The Gibson Law Group - September 2021


September is Self-Improvement Month, so I thought I’d shake things up a bit in our newsletter to celebrate. I’ve invited Reagan Herod, an excellent attorney and partner here at GLG, to talk about something most of us (myself included) could improve on: fitness! Reagan is a big-time runner, and I mean big time. The guy ran in the Boston Marathon and has four total marathons under his belt. If anyone knows about the benefits of running for business owners, it’s him! Read on to learn all about it! Thanks for the endorsement, David! I’m not a professional runner by any means, but I do enjoy the sport. Oddly enough, I got started running because I was really slow as a kid. In old videos of my T-ball games, for example, you can see me hit the ball fairly well and then still get tagged out before I made it to first base. In elementary school, I scored such a slow time on our physical fitness test that I complained about it to my mom. That was a big mistake, because the next day, she woke me up before school and told me we were going on a run! My mom was a great track athlete in high school, so she had no problem pushing me to improve. We ran together on and off throughout elementary school and junior high. I used to joke that getting me up so early was child abuse, but I’m glad she kept doing it because I came around to really loving the sport. By high school, I ran on my own and I kept it up all through college. Then, Mom and I decided to make our hobby official and trained for our first marathon together. We ran the Minneapolis Marathon in 2011 and never looked back. Mom qualified for the Boston Marathon after that race (she’s still faster than I am), so I trained for it with her and ran in Boston to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I went on to run two more marathons and a bunch of half-marathons, too. Running is the ideal hobby for me for the same reason I think it’s great for business owners: It’s an incredible stress outlet. During the pandemic, I found that getting outside and moving my body was invaluable for both my mental and physical health. Running kept –David Gibson

me in good shape, but it also kept my mind clear. When I run, I’m able to “leave it all on the track” and go to the office feeling more present and focused. Running helps me be a more effective and productive lawyer for my clients. Those two attributes are key to growing a business, too. If you don’t feel like you have time to run, just remember that productivity piece. I always tell myself, “If you take time to run now, you’ll get the same amount or more done later!” and it’s true every time. I run first thing in the morning to ensure nothing else will get in the way of my routine. I have my cup of coffee, then I’m out the door. I’d definitely recommend that strategy if you’d like to try running for the first time. My mom used it on me, and so far, the habit has stuck for more than two decades. My most recent race was the 2017 Houston Marathon. Since then, COVID-19 and an injury have conspired to keep me from competing, but I still run several times a week. As funny as it sounds, one of the first things my family does when we get together for Thanksgiving is go on a family run. I’m looking forward to doing that in a few months! If you pick up running as a hobby, feel free to ask me for tips next time we see each other.

–Reagan Herod



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Remember the ‘McDonald’s Hot Coffee’ Lawsuit? It Was Justified All Along

about the dangers their hot coffee represented, with over 700 recorded burns and several lawsuits. But in 1992, their policy was to store coffee at 180–190 degrees F, which is almost the boiling point! Furthermore, McDonald’s higher-ups testified on the stand that no matter what happened, they had no intention of changing their behavior. Unsurprisingly, at the end of the trial, McDonald’s was hit with a $2.9 million penalty.

Back in 1992, an elderly woman named Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s in what became known as the infamous “hot coffee lawsuit.” The public relations team at McDonald’s has made sure the case is remembered as frivolous, but, like the third-degree burns Stella Liebeck suffered from a cup of McDonald’s coffee, her lawsuit was dead serious. The facts were simple: Mrs. Liebeck used the drive-thru with her grandson, who was at the wheel. Once the car stopped moving, she placed the cup of coffee she’d just ordered between her legs and tried to add some creamer. The cup tipped over, dumping the contents into her lap, causing third-degree burns over 16% of her body. She required hospitalization for eight days. Whirlpool debridement of the burns and skin grafts followed. She was at least partially disabled for more than two years, and that’s to say nothing of her pain and suffering. For all of this damage, Mrs. Liebeck asked McDonald’s for $20,000 — arguably not even enough to pay her hospital bills. When McDonald’s refused to pay more than $800, the case went to court, and it came out that they’d known for at least 10 years

Although the penalty was later reduced, McDonald’s still dragged Mrs. Liebeck’s name through the mud in the press, with their version of the story being the one that stuck in the public consciousness. But it wouldn’t change the fact that they had to pay her around $700,000 at the end of the day — or that their coffee is now being served at a reasonable temperature.

Here Comes the Sun! The Pros and Cons of Home Solar Panels

replacing. Switching to solar also increases the independence of the whole U.S. electricity grid, and covering your roof with panels can boost the value of your home by as much as $15,000.

Solar power has been all over the news, and odds are good that at least one door-to-door salesperson came knocking this summer to sing their praises. Celebrities like Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, and Pierce Brosnan have invested in solar or installed it on their homes to convert to green energy — but is following in their famous footsteps the right move for your family?

The Cons No One Talks About

The biggest downside of solar is that it simply doesn’t work for every home. If your roof is consistently shaded by trees or poorly oriented for panels, or you live in a rainy climate, your panels might only generate 10%–25% of their energy potential. If you have the space, ground-installed solar panels may work to avoid some of these issues, but they won’t solve weather problems. Solar can also be expensive. Installing it will cost you $15,000– $20,000 on average. For some homeowners, this investment is offset by lower long-term electricity costs, but it might not be affordable for you or make sense if your electricity bill is already low.

The Pros of Powering Up

The biggest selling point for solar panels is that they’re a quick, easy source of green energy. They can reduce or replace fossil fuels in your home, decrease your family’s carbon footprint, and help fight climate change. They’re also a proven technology dating back to 1954, and individual panels can last 25–30 years before they need

CO2-Saving Alternatives

If you want to dip your toes into the world of solar but can’t afford to power your whole home, you can start small with solar lights for your yard, a solar oven, or a solar-powered water heater. You can even explore wind power! Small wind energy systems cost under $500 on or at Home Depot and can lower your electricity bill by 50%–90%.

2 (817) 769-4044





Before they separated, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West owned one of the most extreme minimalist homes in Hollywood. One bright white room held nothing but a massive plush “sculpture” by Isabel Rower. In Architectural Digest’s photos, it looks like a giant octopus made out of pillows, and the six Kardashian-Wests climbing around on it appear straight out of a sci-fi novel. The Kardashian-West’s extreme minimalism is a symptom of a larger aesthetic trend that caught fire during the pandemic when people stuck in their homes realized they’d prefer to spend time in calm, clutter-free spaces with neutral colors and clean lines. If minimalism has intrigued you and you want to learn more about the decor trend and lifestyle, here are a few places to get started.


• “The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life” by Joshua Becker — This book will take you through the process of simplifying and decluttering your home (and life!) room by room. • “Minimalism for Families: Practical Minimalist Living Strategies to Simplify Your Home and Life” by Zoë Kim — This light read teaches the benefits of minimalism and explains how to get the whole family on board.



• “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” and “The Minimalists: Less Is Now” on Netflix — “Minimalism” and its follow-up explore the minimalist journeys of two people who discovered minimalism as adults and now share its lessons with others. • “Thrive With Less” on Vimeo — This one-hour documentary follows six students who undertake the challenges of minimalism to find satisfaction in their lives. (

Inspired by


• 4 tsp olive oil, divided • 3 sweet apples, cut into 1/2-inch slices • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, plus more for garnish

• 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs • 1 tsp salt, divided • 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided

• 1/2 cup apple cider • 2 tsp Dijon mustard


YouTube Channels

and cover with foil. Wipe the skillet clean.

1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside. 2. In a small bowl, combine apple cider and mustard. Set aside. 3. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tsp olive oil.

• CKSPACE — If you want to learn more about celebrity minimalism, digital minimalism, or decluttering, this channel has you covered with its beautifully filmed videos. • A Small Wardrobe — This channel, run by a former Australian art teacher, is geared toward women and offers minimalist home, wardrobe, and lifestyle advice. • Matt D’Avella — Matt D’Avella’s famous video “A Day in the Life of a Minimalist” has more than 17 million views on YouTube. On his “Minimalism” playlist, you’ll find minimalist home and habit videos, along with mindset and productivity tips.

4. Heat the remaining oil in

the skillet, then add sliced apples, remaining salt and pepper, and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Return the chicken to the

When shimmering, add chicken thighs top-side

skillet and add apple cider- mustard mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, then serve sprinkled with rosemary!

down. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 4 more minutes. Transfer to a plate

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GIBSONLAWGROUP.COM 15400 KNOLL TRAIL, STE. 205 DALLAS, TX 75248 (817) 769-4044



The Best Hobby for Business Owners


How McDonald’s Spun the ‘Hot Coffee Lawsuit’ The Pros and Cons of Home Solar Panels


One-Pan Apple Cider Chicken 7 Ways to Learn All About Minimalism


‘Hey, I Wrote That!’


These licensing arrangements are similar to recorded music in that each artist gets the same fee-per-song payouts no matter who they are — but that fee could be higher or lower depending on the agency in question. Some artists have made lucrative careers from their work as songwriters. You might be thinking of someone like Bob Dylan, who is covered a lot by a lot of different people. But the artist who really maximized his songwriting is Ike Turner — bluesman and R&B legend who also appended his name to so many songs over the years that some question his role in their creation. His wife (and then ex-wife), Tina Turner, performed his songs most famously, but a variety of artists have covered Ike Turner’s songs. As late as the mid-’90s, Ike earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from cover credits and samples of his music. Before the age of digital distribution, the system outlined above kept the business of covering songs — and collecting royalties from the songs performed by others — relatively simple. Now, with the proliferation of new musicians and ways to distribute their music online, that’s not the case. It’s not hard to see the challenge here, but a solution remains a bit vaguer, at least one that doesn’t infringe on people’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. Still, artists can take steps like setting up “trending search” alerts and relax knowing that if someone makes enough money off their songwriting to be worth the trouble, they’ll likely hear about it. And a cover song always drives interest in the original, too — never a bad thing for anyone!

‘Hey, I Wrote That!’ The Law Behind Song Covers

You might think there’s no way to get rich off a cover song — or if you do, it’s because you’re a famous musician with good attorneys. But neither is the case, and you’d be surprised to hear that patent law approaches cover songs pretty much like it approaches any song — with a flat fee for the songwriter, which in this case is about 10 cents for every copy you sell. The same is not true for live music, however — in that case, you’ve got to deal with the tangled world of licensing and other concerns. In fact, a live venue may ask that you not play any covers at all. In the words of Marvin Gay, “What’s going on?” Here’s what’s going on: That venue hasn’t paid the right fees for the right licensing, and that means they can be fined for basically trying to cheat an artist or songwriter out of their cut. The good news, though, is that there’s no fee to play cover songs when the venue has the right licensing — and no way to play them if it doesn’t!


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