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How To Respond to a Legal Threat

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In a prior post I advised readers on how to craft a legal threat letter;  http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-write-effective-legal-threat.html.This post is the opposite of that: how to respond to a threat of legal action (whether in writing or verbal).There are a number of possibilities, so let’s take them one by one.

1. Keep Calm. Yes, the threat of legal action is scary, but your response should be the result of clear thinking, and you can’t do that if you’re in panic mode.You need time to consider your options, so if the threat is oral (over the phone or in person) work to get some breathing room.First make sure you understand the nature of the threat: who is making it (get names and contact information), what the circumstances are giving rise to the claim, what legal theory is being threatened, and what are the time constraints for your response?Don’t spout off.A calm, mannered answer, delaying your formal response, will work better than a rant.If the person says you…

Is It Legal To Discriminate Against Gay People?

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The State of Arizona has recently endured an embarrassing episode where the legislature passed an amendment to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act allowing business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers so long as proprietors were acting solely on their religious beliefs.This caused such a national outcry and threats of boycotting Arizona (moving the Superbowl from there next year!!!) that even legislators who’d voted for the bill were startled by what might happen and urged Governor Jan Brewer to veto it, which she promptly did.The dustup over this caused the withdrawal of similar bills in other states, including Ohio where I live.Whew!
So consider this question.If you’re a baker in a town in Arizona and your religious beliefs cause you to abhor homosexuals, and then a gay couple asks you to bake them a wedding cake and you refuse, does this obvious discrimination now expose you to a lawsuit?
No.It doesn’t.Residents of Arizona (except Phoenix, which has a munici…