The Threat of an Attorney Demand Letter

Don’t panic. One of the great things about being an attorney is that for those inexperienced with them, people listen to your correspondence. For those in the business, this wears off pretty quickly. For some, the scariest thing sometimes is to get a demand letter from an attorney.

First thing to do – do not panic. The most valuable way to assess this letter is to do so without emotion as this correspondence is designed to intimidate, anger, and set forth a position that you will probably not like. Before overreacting, consider some of these factors.

  • If the facts are “all wrong,” realize that the attorney sent the demand usually with facts only from a single perspective of her client.
  • The common purpose of a demand letter is to settle the matter before litigation–try to look at it in the same fashion.
  • The settlement offer, if any, is structured so that the sending party leaves herself a bargaining position, so as to not appear weak.
  • Take legal theories argued in a demand letter with careful consideration, but understand that the attorney is free to allege all kinds of legal theories without much scrutiny within a mere letter.

Depending on the severity of the allegation(s) you’ll likely need to engage counsel to respond to any such demand letter, but if you have a working understanding that these letters, you are more likely to approach the matter in a better mindset.

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    June 23, 2014

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    June 20, 2014

    Nasir and Matt get World Cup fever as they delve into insurance coverage for the big event.  The guys also answer the question, “I own a restaurant. Can I help get to the new minimum wage by giving them a $1 food credit each hour?”

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    June 18, 2014

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    June 16, 2014

    The guys discuss Tesla’s decision to go open source with its patents and answer the question, “Our sales people get company cell phones that are for work use only. One of our recently fired employees wants the pictures on their phone. Do I have to give it to them?”

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    June 13, 2014

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    June 11, 2014

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    June 09, 2014

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    June 06, 2014

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    June 04, 2014

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    June 02, 2014

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    May 30, 2014

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    May 28, 2014

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    May 27, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about fast food restaurants replacing employees with robots and answer the question, “I’m trying to raise some capital from investors. When they ask how I am going to use their investment, what should I say?”

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    May 23, 2014

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    May 21, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome security guru Daniel Libby to discuss the issues involved with the secrecy of whistleblower apps, and answer the question, “We had an issue with some customer info that was compromised. Should we tell our customers, and if so, how?”

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    May 19, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about the trademark filing surrounding Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.  They also answer the question, “Can I put anything in my contracts that prevents my customers from leaving a negative Yelp review?”

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    May 16, 2014

    The guys discuss Snapchat’s seemingly minor punishment for misrepresentations about its privacy policy and answer, “How do I decide what salary to pay myself?”

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  • Ep 41: Copyright Infringement of Mobile Games

    May 14, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome Jesse Lindsley to talk about people are ripping off successful mobile games and answer the question, “My partners and I have been developing an online software and a mobile app, but we are wondering if we should split the mobile aspect of our business into a separate LLC since not everyone is […]

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  • Ep 40: Workplace Loans to Employees

    May 12, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the trend of employers providing loans to employees and answer the questions, “I know I need to pay some of my employees more to prevent them from leaving but I won’t have the revenue for another 6 months, what else can I do to keep them in the mean time?”

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  • Ep 39: Start a Fad Business & Business Bartering

    May 09, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about how a businesses based on a fad can succeed and answer, “I don’t have money to pay for certain services. Can I trade my products for other company’s services?”

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  • Ep 38: Creepy Privacy Policies & Protecting Proprietary Info

    May 07, 2014

    The guys discuss how companies use the data they collect and answer, “How can I make sure my employees don’t steal my proprietary info after they leave?”

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  • Ep 37: The Law Behind Donald Sterling’s Ban & Firing Annoying Employees

    May 06, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the legalities behind the NBA banning Donald Sterling and answer the question, “One of my employees is very annoying. He does great work but I can tell he is not liked by most coworkers. I also know he will sue if I fire him. How can I handle this best?”

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  • Ep 36: How Workplace Relationships Affect Culture

    May 02, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the story of a woman’s claim of sexual harassment at the software company Github.  They then answer the question, “Is it a good idea to get a patent before I start my company or wait down the road?”

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  • Ep 35: Roy Daya the Startup Guru

    April 30, 2014

    Nasir and Matt welcome business guru Roy Daya.  They talk about why a business might fail after an acquisition and answer the question, “I have put in many years to get my business profitable and just reached that goal this past year. We have a sound business model in place and secured investments so we […]

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  • Ep 34: Working at Walmart

    April 28, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the Walmart that claimed its employees were home on Easter but were really working in the store.  They also answer the question, “I gave a small ownership interest to a friend. Now he refuses to do any voting in which a shareholder vote is required. I have the majority so do I need […]

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  • Ep 33: Working Remotely

    April 25, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about Amazon’s offer to employees to take cash to quit and answer a question on hiring employees to work remotely.

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  • Ep 32: Heartbleed

    April 23, 2014

    The guys discuss the effect of the Heartbleed virus on small businesses and then provide guidance on exempt employees.

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  • Ep 31: Hell’s Kitchen

    April 21, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss a lawsuit involving Gordon Ramsay and his business partner.  They then address the question of whether an attorney or a CPA should take priority.

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  • Ep 30: Culture is King

    April 18, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss UPS laying off 250 employees over the decision by one worker.  They also answer a question on the best techniques to keeping employees long-term. Update: Those 250 employees have been rehired.

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  • Ep 29: Working Overtime

    April 16, 2014

    Nasir and Matt address the problem surrounding employees not taking vacation.  The two also talk about overtime pay in the question of the day.

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  • Ep 28: Toothless Stock

    April 14, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about Google’s new class of stock that has no voting rights, as well as how to bring on investors without losing equity in the company.

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  • Ep 27: Ronald McDonald

    April 11, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the commercials featuring Ronald McDonalds approving of Taco Bell’s breakfast.  They also attack the independent contractor misclassification issue from the employee perspective in the question of the day.

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  • Ep 26: Items of Flair

    April 09, 2014

    Nasir and Matt talk about the lawsuit over items of flair from Office Space and answer a question on options in purchasing a business.

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  • Ep 25: PiinPoint

    April 07, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the potential benefit of PiinPoint, the digital location finder, will have on small businesses.  They also answer a question on whether you should make the first draft a contract.

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  • Ep 24: Candy Crushed

    March 31, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss the IRS deciding that Bitcoin is property and not currency, the recent ruling that college football players may unionize, a lawsuit filed over an asset purchase gone wrong, and why one early investor is not excited about the Candy Crush IPO.  They also answer questions about putting the “LLC” designation after […]

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  • Ep 23: Bracket Busters

    March 24, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start things off by discussing PayPal’s decision to stop freezing accounts for crowdfunding, as well as Starbucks licensing its mobile payment system, a company having to advance legal fees for a manager, and which NCAA tournament bracket contests are legal.  They also answer questions about what to discuss at board meetings, corporate […]

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  • Ep 22: Podcast Patents

    March 17, 2014

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt welcome attorney Mark Wisnosky to discuss the ongoing legal battle involving patents on podcasts and legal crowdfunding.  They also talk about a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s, the proposed new rules for overtime pay, and Uber’s smart move to increase its insurance policies.  Nasir and Matt also answer […]

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  • Ep 21: Taking Selfies

    March 10, 2014

    This week’s episode examines who owns the selfie taken at the Oscars, why one food truck is facing criminal charges, how Getty Images is making some of its photos free, and a teen’s Facebook post that may cost her dad $80,000.  Nasir and Matt also field questions about who owns work created by an employer’s […]

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  • Ep 20: Best of the Podcast

    March 05, 2014

    This week’s episode features the best moments through the first 20 podcasts.  Topics include the popular sauce vs. crust debate, having your employees work on Thanksgiving, the interview with Jerry Sanders,  legalities of running a fake promotion, Texas A&M licensing the 12th man to Seattle, and the first and last employee vs. independent contractor discussion. […]

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  • Ep 19: Capital One, What’s in Your Home

    February 24, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start the show off discussing Facebook’s newest acquisition (WhatsApp), how Capital One’s credit card policy allows entry into consumer’s homes, the importance of new top level domains to small businesses, and how to not respond to a (fake) employee quitting.  They also answer questions concerning about hiring a minor, what expense you can […]

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  • Ep 18: Dumb Starbucks

    February 17, 2014

    In this week’s episode Nasir and Matt discuss the Dumb Starbucks store that surfaced in Los Angeles, an NFL player voiding his contract for more guaranteed money, and employees at Starbucks questioning a disabled veteran with a service dog.  They also welcome special guest Reggie Lal to discuss Ponzi schemes in real estate investing.  Nasir and Matt […]

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  • Ep 17: The 12th Man

    February 10, 2014

    Nasir and Matt kick off this week’s episode by discussing Microsoft partnering with Foursquare.  They also talk about Texas A&M licensing use of the “12th Man” to the Seattle Seahawks, the FTC going after a mega spammer, and the backlash by developers of King.com’s “candy” trademark.  Nasir and Matt answer questions about legal concerns of running […]

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  • Ep 16: Another Show about Pizza?

    February 03, 2014

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt discuss some of Obama’s planned executive actions for 2014, Ohio pizzerias breaking employment laws, the importance of forum selection causes in contracts, and the crazy story behind one man losing his Twitter handle.  They also answer questions about changing business agreements, being an at-will employee, and running multiple […]

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  • Ep. 15: Fresh Off the Press

    January 27, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss a new law mandating paid sick leave for employees in New York City, the Union-Tribune in San Diego losing a lawsuit for misclassifying independent contractors, small businesses finding another loophole in the Affordable Care Act, and one person’s opinion to never do online banking for your business.  They also answer questions […]

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  • Ep. 14: A Golden Ticket Promotion

    January 20, 2014

    Nasir and Matt start things off by discussing one company’s huge victory over Yelp, and then get into Staples’ motives for cutting the hours of part-time employees and the FTC cracking down on Sensa for weight loss claims.  The two give a call to former gym owner, Noah Mangus, to discuss cancellation policies for gyms and the […]

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  • Ep. 13: Seacrest Out, Blackberry In

    January 13, 2014

    Nasir and Matt discuss Blackberry’s lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest, the changes to the small business health care tax credit, when unpaid volunteers can be considered employees, and combating bad weather for a business.  The two also answer questions about being responsible for debt in dissolved companies, valuation ideas for startups, and a partner withholding access […]

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  • Ep. 12: Ringing in the New Year, in Texas?

    January 06, 2014

    Nasir and Matt kick off 2014 discussing the new changes to Obamacare, a bookkeeper stealing from the business she works for, the consequences of raising minimum wage, and the backlash surrounding Uber’s surge pricing.  They also answer questions about paying yourself in an LLC, copyright infringements in a t-shirt printing business, and working with international […]

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  • Ep. 11: That’s What She Said

    December 30, 2013

    In the final episode of 2013, Nasir and Matt discuss an age discrimination case involving the Maui police department, FICO opening up to small businesses, the lawsuit over a copyright on the Baltimore Ravens’ logo, and the merger of Elance and oDesk.  The two also answer questions concerning starting a business at the end of […]

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  • Ep. 10: Smart San Diego Business with the Mayor

    December 23, 2013

    For the 10th episode of the podcast, Nasir and Matt welcome Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of San Diego.  The three of them discuss the jobs outlook in San Diego for 2014, the importance of retaining quality employees, and the value of craft breweries in […]

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  • Ep. 9: Phil Mickelson’s Home Office (he’s a golfer)

    December 16, 2013

    This week’s episode kicks off by discussing a photographer winning a lawsuit against Getty Images, businesses in Washington getting scammed over workplace posters, disability lawsuits targeting small businesses, Domino’s Pizza involved in a minimum wage dispute, and an animated reenactment of a recent Bob Filner suit.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about someone stealing your business’ name, […]

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  • Ep. 8: Too Hot to Work & Too Cold to Shop

    December 09, 2013

    Nasir and Matt discuss Amazon’s refusal to sell a company’s products, one company’s lawsuit against a customer who wrote a negative review, Swarm Mobile’s attempt to track consumers inside stores, and the most recent lawsuit filed by the woman claiming to be too hot.  The two also answer questions about dissolving a company with debt, bringing […]

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  • Ep 7: Patent Trolls

    December 02, 2013

    In this week’s episode, Nasir and Matt debate how patent firms affect small businesses, discuss the importance of Small Business Saturday for local businesses, and analyze the lawsuits surrounding companies offering fake markdowns–anyone hear of false advertising?  The two also welcome guest Tyler Jensen of The Startup Garage, who offers his take on making financial […]

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  • Ep 6: Mining for Bitcoins

    November 25, 2013

    Tyler Sickmeyer of Fidelitas Development crashes the podcast, offering his perspective on stories about lawsuits surrounding the legitimacy of negative Yelp reviews, the crackdown on Airbnb and the sharing economy, the possibility of Facebook disappearing, and the legalities of fake online profiles.  Tyler also assists Nasir and Matt in answering questions about making employees work […]

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  • Ep. 5: Bean Counting with the IRS

    November 18, 2013

    This week Nasir and Matt discuss the legalities of Google’s virtual library, the lawsuit brought by Yelp reviewers, and watching porn in the workplace.  They also discuss the IRS shifting its audit focus with the help of Brad Gastineau of Gatto, Pope & Walwick, LLP.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about employees making special […]

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  • Episode 4: Sauce vs. Crust

    November 11, 2013

    This week’s episode features stories about restaurant trade secrets, the falling out of a coffee shop partnership, and the assumption of risk involved in attending sporting events.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about what a business should trademark, getting compensated for free services, and how to fire an employee.  Matt also recounts his experience […]

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  • Episode 3: Big Yellow Taxi

    November 04, 2013

    In their third episode, Nasir and Matt debate the significance of company culture, voice their opinions on legal directories, and discuss a newly formed taxi cab union.  They also answer questions about an employee taking his company’s domain name, whether it’s better to purchase or start a business, and the difference between employees and independent […]

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  • Episode 2: Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza

    October 29, 2013

    Nasir and Matt discuss the questionable business decision that led to Deepak Chopra’s lawsuit, a new insight into Twitter’s valuation, the class action lawsuit of the week involving some big names participating in no-hire pacts, and new SEC proposals for crowdfunding.  Nasir and Matt also answer questions about ending a business partnership, the effect of non-competes, making […]

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  • Episode 1: Basement Slave Labor

    October 21, 2013

    In our first episode, we answer questions sent to Top Floor Legal regarding the legal needs of businesses.  We also cover the most recent Amazon lawsuit, the Legal Zoom v. Rocket Lawyer case, and the situation surrounding Arian Foster taking himself public.  We close by discussing a perplexing blog post on how to draft your own contract.

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