The legal challenges facing commercial logging operations are huge and only growing. “The environment is that haulers are targets. The verdicts are rolling out in the average of eight figures,” says attorney Stephen Setliff. “All because people don’t take the steps to configure their business, get safety protocols in place, and understand the optics of what your company looks like in a trial.”
Setliff’s firm is now offering free consultations to all Timber Hauling members. And in the event a member chooses to retain Setliff Law, they’ll also receive 10% off Setliff Law’s fees for all legal services rendered.
As Setliff explains, it’s not just lawsuits relating to truck crashes from “the TV lawyers” that are most dangerous to loggers. “How is your business configured? Are you set up in a way to have the maximum benefit relative to liability of your business?”
Buying, selling, and merging businesses as well as other “corporate formalities” is what Setliff calls “the predicate step.” “We put things in place for anyone who operates a commercial enterprise,” he says. “And that helps with lots of transactions for equipment, contractors, employees, and the sale of products.”
In 35 years, Setliff has worked extensively with loggers and haulers. “We’re a full-service law firm with fifteen lawyers. Whatever comes up, we can typically help people with their issues.”
“And the big benefit is we know the business. We’ve represented timber firms in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and across the US. We don’t have to be ramped up like other folks,” he says.
“The more sophisticated [business owners] are the ones who have been burned by a half-million dollars in equipment or a bad employment contract. Lots of people get into a situation because no one reads the contracts, or when they have someone imposing conditions on them, they don’t really understand them.” Setliff underscores a common scenario where employers recognize employees as contractors when they don’t have the legal framework in place to legally do so. This opens up issues with the Department of Labor, OSHA, the IRS, and other regulators.
“The biggest mistake is people calling their insurance carrier and assuming something is covered,” he says. A casualty event on the road should warrant a call first to a firm’s attorney.
Timber Hauling members can call Setliff Law at any time, day or night, 365 days a year for a free consultation, “Even in the situation of a truck wreck on the highway at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve.”
“Anybody that operates a commercial enterprise needs a lawyer they can get on the phone. We operate with railroads and truckers working across the US 24/7 because that’s what our clients expect,” says Setliff. The firm also works with other nationwide operations like Wal-Mart, Gold’s Gym, and dozens of logging and industrial operations.
“Everything is about savviness, prevention, and knowing what to do when it hits the fan,” says Setliff.
All discussions, including discussions during a free consultation, are privileged and private between Setliff Law and your operation.