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Recent Case Developments

Tax Evasion Two members of the Cipriani family, renowned for their string of opulent restaurants in New York and Venice, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and agreed to pay $10 million in restitution and penalties to resolve a case brought by Robert M. Morgenthau, the district attorney of Manhattan. Arrigo Cipriani, the family patriarch, pleaded guilty to a felony tax charge while Giuseppe Cipriani, his son and the chief executive of Cipriani U.S.A. Inc., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Guilty pleas were entered as well for three corporate units of Cipriani U.S.A. on tax felony charges. In addition to paying penalties...

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Unlawfully Withholding Employee Tips

Under federal and state wage and hour law, employers who employ regularly tipped employees may pay those employees an hourly wage rate below the minimum wage, as long as the employees’ tips result in them being paid at least the hourly minimum wage for all straight time worked. To take advantage of this “tip credit”, an employer must ensure that tipped employees retain all of the tips they receive. “Tip-pooling” or “tip-splitting” arrangements are allowed, but there are strict guidelines for maintaining such arrangements lawfully. Among those requirements, tipped employees may not be required to share their tips with employees who...

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Slip And Fall Liability

National Safety Council statistics establish that more people are injured in America in slip-and-fall situations than in any other accident scenario. The owner of a restaurant or bar where such casualties occur is not automatically legally responsible for the consequences of a slip and fall on his premises. Proof must be adduced by the plaintiff to establish that: (1) a dangerous condition was created or permitted by the defendant to remain for an unreasonably long time; (2) the defendant had notice of its existence during such time and failed to take reasonable measures to remove it or to prevent the accident. As such,...

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The Dram Shop Act And Restaurant Liability

A restaurant or bar owner may be held liable for the acts of their patrons who drink and later drive while intoxicated. In order to sustain a cause of action under General Obligations Law (commonly known as the Dram Shop Act) the plaintiff must show : (1) that he was injured by an intoxicated person; (2) the defendant sold to or otherwise procured liquor for the intoxicated person; and (3) the defendant thereby caused or contributed to such intoxication. Recently, a restaurant and a bar were both sued for wrongful death after a man died in an automobile accident while driving...

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Post The Sign Avoid The Fine

Every year restaurant and bar owners are being subject to harsh fines, both monetary and criminal, as result of failing to post various signs as required by New York State and City laws. Although the requirements are constantly changing, the following is a list of signs that must be displayed in customer view: Equipment Use Permit; Occupancy Sign (in establishments holding more than 75 people); Sidewalk Café License (indicating number of tables and chairs) ; Local law 12: Taskforce/ Resuscitation Equipment; Sign Prohibiting the Sale of Cigarettes to Minors (if cigarettes are sold on the premises); Cigarette Retail License (if cigarettes are...

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Restaurant Served with Sexual Harassment suits

The food service industry has recently been hit hard with a barrage of sexual harassment lawsuits. A jury awarded 4.9 million dollars to an employee of Brinker International (the company that owns Chili´s Restaurant) who said she was sexually harassed by a manager and then faced retaliation when she complained. With all the media attention on the subject lately, the number of sexual harassment cases filed each year against restaurants and their owners are escalating at an all too rapid pace. Restaurant owners must now take a pro-active stance to keep such complaints from damaging their operation. All employees, male and...

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