penal Code can either be filed as a felony or simply a misdemeanor.

1. Domestic violence reports

In most instances, you may not entirely understand even what is mentioned in the police report regarding domestic violence. Men and women who are accused of inflicting violence are sometimes the victims of the crime. That is where you can make your judgment saying that the domestic violence system isn’t entirely 100% perfect, or even close to it, based on some arrests that the authorities may end up making.

In some situations, you find that these investigatory decisions are made based on the superficial factors only – not looking at the facts behind the scenes. For example, if the perpetrator calls 911 first on the victim or even looks to be more upset or had more apparent physical or any other kind of injury, there will most likely be a bias. In some situations, gender bias may

even come to play. Simply put, the time has come where abusers can now manipulate the system to their advantage.

2. The prosecutor’s charge

Before any judgment is ruled on the abuser, the victim plus his/her prosecutor first need to convince the jury, beyond any reasonable doubt, that corporal punishment was inflicted by an intimate partner. Only then, will the case even be considered to be a domestically violent crime. Distinguish whether the injuries were willful or intentional on the intimate partner. And whether it has caused any traumatic condition to the victim of the crime.

3. Did the injury sustained cause any traumatic condition to the victim?

Some people get angered pretty quickly and are light on their hands. Before they even notice it, their hands and/or feet are flying about hitting their partners. But even so, you still need to prove to the DA whether or not the strike was meant to cause the victim and unintended injury or not. Remember, though, that it is your actions that caused the victim to suffer any injuries in the first place.

4. Legal Defenses

You can use any number of the defenses mentioned below depending on the manner of your domestic violence case.

  • Lack of willful intent
  • False accusations
  • Self-defense
  • Lack of proof

Penalty enhancement situations may include:

  • Prior convictions
  • Great bodily injury
  • Child endangerment
  • Elder abuse

Do you have a question about domestic violence? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

It is not an uncommon occurrence to find that the disabled in the society end up being discriminated in the workplace. But then again, it also isn’t a good practice to discriminate or undermine anyone who is disabled anywhere. Fortunately, California state laws offer protection for the disabled from any kind of discrimination at work.

Most of these state laws also prohibit an employer from subjecting any of their disabled employees to any kind of unequal treatment in regards to your actual or perceived disabilities. So, how will you know whether you are being subjected to any form of discrimination at work due to your disability?

Read below to find out.

What is disability discrimination?

If you are disabled in any way and working, then you can spot any kind of disability discrimination either from your employer or fellow employees quite easily. This unlawful habit may even start right from the moment you are applying for a new job. The moment you realize that you are being

treated unfavorably by your interviewer or employer qualifies as a disability discrimination. California also has laws that expect employers to provide reasonable accommodation to their disabled employees and/or applicants.

Definition of disability

A disability is a state of any medical condition which impairs activity. This can also include an employee’s ability to work optimally in the workplace. Disabilities can always take many different forms. Most disabilities are usually physical impairments. But you will also find situations where psychiatric conditions can hinder an employee or applicant from performing at work.

As a disabled applicant or employee, you also need to know that not all disabilities are protected by law. So, for you to be protected, you first need to qualify for a job, then see whether your California laws protect employees of applicants with your kind of disability.

Signs of disability discrimination in the workplace

Aside from the clear fact that California has put federal laws in place to protect the disabled from any kind of discrimination at work, disability discrimination occurrences still happen. The moment you realize that your employee is subjecting you to less favorable working environments due to your medical condition, you will know that you are being discriminated against. These forms of discrimination may include reduced working hours, denial of a raise and/or promotions, or even write-ups.

Common disability discrimination signs at work

  • Being threatened or even harassed due to your disability
  • An employer, not hiring you due to your disability
  • Being publicly shamed due to your disability
  • Verbal abuse by an employer due to your disability
  • Being cyber-bullied either by your employer or co-workers due to your disability
  • Being demoted as a result of your disability
  • Denial of promotions due to your disability
  • Being left out of staff meetings due to your disability
  • Contract termination as a result of your disability.

Do you have a question disability discrimination in the workplace? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Von Esch Law Group Welcomes Newest Attorney David V. Luu

The Von Esch Law Group is proud to announce our newest attorney, David V. Luu. His extensive knowledge and experience will be a great asset to our law firm and our clients.

David has been the recipient of the California Rising Star Award for two consecutive years on top of other honors and awards such as the Litigation Clients’ Choice Award, AVVO Litigation Clients’ Choice, AAA rating from the Business Consumers Alliance, and A Rated from Better Business Bureau. It’s clear that David is someone who goes above and beyond for his clients in order to ensure the highest quality of service. Along with his incredible work ethic, David is also well-equipped with the knowledge and experience of handling areas of business law and real estate law. Clients can rest assured knowing they are in the most capable hands as David believes in working with each client to ensure they fully understand the result that they want and giving them a legal strategy to get there.

Among the dozens of his five-star reviews, David’s clients have expressed how pleased they’ve been with his services. “David was a blessing…He gives me hope for humanity.” “He is the most careful and client-oriented attorney I’ve ever seen.” “I could not be happier with David and his great service and I am forever grateful.”

The Von Esch Law Group understands that dealing with legal cases can be tough, especially when handling personal matters or high-stake cases. Hiring the right attorney can make or break the results of a case. Clients of the firm can be assured that every case with the Von Esch Law Group is entrusted in the hands of attorneys with reliable litigation experience. With the addition of David, we can continue to ensure the utmost respect and care for our clients.

Please join us in welcoming David Luu to the Von Esch Law Group! We are excited to have him as a part of our team.

What is a Child Custody Agreement?

Families that have everything planned out for them and are living the good life with their kids together under one roof feel that they may never need to learn about custody agreements and visitation schedules. But the issue is that these divorce is real and can happen to your family.

One thing spouses always need to know when getting into any commitment, especially marriage, is that anything can happen. Two partners will either stay together and happily, or things might go south and end in divorce. In most cases, children are involved.

When children are involved, one partner is going to have primary custody of them, and the other parent will have scheduled visitation rights or even have the children visit from time to time depending on the relationship of the partners after the separation.

In situations that involve mental health and or domestic violence, however, this status doesn’t apply. In general, if the spouse who doesn’t have custody over the children is reasonable, of sound mind, and is actively involved in their children’s lives, then the separated parties can come together and have a child custody agreement.

Reaching an agreement with the other partner can help you gain some form of control over the whole process. The best first step here is to prepare a visitation schedule. This will definitely help the two of you to build a healthy co-parenting relationship and allow your children to still be part of both of your lives without much stress from either of the separated spouses.

Most people usually think that having a judge decide your case is always the best option. But it isn’t. in fact, litigation needs to be your backup plan only if agreements between you and your separated partner isn’t possible. Courts can end up damaging any chance of having a good co-parenting relationship as revelations and tempers can end up flying back and forth.

Child Custody Agreement

There are three terms in a custody agreement: legal custody, visitation schedule, and physical custody. The agreement of any situation here needs to be in writing and filed by the court so as to ensure that the court order is enforced. In most situations, signatures are needed to make the agreements notarized.

Legal Custody

This has to do with the parent who will be making all of the parenting decisions on matters relating to the children’s health, welfare, and education. A joint legal custody can also be agreed upon which allows both parents to have equal rights to make such decisions about their children.

Physical Custody

This type of custody deals more with which household the children are going to primarily live in. Joint physical custody can also be agreed upon in situations where both parents will be having equal times with the kids in their homes. But in cases where the children only live with one parent and only visit the other occasionally, it is referred to as sole physical custody.

Visitation

In some situations, a visitation plan may need to be generated and agreed upon by both parents. Visitations can be every day, holidays, vacations, special days, etc. It is also important to note that each of these categories is considered separate even though they relate to one another.

Do you have a question child custody agreements? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Basics of Wrongful Termination in California

When employers take it upon themselves to fire their employees in violation of the statute or policy of the business or state, it constitutes wrongful termination. You will always find that in almost every work situation, the employee always thinks that their continued employment in any business or company is under the sole discretion of their bosses and that they don’t have any protection from being fired whenever their boss/employer deems it necessary.

But, there are instances where the employer can be committing employment violation by terminating an employee’s contract. It is vital that you, as the employee, know all of your rights as a worker in any business, especially the ones that touch on your employment and termination of a contract. There are steps that you can take to protect yourself against any wrongful termination in your place of work. Sometimes, it is your ignorance that is what will end up getting you fired. Like not knowing the limits and situations with which your employer has the power to fire you.

Every business is different. Each business has a different set of rules and regulations which they need to abide by. And the employer also has his/her own set of rules and regulations which he/she must follow. Firing an employee may be among some of the powers that an employer is allowed and granted, but only under certain circumstances, and not at his/her own leisure and feelings.

That being said, here is some basic information that you need to know which might help protect you from wrongful termination of your contract at your place of work.

At-will employment

This is a type of employment where an employer and employee relationship at work is of an indefinite duration. This means that either of the parties has the power to terminate the relationship even for reasons that are not illegal. Maybe even for no reason at all. In most cases, you can find that some of the work relationships between the employer and the employee that start as at-will is usually transformed into an employment situation by the employer. From here, the employer can only fire the employee for a just cause, and either through oral statements or written material.

There are, however, some exceptions that count when referring to the at-will employment rule. In situations where an employer fires an  employee in violation of the stature and public policies of the business and of the state, it is referred to as wrongful termination. But the California prohibits employers from discriminating any employees based on employment decisions, wrongful termination inclusive, on the basis of factors such as, but not limited to the following:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions
  • Disability
  • Ancestry
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Religious creed
  • Sexual orientation

So, if an employer were to fire any of his/her employees based on any of these factors, then that would be considered wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can also occur if an employer fires his/her employee for refusing to break the law.

Do you think you have been wrongfully terminated? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Financial Fraud Laws in California

Fraud is another way of referring to malicious or trickery behavior that one person or entity uses to gain a dishonest advantage over the other. So, financial fraud means that one individual, otherwise known as the fraudster, dupes another and gains some monetary advantage over the victim.

In California, for one, you will notice that people never hesitate one bit when they realize that they can gain some monetary advantage at the expense of some unaware individual. They will violate any rule there is regarding fraud at any time and day. These financial fraud cases are usually more prevalent among family members or someone related to the fraudster in a significant way. Engaging in acts that dupe another victim, which can end up injuring or harming him can also be considered fraud in California.

Fraudulent acts are usually driven by two motives and the first and most common motive is usually the financial gain aspect of it all. The second motive is when the fraudster is looking to try and escape some criminal activity of some kind and with those two in mind, you can ascertain that there are quite a number of fraudulent acts that require the attention of the laws in California. When you do enough study in this field, you will notice that even though most of these fraudulent acts may be based mostly on these two motivators, some are completely different and are not even linked to the said motivations.

Laws and penalties

In California, these fraudulent crimes are referred to as the “white collar crimes.” Any case concerning fraud is usually a very serious offense and need to be handled with care. In most cases, the fraudsters are usually subjected to very harsh fines or a substantial number of years in their prison sentences.

Fraud-related crimes always carry different and specific penalties for them. In fact, many of the fraudulent acts committed in California, called the California Wobbler offenses, are a short way of saying that they will all be charged using the California theft laws in relation to the perpetrator’s felony offenses or misdemeanors.

The degree of sentencing you are going to receive in regards to your fraud case depends a lot more on your criminal records and history and the facts that have been presented in the case. California also regards some types of fraud cases as automatic felonies like cyber fraud which are under the federal crimes department. If found guilty of such a fraud case, you stand a chance of being prosecuted in state or federal law courts and this will only subject you to even higher penalties than with the lower cases.

Fraud defense

Most of the time you find that many of the attorneys of the defense teams using serious legal defenses in an attempt to try and have the initial penalties that the defendant is expected to pay to be lowered. Most of them use defense strategies that many of the attorneys in the defense teams usually use is the matter of intent of the defendant. If the attorney can be able to prove that the defendant never really had any intentions of defrauding anyone, then the charges can be significantly dropped, and in some rare cases maybe even dismissed.

Do you have a question about financial fraud laws in California? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

California Property Division Laws

Divorces may rank among some of the most horrifying moments married partners have to deal with and it gets even more complicated and stressful when properties are involved.

For instance, one partner contributes a larger sum of finances into an investment owned by the two parties like a residence or even in cases where there are pension and retirement benefits to divide. Chances are that tempers will rise and words will be thrown and finally a lawsuit will be filed. Here is where the stakes get higher.

Family law litigation will definitely ensure that the whole divorce process takes longer than anticipated and more legal expenses will also be incurred in the long run. At the end of the day, you will realize that the emotional and financial aspects of it all may cost so much that you even start thinking whether it was a wise choice to go to court.

But if you believe that the court can rule in your favor, then this is the time you need to look for a good and experienced attorney in the field who will advise you on how you should proceed with the case.

Marital property

Marital property can be classified into many different classifications, namely the quasi-community property and the quasi-marital property. At this stage, the judges and attorneys attempt to figure out the total assets and debts of the two partners and their attributes towards these debts as both community and separate properties.

Community property

This is a fancy name of calling the property that is obtained during a marriage and is still owned until the date of the separation, and which may also be subjected to be community property as per the laws of California. In such cases, each of the separated parties has 50% ownership interest in all of the community properties as well as the equal rights of the control and management of the properties.

Community property usually includes all the assets and debts of the separated couple in a marriage as well. This is usually a vital step in trying to determine who will be responsible for paying off the debts during the legal separation or marriage dissolution.

Quasi-community property

This is also another very important consideration you need to have in mind when filing for a divorce if the property involved was acquired by both partners outside of California during the marriage. It’s no big news to find married couples that own houses in other states or countries together these days as people tend to move around a lot. And in the process, you and your spouse may decide to buy new residences in other states which can be a real headache, especially when the couple now wants a divorce and both are laying claim to these properties.

These types of assets are usually referred to as the “quasi-community properties” which is another way of saying that this is a case of legal separation between two parties who acquired property from another state while they were still married.

In such cases, the quasi-community properties are usually treated as part of the “community estate” and are always divided as with the community property. Equal treatment is given to both sets of property by the law of California.

Do you have a question about division of property during a divorce? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Child Support Guidelines in California

One of the most disputed issues in any divorce is child support. Usually, you find that the parent who is most likely winning the case, intends to limit the other parent’s time spent with the child proactively. And in most cases, you will also find that other ex-spouses attempt to underreport their original income to limit the amount that they will have to pay for child support.

Either way, you should know that paying child support is obligatory in California, but with one exception. This article will highlight some of the child support guidelines that have been set in the state of California.

Overview of child support guidelines

In California, both parents are required to always provide child support to their young children in case of any separation of the spouses before the children come of age. Usually, the amount of child support that each parent puts into the child support is based on the circumstances that the parents are in at the moment. This means that the child support that each parent puts up is based on the amount of income they make.

Both parents are obliged to contribute child support for the child until the child is 18 years old when the state officially recognizes the child as an adult. As a parent to the child affected by your separation between you and your spouse, you are allowed to put more money in your child support amount than required, but must never pay any amount below the one stated by the court.

If both parents fail to reach an agreed child support amount, then the parties can agree to file a motion for a temporary child support order that will be active throughout the divorce period. The temporary child support order will only be active until the court activates a permanent order.

Child support add-ons

Add-ons such as child health care and other forms support also qualify as mandatory and need to be paid in addition to the child support as stated in the child support laws in the state of California. In this regard, the court usually orders each of the parents to pay half of the child care expenses that are needed by the parent who has custody of the child.

Retroactive child support payments

Usually, the retroactive child support payments are made when the non-custodial parent fails in his/her duty to provide child support during the specified periods. In such cases, the court usually issues an order that will have the non-custodial parent making child support payments earlier that when the actual order was made.

The consequences that come with child support

You need to know that child support payments are not categorized under taxable income, and so these payments cannot be written off by the parent paying them on their income taxes. The parent that receives the child support is not obliged to report these payments on his/her income taxes.

Would you like to learn more about child support guidelines in California? Click here to contact the experts at Von Esch Law today!

 

Wage and Hour Laws in California

There are strict laws that protect Californian employees from violations by their employers. These are the wage and hour laws. Some of the common violations include:

  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Exempting employees from their wage/hour requirements
  • Demanding for “work off the clock”
  • Failure to provide the required rest and breaks

If you suspect that your employer may be violating your wage/hour rights, then you can always look for a trained California employment lawyer to guide you through the whole process to file a wage/hour lawsuit.

Do the California wage/hour laws apply to you?

The California wage/hour laws apply to the non-exempt employees of California. What this means is that some laws on overtime and meal breaks will probably not apply if you are a independent contractor or an “exempt employee.”

Employees vs Independent contractors

Because these laws only cover California employees, you should not expect to be protected if you are an independent contractor.

You can find some employers attempting to evade payroll taxes by classifying some of their employees as independent contractors. Doing this will also exempt the employers from having to pay up the employee overtime and minimum wages should they deem so.

Exempt vs non-exempt employees

The California state laws say that the wage/hour laws do not apply to the exempt employees. These laws also do not apply to the administrative, executive, and professional employees. The employees who work in the software field, licensed surgeons and physicians, and also teachers are part of the exempt employees category. It is also not a rare case to find many employers classifying their non-exempt employees as exempt.

Minimum wage

It is the law that all non-exempt California employees ought to be paid the minimum wage. There are special exceptions, however, like the inclusion of exempt employees minus the independent contractors to be paid the minimum wage as per the state laws. You also need to realize that different counties and cities in California apply different minimum wages.

Overtime

It is also a California state law that all non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay.

Time and a half

It is the law that employers pay their non-exempt employees 1.5 times the regular pay rate for any overtime work done.

Double time and overtime

All the non-exempt employees that work for more than twelve hours on a single day are entitled to double overtime as per the California state law on wage/hour.

Rest and meal breaks

The wage/hour law also entitles all the non-exempt employees to regular rest and meal breaks.

Meal breaks

If you are a non-exempt employee in California who works for more than five hours, then you should know that you are entitled to a meal break of no less than 30 minutes. If you work more than 10 hours a day, it is the law that you receive two meal breaks that should go for no less than 30 minutes each.

Rest breaks

For every four hours of work, the California wage/hour law entitles all non-exempt employees with a 10-minute break.

Do you have a question about wage and hour laws in California? Click here to contact the experts at Von Esch today!