Erie Business Law - March 2021

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March 2021

Searching for Opportunities for Optimism Starts With One Question: How Can We Help?

This March marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Over the last year, sometimes it’s been very difficult to be optimistic. A lot of bad things have happened, and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by it. Throughout my life, I’ve worked very hard not to get sucked into that way of thinking. Instead, I search for opportunities for optimism. With March dedicated as Optimism Month, this is a perfect time to highlight those moments of optimism. When times are challenging, or more challenging than usual, I try to keep things as simple as possible for myself. One way to think about this is, using a sports metaphor, focusing on the fundamentals; in football, this is blocking and tackling, while in basketball, it’s dribbling and shooting. A player who tries to initiate fancy footwork in times of uncertainty finds himself in trouble. Those moves only make the game, and what they were trying to accomplish, far more difficult.

The ability to reach out and help is true in any business. Everyone is always in a position to serve, whether they must make changes in how they operate or not. We’ve seen this happen in our community, and across the country, since last March. Restaurants have learned how to adapt or expand their delivery operations, cleaning companies have realized they can sanitize offices, home improvement contractors have helped people remodel their homes — I could go on and on. Additionally, the idea behind these last two rounds of stimulus payments is to encourage people to spend money on the economy, and many individuals have made good use of this. While it’s true many people have used the money for bills, many others have put the stimulus money toward finishing projects they’ve let sit for far too long. In these times, businesses have found ways to help and support their community. As we make our way through Optimism Month, business owners need to continue searching for these opportunities for optimism. Though we are still facing some challenging and uncertain times, maintaining our vigilance is key for us and our community to make it through.

One way my team and I keep things simple is approaching every challenge we see with one question: How can we help?

Our answer to this question has not once revolved around complaining, blaming others, or wallowing in our own misery. The answer has always involved us taking some sort of action to serve others. I believe that as long as we come from a place of service, it’s easier not just to be optimistic but also to find plenty of opportunities. It’s always been true. My team and I have focused on what we can do for the community of Erie and have had the chance to help many times. “How can we help?” has been our mantra for the last year. “We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation.” —Mary Augustine

Be grateful for the “problems.” You’d never have opportunities if you didn’t have problems.

–Adam Williams | 1

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Dehydration is a big problem. Many people don’t drink enough water each day — some reports show that 75% of adults in the United States don’t drink enough water, and over a quarter are dehydrated. Though those statistics aren’t widely agreed upon, it’s obvious that most people need more fluids. Even if it feels like you’re drinking a lot of water, remember that water leaves your body every time you sweat, go to the bathroom, and even breathe. Not keeping up with proper water intake can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration can cause health problems and impact your brain, heart, skin, and other organs, which can lead to headaches, confusion, fatigue, and gastrointestinal distress. We all know the solution to dehydration is to drink more water, but exactly how much water do we need each day? The amount will differ depending on the person, but one simple way to approximate your necessary daily intake is by dividing your body weight in half and drinking that much water (in fluid ounces) each day. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you’d need to drink 87.5 fluid ounces — over half a gallon — of water per day. An Easy Way to Drink More Water AND AVOID DEHYDRATION

That might seem like a lot of liquid, but you can easily drink it without trying too hard. All you have to do is be proactive: Start keeping water any place you frequent during the day. Keep a bottle in your car, at your desk, by your favorite chair, near your workout equipment, etc. Having water easily available in the places you spend the most time each day helps increase your chances of actually drinking it. An alternative approach is to purchase a giant jug that can hold all the water you need to drink in a day. Seeing it all in one place might be intimidating at first, but this method makes things very simple. Keep the jug close, and your water intake will likely increase without too much additional effort. And if you’re just not motivated to drink plain water, you can always add sugar-free flavoring or lemon to make it more enticing.

3 Ways to Help Your Legal Case Move Faster (And 3 Ways to Mess It Up)

Every legal case proceeds at its own pace. The Myra Clark Gaines litigation — a fight over an inheritance that began in 1834 — famously lasted 55 years. Even simple car accident cases often take more than a year to resolve. Frustration during the legal process is normal, but if you’re feeling it, there are a few things you can do to help your lawyers move things along: • Respond to communication quickly. • Share all of the details about your case. • Keep your emotions in check. This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how quickly ignoring these three items can send your case off the rails. Be Quick to Click When your attorney emails or calls you, it’s vital to answer as soon as you can. Some steps of the legal process are time-

sensitive, and if you ignore your attorney or wait hours or days before responding to them, you could miss a crucial window. Your lawyer might even walk away from your case, like the attorney in the 2002 Garden v. Garden case who withdrew when his client stopped responding. That said, it’s vital not to overcommunicate with your lawyer either. Always respond when they reach out, but don’t flood their inbox with emails or load their voicemail with messages. Clogging their information channels will just slow down their work, and it might end up costing you. Your attorney’s billable hours may include time taken to respond to emails.

to continue prodding you for information, and it could also save your case! Your lawyer won’t be able to defend you well unless they have all of the relevant information. Plus, if opposing counsel discovers something you’ve been hiding, your case may fall apart. Tamp Down Your Temper Court cases can get emotional, especially if something like child custody is at stake. Even so, if you have to appear in court it’s vital you keep your emotions in check and listen to your attorney’s advice about what to say and do. If you lose your temper or disrupt the court process, the judge could hold you in contempt of court — potentially triggering a fine or even jail time. This will certainly derail your case’s timeline. For proof, consider a defendant in a burglary case, Manson Bryant, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison. When he heard the verdict, Bryant started shouting at the judge — who added six more years to his sentence on the spot.

Don’t Hide the Details Some facts of your case could be

embarrassing or hard to talk about, but the best way to keep things moving is to share everything with your lawyer upfront. This will save time because your lawyer won’t have

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Distractions in your workplace destroy your productivity, regardless of where you actually work. But here’s the kicker: Some distractions don’t always register as distractions because they’re often minor, like a knock at the door or a conversation you can hear from two cubicles over. However, even when a distraction doesn’t feel like a distraction, it still kills your productivity. But one distraction in particular can absolutely ruin productivity. It isn’t as obvious as an unexpected phone call or a meeting that could have been an email. It’s a small, normal part of our everyday lives: the notification. We get notifications on our phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even our smartwatches. Notifications are everywhere, and we’re conditioned to accept them. Take email, for example. You’re likely in the habit of checking email periodically — or whenever you get a notification. It can feel natural to quickly check your email and then get back to what you were doing. Except that never happens. When an email, text, or other random notification distracts you, it completely diverts attention away from what you were doing. If it’s spam, you may delete the email. Or, if you need to respond, it might take a few minutes or more. You may spend anywhere between 20 seconds to 20 minutes on any given email. However, this isn’t where time is lost. If you’re responding to a customer email, for instance, that is part of your productivity. The time is lost when you attempt to get back to what you were doing before checking your notifications. THIS ONE SMALL THING IS KILLING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY


Inspired by


• 1 lb prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, divided into 6 equal portions • 12 oz asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1/4 tsp salt

• 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese • 1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced • 2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped • 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves, torn • Zest of 1 orange

A University of California, Irvine study found that it takes an average of 23

minutes to get back to your task after every distraction, not just email. Over the course


1. Preheat oven to 500 F and ensure there are two racks in your oven. 2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, stretch each piece of dough into a 7-by-3-inch oval and arrange evenly on the pan. 3. On a second baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and 1/4 tsp salt. 4. Place dough on top rack and asparagus on bottom and bake for 3 minutes. 5. Remove both trays from the oven, sprinkle cheese over the dough, then top with asparagus and scallions. 6. Return pizzettes to oven and bake until the crusts’ edges are golden, about 8–10 minutes. 7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with walnuts, mint, and orange zest before serving.

of a day, that adds up to a significant amount of wasted time.

How do you overcome this? Your best bet is to turn off

notifications. Most devices let you customize your notifications so you can turn them off during working hours. Here’s another quick tip: Set aside specific time during the day to check emails, texts, and other messages. You will significantly reduce the amount of time spent trying to refocus on the important tasks at hand. | 3

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814-315-9255 425 West 10th St. Erie, PA 16502 INSIDE THIS ISSUE


Searching for Opportunities for Optimism

How to Easily Increase Your Water Intake 3 Ways to Help Your Legal Case Move Faster


Asparagus & Smoked Mozzarella Pizzettes Don’t Let This Distraction Destroy Your Productivity


‘Jersey Shore’ Stars Battle a New York Restaurant Over Meatball Merch


The Meatball Shop Sued Snooki! (And Another ‘Jersey Shore’ Star, Too)

Reality TV stars Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Deena Cortese are gearing up for a court battle. But this isn’t a showdown with another celebrity: It’s a fight to the death over merchandise with ... a New York City-based meatball restaurant! This case sounds laughable, but there’s some real “meat” to dig into. The controversy started when the celebrity duo — known as “The Meatballs” since their time together on “Jersey Shore” — launched a clothing brand/online store called The Meatball Shop late last year. The brand sells meatball-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats with slogans like “Team Meatball Forever” and “Meatball Squad.” Over the holidays, they even offered a sweater with a checklist reading, “Pour wine, wrap gifts, decorate, be a meatball.” All of this merchandise plays off the pair’s “Jersey Shore” nickname, which Polizzi and Cortese earned because, as Food & Wine puts it, “The party girls are both very tan, curvy, and short.”

actual meatballs. According to Page Six, the New York City-based restaurant The

Meatball Shop sued Polizzi and Cortese in December of 2020, claiming their clothing infringes on its trademark. As of writing this, a judge is considering The Meatball Shop’s request to shut Polizzi and Cortese’s operation down. To add even more meat to the argument, it was the owners of The Meatball Shop restaurant (Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow) who first taught Polizzi and Cortese to make edible meatballs in 2017. The lesson was documented in a photoshoot with “In Touch.” Does it get more ironic than that? If you want to keep up with the drama, check, and if this article made you crave meatballs, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Visit and search “classic beef meatballs’’ for a recipe that will knock your socks off.

Even with this claim to the moniker, the legality of the celebrities’ clothing line has some competition from, well, places that sell

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