In the past few years, the news media have reported on a number of wage-and-hour lawsuits against prominent business, including Walmart and Amazon. Meanwhile, the ride-sharing service Uber is in litigation over accusations that its drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.
A failure by one side to honor the terms of an agreement can spell disaster for a business, and so breach of contract is one of the most common claims in business litigation. But once a business has proven the other side breached contract, what can it do? What remedies are available?
When the government seeks to regulate the conduct of business, the results can be helpful or harmful depending on the regulations and the business to be regulated. Either way, assuming the regulations in question are legal and constitutional, it will be the duty of businesses to comply with them. This is especially true for recently enacted regulations, as governments often are keen to enforce them.
Most residents of New Jersey associate chain stores with large shopping centers or roadside strip malls. Four years ago, Jersey City passed an ordinance that is intended to prevent chain store outlets from locating in the downtown business area. Now the owner of a downtown building has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Jersey City ordinance is unconstitutional and nothing more than a "publicity stunt" intended to help Jersey City's mayor Steve Fulop succeed in his run for governor.
One of the greatest barriers to settling lawsuits by existing or former employees is the employer's fear that other employees will learn about the settlement and start their own lawsuits. For many years New Jersey lawyers have inserted non-disclosure clauses in employment contracts and business litigation settlement agreements that prevent both the employer and the employee from telling anyone about the terms of the settlement.
Westminster Choir College in Princeton is one of the most famous musical schools in the world. Since its founding in 1920 and its move to Princeton in 1932, the college has trained thousands of musicians, conductors and scholars. In the 1990s, the college was facing financial problems, and it merged with nearby Rider University. Rider has now created a hornet's nest of a dispute by announcing the proposed sale of the choir college to a firm located in China and partially owned by the Chinese government.
The iconic pancake restaurant IHOP recently surprised consumers in New Jersey and across the nation by changing its name temporarily to IHOb to drum up business for its burger sales. However, not everyone was happy with the temporary change. RMH Holdings, the second-largest franchisee of the casual dining restaurant chain, Applebee's, has filed a lawsuit stating that Dine Brands, which is the parent company of both Applebee's and IHOP, put Applebee's at risk through the IHOb ad campaign.
Business lawsuits can come up in the most unusual of ways. For example, one might think nothing of a mom trying to start her own home-based business selling baked goods. It may be her intention to start her business from home, and once she has raised enough revenue, move her operations to a brick-and-mortar shop. However, it may come as a surprise to some that New Jersey is the only state in the nation where it is against the law to sell cookies, cakes, muffins and other baked goods made at one's personal residence (although nonprofit bake sales are still legal).