Mike Gundy takes the offensive in lawsuit with OU T-Shirt wearer

While Coach Gundy is known for his exotic and highly effective offensive units on the football field, Gundy has unleashed his attorneys to “go for the end zone” in this lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by Brent Lee Loveland, the OU T-Shirt wearing carpenter who was abruptly fired by Oklahoma State University Head Football Coach Mike Gundy during the start of construction on Gundy new Stillwater home is starting to move again.

After several months of virtually no significant action, Mike Gundy’s attorneys have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. In this Motion, the attorneys request that the Court end the case now in favor of Mike and Kristen Gundy.

Summary Judgment is fairly common in the Oklahoma court system, but this one is particularly interesting for among other reasons, it reveals that Loveland’s deposition taken by Gundy’s attorney and substantial excerpts from the deposition are attached to the Motion for Summary Judgment and also can be found here.

Check out the full Motion below.

Download (PDF, 8.35MB)

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

A Thousand Employees suing Chesapeake Energy?

A former employee of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Matthew G. Kopf, filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that he and potentially a thousand other employees are owed stock and other compensation. The basis of the allegation is that Chesapeake’s Board of Directors went a “change in control” that triggered provisions in the employees’s contracts that entitled them to immediate vesting of their stock options.

You can read the actual Petition filed in Oklahoma County District Court below:

Download (PDF, 809KB)

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

Read the Criminal Complaint against the Boston Bombing Suspect

Below is the formal Criminal Complaint filed against the Boston Bombing suspect #2, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, by the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Download (PDF, 549KB)

Posted in Blog Posts by Shawn. No Comments

How do you find an attorney right for you?

Keene H. Addington (LOC)

Have you ever wondered how to find a quality attorney that is right for you?

I am an attorney, I know the kind of questions to find an attorney and I share those questions below in this post.

This post might come off like a commercial for finding me, but its not intended to be. People occasionally need to know how to find an attorney. If it’s in my area, I can refer them to someone I know and trust. If it’s outside my area, I usually don’t have a solid answer. For this reason, I started to think more about the process someone should go through to find an attorney. I came up with the steps below:

First. Ask people you trust.

Start with people you know and trust. Ask them if they have used an attorney who practices in the area in which you have a need. If the person you trust has used an attorney, find out about the experience, what they liked and did not like and whether they would recommend the attorney.

Second. Don’t forget about your online friends.

Social media and digital universe have greatly expanded the number of people you have access to. Reach out to some of the people you know through a social network or other online group to seek out the names of attorneys. The reach of social media increases the likelihood you might find an attorney through personal referral in a distant place.

Third. Use attorney-referral services cautiously.

You might find the best attorney in the world for you through a service that charges attorneys for referrals. On the other hand, you might find an attorney who is a terrible fit for you and end up having an awful experience. If you are going to generate names through a paid referral service, still run the names you get by people to generate additional information.

Fourth. Research the names you find.

The Web has ample free resources to find out information about people. Use them to generate information on an attorney you are thinking about hiring. A few places to look: the state bar association web site, online state court records, peer review ratings services such as www.martindale.com and, of course, Google, which should lead to the attorney’s website.

Fifth. Talk to the attorney before hiring.

Regardless of how you arrive at someone to hire, it makes sense to talk on the phone or in person with the person you are trusting your legal issues to. A few of the questions to ask:

a. How do you handle billing? Hourly rate or fixed fee? Are there other expenses that will have to be paid? How often do you send out invoices?
b. How do you update your clients on their project or legal matter?
c. If I want (or feel like I need to) to contact you, will I be able to?

One word of advice: Take extreme comments in stride. And by extreme, I mean extreme negative and extreme positive. One person’s glorious experience with an attorney or another person’s torture test with an attorney, doesn’t necessarily determine your experience. Try to discover reality. It is rarely an extremely negative or positive, but rather somewhere in the fluffy middle.

If you have any questions about finding an attorney, please leave me a comment below and I will try to answer.

Posted in Blog Posts Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

This simple piece of paper is the resolution of Justin Blackmon’s DUI case

Althought the case was kinda of a big deal because it was Justin Blackmon, the actual charge was fairly simple and Blackmon plead guilty today. This slip of paper, handwritten and filed with the Court, memorializes the conclusion of the case:

Download (PDF, 76KB)

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

Follow Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon’s DUI case with Legal Alerts

Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon was one of the greatest receivers in college football history. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year and he looks to have a fantastic pro career ahead of him.

Blackmon ran into a bit of trouble recently in Stillwater where he was arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Information which sets out the charges against Blackmon is at the bottom of this document. His arrest led to a court case in Payne County, Oklahoma, in which he has been charged with an aggravated misdemeanor. The case will eventually be resolved either with some type of plea agreement or a trial in front of a jury.

You can follow all the developments in this case you know as soon as something happens in the case through legal alerts. All you have to do is sign up for the free plan here using Justin’s name and search out the Justin Blackmon case and you’ll be good to go anytime an event happens you will receive an e-mail telling you about the event and giving you a link to the online docket sheet.

Be first to know when anything new happens in the Justin Blackmon case with Legal Alerts.

Download (PDF, 161KB)

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

The steps to take when the government shows up – unannounced- to investigate your business

It is the way no business owner wants to start the day:

“Hello, I am an investigator from the [insert name of applicable government agency] and I am here to conduct a compliance investigation for your business. See my badge!”

Any small business owner would be frightened, unnerved, frustrated and more. From my experience in this area, I will tell you: It is probably not as bad as you think. Take a deep breath and consider following the steps listed below which Bill Pokorny laid out in his article What To Do When the DOL Makes an Unannounced Visit: Wage & Hour Insights:

1. Be polite to the investigators. If you are not moved to do so out of common courtesy, remember that being disrespectful to a government agent with the power to make your life very difficult and assess large financial penalties is not a wise business decision.

2. Contact your lawyer immediately. Make sure he or she has experience handling investigations. If not, get a referral to someone who does.

3. Don’t turn over any records, arrange employee interviews, or answer any other substantive questions until you’ve talked to your lawyer.

4. Don’t talk to your employees about the visit until you talk to your lawyer. Even questions that seem innocent to you can give the impression that you are pressuring employees or possibly retaliating against them for cooperating with the investigators. Most importantly, make sure your time and payroll records are in good order BEFORE the government comes knocking.

If you found this post useful, subscribe to the email list and receive a couple of posts like this a month:

Posted in Blog Posts Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

Six things to consider before you terminate an employee

This post originally appeared on www.shawnjroberts.com.

If you are very fortunate, you may never have to terminate an employee. For most businesses though, things happen that require termination of employment. If you find yourself need to terminate an employee, consider the six guidelines listed before you terminate:

1. Severance. If you are going to pay severance and the employee is not already entitled to receive severance, you need to require the employee to sign a release in exchange for the severance. The release is the employee’s acknowledgment that he is giving up all claims against the company in exchange for a severance payment to which he would not have been entitled. This type of document provides some finality and protection for the company.

2. Contract Limitations. Determine if there are any obligations or rights that the employee has that would prevent you from terminating his employment in the manner in which you wish to do it. For instance, is there a written employment contract involved with this person? Has your company given the person any kind of rights through an employee policy manual or handbook? Is the employee currently experiencing any kind of issues such as a work-related injury that would make termination either unwise or illegal?

3. Equipment. Be certain before you inform the employee of termination that you either have all of the property back that the employee is using or you have a clear plan to get all of it back. Occasionally, I have seen employees who are terminated and upset about the situation take out their frustration by not returning employer equipment or making it very difficult for the employer to secure return. If you are going to ask for release, you might consider adding a line that says in exchange for the severance they have returned all equipment to the company.

4. Witness. When you actually inform the employee that he is being terminated, it is wise to have another person with you who can corroborate what actually happens if there is any kind of dispute.

5. Benefits. Does the company owe this employee any kind of accrued benefits such as PTO or vacation time? Sometimes, depending on the written documents or policy manual, the employee may have a right to receive this type of benefit upon termination. However, if there is no documentation promising the employee that he is entitled to receive the benefits, the company probably has no obligation to pay.

6. Cause for termination. Be careful how you express the cause for termination to the employee. Most employers I work with are good people like and don’t want to go out of their way to make the employee feel bad. However, if you tell an employee they are being let go because there simply is not enough work and the reason is actually that the employee cannot do the work that you need, you are probably stuck with the stuck reason given. It is better to give no reason at all for termination rather than a reason not supported by the facts. This could come up in unemployment proceeding with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission or other post-employment proceedings. Unemployment cannot be waived but if there is a solid reason for termination related to some type of misconduct then there may be a basis to challenge in the award of unemployment.

If you need help on any of these issues when doing an Oklahoma employment termination, this is something I have a lot of experience with, please contact me.

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

Oklahoma non-compete law summary

Over past year I have written several articles about non-compete agreements under Oklahoma law. Below is a collection of the links to each article and a snippet of the article. You can access the full articles from here and also bookmark this page to ensure that you can always access all the articles.

Is my Oklahoma non compete agreement enforceable?
The short answer is that if you are in Oklahoma the non compete agreement it is not enforceable.  With a couple of exceptions, Oklahoma law is clear that an individual is allowed to work in his or her chosen business or industry even if a piece of paper says otherwise.  While competition is allowed, Oklahoma law prohibits a former employee from soliciting the established customers of the former employer.

Two scenarios where a non compete agreement is enforceable
In an article from a few months ago, I wrote about how Oklahoma law categorically invalidates non compete agreements. Oklahoma has made a public policy decision that with a couple of exceptions employees will not be barred from competing. Below are the exceptions to the rule:

Non compete Agreements are still not OK in Oklahoma
I wrote a few months ago about how Oklahoma law prohibits non compete agreements for former employees and touch on exceptions here.  Yesterday, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals reiterated that any agreement which restricts a former employee’s ability to work in the same field as the former employer is void under Oklahoma law.

4 critical points to consider in a non disclosure agreement [before you sign it]
1.      Is the definition of “confidential information” specific enough to be workable?  For the non disclosure agreement to have any value, both sides must understand what is being protected.  I routinely see non disclosure agreements that have wonderfully frightening all inclusive definitions of “Confidential Information.”

Posted in Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments

The tools for making your work location irrelevant

[This article was originally posted on http://www.shawnjroberts.com/].

A few years ago it occurred to me that it would be good to work and be productive regardless of my physical location. That meant being able to be away from my office and still work at a high level, without having to explain to everyone with whom I deal that I am “away from office.” For real efficiency reasons, family reasons and particular quirks of my personality and temperament, working away from the office is critical for me. irrelevant

When I began considering my mobile strategy, the tools for doing this either existed or were quickly coming into existence. Today, I believe I have accomplished what I set out to do: I can work efficiently and effectively from just about any physical location. My analysis below assumes a person who is comfortable using email and browsing the Internet. Below are the tools I use to essentially make my work location irrelevant:

1. Laptop Computer. For me it is the 15″ Apple MacBook Pro (mid-2010 version). But you don’t need an Apple laptop, any solid and reasonable sized PC Lapton (Dell, HP etc. . . take your pick) will work fine. This computer is your work station in your mobile office. The machine needs to be able to most of what any desktop computer can do.

2. Smartphone. Since I usually don’t have access to a landline, having a working telephone connection is a must. There are many options. My phone of choice is the iPhone 4 through Verizon. The smartphone has to work for voice calls (which are still at times a necessity). It also needs to provide quick and easy access to email, texts and any other regular forms of communication you use. Often, when I am working on the MacBook Pro, the phone is notifier when I have a new email or other message. I can also send quick replies to multiple messages easily, using the iPhone.

3. Mobile Internet Device. Free WiFi is ubiquitous but I still find it problematic. Coffee shops, restaurants, libraries and even the local automative parts store offer free WiFi. How secure is a free network that doesn’t require a password (not very)? Is the free WiFi fast enough to get anything done? Do you have the free WiFi everywhere you need it? For all of these reasons, I replaced free WiFi with my own personal Internet device. Originally, it AT&T USB modem, then it was Verizon’s MiFi and know it is Verizon’s Intelligent Mobile Hotpsot (like the MiFi but with 4G LTE). With the Hotspot, I have super fast Interent access wherever I am (I wrote about it here). No worries about security, whether there is a connection or how fast it is. From the car, the courthouse or the case, the Hotspot allows me to focus on getting my work done rather than on the quality or security of my Internet connection. As alternative to the dedicate device, many smartphones have a hotspot feature that for [quite] a few extra dollars, you can share your phone’s Internet connection with your computer.

4. Digital Documents. Maintaing and dragging around a bunch of paper is the arch enemy of making location irrelevant. If all the documents you need are in file folders in the file cabinet at your office, then you need to within walking distance of the file cabinet. I eliminated this issue by going most paperless for the documents with which I work. This means all correspondence, pleadings, memos, research and the like are maintained as digital files, accesible anywhere. I use Dropbox which is a seamless and simple solution regardless of what device you are on. Dropbox allows me maintain one file system for all digital documents across all my devices. I am always working on the “most recent version” of the document.

5. Browser-centric. The browser is the centerpiece of my work. Browser tabs are often how my tasks are organized. This means that most of my applications are web-based. While technically an application can be “web-based” but independent from a browser, I find an advantage in using applications within the browser. My browser of choice is Google’s Chrome on the Mac (and when it gets buggy I switch over to Safari). Google Chrome for Windows is an equally good if not superior choice. Many of the applications I used in my business and personal life (which are sometimes inextricably intertwined) run in a browser tab. For instance, Gmail, Google Reader, Bill4Time, Twitter, Westlaw (for legal research) all run through my browser. The advantage is that regardless of my location, I open the browser and see the same interface and have same experience with the service. This uniformity leads to efficiency.

6. Mobile Power. Nothing short circuits [pun intended] my productive like the laptop, Hotspot or phone dying from a lack of power. To combat this issue, I try to work within range of an outlet or charging source. If its at the library or a cafe, the source is a wall outlet. If it is in the car, the with a car power adapter. The nice thing about my mobile devices is that they can all be charged through the MacBook Pro: the phone connects and so does the Hotspot with its USB adapter. If there is a plug in for the computer, everything else is good to go. One thought if you are working in your car or on the go: get power connector such as this one that fits into your drink holder and charges a computer, a phone and most other devices. You also avoid some car-cord-clutter with this setup.

7. IP-based phone management tool. To me, no mobile connection beats the quality and consistency of a good landline connection. Even the best cellphone is a bit flaky at times. However, if you are going to work mobile you need to be able to talk and manage call and messages remotely. There are several premium Internet-based phone options, but I use Google Voice. Google Voice is a complement to my landline phone system, it does not replace the phone (Read my review here). It is my go-to service for managing communications, both spoken and textual. Google Voice allows me to have one telephone number that can forward to multiple numbers and the ability to text from the same number. The ability to manage my Google Voice account to a granular level from the web (on a computer or smartphone) is also a plus. No more calling into the office to check messages, the messages are transcribed and on your phone and computer.

8. Head-Phones. This is only a requirement if you will not be working in a noise-insulated, sound and visually distraction-free environment! For rest of us who work in locations with some noise, it is nice to have headphones to block out the distractions and through music and talk create the environment you need to be productive. I am not picky about what I have been using is the ear buds that come with almost every Apple mobile product. However, there are many higher quality options that will sound better and more effectively eliminate outside noise. I received a great set of Sony Headphones for Christmas.

Posted in Blog Posts Uncategorized by Shawn. No Comments