Monthly Archives: August 2012

SCC decides not to hear appeal in Mawdsley v. Meshen

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Dennis Mawdsley’s application for leave to appeal from the BC Court of Appeal’s decision in Mawdsley v. Meshen

In Mawdsley, the deceased had taken various estate planning steps prior to her death that had the effect of reducing the size of her estate. The common law spouse of the deceased attempted to have these transfers of property set aside as contrary to the Fraudulent Conveyance Act (“FCA”). In dismissing the action, the BC Court of Appeal noted that for a transaction to be a fraudulent conveyance, the transfer must be made with an intent to delay, hinder or defraud someone. Accordingly, it was possible for the deceased to make legitimate transfers of property that had the effect of decreasing the size of her estate and minimizing the assets available to satisfy a Wills Variation Act claim. The Court of Appeal also confirmed earlier decisions of the Supreme Court that unless spouses are separated at the time of death, a spouse is not a “creditor or other” under the FCA, and thus has no standing to bring a claim under the FCA.

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Week of August 27, 2012 on ILNToday – A Roundup

This year has really sped by, and here we are at the unofficial end of summer! Here in the States, we have a three day weekend, and I will be busily working on home projects and thinking about braving the crowds at the little beach by my house.

So without further ado, here are this week’s top posts!

  • Terminating a Pregnant Employee from Clark Wilson: In one of our most read posts ever, Nicole Byres of Clark Wilson discusses a recent decision and advises companies to look closely at timing when terminating an employee. 
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California Court Invalidates Non Compete Tied to the Sale of Goodwill

Co-authored by Ted A. Gehring.

In the recent California Court of Appeals decision in Fillpoint, LLC v. Michael Maas, __ Cal. Rptr. 3d __, 2012 WL 3631266 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. 2012), the court continued California courts’ strict reading of California Bus. & Prof. Code section 16600, striking down a non-competition agreement in an employment agreement that was originally connected with the earlier sale of the goodwill of a business.

Defendant Michael Maas (“Maas”) was a shareholder in Crave Entertainment Group, Inc. (“Crave”). In 2005, Handleman Company (“Handleman”) acquired Crave. Maas and other Crave stockholders entered into a stock purchase agreement that included a covenant not to compete that prohibited Maas (and other former Crave stockholders) from competing with Handleman in Crave’s line of business for three years after the purchase date.

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Determining Spousal Status Can Be Difficult

The number of people in common law relationships has steadily increased over the years. While many couples may actively choose a common law relationship over marriage, others may do so inadvertently, making a decision to cohabite without really considering whether they are, or intend to be, in a common law relationship.

In the estate context, status as a common law spouse is significant. Under the Estate Administration Act, a common law spouse may be entitled to all or a part of the estate of a deceased who died without a will. Under the Wills Variation Act, a common law spouse may have a claim against an estate where the deceased did have a will but the common law spouse was not adequately provided for.

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Ohio Statehouse Update: Week in Review — August 31, 2012

1. Ohio voting update

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced that this week more than six million applications to vote absentee in the November 6 election will be mailed to Ohio voters, arriving shortly after the holiday weekend. In the past, only a few counties – including Cuyahoga County – mailed applications. This initiative will cost $1.4 million.  “This mailing represents an unprecedented move toward uniformity, accessibility and fairness in Ohio’s elections process,” Secretary Husted said. “For the first time voters in all 88 counties will receive an application to vote by mail – turning their kitchen table into a voting booth.”

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Special Immigration Alert: Labor Day Travel

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency responsible for admitting individuals into this country. CBP has just issued a “Know Before You Go” checklist reminding international travelers to the United States, including those returning to this country, what to do to ensure smooth and efficient processing at our ports of entry. This travel checklist reads as follows:

  • Have all the required travel documents for the country you are visiting, as well as approved and valid identification for re-entry to the United States. Passports are required for air travel. Visit for country-specific information.
  • For citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries, make sure that you have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before boarding. For those traveling on a visa, have a completed I-94 form when approaching CBP processing.
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ILN Today Post

Rules of Intestacy in The Bahamas: Part II

As was previously stated, in 1925 sweeping changes were made in land law and in respect of the devolution of real property and distribution of personal property in the United Kingdom which included inter alia that the real property and personal property of an intestate would devolve and be distributed in the same manner and in essence these
changes provided for a more equitable distribution of the assets of a person who died  intestate. This was the U.K. law by virtue of their Inheritance Act, 1926. More…

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Blogging Best Practices for Lawyers – A LexBlog Webinar Recap Part I

I’m full of the recaps lately, and I promise I’ve got some more original commentary coming up for you all as we get into fall. I’ve mentioned before that I love September, and the feeling of a fresh start that it gives me. For that reason, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at what you’re doing in your blogging – to see what’s been successful for you and what you can tweak.

With that in mind, I bring you some excellent tips from LexBlog’s own Colin O’Keefe and Helen Pitlick – and I don’t say that just because they so kindly mentioned this blog. It was a great refresher for me, and whether you’re just thinking about getting into blogging, or you’ve been at it for a while, you’ll find something of value in their comments. Since there are a lot of great tips here, and I want  you to think about them a bit, I’m splitting this into two posts – the next one will follow after the holiday weekend here in the States.

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Milking firm in court after worker injured at Derbyshire farm

A Shropshire milking company has been fined after a worker suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a steel beam at a Derbyshire farm.

The employee was asked to help an experienced engineer install a milking parlour on his second day at work.

Derby Magistrates were told that part of the work involved installing four 80kg steel beams at a height of around two metres. The two men tried to install one of them by having one person hold it over his head while the second climbed a stepladder, took the beam from the first person and placed it on to a wall bracket.

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Former Motorola Software Engineer Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Trade Secret Theft

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo sentenced a former Motorola software engineer, Hanjuan Jin, to four years in prison for stealing Motorola trade secrets related to proprietary technology. The sentencing brought to a close a series of events worthy of a John Le Carré spy novel, including a random stop of Jin by U.S. Customs and Border officials at Chicago O’Hare International Airport as she attempted to board a flight to China with a one-way ticket. That stop resulted in the discovery that Jin was carrying, among other things, a variety of electronic storage devices, Motorola documents marked as “confidential and proprietary information,” and $31,252 in cash.

Ultimately, Jin was charged with three counts of theft of trade secrets and three counts of economic espionage in violation of the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1831 et seq. In a 77-page Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on February 8, 2012 following a bench trial, Judge Castillo convicted Jin of three counts of theft of trade secrets, finding, among other things, that she had engaged in a “concerted effort . . .to obtain information she believed would help her in her future job” with Sun Kaisens, a telecommunications company in China that develops telecommunications technology and products for the Chinese military. Judge Castillo acquitted her, however, of the economic espionage counts, holding “that the evidence failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Jin intended or knew that her conduct would benefit the [Peoples Republic of China].”

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