Tag Archives: frutkin law firm

Frutkin Law Firm Names New Senior Counsel

This month, the Frutkin Law Firm has announced Stephanie Fierro, Esq. has been named Senior Counsel Attorney at the Firm.

Fierro serves clients in general counsel business law and estate planning. She also has experience in business litigation and alternative dispute resolution inherent in any general counsel practice. She brings the firm a wide range of experience and interests including all aspects of corporate transactional work, estate planning, and tax representation. Before joining The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC, she managed her own law practice, Fierro Law, PLC.

“Stephanie’s contribution to the firm has grown leaps and bounds since she joined us years ago. We are excited that she has developed her expertise to take her career to the next level,” said Principal Jonathan Frutkin.

Fierro graduated from New England Law | Boston in 2005 with honors and was awarded the President Anna E. Hirsch Award for service to the law school and the Dean’s Award for making a unique contribution to the school. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in 2002. Stephanie currently serves as an alumni mentor for students of New England Law | Boston. Fierro is very involved in the community and has served on many not-for-profit boards, including serving as a Board Member for the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Stephanie is currently working with Hospice of the Valley as a volunteer on the committee for their AAHA!, An Auction of Heirlooms and Art event.
In 2013, Fierro was named among the top business and corporate lawyers in the state by Arizona Business Magazine. She has previously been the contributing editor for Attorney at Law Magazine and Public Accountant Magazine. As a part of her role with the firm, Fierro appears on local news stations to discuss a broad range of timely legal topics which have included the Affordable Care Act, Estate and Tax Planning and Pinterest to name a few.

The Frutkin Law Firm now consists of ten attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and civil litigation. For more information on The Frutkin Law Firm and practice areas, visit www.frutkinlaw.com.

iPhone Business Apps

‘Bring Your Own Device’ trend a growing concern

The rise in popularity of smart phones, tablets and laptops has blurred the increasingly thin line between professional and personal life, between work time and personal time. But it’s is also creating security concerns for business owners who let their employees use those tech toys for work.

“Employers need to address the question of how to react to the inevitable or current use of personal or shared devices by their employees,” said Cheri Vandergrift, a staff attorney for Mountain States Employers Council, a leader in human resource and employment law services for the business community. “From IT issues to privacy and litigation concerns, companies that ignore the rising ‘Bring Your Own Device’ tide may find that BYOD brought nothing but disaster.”

While an AccelOps Cloud Security Survey of IT security personnel ranked BYOD as the top source for fear of incurring data loss, there are also concerns regarding employee privacy should litigation ensue and the question of using personal devices goes into the courtroom. The use of personal devices in the workplace stirs questions within the IT, legal and human resources departments of companies.

“Data access and ownership are significant legal issues that surround the BYOD trend,” said John Balitis, director at Fennemore Craig. “Employees accessing employer systems with personal devices can create major network security risks and employer IT staff accessing the devices to support them can infringe on employee privacy. Further, how to define who owns what information on the devices is challenging.”

Laurent Badoux, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office, said there are a number of legal issues that could arise from the BYOD trend. Among them:

* Breach of confidentiality — especially with medical or financial data.
* Commercial espionage or unfair competition.
* Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims of unreported or unpaid time.
* Dispute as to ownership of data stored on personal devices.
* Claims of harassment, defamation, invasion of privacy, etc. from improper social media posting of workplace conduct.
* Negligence torts if an exployee tries to answer a work text or email while driving and causes an accident.

“The most glaring risk (an employer takes) is that sensitive confidential corporate data becomes compromised, either because an outsider is able to access that data through an employee’s device or to copy data stored on that device,” Badoux said. “When their sensitive data becomes compromised, companies face damage to the bottom lines and public image.”

According to Travis Williams, senior counsel at the Frutkin Law Firm, if a company believes information is jeopardized, or upon termination of an employee’s employment, the employer may have the right to seize the device for a short time to ensure proper protection or removal of company’s sensitive information.

“Employees need to understand that business information on their device is the property of the employer,” Williams said. “The employer has the right to protect the information. The protection may allow the employer to seize or force ‘wipe’ the device to ensure proper removal of the information.”

While there is no doubt that the BYOD trend has given tech-savvy employees the opportunity to create a more flexible schedule and therefore increase their productivity, experts said it’s imperative that companies find a balance between protecting sensitive work data, while still providing employees flexibility and independence.

“Have a policy that specifically addresses what employees can and cannot do with PEDs (personal electronic devices) used for work-related purposes and enforce that policy,” said Tibor Nagy, Jr., a shareholder at the Tucson office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. “Be sure the policy addresses what happens to employer data when the employee leaves employment.”

Experts said companies who worry about issues related to the BYOD trend should look to impose tighter security constraints, develop technology guidelines and policies or employ mobile-device management tools, services and systems.

“An employer absolutely should implement a BYOD policy if the employer allows or encourages employees to use personal devices for work,” Balitis said.

Badoux said an effective BYOD program should include:

1. Mandatory Mobile Device Management software
2. Clarification of expectations on ownership of data, privacy and access to dual-use devices.
3. “Acceptable Use” procedures harmonized with the employee handbook or agreement).
4. A well-crafted social media policy.

“Do not allow highly sensitive employer, personnel, health information, or customer data to be stored on an employee’s PED, unless you are certain that device will be used and protected to the same degree as an employer-owned device,” Nagy said. “Only allow PEDs that are ‘enterprise; enabled. Enterprise requirements include encryption of storage media; the ability to remotely wipe or clean a device; the ability to enforce password changes and password complexity; the ability to apply upgrades and patches; and the ability to revoke rights to data or corporate network access.”


Frutkin Law Firm Continues to Grow

The Frutkin Law Firm has added James Arrowood to its growing roster of attorneys. This is the third attorney hired by the firm in the past year. Arrowood brings extensive experience in business law, dispute resolution, and business negotiations to the firm.

As a Senior Counsel Attorney at The Frutkin Law Firm, Arrowood focuses his practice in the areas of conflict resolution and litigation, real estate, strategic financial and tax planning, and business law. He has also developed an emerging practice related to the special legal and financial needs of successful medical professionals and groups.

Before joining the firm, Arrowood served as counsel at one of the largest law firms in the world and as in-house counsel at several companies. As a result of his experience, he gained a wide breadth of business and legal knowledge, including an appreciation for business considerations in light of legal issues. Arrowood also spent a year living in London, England where he studied international law and interned in the House of Lords (England’s equivalent of our Supreme Court/Senate at the time). After law school, Arrowood worked as a litigator for a large firm in Philadelphia and then continued on to Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles before making Arizona his home base in 2010.

Arrowood graduated from the law school at University of Notre Dame in 2002 after he earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from University of California, Irvine in 1999. He has bar admissions in Arizona, California, and New Jersey, as well as affiliations with the 9th Circuit, California District Courts, District Court for Arizona, Eastern District Court for Pennsylvania, and United States Tax Court.

The Frutkin Law Firm now consists of ten attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and civil litigation. For more information on The Frutkin Law Firm and practices areas, visit www.frutkinlaw.com.

Carolyn Tatkin & Adam Buck

Frutkin Law Firm Names 2 New Partners

The Frutkin Law Firm announced that two of its established attorneys have been named partners.

Carolyn Tatkin serves as the head of the bankruptcy section at the firm and brings nearly 30 years of experience. Adam Buck brings more than a decade of experience in business law, real estate law and commercial litigation.

“We are excited about the newest partners to The Frutkin Law Firm,” said Principal Jonathan Frutkin. “Both of these attorneys will continue to fuel the growth of our firm.”

Tatkin’s legal experience includes not only a concentration in business and consumer bankruptcy law, but also the areas of insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, construction defect litigation and general business and commercial litigation.

She has background in both trial and appellate work in state and federal courts, encompassing all aspects of motion practice and oral advocacy, including oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Buck focuses his practice on litigation and real estate law. He has successfully conducted numerous jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and appeals. He has experience in all phases of civil litigation and trial. He has also represented clients before the Registrar of Contractors and the Department of Real Estate.

In addition to practicing law he has been personally involved in several start-up companies so he understands the needs of entrepreneurs and business owners. He was formerly licensed as a real estate agent in Nevada and Utah and was the Managing Partner of Buck Edmunds PLC, an Arizona law firm with a focus on real estate law and litigation.

The two attorneys will now act as partners to the Arizona firm. Last fall, The Frutkin Law Firm hired two new attorneys and relocated its office within Scottsdale to the Kierland Commons. They have another office in downtown Phoenix.

The Frutkin Law Firm now consists of nine attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and employee benefit plans.


Travis Williams

Frutkin Law Firm Adds New Attorney to Practice

The Frutkin Law Firm added Travis Williams to its growing roster of attorneys. Williams brings 12 years of real estate and business expertise to the firm.

As Senior Counsel Attorney at The Frutkin Law Firm, Williams works with clients including institutional lenders, private lenders, small to medium-sized businesses, and real estate developers. His practice areas include real estate and business transactions, lender transactions and business formation.

Before joining the firm, Williams was a partner at Williams & Cluff, PLC, where he focused his practice on lender and business transactions, and debtor/creditor solutions. He also worked for a homebuilder in the Phoenix area, where he focused on real estate acquisition and sales, entitlement, construction, dispute resolution, administrative and environmental compliance, and financing.

Williams worked for another law firm where he focused his practice in development and management of affordable housing financed with IRS Section 42 tax credits, government HOME Partnership funds, tax-exempt bond authority, and conventional financing.

Williams graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 2000 after he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University in 1997.

He has memberships and affiliations with the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. District Court of Arizona, and Bankruptcy and Real Estate Sections of the State Bar of Arizona.



Law firm adds ‘Dividing Retirement Benefits in Your Divorce’

The Frutkin Law Firm continues to seek new ways to service more individuals and businesses in the Valley. The local law firm has added a new practice area called “Dividing Retirement Benefits,” which will allow their attorneys to help couples going through a divorce.

Other than the family home, retirement benefits are generally the most substantial assets to be divided in a divorce action. In today’s economic climate, they are also, arguably, the most important. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

“Dividing retirement benefits in a divorce can be very complex, therefore many family law firms refer this work out to attorneys who specialize in the area,” said Principal Jonathan Frutkin.

The Frutkin Law Firm will help the large number of couples in the Valley facing these issues, as research indicates that Arizona is one of 14 states where divorce rates are higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 American Community Survey.

The Frutkin Law Firm consists of nine attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and employee benefit plans. For more information on The Frutkin Law Firm and practices areas, visit www.frutkinlaw.com. For more information specifically on the new practice area, visit www.qdroaz.com.

Pinterest Copyright Issues

Pinterest For Business: Avoiding Copyright Issues

Pinterest copyright issues can prove problematic for business proprietors.

Since its inception in 2010, social networking website Pinterest has become the third most-popular social network in the U.S. Only social-media giants Facebook and Twitter surpass it in total monthly visits, according to Experian Hitwise.

With more than 100 million visits each month, Pinterest has created a massive opportunity for businesses to get their names and products in the public eye. From mega-retailers like The Gap and Nordstrom, to fast-food chains, local frozen yogurt shops and individual Etsy storefronts, countless companies are making use of the site’s potential for driving traffic to their own websites.

While the benefits of this kind of visibility can be invaluable, the very nature of how Pinterest is generally used can be problematic and could expose businesses to a litany of legal issues.

“The vast majority of images [posted to Pinterest] are copyrighted,” says Stephanie Fierro, an attorney with The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC, in Phoenix.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, certain “Safe Harbor” provisions protect online service providers, such as Pinterest, from copyright infringement liability on material posted by the service’s users. The users themselves, however, are not protected.

According to Fierro, individual users are often protected by fair use copyright exceptions, but this generally doesn’t extend to moneymaking enterprises.

“ ‘Fair use’ allows for the use of copyrighted material for commentary, criticism or news reporting purposes,” Fierro says. The problem, she adds, is because companies are using Pinterest to market commercial products (i.e make money), the fair use exceptions do not apply.

“Imagine you’re a cake decorator,” Fierro says. “You post a picture of one of your cakes next to someone else’s picture of a beautiful wedding scene to say, ‘Look how great this cake would look in your wedding.’ This could leave you exposed as a business owner.” If the owner of the rights to the image of the wedding scene decides he or she wants a piece of your cake-selling action, you may end up in hot water.

Fierro believes that businesses are doubly vulnerable, compared to individual users, because companies are seen as having deep pockets and assets worth going after.
With all this to consider, the question becomes whether it is worth a business owner’s time and effort to market his or her products or services using Pinterest. Fierro believes the answer is clear: It depends.

“Are you OK with your images being used elsewhere? Is [marketing on Pinterest] going to drive good traffic to your website? Are you going to derive real financial benefit from this kind of marketing? In the case of the cake decorator, who makes money by selling cakes, the answer is probably ‘yes.’ If you want to make money from the use of your images by others, it probably isn’t for you,” she says.

If a business owner does decide that he or she wants to make use of Pinterest as a marketing tool, there are several precautions that can be taken to avoid any copyright or trademark violations.

“Ownership or permission is always best,” Fierro says. “Barring that, always make sure the material is properly credited. Link the photo back to where it came from. The goal is to always make sure proper credit is given to the original source.”

Fierro says you should never copy pictures you find on Pinterest for use on your own website. You don’t know where they’ve come from or to whom they belong. Just don’t do it.

As the website continues to grow, copyright issues on Pinterest may or may not grow along with it.

“All it would take is for one picture to be used in the wrong way,” Fierro says. “The issues with Pinterest have been talked about for a while. I’ve had to defend clients against similar claims of infringement, as well as made claims on clients’ behalves for infringement on their work. It’s necessary for people to make these types of claims so they don’t lose the rights [and the value of those rights] to their work.”

For more information about Pinterest’s copyright & trademark rules, visit pinterest.com/about/copyright.