CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Luca + Danni

Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        Pandemic Prompts Urgent Review of Overlooked Contractual Clause

        PS&H Partner Jim Hahn, a member of the firm’s Business and Banking & Financial Institutions Regulatory Compliance Practice Groups, was featured in the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly recent article exploring “force majeure” clauses in contracts. Often considered part of a contract’s boilerplate language, the clause’s relevance has become the center of attention as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country impacting virtually every industry.

        “Whether the mere existence of a pandemic will reach the level of force majeure will depend on the exact language used in the contract, including the intentions of the parties if the language is unclear,” said Jim.

        He explained that while a contract’s use of “pandemic” will be helpful to a party hoping to invoke force majeure in the current crisis, more vague terms such as “act of God” will invite disputes.

        The issue of government action could also be a basis for excusing performance under a contract. According to Jim, “government orders are often within the list of defined force majeure events, and it may be that a shutdown order could justify the defense of impossibility, depending on the facts.”

        Jim emphasized that the ultimate inquiry for the purposes of accepting or rejecting a defense of impossibility is whether the intervening changes in circumstances were so unforeseeable that the risk of increased difficulty or expense should not be properly borne by the non-performing party.

        “The mere fact that performance of a contract becomes more difficult or expensive than originally anticipated is not usually sufficient grounds to set it aside,” he said.

        Jim went on to say that a widespread pandemic may not offer a reasonable excuse under some contracts, and that care should be taken in invoking force majeure as it could potentially lead to a claim of anticipatory breach.

        “It is important to analyze fully the terms of the contract, the negotiating leverage of the parties, and who benefits from termination before adopting any course of action,” he said.

        To read the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly article, please click here. (Subscription required)
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