Sprague Law Firm Articles
Michigan Divorce: A brief overview of Michigan's divorce process
January 7, 2009
Michigan is a "no fault" divorce state. No fault means "a divorce in which it doesn't matter who did what to whom that caused the marriage to break down; all that matters is that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation." In Michigan, the grounds for divorce is that "There has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved." Fault is not a factor for the "grounds" for divorce, but it may be a minor factor in resolving disputes about child support, spousal support, custody, parenting time, or property (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).
Real Property Tax: Calculation of True Cash Value for the Purpose of Determining Assessed Value
October 6, 2006
Although there clearly are three common approaches to determining the assessed value of an improved property in Michigan, there is no one approach or test that is consistently applied to determine the property’s True Cash Value (herein defined). Courts have held that any method of determining the property’s “usual selling price," which is recognized as accurate and reasonably related to fair market valuation is an acceptable indicator of True Cash Value. The local assessor will likely use a combination of factors and/or methods in determining the property’s assessed value. As such, an appraisal of the new build offers the best rebuttal to any unfavorable valuation (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).
Electronic Privacy: “Snoop” Out Problems Using Your Company's Email
January 3, 2006
Remember that “secret family recipe” you sent from your work computer to a co-worker or that joke that you forwarded to “just one” friend — more than your intended recipient may have read it. Most employees are surprised to find that there is little or no protection their right to e-mail under federal or state law (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).
Noncompete Agreements: A Lesson from Google on Inevitable Disclosure
Inevitable discovery is a legal theory, which may cause technology companies and professionals to reexamine noncompete agreements and provisions in employment contracts. In July 2005, Microsoft filed a lawsuit in Washington state court against Google and Microsoft’s former corporate vice president of its Natural Interactive Services Division, Kai-Fu Lee. The lawsuit is based largely on a noncompete agreement Lee signed with Microsoft and was brought after Google hired Lee to head its research and development facility in China. In addition, Microsoft argued that certain trade secrets would inevitably be disclosed through Google’s employment of Lee. The concept of inevitable disclosure stems from the threatened misappropriation of trade secrets (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).
Copyright and Fair Use: Couch potatoes and hardware makers rejoice – for now
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has overruled the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that would have made many digital television receivers and tuner cards illegal starting July 1, 2005. The court ruled that the FCC lacked authority to regulate what happens inside your TV or computer once it has received a broadcast signal (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).
Beware of the Watchdog: Responding to the Business Software Alliance
Over the last two decades, the Internet and new technology have enabled businesses and individuals to create, distribute, duplicate, and share enormous amounts of information in a matter of seconds. While technology has increased productivity and business efficiency and expanded the global marketplace, it also has spawned copyright infringement and an increased vigilance for software developers to protect copyrighted software. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and other members of the commercial software industry have funded the growth of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a nonprofit trade association that acts as the industry watchdog. BSA operates in over 60 countries, with offices based in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and works as an agent on behalf of its members to aggressively pursue alleged software licensing violations through the use of software audits (“click” the article title above to link to the full article).