March 2012

J M Neil & Associates, Inc. v. Alexander Robert William, Inc.

J M Neil & Associates, Inc. (“JMN”), a woman-owned business, entered into a teaming agreement in 2005 with Alexander Robert William, Inc. (“ARW”), a veteran-owned business, in hopes of being awarded a veteran set-aside General Services Administration contract. Under the teaming agreement, ARW would be the prime contractor under the GSA contract, and JMN would serve as a subcontractor to ARW. The teaming agreement contained a non-compete agreement that prohibited ARW from hiring the JMN employees who were to work on the GSA contract or attempting to influence them to remain with ARW after termination of the GSA agreement.

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Here are some recent tidbits from the web.

Lawyers need more sleep. The ABA Journal reported on a study sponsored by the Sleep’s mattress chain that found that lawyers are the second most sleep-deprived workers. We average seven hours of sleep a night. Loggers are the most sleep deprived and they get seven hours and 20 minutes of sleep a night. I think the real story here isn’t that lawyers sleep less than others, but that we all need more sleep.

Fast tweeting. The NASCAR season kicked off Monday night after the sport’s biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500, was postponed a day due to rain. Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a safety vehicle, which exploded (it was carrying 200 gallons of jet fuel), delaying the race for a couple of hours. In an impressive display of multi-tasking, fellow driver Brad Keselowski pulled out his smart phone, snapped a picture of the fire, and started tweeting while he was sitting in his car on the track. His tweets went viral, and he more than doubled his following during the delay. See this Mashable article for a full report.

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Battle of the Forms ChartA tremendous amount of business is conducted via purchase orders without signed contracts. Overall, this is good for commerce because business doesn’t have to screech to a halt every time a company needs to buy something, to give the lawyers time to work out the legal terms. But if there’s no signed contract, how do you know when a contract has been formed, and how do you know what the terms of the contract are?

These are million-dollar questions that are very difficult to answer and which are often litigated. In fact, it’s impossible to know the answers until after the fact because they depend on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual transaction.

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