Top 4 Questions And Answers About Small Businesses From Court Buddy's May Meet-Up
Frankie Grijalva Golden Gate University School of Law 2L
Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Court Buddy began hosting monthly virtual Legal Meet-Ups to help people get advice from real lawyers on pressing legal topics. The Meet-Ups are run in a panel format, mediated by Court Buddy’s Chief Legal Officer Jennifer McGlone who asks the panelists questions submitted by you, our Court Buddy users.
The first legal meet-up was held on May 8th and was attended by around 250 people across the United States. Seven Court Buddy lawyers participated as panelists.
Bradley Bailyn, Eafon Cobb, Lou Russo, Patricia De Fonte, Neil Opdahl-Lopez, Michael Neumann, and Bowen Klosinski discussed topics ranging from landlord-tenant issues to unemployment.
Mr. Russo is a sole practitioner business attorney in New York. Most of his focus is on business transactions and disputes in various cases including commercial landlord. Mr. Russo provided legal insight to the possible government funding options individuals can recoup during these times.
Mr. Bailyn is a small business attorney located in New York City with a large portion of his practice covering various Commercial Landlord-Tenant issues.
During this coronavirus pandemic, nearly 7.5 million small businesses are in jeopardy of permanently closing over the next five months.
Here are the Top 3 questions and answers for small business owners answered by Mr. Russo and Mr. Bailyn.
1. How do I know if I can get a Payroll Protection Loan?
You may qualify for Payroll Protection Loan if you have 500 or fewer employees and if you have a certain type of business. Most businesses will qualify.
The loan is designed to prevent you from having to lay off your employees.
If you wind up laying off any of your employees, you could lose eligibility.
2. What are the terms of the loan?
75% of the amount of loan that you take can be forgiven so long as it's used for the qualified costs.
This may include a bunch of things such as the payroll side, mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs.
To account for where you spent the money, 0pen a separate bank account, if possible. Use that bank account to pay only the qualified expenses that can go through the loan.
This also helps if/when there is an investigation.
Lastly, speak to a lawyer and/or accountant.
The application process requires a calculation of your payroll costs from the prior year, and you're entitled to two and a half times that amount. They can help with this.
Visit Court Buddy’s Small Business Association: Business Loans & Banks resources page.
To learn more about the payroll protection loan, click here.
3. If you are an unlicensed contractor, what can you do if someone doesn’t want to pay you for work you’ve already done?
First, get a license.
Unfortunately, without a license, the other party has more leverage since you are not appropriately documented.
Look into the appropriate state laws in regards to licensing and whether there is an ability to get one after you have completed the deal.
Either way, formally demand the money in writing. Research your appropriate laws and statutes in your state put in place to protect people in your situation.
Broadening your search outside of the construction context would be essential.
For example, in New York City the Freelance Isn’t Free Act was set into motion, to protect people from not paying essentially independent contractors.
Third, research if the person has been sued before.
Learning more about the contractor will help determine whether they are frequent flyers to the local courthouse.
In California, learn more about public records available to citizens.
Specifically, in Los Angeles, if you want to individually search the contractor and discover whether they have been involved in any cases in court for a small fee.
In New York, to learn more about New York State, County and Municipal Records.
Finally, figure out if what you’re owed is worth the struggle. Determine whether the amount in controversy outweighs the amount of possible court fees. If it doesn’t, then there may be no reason to pursue it further.
If you determine it is of high value, then research your state small claim court requirements.
In California, for business it is $5,000 in damages while individuals is $10,000.
In New York, it is $5,000.
4. How can I remove a fake online review?
In 2019, 82% of consumers read online reviews for businesses.
On average, consumers read on average 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
With that being said, in 2019, 82% of consumers read a fake review. This number rose by 8% from 2018.
These numbers show many reviews online are fake and the defamation towards a business from them is affecting their business.
The best tips on trying to remove false reviews are:
- Try to Work with the online platform
- Sue for Defamation
- Respond to the Comments in a Positive Way
Read more about the tips on removing the reviews, here.
If you would like to learn more, an excerpt of the transcript covering Small Business Issues is available here.
The entire Legal Meet-up is on YouTube.
If you wish to affordably match with an experienced attorney about your concern, please visit Court Buddy.
The next Court Buddy Legal Meet-Up will be held via zoom on June 26th. You can sign up to ask a question on our website or by calling us at 866-653-3017.
Due to the vast volume of questions, the next legal meet-up will be focused on Landlord-Tenant concerns.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.