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The Danger of Armchair Psychology

TASA ID: 22108

Imagine you are driving along the highway, and see an electric sign saying, “79 traffic deaths this year.” Would this make you less likely to crash your car shortly after seeing the sign? Perhaps you think it would have no effect.

Neither are true. According to a recent peer-reviewed study that just came out in Science, one of the world’s top academic journals, you would be more likely to crash, not less. Talk about unintended consequences!

The study examined seven years of data from 880 electric highway signs, which showed the number of deaths so far this year for one week each month as part of a safety campaign. The researchers found that the number of crashes increased by 1.52% within three miles of the signs on these safety campaign weeks compared to the other weeks of the month when the signs did not show fatality information.

That is about the same impact as raising the speed limit by four miles or decreasing the number of highway troopers by 10%. The scientists calculated that the social costs of such fatality messages amount to $377 million per year, with 2,600 additional crashes and 16 deaths.

10 Ways Restaurants Can Survive and Thrive through the Pandemic

TASA ID: 2534

The restaurant industry is not dead.  It just became a temporary tragic victim within a global traumatic condition that threatens its very survival.

There is a difference.

There will be many restaurants that will end up closing permanently due to how they handle the overwhelming challenges now facing them and the industry.  However, there will also ultimately be survivors and some of those survivors will once again thrive as vibrant hospitality operations. They will find a ways to navigate these crippling conditions and make their way back to dry land where they can begin to securely build up their businesses again.

Where It All Began: The Evolution of Franchising

TASA ID: 11532

There are references in American history to early business relationships which, while possibly not meeting the current FTC definition, were without a doubt, franchise/licensing relationships. These relationships existed in the selling of wares from town-to-town by peddlers, licenses granted for general stores at military outposts, and certain livestock sales and other goods in which exclusive territorial rights were granted to the "franchisees" by the holder of the rights. Unfortunately, while the relationships are mentioned in the literature, the names of these early franchise founders and the structure of the business arrangement are not. 

Throughout its long history, there have been four constants that have fueled the growth of franchising, the desire to expand, the lack of expansion capital, the need to overcome distance, and managing people from a distant location.

The use of franchising can be traced to the expansion of the church and as an early method of central government control, probably as far back as the Middle Ages. Some have written that it may indeed date back as far as the Roman Empire or earlier and given the necessity of large territorial controls, coupled with the lack of modern transportation and communication at the time, there is reasonable basis for this assumption.


Image/Reputation/Brand Damage:

Does Litigation Solve the Problem?

TASA ID: 2156

When the image, reputation or brand of a person, business, organization or any type of entity has been damaged by defamation (e.g. libel, slander) or any form of communications or action by another, it often leads to litigation.  The wronged party seeks redress in some form or another to “right the wrong” so-to-speak.  It could be simply to have the offending party admit they were wrong (to specific parties or publicly), to have them apologize, to reverse an action, to demand restitution in some form, etc.  In many instances, it involves litigation.

Image/Reputation Damage From Media News Reports:

Is it Legally Actionable?

TASA ID: 2156

So the operative question here is: “when media exposure of a negative event or activity harms the image or reputation of a person or entity, is it actionable in terms of a lawsuit?”  The answer is, “yes and no.”  I’ve served as an expert witness in numerous cases relating to media reports that caused damage, representing both the plaintiff’s (those claiming harm) and the defendant’s (those that took the actions that resulted in the media reports).  Let’s be clear about one thing first, the media is not the culprit and cannot be the targets of lawsuits if their reports were accurate as to the facts and there was no judgements made in the reports as to guilt or innocence.  One might quibble about the extent of the coverage provided or whether it was fair or balanced but the media has a right to report the news as long as it is fair and accurate.
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