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Contract Thoughts from The ‘Hole

Contract Thoughts from The ‘Hole

Contracts, Sports, Uncategorized
Last week I was in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming to do some skiing. Unfortunately for me, this season also happened to be the first year that Jackson Hole (technically, "Jackson Hole Mountain Resort") has partnered up with private-equity owned Alterra Mountain Co. (owners of, among other high-profile places, Colorado's Steamboat Springs and Utah's Dear Valley) to add itself to a list of premier ski resorts offered under an all-you-can-ski season pass called the "IKON Pass". Before I had even set one ski down at JHMR (I skied at the nearby--and far more sedate--Grand Targhee the first two days), I had heard locals grumbling about "IKON-ers" and what these carpetbaggers were doing to their once sleepy and uncrowded gem of a ski resort (arguably one of the Lower 48's top ski…
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Making MOU’s, LOI’s, and Term Sheets Great Again

Making MOU’s, LOI’s, and Term Sheets Great Again

Commercial Leases, Contracts, Letter of Intent, Negotiation
On Friday, President Trump made some not-so-fake news by openly clashing with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in front of both China's Vice Premier Liu He and members of the gathered press in the Oval Office. The exchange was recorded on tape and can be viewed below: As Lighthizer was explaining the latest MOU (or "Memorandum of Understanding", i.e., the basic legal framework of any trade deal with China), Trump interjected, “I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything. To me they don’t mean anything. I think you’re better off just going into a document. I was never … a fan of an MOU.” Lighthizer, who perhaps has been living under a rock the past two years and one month, foolishly attempted to correct POTUS, explaining that MOUs…
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The Shutdown’s Effects on 2019 IPOs

The Shutdown’s Effects on 2019 IPOs

IPO, Start-Up
With the partial Federal government shutdown now over (for now, at least), it will be interesting to see what happens with the slew of IPOs which were set to launch in 2019. The 35 day partial-shutdown led to hundreds of thousands of "non-essential" federal workers being out of work, including employees of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission--the agency responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets. After partially shuttering on December 27th last year, the SEC had less than 7% of its regular workforce punching in. I repeat: less than 7 out of 100 employees. To make matters worse, the skeleton crew mainly involved staff dedicated to emergency situations like market integrity and investor protection and enforcement. While the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval…
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Official Trailer for HBO’s New Theranos Documentary

Official Trailer for HBO’s New Theranos Documentary

Popular Culture, Start-Up
The trailer is out for Alex Gibney's latest documentary, "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley". Known mainly for his jaw dropping, Academy award-nominated "Enron: The Smartest Guys in The Room", filmmaker Gibney explores how Theranos rose from obscure med device startup to $9 billion company virtually over night and then almost as quickly crashed and burned in a massive fraud surrounding its Edison blood testing device. In turn, the documentary critiques Silicon Valley itself, including a startup culture that encourages companies to lie to investors, the lack of meaningful regulatory oversight, and a VC culture that endorses a "fake it 'til you make it" attitude towards technology and charismatic founders like (the now infamous) Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos' founder. I always thought the Theranos story was tailor made for…
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Do Employees Have to Pay Back Training Costs if They Leave the Company?

Do Employees Have to Pay Back Training Costs if They Leave the Company?

Contracts, Employment Agreements
In competitive job markets like the current one, it is not unusual for employers (and firms working with them) to offer prospective workers training in specialized areas as incentive to accept employment.  For many businesses looking to develop staff in response to talent gaps, the investment in training can be significant. But what happens if the employee your company has spent weeks or months training quits or leaves to take another offer before the agreed-upon term of employment is up.  Can your company legally recover the investment in that employee from him/her? Liquidated damages provisions in Arizona employment agreements Under Arizona law anyway, where a contract (such as an employment agreement) provides for a party's remedy in the case of a breach by the other party, the provisions of the…
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