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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

What you need to know when opening a pop-up shop

Pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular. There's plenty of empty retail space out there that landlords would rather lease out for even a limited time than continue to lose money on it.

Pop-up shops are a great way to turn a hobby into a money-making proposition. You can sell those Christmas or Halloween decorations you make every year. Maybe you're selling your homemade candles or t-shirts on Etsy, but you'd like to see how they'll sell in a "brick-and-mortar" location. Perhaps you're just not sure yet if you could make a year-round business work, so you'd like to try it out.

Navigating a truck accident claim can be complicated

If you travel any distance on Illinois or Missouri highways, you know you will likely encounter a big rig. In fact, you may find yourself wedged between several of them as you make your way to your destination. This is not always a comfortable situation because you can't be certain whether the driver of the truck sees you or is in the appropriate condition to safely operate the truck to avoid hitting you.

Nevertheless, you may be among the many drivers of passenger-size vehicles who suffer serious or even life-changing injuries in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle. You now have medical bills to pay. Perhaps you are unable to work temporarily, or your injuries have left you disabled. You want justice, and you may want compensation. However, where do you even begin to pursue these things?

Online retailer pulls back in actions to protect its trademark

Many Americans who love the outdoors enjoy venturing in to the "backcountry," which refers to undeveloped wilderness and rural areas. However, a quick Google search of the word brings up the popular online retailer, which specializes in gear and clothing for the outdoor enthusiast.

The company trademarked its name, and it takes that trademark seriously. Recently, it made news for taking legal action against a number of smaller companies with "backcountry" in their name that sold similar products.

Why you need insurance if you decide to sell your products online

You've turned your hobby of making candles or pet toys for friends, family and the occasional craft fair into a small business. You're selling your products through an online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy. You've probably never considered that anyone might sue you, but you can never be sure.

What if the squeaker in one of those pet toys is torn out by someone's determined Chihuahua and swallowed by a child? If the product packaging didn't include a warning that it contained a choking hazard, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit that could put you out of business and leave you personally bankrupt.

Products sold on Amazon may not meet safety standards

If you're still taking dozens of Amazon Prime boxes to the recycling bin that recently contained toys you bought for your children or other kids in your life, you need to know that many toys sold through the popular online retailer don't meet federal safety standards.

The biggest culprits are toys made by small third-party sellers whose products can be purchased on Amazon. Many of them don't go through the rigorous tests necessary to ensure that they don't contain choking hazards -- or are properly labeled if they do. Some sellers fail to label their toys with accurate recommended ages.

Even a crash at low speeds can lead to serious injuries

When many Illinois residents think of serious car accidents, they often have thoughts of flipped vehicles, mangled metal, ambulances and such. However, some accidents themselves can seem relatively minor but still cause serious injuries to those involved. As a result, it is important to seek medical attention after any type of car accident.

You may have recently gained experience in just how serious low-speed car accidents can be after another driver hit your vehicle. The other party may not have been traveling very fast, and at first, you may not have thought that the incident was severe. However, you may have experienced signs of injury later.

Why isn't Disney cracking down on unauthorized Baby Yoda images?

Even many adults who don't have children are obsessed with "Baby Yoda." The star of the Disney Plus show The Mandalorian isn't even called that in the series. He's referred to only as "The Child." However, his resemblance to the iconic Star Wars character is unmistakable.

The adorable creature, who has been compared to a green chinchilla, has become an internet sensation. He (or she?) can be seen in multiple GIFs and YouTube videos.

Why you shouldn't settle an accident claim too soon

Often people who are injured in a car accident don't realize how serious their injuries are for some time. Sometimes, they don't realize they've been injured at all.

The shock of being in a crash may prevent you from noticing symptoms of a problem. You may be so relieved to be safe and alive that you don't give any thought to a few aches and pains. However, pain from injuries suffered in a crash can be delayed. Further, what may seem like relatively minor discomfort may be a sign of a more serious injury.

How to avoid employee lawsuits

No one starts a business expecting to eventually be mired in costly litigation. Unfortunately, too many business owners end up fighting -- and sometimes losing -- court battles than can cost them dearly in money and reputation. Many of these lawsuits, particularly those involving employees, can be avoided by simply knowing the law and making sure that all of your employees, especially those in supervisory and human resources positions, follow it.

Many employee lawsuits involve wrongful termination. Illinois and Missouri are both "at-will" states, meaning that an employee can be terminated whenever an employee chooses to, as long as that reason isn't illegal -- for example, because of a protected characteristic like ethnicity, gender or disability. However, it's always wise to keep careful records of a problem employee's actions and errors and any counseling you've done with them. Then if you fire them, they have less chance of claiming that their termination was for any reason beyond their performance.

What is 'trade dress?'

One form of intellectual property (IP) that causes considerable confusion is "trade dress." In the past, it tended to refer to the way a product was packaged and displayed when it was sold. Its label, box and point-of-sale (POS) displays unique to a product were considered its trade dress.

However, it's been more broadly defined in court rulings include a product's overall image or appearance. One ruling said that it "may include features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics or even certain sales techniques."

David M. Duree and Associates, P.C.
312 South Lincoln Avenue
O'Fallon, IL 62269
Phone: 618-589-0956
Fax: 618-628-0259
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