BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Friday, April 06, 2018

Strategy Series #2: Is A Commodity Mindset Killing Your Business?

BridgehouseLaw is pleased to sponsor the Strategy Matters Series and the March seminar provided actionable advice how to differentiate your business from the competition, and how to avoid a Commodity Mindset. 

Business growth expert Sheree DeMao presented several case studies exemplifying the best practices: (1) Repackaging and Delivering to Underserved Markets, (2) Innovate / Re-engineer and what it means to be a “trend-getter,” (3) Best Value Offense strategies, (4) Targeting and Embracing Niches, and (5) Rewarding Loyalty and Performance.  When other competitors are engaging in a “race to the bottom” to offer lower prices, Sheree provided strong rebuttal evidence demonstrating why companies fail when they choose to do “what everyone else is doing.”

Expert panelists added valuable insights from their own industries:  Joel Long, President of GSM Services @GSMsince1927; Marcus Schaefer, CEO of Truliant Federal Credit Union @TRULIANT; and Angela Bauer, President of Tropical Foods @tropicalfoods.

Thanks to our co-sponsors: The Employer’s Association, Alliance Bank & Trust, BIG Council, BizGrowth Inc., TechWorks of Gaston County, and Lavoie CPA. Additional thanks to our hosts at the Gaston College Kimbrell Campus in Belmont, NC.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

What is the Golden Visa?

Like many other European countries, Italy has joined in on the "Golden Visa" conversation. Similar to the investor visa available in the United States, Italy is providing a prime opportunity to invest in its economy and society. Italy is situated as the third largest economy in the Eurozone and eighth largest in the world, but aims to add more strategic diversity to the economy. Italy possess many positive attributes that make it attractive to investors including, but not limited to, being a hub for global markets, a key player in manufacturing, excelling in research and development, or its strong policies and incentives for success and competitiveness. Italy is also a member of the Schengen Agreement, allowing potential golden visa holders the freedom to live in, or move freely through, the Schengen area during their visa duration. Free movement and living options are not the only benefit of this visa, but also the following: special tax benefits, family and children qualify for residency in Italy, one of the best investor visas for startup entrepreneurs, not subject to annual entry quotas, and a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.
Criteria for Visa and How to Apply:
This two-year visa, which is renewable for an addition three-year period, is open for non-European Union citizens who fit the investing or donation criteria that does not include real estate purchase. Similar to the United States investor visa, there is a minimum monetary amount that must be met to qualify, but there are different avenues available for the golden visa. The potential investor can invest the following to gain this visa status: 500,000 Euros in an Italian innovative startup company, 1 million Euros in an Italian limited company, 1 million Euros in a philanthropic initiative, or 2 million Euros in Italian government bonds.
In order to obtain your investor visa there are a few steps to take. First, you will need a Nulla Osta, also known as a certificate of no impediment, that is released online by the Investor Visa for Italy Committee. Secondly, find the Italian representative, or consulate, in your country of residence and apply for the two-year investor visa.
For more information regarding the visa, benefits, or pathways to citizenship please reference the link below:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Does a revocation upon divorce statute violate the US constitution’s contractual clause?

In 1997 the plaintiff, Mr. Sveen, acquired a life insurance and married his wife later that year. Only a year later he named her the beneficiary of the insurance, as well as his two adult children as the contingent beneficiaries.

In 2002 Minnesota changed its probate code on life insurances, making it the rule that a benefitting spouse automatically lost his or her claim to the insurance upon divorce.

In 2007 the couple got a divorce, but Sveen never changed the beneficiaries of the life insurance, so his ex-wife remained as such.

Upon the death of Mr. Sveen the life insurance company filed an interpleader, to get clarity as to who to pay out the life insurance’s money.

The issue of applying the statue derives from the constitutional Contract Clause. The Clause prohibits the states from passing laws that retroactively (after entering into the contract) impairs contract rights. Only the states are bound by the clause. Historically this Clause was passed to stop legislation from implementing rules that would relief (especially rich and well connected) parties from their contractual duties.

The district court decided to apply the revocation-upon-divorce statute, and therefore ruled that the payout would go to Sveen’s children.

The Eighth Circuit Court as the higher court ruled that applying the revocation-upon-divorce statute would lead to a breach of the Constitutional Contract Clause, as Sveen’s expectations of the contract were disrupted. With this ruling, the money had to be paid out to his former wife.

The Supreme Court will now have to decide whether the application of the revocation-upon-divorce statute violates the Constitutional Contract Clause.

Sveen’s children argue that the statue is simply a default rule, which can be amended by the life insurance holder himself, simply by filing an additional document stating that he or she wishes that their spouse remains and therefore the statue does not violate the contractual clause.

As 28 other states have also implemented a similar revocation-upon-divorce rule, the decision of this case will have an impact on many contracts throughout the United States.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Google and the “Right to be Forgotten”

The “Right to be Forgotten” (RTBF) is a landmark European ruling that establishes a right to privacy that governs and regulates how one can delist their personal information from online search results. Individuals can request that search engines, such as Google, delist URLS from across the Internet which contain “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” information. What makes this ruling unique and challenging is that it requires search engines to decide whether an individual’s right to privacy outweighs the public’s right to access lawful information when delisting URLs.
Since the inception of the RTBF ruling in May 2014, Google has received 2,436,905 requests from Europeans for delisting URLs from Google Search. Approximately 43% of those requests have been delisted. In Germany alone, Google has received 413,824 requests to delist a URL, of which, about 48% requests have been granted. Each delisting decision requires careful consideration in order to achieve the right balance between respecting user privacy and ensuring open access to information via Google Search. In cases where delisting was denied, Google cites common factors in their decisions such as the existence of alternative solutions, technical reasons, or duplicate URLs. They may also determine whether a webpage contains information which is strongly in the public interest.
89% of requesters were private individuals, the default label when no other special category applies. Of the remaining 11%, minors accounted for 40%, corporate entities and government officials made up 21% each. 14% of the requests originated from non-governmental personalities, such as celebrities, leaving the remaining 4% representing miscellaneous persons. The top 1,000 requesters (0.25% of individuals with RTBF requests) are responsible for about 15% of the requests. Many of these frequent requesters are not individuals themselves, but law firms and reputation management services representing individuals.
The two dominant intents behind th RTBF delisting requests are removing personal information and removing legal history. Breaking down removal request by site type revealed that 31% of the requested URLs related to social media and directory services containing personal information, while 21% of the URLs requested related to news outlets and government websites that in a majority of cases cover the requester’s legal history. The remaining 48% of requested URLs cover a broad diversity of content on the Internet. While content related to personal information makes up the largest demographic of requests only 16.7% of those requests are granted. Many of these requests pertained to information that was directly relevant or connected to the requester’s current profession and therefore was therefore in the public interest to be indexed by Google Search.
The way the RTBF is exercised through Europe varies by country depending on regional attitudes toward privacy, local laws and media norms. Notably citizens of France and Germany frequently requested delisting of social media and directory pages, whereas requesters from Italy and the UK were three times more likely to target news sites. For all European counties the most targeted website for delisting was Facebook. In Germany, other top websites requested for delisting include,,,, and YouTube.