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Business Litigation: December 2012 Archives

Instagram's New Terms of Service Anger Users

Social media users are fuming over changes in the popular photo-sharing and social networking website Instagram's Terms of Service.  The most talked-about change appears to give Instagram the right to sell users' photographs to third parties for use in advertisements: "...You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos..., and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."  The backlash against that clause has been severe, but it isn't the only change Instagram made to its TOS.  Beginning January 16, 2013, Instagram users will be obligated to arbitrate most disputes they have with the company and to waive rights to participate in a class action lawsuit or class-wide arbitration against Instagram, unless they opt-out of the arbitration clause in writing.

A Massachusetts Statute of Limitations Checklist

In evaluating any business litigation matter, one of the first and most critical points to consider (as a plaintiff or a defendant) is whether any aspect of the case may be untimely because it is barred by operation of a statute of limitation.  Too often, plaintiffs lose valuable claims because they (or their lawyer) fail to appreciate that the "clock" on one or more of their claims has run down.  Defendants, on the other hand, sometimes overlook excellent statute of limitations based defenses that can reduce or eliminate their exposure in a lawsuit.  Wouldn't it be useful if there were, in one place, a summary of the laws concerning the time limitations, accrual periods, and exceptions applicable to Massachusetts commercial cases?  Now there is one.  My colleague William G. Cosmas and I are pleased to share the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations Checklist that we prepared for publication with the Practical Law Company.  

Make Sure Your Partnership/Shareholder Agreement Has Escape Hatches

Quite often, I find myself litigating partnership and close corporation disputes that could have easily been avoided had the partners just taken a little more care in drafting their agreements.  The most common, avoidable problems are:

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