If you are starting or operating a business on the South Shore, it is wise to retain a local attorney who can assist with your legal needs and understand your perspective as a small business owner. Mehrmann Law has provided legal services to businesses for more than 30 years. Our principal, Michael S. Mehrmann, works closely with clients to understand their business needs and to provide comprehensive representation. We handle all aspects of business law for our clients, ranging from business formation and dissolution to contract litigation, employment agreements, partnership disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and permits and other real estate issues. We provide the type of representation that you would get from an in-house lawyer without the extravagant cost. Based in Kingston, our business attorney represents clients throughout Plymouth County.Business Formation
One of the first big decisions that you need to make when you start a company is the form that your business should take. Numerous factors affect this decision, including who the owners are, the type of governance that they would prefer, the capitalization of the business, taxation preferences, and long-term plans for the business. Business forms available in Massachusetts include a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, a limited partnership, a limited liability partnership, a limited liability company, a professional limited liability company, a corporation, or a professional corporation.
Our firm can advise you on the form of business that will suit both your current circumstances and your long-range goals. We can also advise you on the legal documents that can help you run a successful, well-managed business. We can draft formation documents, such as operating agreements, corporate bylaws, contracts, buy-sell agreements, and other documents that vary depending on the business form.Business Litigation
Business litigation can arise when two companies have a dispute. Our firm handles lawsuits arising out of unfair practices and trade regulation violations, breaches of contract, breaches of warranty, business torts, creditor issues, real estate, and many other matters. We also handle partnership and shareholder disputes that arise within a company.
Our firm has the confidence and tools to take your case to trial when the situation warrants it. In some cases, however, traditional litigation proves too expensive compared to the damages that are sought in a lawsuit. For example, some minor copyright and trademark issues can be resolved by sending a cease and desist letter. Plymouth County business attorney Michael S. Mehrmann is also familiar with alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, which can save money and allow a client to return to the important task of maintaining and growing their business more quickly than civil litigation can.
Contracts can be written or oral in Massachusetts. In some cases, they are implied, rather than express. However, under the Statute of Frauds, certain agreements must be in writing to be valid, such as contracts for the purchase and sale of real property, agreements lasting more than a year, or a sale of personal property that is worth more than $500. Even when a written contract is drafted with the appropriate care, disputes may arise about one or more aspects of the contract. If one company fails to perform a contract, the other company may be significantly harmed. In order to pursue contract litigation in Massachusetts, a business will need to prove that the contract was valid and enforceable, there was a breach of the contract terms, and there were losses or damages as a result of the breach.
A company that is harmed by a breach of a contract may be able to recover remedies such as compensatory damages, consequential and incidental damages, attorney's fees and costs, liquidated damages, specific performance, punitive damages, rescission, or reformation. The extent of the damages depends on the degree of harm that a plaintiff is able to show. For example, in some cases, a court will order specific performance, which requires the company that breached the contract to fulfill its terms. In other cases, by contrast, rescission is appropriate, and both sides are excused from performing — any payments made are returned.Employment Disputes
Our business lawyer guides Plymouth County clients through employment disputes, such as wrongful termination claims. Michael S. Mehrmann also can assist with drafting and enforcing employment agreements and covenants not to compete. Massachusetts is an at-will state, which means that an employee can usually be fired at any time and for no reason. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. An employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in violation of public policy. Massachusetts law prohibits employment discrimination based on certain protected characteristics, and it covers your business if you have at least six employees. Federal anti-discrimination statutes cover larger businesses. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act covers employers that have at least 15 employees.Partnership Disputes
When you first form a business partnership, it is important to draft an effective operating agreement that spells out each partner's rights and responsibilities. A partnership is a flexible form that gives business owners a great deal of freedom in how the business will be operated and how decisions will be made. Unfortunately, disputes in any business involving more than one owner are inevitable. In these situations, it can be helpful to have a well-drafted partnership agreement that spells out the duties and rights of the partners, but if there is no agreement that describes an appropriate resolution, we may be able to provide representation in court.Business Dissolution
The steps that you need to take to dissolve a business on the South Shore depend partly on which business form you chose. If you are dissolving a corporation, for example, you no longer need to get a certificate of good standing from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, but you will still need to notify the Commissioner of Revenue that you formally dissolved the corporation and also file a final corporate excise tax return. On the other hand, if you are dissolving a partnership, you will need to file a Form 3, Partnership Return of Income. A sole proprietor dissolving a business will need to stop filing a Schedule C with their income tax return.Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions can strengthen companies. Mergers are a combination of separate businesses into a new single company. An acquisition occurs when one company buys another company, taking over its assets. This is also known as a takeover, and it can be private or public and hostile or friendly. You will need advice from a business lawyer in Plymouth County to handle all of the aspects of a merger or acquisition, including the structure of the deal, the method of payment, indemnification issues, working capital adjustments, closing conditions, restrictive covenants, filings, and notices and consents. The merger or acquisition needs to be compliant with all fair competition laws.Commercial Real Estate Issues
Many different entities may be involved in the development, sale, or purchase of a commercial real estate enterprise on the South Shore, including buyers, sellers, developers, contractors, investors, lenders, engineers, and local and state entities. There is a potential for many different issues to arise in the context of a commercial real estate transaction, including those involving purchase and sale agreements, titles, insurance, contracts, land use, permits, leases, and taxes. We can negotiate with the appropriate parties and handle any disputes as they come up. We can also draft the appropriate documentation to lease commercial space, handle problematic tenants, or perform evictions.Seek Guidance from an Experienced Plymouth County Business Attorney
You can obtain sophisticated legal advice without hiring an in-house attorney. Our firm takes pride in providing superior legal services at a fair rate. At any stage in the life cycle of a business, Attorney Michael S. Mehrmann has the experience and skills to provide strong legal representation. He assists clients in communities such as Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Duxbury, Carver, and Pembroke. Call us at (781) 585-3911 or use our online form if you need guidance from a business attorney in Plymouth County.