Needham Asset Protection
Needham Asset Protection Lawyer
The Property Owner
Anyone who owns property is a potential Deep Pocket Defendant. Assume you own a small apartment building. One evening a female tenant returns home from work and parks her car in the enclosed parking garage. As she gets out of her car, she is raped and robbed by an assailant. Under these circumstances, you can expect a lawsuit against you as the owner of the property, for negligently failing to provide the proper level of security.
Do you or someone you know need legal representation to protect your assets? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!
Regardless of the actual safety measures which you employ, the plaintiff’s attorney will allege that you should have taken additional steps, such as installing video cameras, floodlights, or hiring security guards to protect the safety of the tenants. In essence, as a property owner and a Deep Pocket Defendant, you become a guarantor of the safety of your tenants, to the full extent of your available net worth.
Is someone suing you because they got hurt on your property? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!
Officers and Directors
Officers and directors of publicly traded companies are also popular Deep Pocket Defendants. All companies whose shares are publicly traded must file quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are known respectively as the 10-Q and 10-K filings. The purpose of these filings is to make information concerning the business and finances of the company publicly available. The law requires that public companies provide full disclosure of all material information which may influence the price of its stock.
A number of law firms employ young MBA’s and attorneys to scrutinize each of the required filings made by these companies. If the stock of a company rises or falls sharply in response to some news item affecting the company, a law firm may attempt to show that the company’s filings failed to adequately disclose certain material information. If any possible claim can be made, a class action lawsuit will be filed on behalf of current or former shareholders. The company, its officers and directors will be named in the suit. The defendants will fight the lawsuit or settle it but in either event the cost will be substantial and the only likely winners will be the lawyers who filed the action.
Are you an officer or director of a publicly traded company who is being sued due to your quarterly filings with the SEC? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!
High Risk Occupations
In addition to potential liability as a Deep Pocket Defendant, certain types of businesses create a high degree of lawsuit exposure.
All physicians are acutely sensitive to the risk of lawsuits. A recent study found that between 70 and 80 percent of all obstetricians had been sued and the percentage of neurosurgeons and other medical specialists is equally as high. It seems that the public now perceives doctors, like auto mechanics, as capable of fixing any problem with the right tools and a good supply of parts. When these unreasonable expectations are not met–when a surgery or procedure is not successful–the patient and his family conclude that the only explanation is that the doctor must have been at fault. It is not fate, or nature or an act of God which is blamed for the misfortune. (It is much too difficult to collect a judgment from these parties.) As a result, many doctors have been forced to significantly narrow the scope of their practice to eliminate even modestly risky procedures. This type of defensive medicine inevitably drives up health care costs for everyone.
Are you a physician being sued for medical malpractice? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!
Real Estate Developers
Real estate developers and construction companies are another group with potentially significant personal liability. When a project is developed and sold, there may be liability to purchasers and subsequent purchasers for many years to come. Damages caused by latent (unseen) construction defects may be either uninsurable or may surface only after a policy has expired. As an example, California law states that a builder remains legally responsible for latent defects for up to ten years after the completion of the building. With potential liability having a “tail” of up to ten years, no builder is immune from a crippling lawsuit which may have been caused by the faulty workmanship of a subcontractor who has long since disappeared.
The recent decline in real estate prices has also spurred a rash of lawsuits against developers and general contractors. Homeowners who have lost a significant amount of equity due to depressed market conditions often attempt to recover their investment by filing lawsuits, alleging construction defects against everyone involved in the project. That includes the geologists, engineers, architects and the building trades people as well as the developer. These type of cases are enormously costly and time consuming to defend and unless there is an insurance company involved to pay the costs, it is very difficult for all but the largest companies to survive a lawsuit like this.
Another problem faced by developers is that each project requires a significant amount of cash, most of which is borrowed from a lending institution. The developer puts up the land as security and also must sign a personal guarantee for the entire amount. If the deal goes bad, the developer must repay the loan out of his own pocket. As a result, one bad deal can wipe out many years of hard work.
Because of the high degree of risk associated with these type of business activities, the owners of these businesses are placing their entire net worth in jeopardy every single day. Each time a doctor performs surgery, he is literally betting the house on a successful outcome. Anytime something goes wrong, someone will sue. Every patient, client or customer is a potential legal adversary.
Are you a real estate developer being sued for faulty construction? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!
General Business Risks
In addition to the degree of risk associated with particular business activities, there is a significant threat of personal liability due to general business risks. This type of potential liability exists regardless of the degree of hazard associated with the activities of the business. This is the liability which any business incurs in connection with obligations to lenders, landlords, suppliers and customers.
Almost every business needs to borrow money at one time or another for operating capital, inventory or equipment. It is anticipated that the money will be repaid out of future cash flow. The problem arises when this cash flow falls short of expectations, because of an error in judgment, an unforeseen slowdown in business or because of one or two unlucky breaks.
The point is that there are hundreds of ways to get wiped out in business: a general economic downturn; shortages due to a business upturn; sudden changes in the public’s taste; the emergence of powerful, well financed competitors; the obsolescence of products due to the invention of new or more appealing products; a change in the law. The next thing you know, your banker and your landlord and your suppliers are fighting over who should get your house and how to divide up the china. The worst part is that these risks are uncontrollable. No matter how smart and how careful you may be, no one has the ability to foresee all the things that will go wrong.
The fact is that every business and financial decision which you make entails some level of risk. If you try to make more money by expanding your business, or making a new investment with the goal of ultimately increasing your financial security, you will necessarily jeopardize everything that you have earned up until that point.
Sometimes everything will work out as you hope it will, but sometimes it won’t.
Asset Protection is to allow you to engage in business and take the necessary risks, while making sure that if things do no go as planned, everything that you have put together over the years will not be lost.
Are you or someone you know being sued and need legal representation to protect your assets? If so, contact our Needham asset protection lawyer today!