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Brian M Gottesman

Brian Gottesman’s Answers

100 total


  • I was wrongfully fired for "fraudulent action", and I don't want this to affect me in later job searches

    The new manager of my work heard a rumor that I was using other managers passwords to perform exchanges and returns, an action that only managers are allowed to do (I was a sales associate). Instead of asking me for an explanation, I was accused o...

    Brian’s Answer

    You can't legally control the manner in which they report the termination reasons unless you (a) enter into some kind of settlement with them or (b) win a judgment against them in court.

    If the charge is false and they have communicated it to third parties, you have a case for defamation. Proving defamation is going to be tricky because the burden will be on you to demonstrate the falsity of the statement.

    If you think your termination was actually for another reason, you may have a claim for the breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing under DE law (it is unlawful in Delaware to give a false reason for termination, even if the true reason is not actionable). If the "fraud" was a pretext for an unlawful termination (for example, discrimination based on race, sex, etc.), then you could have federal and/or state employment discrimination claims. The deadline for such claims often runs very quickly so do not waste any time speaking to an attorney if you think this is what happened.

    Companies often agree to specific terms regarding reporting reasons for termination and other details of employment to avoid threatened or pending litigation.

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  • Can I break my lease due to No Contact Order?

    I recently had a no contact order issued against me which prohibits me from contact to a specific person and the residence. The residence is rented in my name only. Am I legally allowed to break the lease since I have a no contact order prohibitin...

    Brian’s Answer

    Depends on the terms of the lease agreement but most likely not. The landlord is presumably not a party to whatever action resulted in the no-contact order. You might be able to use the no-contact as a defense if the landlord sues you (under a doctrine of impossibility or impracticality) but there's no guarantee a court would allow you out of the lease under the circumstances.

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  • My boyfriend and I broke up We have a 1yr old together but my family is in a different state Am I able to leave the state w her?

    He has a background history for violence and he's bipolar I honestly don't trust him with her at all. He doesn't care for her like I do he doesn't change diapers, dress her, feed her,nothing.

    Brian’s Answer

    Depends on many factors. If you were unmarried, has your boyfriend acknowledged paternity? Is he listed as the father on the birth certificate? Is there a custody order in place?

    These sites may be instructive:
    http://resources.lawinfo.com/family-law/do-i-need-the-other-parent-s-permission-to-mo.html
    http://resources.lawinfo.com/family-law/when-does-an-unmarried-father-acquire-parenta.html
    https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/putative.pdf#page=4&view=Summaries of State laws

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  • Concern about general contractor not paying subs, what to do if I think it's delaying progress on completion of my house?

    I hired a general contractor to build a home for me on land I already own. After being given a time frame of 4-6 months for completion. We are currently on month 11 and the drywall is supposed to go up next week. I ran into one of the subs that I ...

    Brian’s Answer

    Without looking at your contract it's impossible to say, but there is almost certainly a responsibility on the part of the GC to pay subcontractors that he retained to work on your house. If he's not paying them you probably have recourse against him.
    Ms. McMahon is quite right to caution you - the sub can file a mechanic's lien against the house if he is not paid. You would be able to go after the GC for contribution/indemnification but the lien would not be lifted until the sub is paid.

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  • Is a S Corporation protected in the event of a divorce?

    A ranch is incorporated and shares are split 50/50 to each brother. Ranch has been in family since late 1800's, but he has bought out 2 other siblings while being married. He has also acquired another ranch while married that is under corporatio...

    Brian’s Answer

    I agree with both of the answers above. I will just add that there may be a shareholders' agreement that governs how shares are treated in a shareholders' divorce; for example, by requiring that the shares awarded to the spouse be voted in a certain way or sold back to the company at a specified valuation.

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  • My ex wife & my name is on the deed to our property. I live there with my new wife. If I die, can my ex kick my new wife out or

    I am worried that my ex wife will kick my new wife out of the home that we live in. My ex will not take her name off of the deed. I even offered to pay her off, to no avail. I am concerned that when I die, my ex will be there within hours & kick ...

    Brian’s Answer

    It's not clear why the property wasn't divided during your divorce. If in fact you and your wife are both he answer depends how the property is deeded to you and your ex-wife.

    If you bought or re-deeded the property while you and your ex were married (and assuming the house is located in Delaware and not another state), you probably owned the house under an arrangement called "tenancy by the entirety". Upon your divorce this would have converted to a tenancy in common, meaning that each of you own a specific percentage interest in the real estate. If that is so, your new wife would probably inherit your tenancy upon your death, and your ex would not be able to expel her (but you should certainly consult an estate lawyer to make sure that you have all the bases covered).

    If you and your ex wife owned the property as joint tenants with right of survivorship (for example, if you bought the house together before you were legally married under Delaware law) then your ex wife would automatically inherit the entire property from you upon your death under her right of survivorship, leaving your current wife (possibly literally) out in the cold.

    This is a serious matter and it's important that you get competent legal counsel to protect your and your wife's rights to the property. Good luck.

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  • I am a first time home Buyer and I want to sue the Seller for breach of contract. He never repaired what he agreed to repair

    The House was Inspected. The Buyer agreed to repair Items listed on the report. I have incomplete HVAC work and cracks in the foundation walls of my basement that go to the floor of the foundation. I cant heat or cool the property properly. I clos...

    Brian’s Answer

    You say "The closing attorney drafted up a document for us both to sign ensuring the work was done." It's not clear what you mean by this - did you affirm in this document that the work was done to your satisfaction?

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  • I dropped my dog off at dog kennel and they lost her.

    “I left my dog with a kennel for a week and when I returned to get her ,they lost her! as of right now it's been a week since I found out and they still have not found her all together it's 2 weeks she is gone! I asked why they didn't contacted me...

    Brian’s Answer

    Very sorry for your situation.

    Unfortunately, dogs are considered personal property under the law. So your damages will most likely be limited to (a) the fees you paid to the kennel for boarding, and (b) the monetary (not emotional) value of the dog.

    Their offer to "replace" her, while callous, is probably about the best you could hope for from a court if you were to sue them.

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  • Can a non-profit museum publish a public domain image of a living celebrity w/out seeking permission?

    I work for a museum and we would like to use the image of a living celebrity in an exhibit. The image itself is public domain, but do we need to seek permission from the celebrity?

    Brian’s Answer

    How did you determine that the image was public domain? As my colleague said, this is a specific legal category indicating that nobody owns the copyright to the image. The fact that the image appears on the internet or other public forum is not enough to render it a public domain image. It has to have an expired copyright (unlikely if it's of a living celebrity) or have been released into the public domain. Wikipedia has a fairly extensive discussion of the issue which may be instructive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain

    Assuming that the image is public domain, you may still be liable for using it in an exploitative manner, for example, to promote a product or service (or a nonprofit organization). Using it for an illustrative purpose may be ok; however, you need to be careful that the image is not a violation of the pictured individual's privacy (this may not apply to images taken of the person in public). A pretty good discussion can be found here: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/using-name-or-likeness-another

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  • I work for a possessive boss and he wants to hold me in my current position within the company. Is this even legal?

    I work for a big company in Delaware where I’ve worked for thirty years. I have worked for an individual now for 7 years who is putting me in a bad state of mind and I want out from under him. There had been people under him in the past who have...

    Brian’s Answer

    It would only be actionable if this conduct is discriminatory - i.e. you are being denied promotion for unlawful discriminatory reasons (race, sex, etc.). This is a high burden to prove - if anything it seems that they are denying you promotion because you are "too good" at your current job.

    You say you are being put "in a bad state of mind" but that doesn't tell us much - you might have a claim for hostile work environment but again, that is a specific legal concept that doesn't mean what most people think it means - there has to be an element of unlawful discrimination and it's not sufficient that your boss is obnoxious and difficult to work with.

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