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Kerkman & Dunn
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Milwaukee, WI 53202

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Milwaukee Business & Commercial Law Blog

Helping businesses and the environment coexist in Wisconsin

Curbing pollution and preserving the environment are two major focus areas for administrations across the country, including in Wisconsin. A number of ordinances are in effect to preserve the sanctity of nature for our future generations. It is a justified effort; a pollution-free environment means a healthier life for everyone. In fact, a violation of environmental ordinances is an offense, with penalties ranging from fines and business shutdowns to prison time.

The efforts toward preserving the environment, however, can sometimes inhibit the growth prospects of businesses. A business owner must know how to overcome these difficulties by developing a business plan that takes environment concerns into consideration. Due to a number of disputes that may arise and inhibit a business owner's growth plans, navigating the environmental laws and ordinances in Wisconsin become a challenge.

Who can obtain debt relief under Chapter 11?

No person wants to remain in debt and face harassment from creditors and daily threatening phone calls from debt collectors. However, compelling financial situations can force an individual or establishment to borrow funds further complicating their financial standing. Milwaukee, Wisconsin business owners would know that certain U. S. laws can help struggling business owners. One such law allows filing a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition is generally known as a financial reorganization through bankruptcy where a debtor proposes a reorganization plan in order to continue business operations and repay creditors over a predetermined time. Individuals as well as business owners can seek relief under Chapter 11. Any type of business, such as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship, is eligible but each category of business has different provisions.

Review delay of media merger affects Milwaukee cable subscribers

Anyone who owns a business in Wisconsin understands that mergers and acquisitions can be complex business transactions. They can lead to leaner and more efficient companies, but statutory requirements must be met before any merger can be fully approved. If the businesses involved are unable to comply with all federal and Wisconsin regulations, then the transaction can be delayed, often with severe impacts on the businesses involved and their customers.

A recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay review of a merger between media giants Time Warner Cable and Comcast will affect several thousand cable TV subscribers in the Milwaukee area for at least another month. The pending $45.2 billion merger between the two companies was delayed a second time by the FCC because Time Warner did not supply some 38,000 documents as requested within a stipulated period. The FCC says some 7,000 of those documents were improperly withheld as privileged material, and 31,000 were improperly withheld by other vendors.

Financing information for closely held businesses in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin resident can reap a very rewarding experience by setting up a business. However, those rewards only come with the hard work and dedication that it takes to start a business. Establishing a closely held corporation faces many challenges and finance is one of them. The Wisconsin Legislature set up the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for meeting the economic needs of affordable housing and providing financing support for small businesses.

According to business law, the WHEDA provides backing with a source of low interest rate money that will help improve profitability of a fledgling business. The WHEDA does not provide the direct financing for the loan, but is the guarantor of the loan, providing a financial pledge to support part of the loan amount. In this manner, WHEDA serves to protect the interests of closely held corporations. The maximum guarantee provided by the WHEDA is usually less than 50 percent of the loan.

Wisconsin attorneys know trade secret violations

For Wisconsin businesses with special products or processes that other competitors would have a hard time duplicating, protecting proprietary information is extremely important. A trade secret is probably the most elemental form of proprietary information. With other forms of intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trademarks, the content may be well known to competitors and even the public. However, special protections allow the patent, copyright or trademark holder to seek compensation from anyone who violates that protection.

Obviously, it is important for a company to protect its trade secret from being stolen and used by others. Sometimes, a competitor or an employee will steal a trade secret with the objective of using the information to their own advantage. That can be damaging for a company, so it is important to immediately contact an experienced attorney who can protect the company from further damage.

An overview of telecommunication license transfers

In Wisconsin, like in many other states in the country, telecommunication companies may want to grow businesses by acquiring other firms. The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for transferring these licenses. But, before an acquisition can take place, the commission must approve the merger.

The FCC reviews all applications regarding telecommunication mergers and acquisitions. The FCC extensively reviews all applications and licenses and makes sure that the acquisition is in the public best interest. This is explained in section 310 (d) of the Communications Act. According to the Act, it is the responsibility of the Commission to make sure that the merger would not cause any harm to the public. Localism, competition and diversity need to be promoted. Most acquisition processes are simple and do not take a long time. Interested parties can search for applications in the commission's online filing systems. They may also contact the relevant service bureau.

Store-chain files for bankruptcy, ceases operations

Business owners in Wisconsin should be aware of the two ways to file for bankruptcy relief, if they find themselves saddled with more debt than assets. One proceeding is filed under Chapter 7 rules, where a company sells all assets to pay debt. The other proceeding is Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where a business undergoes restructuring and continues operations.

One recent business filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is ALCO stores, which began operation with one store more than a century ago. Now, with almost 200 small discount retail outlets in nearly every state, including Wisconsin, the company provides discount pricing to consumers who do not live close enough to shop at larger retail stores.

Fair and unfair business practices

Many businesses in the country, including those in the state of Wisconsin, will do almost anything to gain a competitive edge over others. However, it is important for a business to understand the importance of anti-trust laws so that the integrity of their business is not at risk in a bid to get more customers. If a company fails to follow current antitrust laws, it will risk commercial litigation.

According to the antitrust laws, it is illegal to control all of the businesses in the marketplace, since smaller companies may fall prey to the unfair competition of large companies. Companies who do this may be prosecuted for fraud. Antitrust laws cover an entire ambit, including conspiring to set market prices. If a company conspires with another to fix market prices, it violates the principle of fair practice and may be taken to court over this issue.

Family-owned dairy business in Wisconsin sees decades of success

Throughout economic history, family-owned businesses have survived the test of time. Some of the biggest names in the industry today started as family-owned businesses before going public. Throughout the decades, such businesses have faced a number of trials and tribulations, and the ones that most effectively handled those situations were able to build a strong reputation and brand value. One such example is Faith Milk Haulers, a dairy business in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Faith Milk Haulers -- a family-owned business -- has been operational for more than 50 years. In fact, at one point, the business picked up milk from as many as 100 dairy farms in the vicinity of Monroe. Even today, customers, who include some major Wisconsin cheese makers, are pleased with the dairy business's service. The customers are also pleased with the behavior of the business owners. Nevertheless, the love and admiration that Faith Milk Haulers receives from their patrons has not affected their humility.

Filing for business bankruptcy is a major decision

Wisconsin business owners know they have two main ways to file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. bankruptcy code if they find themselves with more debt than assets. Under Chapter 7, all company assets are sold to pay off debt and all business operations end. A Chapter 11 filing, on the other hand, may be more sensible because it allows a business to continue operations after undergoing financial restructuring.

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is one of the most critical decisions business owners can make, so they must clearly understand the consequences of this type of business bankruptcy. Several factors, including the amount of accumulated debt and the interests of the business owner, are evaluated to see if a Chapter 11 restructuring plan is feasible. If restructuring is chosen, the business may later resume operations.