Category Archives: Floatsam and Jetsam


Bad Reviews are not Defamation

It’s an unavoidable fact of running a business that, sooner or later, a customer will be dissatisfied.  Decades ago this would have meant that they told a few of their friends, but today it can often mean a negative review on any one of a number of widely trafficked consumer review websites like Yelp.

When the inevitable happens, there are a few ways you can handle it.  For example, if you want to avoid bad publicity, you can simply ignore the review or respond calmly and professionally.  If you don’t mind things potentially blowing up in your face, you can respond angrily and irrationally.  And, of course, if you actively want things to go south in a great big hurry, you can do what a watch repair shop in New York did and threaten to sue the person leaving the unflattering review for defamation. Continue reading


Don’t Accidentally Leave Your Retirement Account to Your Ex Girlfriend

The Oregonian published an article on Saturday on the topic of beneficiary designations for different investment/savings vehicles. This article was written around a case where the father, Timothy Freed died intestate (without a will) and inadvertently left his entire IRA account to his ex-girlfriend of many years. He had broken up with her in a “very bitter parting” eleven years before his death. After their split, he revoked the will that left her some of his property and he even had a court order stating that she had “no right or interest” in Freed’s retirement account. Given all of these measures, how does one inadvertently leave someone their entire IRA account? The answer is by not updating the beneficiary designation that is made on the account when it is created. Continue reading