Erie Business Law - January 2021

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January 2021

Consider the Opposite A Successful Business Practice

Before the New Year, I had one of my mentors tell me that when the masses are going in one direction, consider moving in the opposite. I thought that was really interesting. Certainly, that’s not advice I would give anyone driving on a highway, but from a business perspective, it’s intriguing. By moving or thinking in the opposite way of their competitors, business owners can discover unique ideas for their business to succeed. It’s a fun and creative exercise: Take a look at your competitors and what they are doing, then ask yourself what would happen if you did the exact opposite of that. What would it look like? For example, it could be as easy as saving — or even spending — money. People often want to get something done as inexpensively as possible, especially when it comes to their business. Entrepreneurs often want to do things themselves, instead of hiring someone else to do the work. I mowed the grass at our office the first summer we were here. What a waste of time! Obviously, that’s not always the best move. A business will perform better and offer a higher level of service if the business owner is willing to invest in his or her business. This is true in both large and small amounts. The standing desk I have, for example, is one of those small expenses that, by paying a little extra, has really paid off. It forces me to move and stretch throughout the day and, as a result, I have more energy. I’m far more productive now than I was using the same hand-me-down desk I’d been using for nearly eight years. Similarly, it’s important to consider the misguided stigmas people have about business. For example, many business owners believe a successful entrepreneur must dedicate his entire waking life to his business. Grinding 24/7, however, is not a good business practice. The most successful entrepreneurs find better results by working with others, leveraging their team, and, most importantly, taking breaks. “Take a look at your competitors and what they are doing, then ask yourself what would happen if you did the exact opposite of that. What would it look like?”

Another of my mentors explained this to me in this way: “It’s like emptying the bag of a vacuum. If you don’t empty the bag, it’s going to explode and cause an even bigger mess than before.” Rather than working 18-hour days seven days a week, give yourself a three-day weekend or go on a weeklong vacation. These breaks give you a chance to recharge and will make you more productive when you return to work. This is sort of that “work hard/play hard” mentality. I’ll go 110% for several weeks, but when it’s over, I’m taking a very deliberate, very relaxing vacation to unwind and clear the calculator. For many business owners, this might be hard to do, especially now. People have scaled down their thinking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than to grow and serve, many business owners are thinking of ways to contract and save. As we move into the new year, now is the time to change that perspective. Take a look at your competitors, examine what they are doing, and contemplate the benefits of doing the opposite. I wanted to share one more major update this month. In December, our law firm was ranked as the second fastest-growing law firm in Pennsylvania and the 68th fastest-growing firm in the entire nation. We are grateful that you have been along for this journey. Every year, we help a lot more clients in more significant ways. We continue to grow our team and have an impact on our community.

Thank you. | 1 –Adam Williams

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Is the Hot Toddy Indian or Irish? A Closer Look at Our Favorite Winter Warmer

The Irish Account: Dr. Todd’s Boozy Cure‑All

way, the results are delicious and easy to replicate in your own kitchen. If you could use a pick-me-up, try this recipe inspired by

Jan. 11 is National Hot Toddy Day, but how much do you really know about this popular winter drink? Though the word “toddy” sounds British to American ears, it actually has a contested history split between two entirely different countries: India and Ireland.

The Indians and the British aren’t the only ones who’ve claimed the toddy: The Irish have a stake, too. As the story goes, once upon a time in Ireland, there lived a doctor named Robert Bentley Todd. His signature cure-all was a combination of hot brandy, cinnamon, and sugar water, and it was so well-known (and tasty) that eventually, his patients named the drink in his honor.


The Indian Affair: How the British Stole the ‘Taddy’

• 3/4 cup water • 1 1/2 oz whiskey • 2 tsp honey (or agave nectar for a vegan version) • 2 tsp lemon juice • 1 lemon round • 1 cinnamon stick

Today’s hot toddy is a steaming blend of whiskey, tea, honey, and lemon. But back in the early 1600s, it may have had different ingredients. According to, around that time, a popular drink called the “taddy” existed in British-controlled India. Originally, the Hindi word “taddy” described a beverage made with fermented palm sap, but a written account from 1786 revealed that the ingredients had evolved to include alcohol, hot water, sugar, and spices. The British swiped the idea of a “taddy” and brought it home to England. Legend has it that in northern England’s cozy pubs, the “taddy” became the “toddy.”

How to Make a Modern Hot Toddy


We may never know the true origin story of the hot toddy,

1. Heat the water in a teapot or the microwave. Pour it into a mug. 2. Add the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice and stir until the honey is dissolved. 3. Garnish with the lemon round and cinnamon stick and enjoy!

but speculates that it’s somewhere in the middle of the two accounts. Either

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This judge-to-be was named William Marbury, and he took his case straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. After hearing the case, Marshall had two options. He could side with Jefferson, even though he believed he was legally wrong, or he could side with Marbury and risk the wrath of the president, who he feared would dissolve the court. In a historic twist, he chose door No. 3. Digging through the Constitution, Marshall discovered a line that required cases to go through a lower court before coming to the Supreme Court. That made Marbury v. Madison , which had come to the Supreme Court directly, out of Marshall’s jurisdiction. It also made the law Marbury had operated under unconstitutional. When Marshall pointed this out, it was the first time the Supreme Court had ever ruled on constitutionality, which set the precedent for its power today. If Marshall hadn’t cared so much about opposing his second cousin in 1803, it’s possible that Judge Barrett’s nomination in 2020 would have been much less contentious.

To learn more about this crazy piece of history, check out “Kitten Kick the Giggly Blue Robot All Summer,” an episode of the podcast “Radiolab.”

Chief Justice John Marshall

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The reality TV show “The Bachelorette” is known for being packed with drama, but last year there was just as much scandal among its contestants off-screen as there was while the cameras were rolling. Late in 2020, not one but two past “Bachelorette” contestants ended up in court. ‘THE BACHELORETTE’ CONTESTANTS GO TO COURT Judge, Will You Accept This Rose? One of them was Chad Johnson, hailing from the group of hunks who competed for Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher’s attention in season 12. That season aired in 2016, but it wasn’t until two years later that Johnson sued Sunset Studios Entertainment and one of its executives, Cristina Cimino, for sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud by intentional misrepresentation, and wrongful failure to hire in violation of public policy. According to Deadline, Cimino told Johnson she would help him get movie roles with her studio, but that never happened. Instead, she allegedly lured him into in-person meetings and bombarded him with inappropriate calls and text messages. After years of back-and-forth, the case is finally moving forward. In July 2020, a judge ruled that all of Johnson’s accusations were proven except failure to hire. Upping the drama, Deadline reported that “no attorneys for Cimino or the studio participated in the hearing.” Meanwhile, another “Bachelorette” contestant, Luke Parker, has been ordered by the court to pay $100,000 for breach of contract. Parker, who vied for the affection of Hannah Brown in the 2019 season, has allegedly been making media appearances without the consent of the show’s production company, NZK Productions Inc. Each appearance was a breach of contract, and now he owes the company a pretty penny: $25,000 per appearance. According to Page Six, Parker might also be on the hook for bad-mouthing the show and/or sharing information about what happened on set — both things his contract forbids. Hopefully, the 2021 season of “The Bachelorette,” which should air later this year following the postponed 2020 season, will feature less drama than these real-life legal battles.


Inspired by

• 8 chicken thighs or Ingredients

• 2 garlic cloves, sliced • 14 oz chicken stock • 1 sprig rosemary • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

drumsticks, lightly salted

• 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour • 1 onion, finely sliced • 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced • 2 carrots, thickly sliced • 1 leek, thickly sliced • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks


1. In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry salted chicken on high until brown. 2. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker. Add flour and stir. 3. In the frying pan on high heat, fry the onion, celery, carrots, leeks, and potatoes until lightly browned. Add garlic and fry for 30 seconds. 4. Transfer vegetables to the slow cooker and add the stock, rosemary, and lemon zest. 5. Cook on high for 2.5–3 hours or until chicken is tender. 6. Check seasoning and add lemon juice to taste. Top with parsley before serving. | 3

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


Consider the Opposite


Is the Hot Toddy Indian or Irish?

Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole ‘The Bachelorette’ Contestants Go to Court


The Cousin Rivalry That Gave the Supreme Court Its Power



When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away and Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to take her place, the eyes of the country turned to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s no secret that the court has a lot of power. Its decisions, like Loving v. Virginia , Brown v. Board of Education , and Roe v. Wade , have reshaped America. But how did just nine people come to hold so much sway? Well, the answer lies with two rival second cousins: Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall. Back in 1803, the Supreme Court was the laughingstock of Washington. It was a collection of misfits (including a man nicknamed “Red Old Bacon Face”) and met in Congress’ basement. When Marshall was chief justice of the court and Jefferson was president, the cousin controversy reared its head. Marshall and Jefferson were in rival political parties and, to add insult to injury, Marshall’s mother-in-law had once spurned Jefferson’s romantic advances, according to Washington legend. In 1803, Jefferson (a Republican) was upset because a judge whom his predecessor, President John Adams (a Federalist), had tried to appoint was suing Jefferson’s secretary of state over failing to actually appoint him.

The Supreme Court met in these windowless chambers from 1819 to 1860.

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