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Ask Asad Rahman Your Own Question
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1867
Experience:  Practicing Attorney with 10 years experience
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I am a small apparel business in Florida. I purchased under

Customer Question

I am a small apparel business in Florida . I purchased under $500 of garments from a Los Angeles distributor last year , that entity is being sued for some type of copyright infringement for the pattern on the garment . They have now filed a suit against my company and three others across the country (all small retail shops ) to being parties to this. I have spoken to one other business owner and they also purchased a small amount last year . How do I handle this ? I cannot go to California and cannot afford expensive legal representation.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

At this point, you could simply return the items if you have them and see if they will settle with you if you are not interested in fighting this case.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They were sold last summer , how can I be responsible for the action of the distributor and have knowledge that some swirls and color splotches are copyrighted.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

You can't be expected to, but the company is likely just naming all the parties they can so as to maximize any money they might make in the lawsuit. I think you could defend yourself but that will take a lot of time and expense hiring an attorney in California. You could also sue the distributor possibly in that they should have known.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I were to hire an attorney in California what would be the way to go about it,or can I answer to the suit myself by mail
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

You can contact the state bar association for potential referrals. You can represent yourself, but that will be a challenge for you having to travel back and forth from Florida. Do you have any sort of business insurance?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No insurance, can I get the other retailers together and defend as a group?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

You can do it, but the challenge is when one firm represents all the defendants, what happens if all the parties disagree on strategy? One party may want to settle, another may want to fight it, and another may have actually been guilty. There's no harm in exploring that and seeing if they are all amenable to this. I think you should first ask the company suing what it would take to settle this. Just returning the garments? The $500 spent? If they settle and dismiss you then you can avoid a lot of unnecessary expense and effort.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As an LLC how much liability do I have ?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

I am really sorry to hear this. I did a little research at Illinois law and there was a case in 2011 where 2 children attempted to sue their mother but it was tossed out by the district court and also dismissed in the appellate court. Illinois courts are very reluctant to get involved in parent/child disputes. However, they did say in their opinion if the conduct was excessive and outrageous, they might have considered it. I would suggest contacting a local attorney for help investigating whether your parents conduct would meet the excessive or outrageousness test that Illinois courts apply. I will try to answer your questions presuming you do intend to follow through...

My answers are in bold faced.

1) What evidence do I need to make my case? I've taken meticulous notes regarding the abuse, some of which I've emailed to my parents but received no reply from them.Your testimony will be key but any photographs of injuries or any text or written communications that were abusive would help the case.

2) Will I need to live in Illinois at my own expense during the proceedings? No, not necessarily but you may need to fly in for hearings or depositions if there are any.

3) Will my therapists need to testify (again, at my expense)? They can, and yes it would be at your expense.

4) Will I have to hire an Illinois-based attorney, and if so, what category of practice would cover this sort of case? Yes, you would want an Illinois based attorney who specializes in family law disputes.

In addition, I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for books, periodicals, Web sites, or support groups that assist adult survivors of child abuse with obtaining redress through the legal system. I came across this site. http://www.askthejudge.info/should-kids-be-allowed-to-sue-their-parents/

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is my exposure as a Florida LLC if I ignore this
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

Well, if you ignore it, they would take a default judgment in California and could then seek to enforce it in Florida courts, and at that point, you would have a tough time being able to fight it because states recognize the legal actions of other states.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I guess I will try to settle this , it's unfortunate that as a small business owner I'm afraid now that anything I buy I have no way to vet any type of copyright infringement
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

What you might want to do is going forward, have a contract when you buy from a distributor where if any of their sellers were to sue you, then they would indemnify you and cover your costs of litigation.

Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for using our service! If you do not need further assistance, can you accept the answer so that I may close it out? Also, a positive rating would be highly appreciated. I hope it all works out for you.

Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

If you do not need further assistance, please accept and rate the service so that it can be closed out.

Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.

Sorry to keep disturbing you but we do not get paid until you accept and rate the answer. If you could do so, I would really appreciate it.