David B. Norris’s Report from Counsel for Summer 2014

Employment Law: Noncompetition Agreements and Arbitration

Although the Federal Arbitration Act is federal legislation, that is, the law of the land, the frequency with which it is part of standard employment contracts means that state courts, rather than federal courts, are more frequently called on to apply the Act to a contract dispute. Thirty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Act declares “a national policy favoring arbitration.” More recently, it has firmly come down against what it regarded as a state supreme court’s “judicial hostility” towards arbitration. Read more

Real Estate Deals Gone Wrong

The ageless advice to read, understand, and expect to be bound by language in a contract you sign is as sound now as ever. It is especially important with respect to contracts to buy real property, where the financial stakes are often high. Jerome contracted to buy property, delivering a $5,000 deposit to be credited toward the purchase price. An addendum to the contract agreed to by the parties stated that in the event the seller breached the agreement or defaulted, Jerome was entitled to the return of his earnest money and cancellation of the contract, as his “sole and exclusive remedy.” Read more

Business Law & Taxes: Estimated Taxes for Business Owners

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that isn’t subject to withholding, most notably earnings from self‑employment. Many owners of small businesses—whether operated as S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies electing partnership taxation, or sole proprietorships—pay their estimated tax using the same IRS Form 1040‑ES that individuals use. Read more