Our July Focus: Legal Rights, Responsibilies, and Regulations

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The July theme of Legal Rights, Responsibilities, and Regulations promotes awareness of legal rights, ethical responsibilities, and the regulations that govern our businesses.

Different colored wooden toy houses with speech bubblesDefamation 101 for Community Associations

by Hannah Daigle and Allen Trask, Community Associations Attorneys

Community associations and boards often face scrutiny that can sometimes result in defamation. In this article, you'll learn about the scrutiny faced by community associations and boards, which can sometimes lead to defamation claims. You'll understand what constitutes defamation, including the differences between libel (written) and slander (spoken). The article outlines the four elements required to prove defamation in North Carolina. READ MORE

A close up image of a grandparent holding the hand of a childUnderstanding Grandparents' Rights to Custody and Visitation of a Child in North Carolina

by Melody King, Family Law Attorney

North Carolina law recognizes grandparents' rights. This article delves into the legal differences between custody and visitation rights for grandparents in North Carolina. It clarifies who is considered a "grandparent" under state law and outlines the requirements for grandparents seeking visitation rights. The article explains that grandparents may only seek visitation when custody is already being contested, and the presumption that fit parents act in their child's best interest influences these cases. READ MORE

a Robotic hand holding a sproutArtificial Intelligence and the Patent Application Process: A Synopsis of the Potential Benefits and Risks

by Ryan Simmons, Patent Attorney, and Gavin Dacier, Summer Associate

This article examines the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the patent application process, outlining both the opportunities and challenges they present to intellectual property (IP) professionals and society. AI can enhance research, automate tasks, and reduce costs when preparing patent applications. However, using AI responsibly is crucial. By understanding both the potential benefits and risks associated with AI in the patent application process, individuals can effectively harness AI technologies to boost efficiency, enhance research capabilities, and improve service quality while taking a cautious approach to mitigate risks. READ MORE

A businessman holding a maskCompanies Seeking Capital—Be Wary of "Consultants" Who Want to Help

by B.T. Atkinson, Corporate Attorney

Raising capital, especially for smaller companies new to the process, carries inherent risks, particularly when engaging unregistered consultants or finders. This article explores the legal implications of such actions under federal securities laws, underscoring the critical importance of working with registered broker-dealers. It examines the consequences of collaborating with unregistered individuals and sheds light on the finder exemption, including the key factors that determine if an individual is acting as a broker. Furthermore, the regulatory and legal risks faced by unlicensed brokers and issuers will be discussed, emphasizing the paramount need for compliance and caution to safeguard against adverse outcomes in capital raising endeavors. READ MORE

A gloved hand taking a water sampleFrom Emerging Compounds to Forever Chemicals - Navigating Evolving Regulation of and Responsibility for PFAS in the Environment

by Amy Wang, Environmental Attorney

This article explores the regulatory landscape surrounding Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), highlighting their persistent presence in the environment and associated health risks. It provides a comprehensive overview of the legal ramifications for businesses, outlining evolving PFAS regulations and strategies for compliance and risk management. Readers will gain valuable insights into the challenges businesses face in adhering to rigorous regulations, conducting thorough due diligence for real estate transactions, and mitigating risks associated with PFAS contamination. The article offers practical steps and considerations, emphasizing the need for proactive compliance strategies, ongoing education, collaboration with industry peers, and seeking legal counsel to effectively navigate this complex regulatory environment. READ MORE

A waiter holding a trayServing Up Compliance: How to Ensure Your Business is Compliant with Changing Laws and Regulations

by Avery Locklear, Labor and Employment Attorney

This is article provides essential guidance for restaurant owners and managers on staying compliant with evolving laws and regulations. 

File cabinet with color filesI Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For: Finding the Right Records

by Adam Beaudoin and Matthew Jones, Business Attorneys

This article outlines the rights of members of  North Carolina nonprofit corporations to inspect and copy certain corporate documents. Members have unqualified rights to access key documents like Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and financial statements with five days' notice, and qualified rights to view additional records like board meeting minutes if they provide a valid reason. It also highlights similar inspection rights for condominium and homeowners associations and suggests that nonprofits consider voluntary disclosure for transparency and trust.

A hand of a doctor holding a stethoscope reaching through phoneFAQ: What Medical Practices Need to Know Regarding Communicating with Patients via Telephone and Text, Part I

by Michael Fields, Health Care Attorney

This article explains how healthcare providers can comply with HIPAA when communicating with patients. It covers leaving appointment reminders on home answering machines and with family members, ensuring limited information disclosure. It also addresses the use of mobile devices for handling electronic protected health information (ePHI), emphasizing the need for administrative, physical, and technical safeguards like encryption, secure connections, and clinician training to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

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