photo-conflict-of-interet-boad-members-300x200Corporate board members can have a tremendous, beneficial impact on a company. If they have they company’s best interests at heart and have relevant but diverse backgrounds their input can help guide a company through tough times into much better times. That’s a difficult task if a board member has a connection to a competitor or potential competitor. Every board member has a fiduciary duty to the corporation to act in its bests interests and not use his or her access to benefit a competitor.

In the evolving world of autonomous vehicles companies that weren’t building vehicles in the past may be building them in the future. Two of those companies are Google and Uber. This summer David Drummond, the chief legal officer at Google parent Alphabet Inc., stepped down from Uber’s board of directors, citing a conflict of interest. Drummond joined Uber’s board of directors in August 2013, according to TechCrunch.

This issue has been simmering for a while. Uber’s first fleet of self-driving cars is running in Pittsburgh. The cars are modified Volvo XC90’s, co-piloted by an engineer who can take the wheel when necessary. Google is also working on its own self driving cars. A joint venture between Google and Ford enabling both to leverage their technologies with Ford’s expertise creating cars and Google’s ability to deliver software has yet to come to fruition.

photo-Platinum-Partners-fraud-300x225Investors are always looking for a good return and someone they can trust with their money. All too often that stellar return is the result of fraud and that person who was trusted with millions was lining his own pockets. The latest chapter in Wall Street’s long history of Ponzi schemes appears to be Platinum Partners. This New York hedge fund stood out for its returns that rivaled some of the biggest names in the industry, according to the New York Times.

Mark Nordlicht, a founder and the chief investment officer of Platinum, and six others face criminal charges related to an alleged $1 billion fraud. Prosecutors allege the hedge fund operated as a Ponzi scheme. If so it’s one of the biggest fraud cases since Bernard L. Madoff’s investment firm imploded in 2008.

The charges include securities fraud and investment adviser fraud, according to an unsealed indictment filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. A related civil lawsuit has been filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

photo-MetLife-Ponzi-scheme-300x225For your personal life or your business the right insurance is critical to protecting your assets. Finding the right agent who understands you and your business can make the process faster and easier. Christine Ramirez used an insurance agent to invest $280,000 and she chose the wrong one, according to a Los Angeles jury.

In September it awarded Ramirez $15.6 million after an eight week trial of a case she filed claiming MetLife and two of its affiliates swindled her out of her money due to a reported Ponzi scheme linked to a MetLife insurance agent, reports the New York Times.

  • The scheme ended up costing investors $200 million when finally it collapsed nearly ten years ago.

photo-commercial-lender-law-300x200Those not used to reading statutes will probably find them really boring and might be surprised by the sometimes long and in depth sections on definitions of terms. You might assume that if a word is in a statute it should have whatever common meaning you would find in the dictionary. That’s not the case and whether a business or industry falls into the definition of a term or not could mean all the difference between heavy regulation or profitable opportunities.

The California Finance Lenders Law (CFFL) states that “finance lender” as it’s used in the statute is anyone who is “engaged in the business” of making consumer loans or making commercial loans.  Cal. Fin. Code § 22009.  That definition is important because the state imposes a license requirement on any party “engaged in the business” of a finance lender. Cal. Fin. Code § 22100(a). But the law, as it was written, didn’t define “engaged in the business.” The legal line between a party who might occasionally makes a loan and a party who’s main business is making loans could be difficult to determine.

Like many laws the CFFL has undergone changes over time,

photo-Palantir-300x169A start up company may be in need of funding and see an investor as a savior for the company. But companies need to protect themselves and be wary of investors as much as they may need their money. A company needs to guard itself against the possibility of an investor stealing intellectual property and using it for its own purposes.

Data analytics company Palantir Technologies has filed a lawsuit against one of its earliest investors, Marc Abramowitz, accusing him of stealing intellectual property (new business ideas) then trying to patent them under his own name, according to Law.com. Abramowitz, invested in 2005 and had an office at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters.

The complaint, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleges he used his position to steal Palantir’s plans for applying the use of massive amounts of data in new ways for new types of customers. The situation resulted in the company’s other major investors changing Palantir’s Investor Rights’ Agreement to prevent Abramowitz from getting access to additional confidential information.

Hey, everyone on Facebook.  Good afternoon, good Saturday.  This week I received a number of phone calls asking whether or not a noncompeting clause is enforceable in California, and I just thought I would to take this opportunity to share some general information with you on the topic.  Again, I’m providing general information so if you have a specific question about your unique circumstance, consult with your local attorney.

Now, this particular situation starts with a salesperson that is currently employed by Company A that now wants to work for Company B.  There is a noncompeting agreement between the sales person and Company A, but Company B is telling this salesperson to go ahead and work with us because a noncompeting agreement is not enforceable in California.  Well, I wouldn’t say that noncompeting agreements are not enforceable as a blanket statement, because there are situations where the court does uphold the noncompeting clause agreement.  So, before we start, I’m going to tell you that there is a public policy in California court that states everybody in California has a right to make a living.  This public policy is pretty much just a guiding principle for the judges that they go by when they are deciding on this type of issue.

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The major drivers of corporate purchases are trying to grow a business at a lower cost. Often that lower cost comes when the new, larger company is able to do more with less people. That appears to be the case at Aliso Viejo-based QLogic, a computer networking and storage provider.

The company plans on laying off 69 people effective October 17, according to documents filed with the state, reports the Orange County Register. QLogic announced in June it had been purchased by San Jose-based chipmaker Cavium Inc. for $1.36 billion. The deal was finalized on August 16.

QLogic is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cavium which makes switches, adapter cards and other networking equipment. QLogic provides a number of high tech products, including the Fibre Channel Adapters, which allow the storage and movement of large amounts of data.

photo-Supreme-Court-insider-trading-case-300x285Can someone be guilty of insider trading if that person gives no money to the source of information? If the person is just tipping off friends or family members with no money paid back in return? The answer from the Supreme Court is yes.

Illegal insider trading is generally buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security, according to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Violations can also include “tipping” such information, securities trading by those receiving the information and trading by those who misappropriate this information.

The Supreme Court issued a decision in an insider trading case for the first time in two decades earlier this month. Despite its reputation for a hard philosophical divide often resulting in split decisions, this ruling was unanimous: a Chicago man, Bassam Salman, was guilty of insider trading, reports Reuters. The precedent should make it easier to prosecute those accused of profiting from confidential investment information.