Ice, Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice, To The Extreme, 1989)

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 January 2018 05:54 Written by Chris Griswold Thursday, 11 January 2018 05:54

Icy, snowy, slippery sidewalks (say it 3 times fast).  We’ve all seen our share this winter.  In response to a large number of inquiries I’ve received from concerned hotel, restaurant, office and retail owners and tenants, as well as the several requests I’ve received from our local insurance underwriting community that I write on the topic, I wanted to write a short piece in the hopes it saves some of you needless worry and, possibly, money.  Accordingly, I’ll answer the two most commonly asked questions from the groups mentioned above.  This should be helpful to everyone… (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook or YouTube links below to also see my short video on this material).

Ice, Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice, To The Extreme, 1989)

Question #1:  “If I put out snow melt on my sidewalks, does it somehow serve as an admission of guilt if someone should subsequently slip and fall on the premises?

Answer:  No.  The very act of putting out snow melt, etc… in an effort to prevent people from slipping, falling and hurting themselves cannot later be used against you.  In other words, you can’t use someone’s efforts to avert an accident against them later on if and when the accident occurs.  If you could, it would be tantamount to saying “…I’m suing you for trying to help me.”  Now, there are other relevant factors including, but not limited to, whether or not another person slipped and fell in the same area just before the plaintiff slipped and fell, whether you put out enough – and many others.  However, the fact that you put out snow melt, in and of itself, is not an admission of guilt; nor can it later be used against you in showing negligence.  Accordingly, don’t be afraid to put out snow melt when the weather gets bad.  However, and most importantly, when you put it out, put out enough to really do the job (including getting out your shovel if need be so the area(s) in question are clean, clear and safe).

Question #2:  “When should I put out snow melt?

Answer:  It depends.  Actually, the legally correct answer to this question is “when it’s reasonable to do so.”  Say what??!  I know…, it’s legalese and not really clear.  However, you can pretty much nail it down if you ask yourself the following question: Given the current weather conditions; if my mother came to see me at work today, should I put out snow melt?  If the answer is yes, put it out.  Otherwise, don’t sweat it.

What My Clients Are Saying

“Chris Griswold was instrumental in negotiating a very solid, long-term lease for our new bank branch in Oklahoma City.  His industry knowledge helped us avoid several potential pitfalls with a landlord that was somewhat difficult at times.  It was a pleasure to work with Chris because of his professional style and easy going demeanor.”  Charlie Crouse / Bank SNB / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Learn More

Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 11:59 Written by Chris Griswold Wednesday, 11 October 2017 11:59

Today, there’s so much technology and capability to steal the intellectual property and trade secrets given the ever-evolving technology advancements of today’s business world….  They’re a huge cybersecurity risk.  Oklahoma adopted a form of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) in 1986 (Texas did not until 2013).  However, in May of 2016, President Obama made law the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, which provides a first-time ever, federal, private cause of action for those who claim that their trade secrets have been “misappropriated.”  Helpful information for everyone (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook or YouTube links below to also see my short video on this material).

Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)

Question #1:  Why was the federal DTSA made law?  Although 48 States had previously passed their own form of the UTSA (all with their own variances, gaps, inconsistencies, etc…), until now, there was no federal cause of action for stealing others trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property – an the UTSA’s of the States were, again, inconsistent and lacked homogeneity.  Furthermore, to bring a claim under a State’s particular UTSA, the action could only be brought in such State’s State court system, not the federal courts.

 Question #2:  What sort of facts must exist that permit the federal DTSA to apply?  A federal DTSA claim can only be brought if “…it is related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  This is the federal “diversity requirement” that mandates that the wrongful misappropriation occurred across State lines or in another country.  So, if some sort of alleged misappropriation of your intellectual property or some other sort of trade secret gets tossed around between OKC and Dallas, you can have redress under the federal DTSA.  But, if it all happens, from beginning to end, here in Oklahoma – no luck.

Question #3:  What does the DTSA define as a “trade secret”?    The federal DTSA defines “trade secret” as “…all forms and types of financial, business, scientific technical, economic, or engineering information including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes…”; including “tangible or intangible” information, regardless of how such information is “…stored, compiled or memorialized.”  So what?

Question #4:  What does the Oklahoma UTSA define as a “trade secret”?    In comparison, the Oklahoma UTSA defines “trade secret” as “…information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process….”  So, the federal DTSA appears to be broader in its definition of what constitutes a “trade secret,” not surprising since the federal DTSA is 30 years newer than the 1986 Oklahoma UTSA.  So what?

Think about employees and certain vendors here, and trade secret stuff found nowhere else but in the employee’s or vendor’s minds – and same being subject to a plaintiff’s federal DTSA claim (but not the Oklahoma UTSA).

What My Clients Are Saying

“Chris Griswold has a way of simplifying complex legal issues.  He is quick to respond, efficient and professional in his delivery of services and fair and up front with his cost.  Professional Insurors considers Chris an asset to both our business and our clients.  Our trust in Chris grows each and every time we call upon his expertise.”
Kelly Miller / President / Professional Insurors Agency, LLC / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Learn More

Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 July 2017 04:46 Written by Chris Griswold Tuesday, 11 July 2017 04:44

Listen up landlords, tenants, subtenants, brokers and lenders.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, we do something so many times that we actually forget the significance of doing it.  As regarding the typical commercial lease, there are certain provisions that, for some long-forgotten reason, appear again and again.  But why?  One of these provisions, the covenant of quiet enjoyment (which the Landlord owes to the Tenant), is really worth brushing up on.  This should be helpful for everyone… (and don’t forget to click on my Facebook or YouTube links below to also see my short video on this material).

Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

Some anonymous person once humorously noted “…I have my mind made up so don’t try to confuse me with the facts.”  We’ve all seen the covenant of quiet enjoyment expressed in the leases we negotiate.  It ordinarily reads something to the effect of “… Tenant may peaceably and quietly have, hold and enjoy the premises for the term aforesaid….”  However, what is this covenant, why is it there & what implications follow from the parties expressly addressing it in their lease?

What is it?  The covenant of quiet enjoyment is the legal mechanism which prevents a landlord (or anyone for whose conduct the landlord is responsible) from “interfering” with a tenant’s use and enjoyment of the leased premises during the lease term.  Interestingly enough, if this covenant is not expressly spelled out in the lease (or if the lease was made orally), the law actually implies (i.e., inserts) this covenant into the lease.  When the law implies this covenant into the lease, the upshot is that upon such “interference” by landlord, the tenant doesn’t have to pay rent and can even elect to terminate the lease.

If the law implies it into every lease, why do I always find it written into every lease?  Even though the law implies this covenant into every lease, the parties to a lease can still modify and condition the enforcement of this covenant by tenant.  Accordingly, when the language relating to the covenant of quiet enjoyment appears in the lease, it’s actually restricting and conditioning tenant’s rights – not enlarging them….  That’s why your lease reads that “…upon tenant’s payment of rent and observance of all the terms and provisions of this lease as contained herein, tenant may peaceably and quietly have, hold and enjoy the premises for the lease term contained herein….”  Remember, in the beginning, landlords’ counsel drafted the leases to serve the best interests of landlords, not tenants.  Since that time, due to all the leases that have been executed over the years, it has become a custom that Tenant will have to pay rent and perform all of their lease obligations prior to enforcing the covenant of quiet enjoyment against Landlord (which is reverse of how the law would otherwise imply).

What implications follow from the parties expressly addressing it in their lease?  Basically, once the covenant of quiet enjoyment is expressed (i.e., conditioned) in the lease, it’s incumbent upon the tenant (and even the landlord) to carefully draft the lease provisions so that their interests are protected.  Why?  Upon seeing that the parties have chosen to negotiate their own particular terms as relating to the covenant of quiet enjoyment, the courts will not, absent certain circumstances, modify such negotiated terms.  So, negotiate carefully and write well….

What My Clients Are Saying

“I take special care when selecting business partners to represent my company and look for those who exhibit the same levels of professionalism and integrity that I try to achieve.  Chris Griswold definitely meets these requirements and is considered a very valuable member of the JOBO Properties team.  I have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Griswold to handle your business and commercial real estate transactions.” Darren Ford / Owner & Developer of JOBO Properties, L.L.C. / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Learn More

CONTACT US
7301 Broadway Extension, Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
405.229.7595 (cell)
405.840.1019 (office)
405.843.9190 (fax)

chris@chrisgriswoldpc.com

A signed retainer agreement shall precede any attorney/client relationship.
We accept VISA, Mastercard and now Discover too.


"Getting Your Deal Done"


Designed by WebmasterArmy.com