Volume 10, Issue 5 - September/October 2008

The Law

Calling All Readers
by Chuck Lloyd

IT IS GOOD TO BE BACK. THIS represents my second ďfirstĒ article for AGRR magazine. My initial ďfirstĒ was back when AGRR was in its infancy. After writing several columns, I took a break from writing for a while, wrote elsewhere for a while more and finally came to my senses and jumped at the chance to return to writing a regular legal column for AGRR. My hope is to make reading my column a worthwhile use of your busy time.

As a small business owner myself, I understand that there are only so many available minutes in any given day that can be devoted to extracurricular business activities like reading relevant magazine articles. As a result, I want to make this as useful and as interesting to you, the reader, as possible. In order to be most effective at accomplishing this goal, Iím looking for audience participation. I want you to send me your questions, your comments and your topic ideas. Iíll try to respond by doing a column on those that are of the most general relevance, or sometimes I may devote a portion of a column to giving a short answer to a question with the full answer being available online for those who want to learn more.

Whatís to Come
I really enjoy my relationships with those who work in the automobile glass industry. It all started when a family friend, a guy who owned his own glass company and was himself the only employee, called and asked for help in dealing with a large insurance company here in Minnesota. It was almost 15 years ago that I was given my introduction to NAGS, to short pays and to steering. In the time that has passed, Iíve gotten involved in state regulations that involve auto glass companies, testified before legislative committees in two different state legislatures and been involved in many of the glass cases youíve heard about through AGRR magazine. Some of those cases have gone very well for my glass company clients, others not. Every one of them, however, has taught me something more about the industry that I use everyday when my clients call and need direction and guidance.

While I am perhaps best known in this industry for my work on behalf of glass companies, my colleagues and I have a very broad civil practice, so your questions donít have to be limited to just glass and insurance. Questions about when someone should have a will, whether your business should be incorporated and general legal questions that small businesses and small business owners have every day are all fair game. Of course, glass questions are always welcome and topics such as liability for a bad installation, warranty issues, employees versus subcontractor technicians, etc., may well be of interest to you and if they are, they are of interest to me. I would like to work with you to make this column an interactive forum where readers of AGRR can turn for direction. Understandably, I canít promise to provide in-depth legal advice. Instead, my intention is to offer guidance to help you gather what you need and make intelligent decisions about your business.

One of the topics I intend to cover early on is a discussion of the kinds of records you should be keeping and the format in which they should be kept in order to be of assistance to you, your advisers and attorneys. Though I work with a number of glass companies in a number of different scenarios, many share the common issue of never quite getting around to putting into place a method of organizing their business records. You need to be both flexible and nimble in gathering data when the time comes for a serious analysis of your business.

Whether itís for a determination of whether or not to pursue a short pay case against an insurer or responding to an investigation of interchange parts or simply performing a detailed business analysis, I think our suggestions will be useful. The old adage that the time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining applies equally to organizing and maintaining your data. The best time to get organized is well before you need to be organized. Watch for that in the next issue.

In the meantime, think about what legal issues interest you enough to want to spend some valuable time reading about them and let me know. Iím glad to be back and look forward to trying to help you and your business navigate the many legal issues you face.

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