O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. Articles

What is a Trademark?

A trademark can be any mark representing words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these that identifies your goods or services. In practice, the most common trademarks are business names and logos. Trademarks accomplish several objectives. They (1) identify the source of your goods or services; (2) provide additional legal protection for your brand; and (3) help to guard against counterfeiting and fraud. Creative and unique trademarks are the most effective in accomplishing these
Continue Reading A Beginner’s Guide to Trademarks: Part One — Trademark Basics

Effective January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act will apply to a significant number of United States business entities and owners. This pivotal legislation is not just another regulatory hurdle; it marks a significant shift in how businesses operate in terms of transparency and accountability. Every business owner needs to understand the CTA and its implications for their business. In this article, we delve into the requirements under the CTA, equipping you with much of what you need to
Continue Reading Navigating the Corporate Transparency Act: A Must-Read for Every Business Owner

The sale of a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) involves various critical considerations, with the purchase price being one of the most significant. In connection with the purchase price, the seller of an RIA will often encounter the concept of a contingent purchase price, commonly called an “earnout.” In a business acquisition, an earnout is a payment arrangement where (i) a portion of the consideration paid by the buyer to the seller is not delivered until after the closing and
Continue Reading An Introduction to Earnouts for the Seller of a Registered Investment Advisor

In 2018, the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin passed away, leaving behind four sons and a multimillion-dollar estate. Since this time, Franklin’s sons have been engaged in a fierce legal battle regarding the application of contradictory handwritten wills and the proper division of her assets. Recently, a jury in the probate court in Pontiac, Michigan decided that Franklin’s handwritten will drafted in 2014 revoked a previous handwritten will and will set forth how Franklin’s assets will be divided amongst
Continue Reading A Michigan Jury R-E-S-P-E-C-Ts Aretha Franklin’s Wishes

The United States Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of Ohio recently issued a press release that highlights how elderly individuals suffering from dementia may be vulnerable to financial abuse. The press release can be found here.

As the release explains, the attorney defrauded his client—an elderly woman in her 80s—over the course of seven years, between 2012 and 2019. The attorney’s law license was revoked in 2015. The attorney stole the funds using a myriad of methods,
Continue Reading Ex-Attorney Convicted of Stealing More Than $800,000 from Elderly Victim with Dementia

The Paycheck Protection Program has been commonly heralded as the foremost source of financial relief for businesses during COVID-19. However, the Employee Retention Credit or “ERC,” is a lesser-known replacement or supplement for PPP that has remained largely unleveraged by employers. Enacted in March of 2020 under the CARES Act, the ERC provides qualifying employers with tax relief and potential refundable tax credits for all or a portion of the 2020 and 2021 tax years, up to $26,000 per
Continue Reading Employee Retention Credit (ERC): Maximizing COVID Relief by Supplementing PPP

Inheritance Disputes are Common Even Among the Wealthy

An inheritance dispute appears to be brewing following the recent death of Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie. According to various news outlets, Lisa Marie appointed her mother, Priscilla Presley, and her then manager, Barry Siegel, as co-trustees of her trust in 1993. Following Lisa Marie’s death on January 12, 2023, Priscilla discovered an amendment to the trust purportedly signed in 2016 that replaced both Priscilla and Barry Siegel as co-trustees.
Continue Reading The Recent Death of Lisa Marie Presley Leads to Brewing Trust Dispute

In April of 2022, Wisconsin passed new business entity laws, greatly impacting limited liability companies and their members, and largely overhauling and replacing Chapter 183 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which governs LLCs. This article will help you identify the key changes under the new LLC laws, as well as point you towards the next steps in preparing for this overhaul—including decisions to be made before year-end. For purposes of this article, we’ll refer to the new Chapter 183, the
Continue Reading How Do Wisconsin’s New LLC Laws Impact My Company?

The circumstances involving Anne Heche’s estate are a stark reminder of the uncertainties that may exist following the death of a loved one and the issues that can arise even when someone thinks they have their estate plan in place.

Heche’s (Possible) Will

When the Emmy Award-winning actress died after a fiery car crash in August 2022, she left behind two sons. After her death, her former partner, James Tupper, the father of the younger of Heche’s sons, came
Continue Reading Anne Heche’s Will Contest: A Cautionary Tale

On August 14, 1945, Life magazine photojournalist, Alfred Eisenstaedt, captured the spirit of the nation in his photo of a sailor embracing a nurse in New York’s Times Square. It was the end of World War II, and America was at the top of its game. Although the US had been late to enter the war, after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, it was all-hands-on-deck. In his best-selling book, Tom Brokaw described the veterans and
Continue Reading The Great Wealth Transfer and Its Implications on Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation

People forming a new business and selecting between the different entity types may be unaware of the impact the formation choice can have on future lawsuits. In particular, the citizenship of the business can be critical to determining whether a case belongs in state court or federal court when a dispute involves over $75,000. With the many considerations business owners have to weigh when forming a new entity, the effect on hypothetical litigation is unlikely to be of primary
Continue Reading Determining the Citizenship of Businesses

‘Can I really be sued there?’ If you have ever asked that question, you’re not alone—many defendants sued outside of their home state wonder the same thing. For example, if a small family-owned Wisconsin business is sued in a Nevada court, its owners may rightly question whether that is proper.
The answer likely depends on the jurisdiction of the court in question. Personal jurisdiction—that is, a court’s authority over parties to a lawsuit—can be broad, but it is not
Continue Reading Can I really be sued there?

A recent decision delivered by the Wisconsin Supreme Court has demonstrated that even a simple bar fight can have a drastic impact on Wisconsin’s legal precedent. Such decision occurred in the case of  Stroede v. Society Insurance and Railroad Station, LLC,  where the court ruled that the off-duty employee who escorted a drunk patron out of a bar does not have immunity from the negligence lawsuit that followed when the patron fell down a flight of stairs and suffered
Continue Reading A Recent Supreme Court Decision Narrows the Scope of Trespasser Immunity

In a published opinion, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals confirmed that landlords who fail to provide timely statements explaining the basis for withholding funds from a residential tenant’s security deposit may be subject to criminal prosecution and potential jail time.

In State of Wisconsin v. Lasecki, 2020 WI App 36, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed a circuit court judgment convicting Lasecki, a landlord, of two misdemeanor counts of engaging in unfair trade practices for failing to either return
Continue Reading Wisconsin Landlord Subjected to Tenancy in Jail

If you are upset or disagree with the provisions of a will, you may be wondering if you should challenge it. In this article, we discuss a few grounds for challenging a will and what may happen if your challenge is successful.
A will may be challenged for several reasons. However, being upset or disagreeing with the provisions of a will is not enough. Instead, here are a few grounds for challenging a will:

  • Lack of Formalities: The will

Continue Reading Want to Challenge a Will? Here’s What You Should Know

In the past week, European data protection authorities have found substantial European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) violations and issued corresponding fines against high-profile companies. These decisions are informative for companies doing business in Europe as they indicate clear future enforcement priorities by European regulators.

On December 10, 2020, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) issued fines against Google (€100M; $120M) and Amazon (€35M; ~$43M) for improper use of cookies on their websites. Specifically, the CNIL found that
Continue Reading European Data Privacy Watchdogs Take New Steps