Long Beach Maritime, Transportation And Business Law Blog

Comparing S and C Corporations

For entrepreneurs who are setting up new businesses in California, one decision they must make is what type of management structure they wish to use. There are a variety of options from sole proprietorships to corporations. When it comes to a corporation, there are two forms that must be reviewed: the traditional C corporation and the S corporation. 

As explained by the Houston Chronicle, C corporations offer greater flexibility in some key areas. For starters, only individuals are allowed to invest in S corporations, not other businesses. Investors of these corporations must also be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Businesses who are interested in seeking foreign investors will not wish to create an S corporation. Only one type of stock is able to be offered with an S corporation and the shareholders are limited to a maximum of 100.

Reviewing Jones Act waivers

Working professionals in any industry take comfort in the knowledge that workers’ compensation laws are in place to provide for them when they are injured at work, and you as a maritime worker are no exception. The protections afforded to you and your co-workers through the Jones Act may be well-known; what you may not know is that ships can actually request that the Jones Act be waived in their regard. A common question we field here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow is whether or not the employee protections afforded by the Jones Act are also suspended when a vessel is granted a waiver. 

It is important to remember that the Jones Act is actually part of a larger piece of federal legislation known as the Merchant Marine Act. This Act was passed in 1920 with the purpose of forming a strong merchant fleet in order to support the country’s national security. A major element of this Act was the requirement that ships that make berth in domestic ports be constructed by American manufacturers (using local materials) and operated by American crews.

How can I ensure a successful startup?

Many people dream of being business owners. While fulfilling, starting your own business is a full-time job, and you'll be responsible for all necessary actions to ensure your startup has the best chance of success. Forbes offers the following tips to small business owners so they can have the information they need to push forward with their vision. 

Intellectual property is at the heart of every successful business. Your proprietary ideas and concepts give fuel to operations, and if a competitor is able to access these ideas it could spell ruination to your business. This is why it's so important to protect intellectual property, which can be accomplished by implementing contracts. For example, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) prevent others from talking about business concepts. You should establish NDAs business associates, partners, and employees. 

Congress mulls strengthening maritime law

In late June, the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee approved Coast Guard’s proposed changes to strengthen the Jones Act and now the House of Representatives will consider approving these upgrades too. If passed, these Jones Act changes could impact the offshore oil and gas industry, and even burgeoning offshore wind farm development.

The Jones Act regulates maritime commerce in the United States.

Defining "maintenance" and "cure"

The expectation is that when you are injured at work, your employer will cover the expenses related to that injury. That expectation applies even when you work in the maritime industry. Even if your injury occurs out on waters far away from Long Beach, employee legal protections (more specifically, The Jones Act) follow you around the world. Many in your profession come to us here at Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow prepared to pursue a standard workers' compensation claim after having been injured at sea, yet the guidelines governing maritime accident injuries are somewhat unique. 

The most glaring difference between the coverage you get with a maritime injury claim as opposed to a workers' compensation case is the type of coverage available to you. The Jones Act allows you to collect both maintenance and cure. "Maintenance" refers to your day-to-day living expenses. If your injury requires rehabilitation, then you may have to take time off. Maintenance payments help to supplement your income while you are away from work, which makes meeting the costs of living more manageable. "Cure," on the other hand, refers to the payment of your medical bills. Given the complexities that come with working at sea, it is possible that your injury could be extensive. The costs of getting you immediate care might also be high. Cure assistance covers those expenses. 

The Jones Act vs. the Longshore Act

Whether you are a California land-based maritime employee or working offshore, the risk of injury is considerable. As a result, having the right coverage in the event of an accident on the job is critical. At Russel Mirkovich & Morrow, we often handle claims for clients injured offshore.

According to The American Equity Underwriters, Inc, some employers do not understand the difference between the Jones Act and the Longshore Act, which can affect you if injured on the job. The Jones Act provides an avenue for claims to seamen or members of a vessel’s crew. The Longshore Act addresses coverage for land-based employees.

Collecting after contracts are terminated for convenience

Securing a business contract with a government agency can be a boon for your business in Long Beach. Such organizations tend to be much more secure and stable than private companies. Yet at the same time, they are afforded special privileges, such as the right to terminate contracts for their convenience rather than needing to have actual cause. Many clients have come to us here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow after having agreements ended in such a way distraught at the prospect of losing out on the value of their contracts. If you face the same situation, you should know that you are still entitled to compensation for your services. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, some of the common reasons cited by government agencies for terminating contracts for convenience include: 

  • No longer needed the products or services addressed in the contract
  • The contracted partner's unwillingness to renegotiate its terms
  • Issues with the contracted partner's performance
  • The contracted partner becoming ineligible to hold the contract
  • A deterioration with the relationship with the contracted partner
  • The agency gaining the ability to supply the products or services in-house

What does the Carmack Amendment do for interstate shipping?

Before the Carmack Amendment interstate shipping disputes were left to the jurisdiction of different states. This revision to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1877, provided “carriers” and “shippers” with a consistent law about handling interstate shipping. The law offers liability protections and delegates responsibilities to both “shippers” and “carriers”.


Basic elements and features of an LLC

Entrepreneurs in California who are looking to start their first company or who are interested in expanding their already existing business ventures must always decide on what type of operating structure they would like a company to use. There is no perfect organization but there can definitely be the right structure for a given business. One option available is the limited liability company, generally called an LLC.

As explained by NerdWallet, the LLC structure has become quite popular in the United States over the past several decades and that is with good reason. This business organization offers a great level of flexibility with essential asset protection. The business owners may be other business entities or individuals and there is no cap on the number of owners a single LLC may have. The daily management and operation of the LLC may be run by the owners, called members, or by third parties.

How can issues with cargo affect your business?

Longbeach business owners like you often rely on transport for at least one part of your business, especially if you are dealing with shipping out goods or receiving products. Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow are here to take a look at how issues with transportation could back up and impact your whole business.

First, let's take a look at some of the most common cargo claims that business owners tend to make. They usually involve:

  • Products that were delayed or delivered to the wrong location
  • Freight charge disagreements
  • Damaged or lost property, such as merchandise
  • Contracts or agreements that have been broken or breached
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