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Twin Cities Insurance Law Blog

Do you have trade secrets? Take proactive steps to protect them

Many small business owners in Minnesota don't realize that they even have trade secrets. If you consider yourself part of that group, you may want to reevaluate your business operations. Many processes, recipes, blueprints and schematics fall under the umbrella of trade secrets. For example, if you use your grandmother's secret recipe to make cookies that keep customers flocking to your establishment, then you own a trade secret.

If you determine that you have trade secrets, you may then want to consider how to protect them. Between employees, customers and competitors, your confidential information could make its way to someone else, which could put your business in jeopardy.

What you don't know could actually hurt you

If you live with a severe food allergy, you may carry epinephrine at all times and meticulously scrutinize your food. When you go to a restaurant, you may have to ask numerous questions regarding the preparation of your food. In fact, you may only frequent certain Minneapolis restaurants that you know can accommodate your dietary needs.

When you purchase food at a grocery store, you study labels in order to make sure that the ingredient you are allergic to isn't in a particular product. You know from experience that the Food and Drug Administration requires food manufacturers to list common potential allergens.

Ensuring that you are ready for legal trouble

If you are in the process of starting a small or midsize business, you have a lot of planning to do. Since your business will have a limited number of employees, you probably won't have a human resources department or a legal team on the payroll. Much of that work will likely fall to you.

Your duties in that area will likely not only include proactivity to avoid legal risks to your Minnesota company but dealing with those issues when they do arise. However, in order to know how best to protect or defend yourself -- for example, purchasing insurance or consulting with an attorney -- you may wish to know the most common lawsuits that businesses of all kinds face.

The fine print in life insurance policies could deny your claim

When a loved one spent years paying on a life insurance policy, you expected to receive the proceeds upon his or her death. When he or she eventually passed away, you made a claim for the proceeds, but the insurance company denied it.

What happened? You know that your loved one paid the premiums on time, and your loved one never received notice that the policy was canceled or otherwise invalid in some way.

No playing around when it comes to child toy safety

As a Minnesota parent, you may be like many others who keep tabs on the latest toy trends, so you know what your children might like, especially if an occasion arises where it's customary to give them gifts. The problem is that, just because a particular item is at the top of the popular gadget or gift item charts, this doesn't mean it's safe to use. Sadly, tragedies strike many households every year when children suffer serious injuries (even death) because of defective toy products.

As a parent, it's your job to keep your children as safe as possible; however, that may be nearly impossible if you're unaware that a particular toy is defective. If, on the other hand, the manufacturer, distributor or any other party within the sales and distribution chain is aware of the defect and still allowed the toy to reach the hands of consumers, you may be able to seek full recovery for your losses if your child suffers injury when using said item.

Identifying and protecting your company's trade secrets

Have you found the secret to success for your business? Do you have a leg up on the competition that could devastate your business if you lose control of certain information? If you answer yes to these questions, then you probably have trade secrets.

Keeping your business healthy and profitable requires taking steps to keep your trade secrets, well, secret. Since this type of information generally isn't eligible for the same protections as, say, patents, you need to protect your trade secrets from within your company. The challenge may be figuring out just how to do that.

Is your medication a prescription for danger?

When a Minnesota doctor prescribes you a drug, you likely assume that it is safe to use and will treat your condition or help you manage your symptoms. Unfortunately, some drugs not only fail to work as intended, they can actually cause harm to the person taking it. If you are taking or were taking a drug that caused you harm or made your condition worse, you may have the right to take action.

Even prescription medications can be dangerous. Sometimes this is because a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, but other times, this happens because the drug itself is dangerous. Unfortunately, some of these risks and dangers do not come to light until after the drug is in widespread use. 

What do those definitions in your insurance policy mean?

Have you ever read any of your insurance policies word for word? Have you taken the time to look beyond the summary of your coverage? If you do, you may find a section containing definitions of certain words in your policy.

You may think you know what those words mean, but these definitions often go beyond what you learned from a dictionary or in school. Don't risk receiving a denial to a claim because you didn't know what a word in your policy meant.

Evaluating whether you have a products liability claim

When you purchase products, regardless of whether they are for your personal or professional use, you expect that they will operate as intended and not cause you any harm. In some cases, a product may not live up to your expectations.

You may suffer serious injuries because of the defective product, which causes you to incur substantial monetary losses. You may wonder whether you can file a products liability claim seeking compensation for those losses and other damages. One of four primary legal avenues could help you to determine if you have a claim.

When your pockets are as empty as a for-profit college's promises

Promises of a better life through higher education -- this is what your for-profit college sold you when you applied. The school's representatives may have promised you a job in your field upon graduation. The school told you that its classes provide you with the skills employers look for in applicants.

Upon completing your degree program, you couldn't find a job in your field. In order to pay the bills, you took whatever employment you could find, but it's not enough to get by. You may have taken out student loans to pay for this education, which just makes matters worse. Do you wonder whether you have legal recourse against the school?