Bankruptcy Basics Refresher for Creditors

By Creditors' Rights and Bankruptcy

As you may have seen, bankruptcy cases are on the rise. Previously, case filings had been down as a result of government assistance, better economic times, low unemployment, and moderating inflation. But that seems to be changing and now is a good time to refresh your knowledge of some bankruptcy basics.

For creditors, understanding these basics is crucial for protecting your rights and maximizing recovery in challenging financial situations. Read More

Electronic Loan Transactions under Maine’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act

By Banking and Financial Services

In today’s digital age, electronic signatures have emerged as a significant consideration in commercial loan transactions. Maine’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) may provide a framework to permit electronic loan transactions. When it comes to the execution of various loan documents, including promissory notes, guaranty agreements, and security arrangements, among others, electronic signatures are generally permitted under both the UETA and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). While the law provides some flexibility, securing express written consent from all parties to the loan transaction prior to closing is strongly advised. However, control over electronic records, the requirements of which are outlined in the UETA, is essential for their validity and potential enforceability.

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Legal Tips for Investors in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Startups

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Investors have poured staggering amounts of cash into Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups since late 2022. In 2023, a year that was otherwise lukewarm for tech investment, AI funding seemed to buck the trend.

Interest in AI companies is not limited to large Venture Capital firms. Private AI companies have raised cash from angel investors, friends and family members, and other small-check investors. While smaller investors often lack the legal budget to conduct rigorous due diligence before investing, they have useful tools at their disposal to de-risk AI deals. This article describes legal methods investors can use to do so.

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10 Tips for Creating Enforceable Online Software Agreements

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

For providers of Software-as-a-Service applications, an online agreement with the product’s users is critical. Whether called a Terms of Use, End User License Agreement (EULA) or some other name, the agreement gives providers a host of benefits. It can reduce liability in the event of a lawsuit, secure intellectual property rights that providers need from users, help providers comply with privacy laws and more. Read More

Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave: How Maine Businesses Should Prepare for 2025 and Beyond

By Business

In July 2023, Maine became the 13th state to pass into law paid family and medical leave.  Although employees cannot start requesting paid family and medical leave benefits until May 2026, employers will be required to make payroll contributions into the fund starting January 2025.  It is therefore important that businesses begin to consider how they will implement Maine’s Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements into their policies and procedures.

This article provides an overview of the Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave law’s timeline, payroll‑deduction and employer‑contribution obligations, employee benefits, and other considerations for Maine businesses.  This article also considers how Maine employers should start preparing for 2025 and beyond.

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Writing an Employee Handbook: A Business Tool that Should be Taken Seriously

By Labor and Employment

Whether you own a small or large business, an employee handbook is an important asset for any successful company.  From a management perspective, an employee handbook is often an employee’s first official introduction to the company and can set the tone for their experience.  A good employee handbook will also clearly explain the expectations of the employer, create consistency across the company’s business operations, and serve as a resource for employees to turn to when they have questions.

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Restrictions on the Sale of Mobile Home Parks

By Real Estate

In 2023, the Maine Legislature enacted a bill to strengthen existing protections for homeowners in mobile home parks.  Since the late 1980s, Maine law has required the owner of a mobile home park to give residents notice of the owner’s intent to accept an offer to buy the park.  The recent amendments to this law increase the required time for notice, remove a significant exception to it, and require the park owner to consider certain purchase offers from residents during that time.  The law’s text can be found at Title 10, Section 9094-A of the Maine Revised Statutes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Corporate Transparency Act

By Banking and Financial Services, Business, Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center, Software & Startups

This article answers common questions that companies and individuals have about the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”). Please note: these answers are general and may not apply to you. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding the CTA and how it may apply to you or your company.

The law and best practices relating to the CTA change frequently, and portions of this page may be outdated at the time that you read it. Read More

How Investors Should Prepare for the Corporate Transparency Act

By Business, Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center

Investors in privately held companies face new legal considerations due to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), a new federal law taking effect January 1, 2024. This article recommends approaches that investors can use to protect their investments as well as their portfolio companies. These investors include angel investors, participants in friends-and-family rounds and others. Read More

Community Engagement at Perkins Thompson

By About Us

Some of Our Initiatives

Attorneys and staff here at Perkins Thompson often contribute their time and energy to serving their communities. Some serve on the boards of nonprofits, some volunteer regularly, and some are even presidents of impactful organizations. Community engagement is a central part of our identity as a Maine law firm; to provide guidance where it is needed, lend a helping hand to those around us, and support causes we are passionate about. Find out some of the initiatives we are involved in below, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to take part in contributing to your community!

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Corporate Transparency Act Imposes New Federal Reporting Requirements on Most U.S. Companies

By Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center

Beginning in January 2024, most privately-owned companies formed or registered in the United States must start reporting the names of their “Beneficial Owners” to the U.S. Treasury Department. This reporting requirement is imposed by the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), a 2020 federal law, and the Treasury Department expects it to apply to more than 32 million U.S. companies in its first year.[1] The CTA is part of the federal government’s fight against money laundering, which often entails the rapid formation of U.S. shell companies and the transfer of illegal funds between them. Read More

Property Tax Stabilization Annual Deadline is December 1

By Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning, Tax

Maine’s Property Tax Stabilization Program, the “Program,” took effect in August 2022. This Program is designed to freeze or stabilize an individual’s property tax on a homestead from year to year. The annual deadline to carry over the previous year’s tax amount is December 1, and an application must be submitted to the local municipality for review each year. Read More

New Legislation Affecting Public Entities

By Government Services

The Second Regular Session of the 130th Maine Legislature has adjourned, leaving behind several newly enacted laws that apply to municipal and county government and special districts.  We have summarized some of the most important of these below.  Except for new laws enacted as emergency bills, which take effect upon approval by the Governor, these new laws will become effective August 8, 2022. Read More

Recent Maine Law Court Cases Affecting State, County and Local Government

By Government Services

LaMarre v. Town of China, 2021 ME 45, 259 A.3d 764

Abutters (LaMarres) objected to and appealed from the Code Enforcement Officer’s (CEO’s) after-the-fact issuance of a permit to allow placement of a “park model” trailer on a seasonal camp lot.  The Town’s land use ordinance permitted individual private campsites, including “any premises providing temporary accommodation in a recreational vehicle,” with a permit from the CEO.  While the default standard of review for a board of appeals is de novo (to hear anew), the ordinance set out an appellate standard of review, based on the Law Court’s previous interpretations of shoreland zoning ordinance language.  However, there was no written CEO decision setting out findings of fact and no record for the Board of Appeals to review.  Therefore, while the Board of Appeals affirmed the CEO’s decision and the Superior Court reversed, the Law Court remanded the matter to the CEO to issue a reviewable written decision containing findings of fact and conclusions of law, based on the record, and in accordance with administrative due process. Read More

F.D.I.C. Requests that Banks Report Their Cryptocurrency-Related Activities

By Banking and Financial Services, Blockchain & Digital Assets, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F.D.I.C.) has requested that all banks engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities notify the agency of those activities. The request came in the form of an April 7, 2022 letter, FIL-16-2022, to F.D.I.C.-supervised banks. In that letter, the F.D.I.C. summarizes its concerns regarding banks’ participation in cryptocurrency-related activities. Those concerns include the potentials for consumer confusion, risks to banks’ information technology and cybersecurity systems and money laundering. The F.D.I.C. also wrote that certain inherent characteristics of cryptocurrencies, including practical challenges with identifying digital assets’ ownership, raise unique questions about banks’ ability to ensure safety and soundness. Read More

The Corporate Transparency Act: An Overview for Financial Institutions

By Corporate Transparency Act Resource Center

This article surveys the implications of a new federal statute, the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), for financial institutions and their business customers. The CTA will soon require most private companies in the United States to report the names of their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. This new structure will supplement the reporting that banks and other financial institutions currently do under FinCEN’s Customer Due Diligence Rule (“CDD Rule”). Read More

Non-Fungible Tokens Make First Appearances in U.S. Courts

By Blockchain & Digital Assets, Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Nearly one year after they became a household term, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have begun to make their first appearances in American court decisions. These early cases involve two of America’s best-known names in media: recording artist Jay-Z and Playboy. While many legal questions about NFTs remain, these first decisions suggest that courts will apply traditional legal principles to at least some of the issues these tokens raise. Read More

COVID-19 OSHA Requirements for Employers with 100 or More Employees

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 5, 2021, requiring, among other things, that employers with 100 or more employees institute certain mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or testing policies. Pursuant to the ETS, all the of requirements except for the testing requirements would take effect on December 5, 2021, and the testing requirements would take effect January 4, 2022.

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When Should a Tech Startup Form a Company?

By Business, Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

Before a technology startup becomes a company, it spends a period of time as simply a project. The founding team is usually one or two individuals building and testing products as they try to validate a demand for them in the market. At some point, founders ask themselves: when is it time to turn this project into a company?

This article tackles that question with respect to a particular type of business venture, which is a growth-oriented tech startup. By this, we mean an organization whose products incorporate intellectual property (I.P.) and which seeks to scale quickly after confirming product-market fit. Read More

So, You Want to Brew Seltzer?

By Craft Brewing & Distilling, Hospitality

Over the past several years hard seltzers have become one of the fastest growing and most popular types of alcoholic beverages available. Due to this increased demand, many breweries have explored beginning to produce seltzers in addition to their core beers. Before jumping into producing hard seltzers, breweries should be aware of a number of regulatory requirements. This article focuses on both Federal and State of Maine regulations that may be applicable to the production of a hard seltzer by a brewery. Read More

Talking Tech: Carlo DiCelico and Loida Otero of Neon Labs

By Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

This article is the first in a new series called Talking Tech from the Perkins Thompson Intellectual Property Practice Group. Talking Tech features interviews with tech company founders and employees about their highs, lows, and problems they’ve solved.

Today we interview Loida Otero and Carlo DiCelico, the founders of Neon Labs, a startup in Portland, Maine. Perkins Thompson attorney Adam Nyhan is a non-legal advisor to Neon Labs. Read More

Documenting Changes: Why Change Orders Are Essential

By Construction

Changes during a construction project are often inevitable.  It is often impossible to predict at the outset of a project every issue, variable, or complication that may arise.   As a result, parties may need to agree to changes to the scope of work, the price, or deadlines agreed to in their original construction contract.  Change orders help document changes that arise and ensure that all parties are aware and in agreement on how to proceed. Read More

Summary of the Maine Earned Paid Leave Law

By Labor and Employment

When Does the Law Become Effective and Who is Covered?

The new Maine earned paid leave law will become effective January 1, 2021 and applies to all employers who employ more than 10 employees in Maine for more than 120 days in any calendar year.  (There is an exception for seasonal industries).

A “covered employee” eligible for earned paid leave is essentially any employee covered by unemployment and may include a person who is employed full-time, part-time, or per diem.  (If an employer is in a seasonal industry and has submitted the required reports to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation designating the seasonal period for the applicable year, an employee working only within the designated seasonal period will be exempt from coverage and not eligible for paid leave under the law).

Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) as of January 1, 2021 are excluded until the CBA expires.  New CBAs after that date must include the earned paid leave benefit at a minimum. Read More

An Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19:  Now What?

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

As an employer, you mandate masks in public spaces, enforce one-way traffic to the bathroom and kitchen, and strategically spread hand sanitizer throughout the office.  Your safety protocol is carefully thought out and painstakingly implemented.  These are important steps to keeping the workplace safe during the pandemic, but do you know what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?  Below is a six-step guide to keep calm and properly address a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace: Read More

Employee Complaints: What You Need to Know and Do

By Labor and Employment

Employee complaints can range from seemingly minor to very serious.  As an employer, it is important that you recognize when a complaint triggers the need for an investigation.  For example, when a complaint involves allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, safety, or violation of company policies, an employer should initiate a timely and thorough investigation.  While these types of complaints can arise from a number of factual situations and vary in severity, they should always be investigated. Read More

Using IRAs to Make Gifts and Satisfy your Required Minimum Distribution

By Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning

The SECURE Act became law in January 2020.  It stands for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, which means it changes some of the rules to our retirement accounts. We at Perkins Thompson are ready to review how the SECURE Act affects your estate plan. This writing discusses the strategy to make charitable gifts from a traditional IRA.  There are other facets to the SECURE Act that we will continue to address. Read More

Timber Trespass: Unlawful Cutting of Trees

By Litigation, Real Estate

Under Maine law, an individual who cuts down a tree or trees on another’s property without permission may be liable for timber trespass.  Pursuant to 14 M.R.S. §7552, an individual may not cut down, destroy, damage or carry away any forest product or tree on land belonging to another without the property owner’s permission.  Anyone that does, may be liable for the following: Read More

Parting Ways Over Property: Partition Actions in Maine

By Litigation, Real Estate

Co-ownership of property among family members or unrelated parties is common in Maine. While co-ownership can make property more affordable, problems often arise when the owners cannot agree on use of the property, how to allocate the costs associated with maintenance and/or improvements, or if/when to sell the property.

When co-owners cannot resolve property disputes amongst themselves, a co-owner has the right to seek a partition of the property through the court system.  Depending on the form of partition action initiated, the court will order the physical division of the property (also known as a “statutory partition”) or order an equitable resolution, such as a timeshare or buyout (an “equitable partition”) to resolve the dispute. Read More

A Legal Checklist for Early-Stage Tech Companies

By Business, Intellectual Property, Privacy, Software & Startups, Start-Up and Entrepreneurship Law

Download the Legal Checklist for Early-Stage Tech Companies

In a tech company’s early days, it’s easy for the founders to make legal missteps.  Most mistakes are unintentional and result from a lack of knowledge or legal budget rather than bad intent. Nonetheless, it’s critical to remedy them as the company moves forward.  Failure to do so can place the company in breach of its business-to-business contracts; it can create uncertainty about the company’s ownership of its intellectual property; and it can create a host of operational risks.  It can also kill or devalue outside investment deals when investors discover these problems in their due diligence. Read More

Advance Healthcare Directives Explained

By Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning

An advance healthcare directive lays out your wishes and provides instructions for your healthcare providers to follow when you are no longer able to speak for yourself regarding your medical care.  A directive may be written or spoken but it is much better to prepare an advanced healthcare directive in writing to make sure your desires are reflected accurately and to avoid confusion and misunderstandings down the road.  The directive can include instructions concerning your medical care, healthcare providers and treatment facilities, as well as your wishes when it comes to end of life decisions, organ donations and funeral arrangements. Read More

Tapping Your IRA or 401(k) Plan to Weather the Coronavirus

By Coronavirus, Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning, Tax

In March, U.S. lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief and stimulus package to help Americans weather the economic shutdown.  The package includes changes to retirement plan rules to make it easier for people to take early withdrawals and loans from retirement accounts and IRAs.

Allowing such early withdrawals and loans may be helpful in providing cash for living expenses and avoid the need to tap into credit cards or personal loans to pay bills.  However, the downside of tapping into retirement plan savings is that by so doing the taxpayer may have some long-term detrimental impacts on their retirement. Read More

Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 Signed into Law

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

Congress has taken action to provide more flexibility for when and how businesses may use Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan proceeds and maintain eligibility for forgiveness.  The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 was signed into law June 5, 2020, after having cleared the Senate on a voice vote two days ago.  The text of the new law can be seen here. Read More

COVID-19 Waivers of Liability

By Coronavirus

As Maine begins its phased re-opening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the risk of exposure to the virus will become more prevalent as members of the public begin to patronize businesses.  Business owners will be taking measures to protect their customers and employees, yet they will remain vulnerable to claims of negligence by those who contract the virus.  In this new environment, business owners should consider requiring customers and clients to sign a waiver of liability and indemnity agreement. Read More

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness: What We Know So Far (As of May 7, 2020)

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

While we all wait for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to release its Interim Final Rule providing specific guidance and instructions regarding PPP loan forgiveness, which was originally due to be released April 26, 2020, here is what we know so far.  PPP loan forgiveness is based on the borrower’s eligible payroll costs and eligible non-payroll costs “incurred and paid” during the 8-week period measured from when the PPP loan funds were first disbursed.  This 8-week period is referred to as the “Covered Period.”  Loan forgiveness will be determined by looking at the loan amount received by the borrower and the eligible costs incurred and payments made by the borrower within the Covered Period. Read More

The U.S.-Canada Border is Closed to “Nonessential” Travel. Is My Travel Essential?

By Coronavirus, Immigration

On March 18, 2020, the U.S. and Canadian governments announced the closure of the international border to nonessential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  An announcement of the border closure was published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2020, in which the Department of Homeland Security noted that, consistent with the President’s declaration of a national emergency, the spread of COVID-19 within the U.S. posed a “specific threat to human life or national interests,” justifying the travel restrictions under 19 U.S.C. § 1318.  The initial closure was scheduled to expire on April 20, 2020, but was extended for an additional month, or until 11:59 PM EDT on May 20, 2020.  The notice extending the travel restrictions was published in the Federal Register on April 22, 2020. Read More

Coping with the Coronavirus Crisis: Are Construction Project Delays Excused?

By Construction, Coronavirus

The current health crisis has impacted nearly every aspect of our economy.   And while certain construction activities have been deemed to be “essential services” in Maine, many projects have been halted or significantly delayed.  Government restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus have derailed supply chains, limited available workforces, and prevented necessary inspections from occurring.  In addition, social distancing and health and safety requirements on the jobsite have further slowed work.  In light of these unprecedented challenges, many contractors are left to wonder if these delays can be excused. Read More

Reopening the State and Your Business – A Resource Guide

By Business, Coronavirus

UPDATED MAY 22, 2020

When and how you may reopen your business after the COVID-19 shutdown is a question that initially will be answered by federal and State government, and then by individual business owners and managers.  For example, Maine Governor Janet Mills has set out a four-stage program for when Maine businesses may reopen with specific checklists for each business to follow, but whether to reopen on that schedule or later is up to each business owner or manager. Read More

The Small Business Exemption Under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

When the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed, it contained a provision allowing the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations providing an exemption from the Act’s paid leave requirements for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.  On April 6, the USDOL published a temporary rule regarding Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act containing such a small business exemption.  Section 826.40(b) of the temporary rule describes the small business exemption issued pursuant to the Secretary’s regulatory authority to exempt small private businesses from having to provide an employee with paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). Read More

COVID-19: A Time to Plan

By Coronavirus, Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning

COVID-19 and the unprecedented efforts being taken to prevent its spread have turned the world on its head and brought into focus the importance of preparedness and planning in all aspects of life.

For governments, being prepared means having effective response plans in place to combat the health and economic damage caused to the people they serve.  For businesses, being prepared is having established plans to allow them to adapt to new circumstances and to continue operations.

For individuals, what first comes to mind in being prepared and planning is probably having enough savings tucked away to get through a tough time, or having enough food and supplies stored for their families.  What often gets over looked, even in the best of times, is planning for you and your family’s future in the event of a serious illness, or even death, of a loved one. Read More

Preserving Your Lien Rights: Be Sure to Secure Your Mechanics’ Lien Rights During the Coronavirus Crisis

By Construction, Coronavirus

The spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks is likely to impact construction projects across the state.  While the State of Maine and local governments have deemed many construction activities essential, payments to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers are likely to slow due to unprecedented economic uncertainty.  As a result, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers should take steps to protect their payment rights. Read More

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – Summary of Key Provisions for Businesses and Workers

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a federal stimulus package aimed at providing relief to American individuals and businesses during an unprecedented shutdown of much of the American economy.

Through tax credits, emergency grants, forgivable loans, and loan forgiveness, the CARES Act is designed to provide American businesses with the cash flow and debt relief to retain current employees, rehire employees laid off or furloughed, and to generally weather this severe economic downturn. Read More

Impact Of COVID-19 Orders On New Hampshire Contractors: Is Construction an “Essential” Service?

By Construction, Coronavirus

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the State of New Hampshire has issued various emergency orders aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus.  For example, on March 26, 2020, the Office of the Governor signed Emergency Order #17 Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04, which substantially limits the activities of “non-essential” services state-wide through May 4, 2020. Read More

COVID-19 is a Black Swan – And Health Care Directives are a Tool to Prepare

By Coronavirus, Maine Taxes, Wills & Estate Planning

COVID-19 is a Black Swan, a reminder to expect the unexpected.  Health Care Directives are a tool to plan.

As we follow the news about COVID-19, it triggers thoughts about what would happen if we got sick. An Advance Health Care Directive is the tool to decide who would make health care decisions for us and what those decisions would be. Read More

Update on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, a revised version of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) that was first passed out of the House on March 14.  The Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide COVID-19-related paid sick and family leave to eligible employees.  Significant changes from the original House version that we reported on are noted by underline, below.  The Act will take effect within 15 days (April 2, 2020). Read More

USDOL Publishes Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave Poster

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires that employers post a notice advising employees of their rights under the new law.  The United States Department of Labor has now published the poster that employers are required to post regarding the new emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave requirements.  A copy of the poster can be found here.

The DOL explains that employers can satisfy the posting requirement for employees who are working at home by emailing or mailing the notice to employees. The DOL FAQ states:

  • Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice?  Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises.  An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Please contact Bill Sheils if you have any questions.

Impact Of COVID-19 Orders On Maine Contractors: Is Construction an “Essential” Business?”

By Construction, Coronavirus

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Maine and local governments have issued emergency orders aimed at combating the transmission of the Coronavirus in our communities.  For example, on March 24, 2020, the Office of the Governor issued An Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Operations, substantially limiting the activities of “non-essential” businesses and operations state-wide.  On that same day, the City of Portland issued a Proclamation Declaring Continued State of Emergency and Requirement to Stay at Home, also limiting the activities of non-essential businesses and operations within the City of Portland.  Central to both orders is the requirement that all non-essential businesses and operations cease activities that are public facing, and essentially close their physical workspaces and facilities. Read More

Employment Alert: Maine Legislature Passes COVID-19 Legislation to Aid Employees

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

Yesterday evening, March 17, 2020, the Maine Legislature passed Legislative Document No. 2167, “An Act to Implement Provisions Necessary to the Health, Welfare and Safety of the Citizens of Maine in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” as emergency legislation to take effect immediately.  Included in the Act is a provision that makes employees who are temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, or who are sick or quarantined or caring for a family member as a result of COVID-19, eligible for unemployment benefits.  There is no waiting period, and there will be no charge against the employer’s experience rating record.   If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of having to temporarily cease operations during this public health emergency, the State of Maine has provided a safety net for your employees.   Employees should be advised of this emergency unemployment benefit if you need to suspend operations or if an employee is quarantined or caring for a sick family member as a result of COVID-19. Read More

COVID-19: Legal and Practical Guidance for Your Business

By Coronavirus

Perkins Thompson attorneys have prepared the following comprehensive presentation offering legal and practical guidance for your business or non-profit in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 Legal and Practical Guidance for Your Business (.pdf download)

For assistance with issues you or your business may be facing, please contact our office at (207) 774-2635.  Attorneys and staff are currently working remotely and are available to assist.

User Experience (UX) Design Agreements: 4 Essential Clauses to Include

By Intellectual Property, Software & Startups

User Experience (UX) design is a bedrock part of software and website development.  It includes the study and optimization of the user’s experience – the totality of the ways in which humans interact with and experience products.  (Definitions of UX vary; in the classic definition by designer Don Norman, it includes a person’s interaction with not just a product but the company that provides it as well).  Software companies employ UX designers in a range of ways including market research, the development of product business requirements, wireframing, prototype design, and watching behind two-way mirrors as testers struggle to navigate interfaces. Read More

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) Signed Into Law

By Immigration

President Trump signed the USMCA into law on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, completing the process of U.S. ratification of the agreement and moving it one step closer to replacing NAFTA. With Mexico already having ratified the USMCA, Canada is the only signatory country whose legislature has yet to act. It is expected that Canadian ratification of the USMCA will be completed in Spring 2020, but with the liberal party no longer holding a majority in the House of Commons, Canadian ratification of the USMCA will require bipartisan support, which may delay implementation of the new treaty. Read More

A Hiring Checklist for U.S. Tech Companies

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Hiring employees presents unique challenges for tech companies that do not confront other American businesses. In our experience as outside counsel to tech companies, legal mis-steps typically result from oversight rather than a deliberate intention to flout the law. The checklist below is a structured guide to avoiding these common pitfalls in the hiring process. It applies to Software-as-a-Service providers, custom software developers, mobile app developers, I.T. consulting firms and other tech employers. Read More

USDOL Issues Final Rule On New Minimum Salary Threshold For Executive, Administrative, and Professional Exemption To Overtime Rule

By Labor and Employment

Back in March, we reported that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) had released proposed regulations adjusting the salary level required for the executive, administrative, and professional employee (EAP), or so-called “white-collar” exemptions from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements. The USDOL has now issued its Final Rule, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Read More

Maine’s Double Payment Defense: What Subcontractors Need to Know

By Construction

When a person provides labor, material, or services to a residential construction project without a contract with the owner (e.g., subcontractors or suppliers), Maine’s mechanic’s lien law provides a “double payment” defense for the homeowner.  Under Maine law, most residential subcontractor and supplier liens can only be enforced to the extent that there is a “balance due” for the labor, materials, and/or services covered by the lien to the person with whom the owner has a contract with (e.g., general contractor).  In other words, if a homeowner has paid his or her general contractor for the work that is the basis of the lien, the lien will not be enforceable.  The homeowner is protected from having to pay for the subcontractor’s or supplier’s work twice.  A subcontractor or supplier lien will only be enforceable to the extent that the homeowner has not paid for the work. Read More

129th Maine Legislature Update

By Energy, Hospitality, Labor and Employment, Land Use & Municipal Law, Municipal

The First Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature has adjourned, leaving a number of new laws for us all to understand and comply with.  Listed below by topic area are what we believe are some of the most important new laws for our clients and readers to know about.  We have provided summaries to highlight the major effects of these new laws, but as always, there are details.  Please let us know if you are interested in how these new laws might affect you or your business, institution, or governmental body.

The new laws listed below become effective on September 19, 2019 except as otherwise specified. 

Read More

Maine Places Limits on Noncompete Agreements and Prohibits No-Hire/No-Poach Agreements Between Employers

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Governor Mills signed into law “An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine” (26 M.R.S. §§599-A and 599-B), set to become effective September 19, 2019, placing significant limitations on the use of employee noncompete agreements and prohibiting agreements among employers not to solicit or hire each other’s employees. In passing this legislation, Maine joins its New England neighbors, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in restricting the use and enforceability of noncompete agreements and joins the national trend in striking down so-called “no poaching” agreements. Read More

What’s My Defense?  New Hampshire Statute Provides List of Contractor Defenses to Defect Claims

By Construction

As we discussed in a prior blog post, New Hampshire’s residential construction statute provides contractors with a statutory right to notice of claimed defects prior to being sued.  This statute, however, also provides contractors with another benefit that is often overlooked.  It contains an extensive list of things that residential contractors will not be liable for.  Specifically, NH RSA 359-G provides that residential contractors are not liable for damages caused by: Read More

Contractors’ Right to Notice: New Hampshire’s Residential Construction Statute Requires Homeowners to Provide Notice of Defects Prior to Suing

By Construction

Under New Hampshire law, homeowners are generally required to provide notice of any claimed construction defects prior to filing a lawsuit against their residential contractor.  The purpose of this law is to “encourage the out-of-court resolution of disputes between homeowners and contractors relative to residential construction defects.” N.H. RSA § 359-G. Assuming the contractor has preserved this right to notice (by including required language in its contract), homeowners must provide at least 60 days’ notice of any claimed defects prior to filing a lawsuit. Read More