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Michael James Duffy

Michael Duffy’s Answers

291 total


  • Third party registration of an unregistered Trademark

    My previous business partner and I established a brand name a few years back. I invested $1000 to help create the logo and establish a website. We parted ways last year and he continues to use the brand but has never registered a trademark for th...

    Michael’s Answer

    Did you have a business entity you used the mark with? Were there any agreements about the business of mark between you and the partner? Was there any agreements about your parting ways with each other?

    If there is an existing mark owned by another entity and still in use, and you want to use it for yourself, it could be an infringement issue on your part. Registration just adds protection, it does not necessarily grant rights in the first place if the mark was already in use.

    You sound like you have a pretty complicated fact pattern. If you want to do this right you have to consult with an attorney with your specific facts to get advice you can rely upon.

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  • How do I sever a membership in an LLC? The other member will not help pay lease. Also, how to get out of lease?

    The other member of the company we started together is acting like a jerk and will not pay his part of a $1700/mth lease. We agreed to pay half at signing of lease. I would, also, like for you to look over lease to see if I can get out of lease si...

    Michael’s Answer

    Depending on the terms of the operating agreement, one may have to either buy out the partner's interest, sell one's interest, or simply dissolve the entity. It would be determined entirely by the operating agreement.

    The automatic stay might preclude collecting on anything a partner may owe, but an exchange of fair value for an asset such as a partner's interest would likely not be an issue. The money would simply become property of the bankruptcy estate. Valuating businesses is notoriously difficult and expensive, though, and it might be best to wait until after the bankruptcy is resolved rather than engaging in a potential dispute with other creditors. You would still want to get it cleared with the bankruptcy trustee.

    Bottom line: You've got a number of issues to confront here and you need an attorney to review your specific facts to render an opinion as to your situation and provide guidance.

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  • Sued for credit card debt. Plaintiff withdraws the case. Can it be reopened by him at a later time?

    I was sued for credit card debt and had a court hearing set up for this week. Today i received a copy of the letter sent to the District Judge by the company representing the plaintiff asking to mark the case as withdrawn. My question is; can the ...

    Michael’s Answer

    The only way to ensure the case is finalized is to get a judgment or a settlement. If it within the statute of limitations, then they can sue again. Contact a lawyer with your specific set of facts to determine what your best option might be.

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  • Is having a paper notarized legal in court of law?

    My boyfriend and I want to put down things on paper sign and notarize it. Things like leaving our real state to each other and if something happens and we can't speak for ourselves, that we can speak for the other. We have adult children. Can they...

    Michael’s Answer

    It sounds as if you are trying to draft a will, maybe a springing power of attorney, and conduct estate planning. In Pennsylvania has very specific requirements to make a will valid, as well as your other considerations. You would be well-advised to consult an attorney to ensure your documents are properly drafted and valid.

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  • How can I look up my attorneys past case files to see what he has won and the type of cases he's worked on?

    I want to find out what cases my attorney has won.

    Michael’s Answer

    Many times the best result is an out-of court settlement, where the case does not proceed to trial or a verdict. In some cases, success is determined by limiting damages rather than a decision in favor of the client. There might be various claims, some of which are successes at being avoided while others are all but inevitable. Good attorneys may also help their clients avoid litigation entirely. Attorneys may have a variety of roles in cases, and may only take part in certain portions of the case or in certain stages. Of course, there is also the impact of opposing counsel and the underlying facts of the case.

    These are just some examples of the variety of results in litigation. The bottom line is, determining the effectiveness of counsel is no simple undertaking, and there is no one database for the task. Many attorneys even take issue with Avvo's simplified system and ratings, though it may serve well as one tool for consumers nonetheless. Talk to other practitioners, talk to the attorney you are considering, ask for samples, look at the reputation, etc. Best of luck.

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  • I have received child support for my daughter now since she was 4 years old. My ex didn't go thru the courts for payment.

    His first payment was in 1999 for $101.00 per week. He has paid this for 13 years. I never once got a cost of living increase. Do I have any legal rights to get my cost of living increase? She will be in college this year.

    Michael’s Answer

    You can file for a modification to get it increased, and really might have been better off doing this years ago. Child support in New Jersey does not necessarily end when the child reaches the age of majority, and may continue in certain cases. I don't know anything specific about your situation, and I do not currently represent you, so I cannot provide advice, only this limited information. You should consult an attorney as to what your options might be.

    Our firm offers a free consultation.

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  • How can I know if filing bankruptcy is the best choice for me?

    In the past 6 months, my debt has increased significantly. I am not behind on any bills at this time however, I can see it happening very shortly. I can't keep my head above water with all the bills. I feel like I owe so much that I'll never en...

    Michael’s Answer

    That is a very fact-specific question. Your situation certainly may be appropriate for a bankruptcy discharge, but there are many questions I would have to ask before advising you one way or another. You would also have to qualify for the type of bankruptcy protection sought. Talking to an attorney and going over your situation is the way to go.

    Our firm offers a free consultation.

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  • Can I file a Chapter 13 with a balloon mortgage that came due in July 2011 (New Jersey) I can't refinance

    Balloon Mortgage came due July 2011, can I put the balance into a Chapter 13 and pay it off in 5 years? ($199,000 which includes principal, interest, all kinds of fees, etc) or would the Bankruptcy Judge allow me to pay off the principal and wip...

    Michael’s Answer

    Whether you would be eligible for Chapter 13, what a payment plan may look like and how much you would owe all depend on a number of factors, including your income, expenses and living situation. You need to speak to a bankruptcy attorney to determine what the options might be in your specific case.

    Our firm offers a free consultation.

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  • Getting paid to buy and export a car?

    My sister recently got involved with some people in the 'import/export' business. She was paid by these people to purchase a luxury vehicle in her name, she's the owner on the title and the insurance is in her name. They gave her a cashier's che...

    Michael’s Answer

    Hi there,

    There are generally import restrictions on vehicles in China and other countries, as well as steep tariffs. Assuming the cashier's check is authentic (there are plenty of scams involving that), this may be an attempt to evade the restrictions and tariffs. They may do so by claiming the vehicle is personal, not for sale, and not subject to the tariffs, for example. There are many other requirements and regulations regarding international trade, import/export in general, and goods-specific for items such as cars. As an exporter your interactions with these aspects may vary depending on the services you use and the allocation of responsibility with the importer and other parties, but you must be very well aware of the entire process.

    Regardless, the purchase and re-sale of cars generally requires a dealer's license. All activity would have to be documented and reported to the appropriate authorities, usually in conjunction with the establishment of a business entity.

    This is only some general information, not advice. I cannot even begin to identify the issues unless I were to talk with you and have a thorough review and consultation. Your sister needs to speak with an attorney immediately.

    Our firm offers a free consultation.

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  • Getting separated. How to manage the situation when mortgage and common debt is incolved? Spouse is against filing bankruptcy.

    I am married, however want to get separated. Have no children. We are in the process of refinancing the mortgage to lower the monthly payment, so my spouse can keep the house. Due to the debts we were considering to file for bankruptcy, however no...

    Michael’s Answer

    You can file individually even if you are married, and in some cases there are in fact advantages to doing such, such as determining your income and expenses for qualification purposes.

    If you were to file individually, you would no longer be responsible for qualifying debts, though your spouse may remain responsible if his name is on the debt as well.

    You would not necessarily be responsible for debts incurred by your husband after bankruptcy if you are still married. In most cases the individual named on the debt is responsible for the debt, and creditors can only collect on assets in the debtor's name (though the asset or debt could be joint as well).

    Still, there are real advantages to filing jointly, particularly in terms of exemptions. You and your husband should sit down with a bankruptcy attorney to go over the whole situation, and determine what options might be best for you.

    Out firm offers a free initial consultation.

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