Any lawyer fags here? Small business owner in NY with a few questions related to liability.
Any lawyer fags here? Small business owner in NY with a few questions related...
Lawyerfag CHECKing in...
I own a small confection manufacturing company and sell our products to multiple privately owned stores/franchises. One of the stores we just partnered with asked for me to sign a document stating I'd accept full responsibility if a customer got sick from one of our products. I declined to sign it as I refuse to render myself/my company liable in the event that they are negligent in storing our products (need to remain refrigerated/frozen). We've never been prompted to sign such a form and I'm wondering what my options are.
Your options are:
B) don't sign
That will be $200, user.
Sort of what I had expected. Do you accept BTC?
I accept your wife's tits posted on Sup Forums.
Daughter acceptable too, if over 18.
Dude, you're liable no matter what you sign, unless you make your distributors sign a "hold harmless clause"
That'll be $200 for me now.
turning 23 with no gf m8
Tbh, I've never sought legal counsel and didn't think it was necessary. If they left our products unrefrigerated and caused a customer to get sick, I'd be held accountable? Seems fucked.
Suck a dick op
Small businesses worry too much about being sued and liability. Yes, liability is definitely a concern, BUT, you can shield yourself from personal ruination (which, lets face it, is what everyone is really concerned about) by exercising some common legal sense.
Getting in trouble with the government or consumer product safety commission, however is another thing entirely. Those fuckers can ruin you no matter what you do, unless you have an ex-wife who you really, really trust.
$200 coming right up
Tyvm good sire, I may affirm you are trustworthy in your exploits
Mm, so you'd sign it?
Whoever gets sick and hires a lawyer, the lawyer is going to follow the money trail. If you want to guarantee that you get sued, go out and buy a nice fat juicy Product Liability Insurance policy.
Strange as it may seem, having NO insurance is quite often a protection from lawsuits in and of itself. Most of what people own personally is protected, either by a Lien of one type (mortgage, car loan, etc) or by depreciated value (your stamp collection), or by untouchable assets (your Retirement).
If you own a company, you should, at a minimum, have some kind of Bank Loan with a blanket lien - a "UCC" on the business assets. This prevents anyone from taking those assets because a bigger player - the Bank - stands in their way.
Advice I can use - where am I again? Thank you.
I'd rewrite it with what we call "weasel words" put in there which allows you to cross-complain against them in the event of their misconduct.
However - again OP - unless you have substantial assets which can be grabbed by a victorious litigant, you probably can protect yourself with just a few steps, which I can enumerate if you want.
Nice trips. I'd really appreciate it if you could fill me in on those steps.
1) Incorporate - lots of people say "incorporate in Delaware or Nevada" but don't mess with that, you'll wind up paying some out of state lawyer if you get sued anyway.
2) Keep your corporate books clean. Don't buy toilet paper for the house using your corporate bank account.
3) Keep a blanket lien from the bank on your assets. A LOC works pretty good for this.
4) Have your Distributor sign a "distribution agreement" which contains a "hold harmless" clause in the event of THEIR negligence. This is easy to argue, because most people will say "well, its reasonable for me to accept responsibility for something that will never happen" - but even if YOU are negligent, this point needs to be argued, which means (in the case of a bigger operation being your distributor, thus having insurance) any potential claimant will go after them first.
Thank you! We're incorporated but I've been lazy in keeping the books clean. 3 and 4 I will most certainly work on; I'm assuming I'll have to have a lawyer draft an agreement
5) Keep it small. If your business starts becoming bigger, form new corporations to handle other parts of it - one company you buy the manufacturing components from - another that you lease the equipment from - understand that they are called "shells" for a reason - the more money and assets you have the more shells you need to hide them under. This is done by anyone of substance, and/or any company that becomes very successful, as you can abandon any part which gets pierced by a claimant.
Why does everyone in this thread think that you can escape liability by signing something?
It doesn't matter what you have signed. If you mess up and someone gets sick because of your product, you are liable.
Yes - pay a lawyer who does this for a living to do it for you - NOT the guy at the Strip Mall. Honestly, this is the part where spending some $$ really makes sense. A good smart lawyer can build you a contract that looks inoccuous enough that people will sign, but is lethal enough that in the event something bad happens, you have outs. Remember, you never want to be the last rat on the ship.
Further, keep your structure CLEAN - can't emphasize that enough. Pay someone to manage your books. Someone who is annoyingly OCD and is not afraid to give you shit for not turning in a receipt.
You have FDA and state health department approval for making and selling confections, correct?
First thing I said. But there are ways to make sure you're (a) not worth suing, or (b) you bring others to the party if you are. Both are good valid strategies.
I'm getting dubs and trips like a motherfucker tonight. Daymn. Should have been at the casino instead of helping OP out.
lol don't sign that shit man.
Your job and obligations are ended when you sell your product to them. It then becomes THEIR product and THEIR obligation. This is why they want you to sign this shit. They're terrified of fucking up.
Don't sign it- and don't "do them any favors." I don't know if they're that shady, but you are a professional, and you don't do favors where your work is considered.
They want to fuck you, that's it. Don't sign, and if they cry, tell them that they can find business elsewhere.
OP, post a pic of your product, bro.
looks like stale mash
Lol, it's edible cookie dough. I agree it doesn't look great in the photo, but edible cookie dough isn't super photogenic pre-editing.
That's what I was thinking. Thank you!
Then labeling should say if refrigeration is required, and if there is any illness resulting from a batch of your product, investigation will show whether or not some sort of bacterium was the cause and point of origin for it - shipping manifests will show if refrigeration was maintained.
All in all, do not sign it, it’s not needed. If they insist, find another end seller.
Thank you for the very informative response, I was unsure if an investigation would be able to track the root of the issue as I run a careful operation (I have my ServSafe Manager certification).
They can track salmonella, listeria, and e-coli outbreaks to the initial farm or facilities by random spot testing after following shipment manifests and batch numbers.
Yeah, they’ll be able to tell if your facility is the cause or if poor refrigeration at the end seller or somewhere in between is the cause
I seriously appreciate the information and I've saved all helpful posts