U.S. Courts Hear From The Voice of Small Business

Date: September 17, 2020

Here's a look at four cases where NFIB is fighting for the rights of small business.

America’s small business owners prevail over any number of challenges every day, and we know a single law, ruling or regulation can derail a small business. On behalf of the rights of small business owners everywhere, the NFIB Legal Center serves as the voice of small business in the courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is a look at four of them, in South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Colorado:  

South Carolina

Richardson v. $20,771 in U.S. Currency. Today NFIB filed an amicus brief in the South Carolina Supreme Court case Richardson v. $20,771 in U.S. Currency. The case primarily concerns civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize private property from a citizen or small business owner without ever charging them with a crime or providing evidence prior to seizing the assets.

“Small businesses work hard to comply with the many government-mandated laws and regulations and they simply cannot afford to worry about law enforcement seizing their property without an actual crime,” said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned of the issue. “It is important for the Court to protect South Carolina small businesses and set a new civil asset forfeiture test.”

In the amicus brief, NFIB argues that South Carolina must reevaluate its excessive fines test to comply with federal and state constitutional protections and join other states in considering individual financial circumstances in an excessive fines analysis. Read more.


Thompson v. DeWine. Yesterday we applauded the 6th Circuit’s decision upholding Ohio ballot initiative in-person procedures as constitutional. In July, NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the laws applying to ballot initiatives are neutral in their application to all Ohioans and do not violate any person’s First Amendment rights.

Of the decision, NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned said, “We are pleased the Court honored the state constitution’s in-person procedural protections for placing new initiatives on the ballot. As the Court noted, these protections are not burdensome and serve important interests for all Ohio voters by, among other things, protecting against fraud in the election process. This decision is a big relief to small business owners in the unprecedented time of COVID-19. Small businesses don’t have to worry about meritless and costly issues being randomly and hastily brought to the ballot this November.” Read more.


Mortimer v. McCool. Last week, NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case Mortimer v. McCool in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, arguing that Pennsylvania law has long-held that a court may only “pierce the corporate veil” and hold individual business owners personally liable in very limited circumstances.

Upon filing, NFIB Pennsylvania State Director Gordon Denlinger said, “Small business is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to uphold long-standing law that only allows business owners to be held personally liable in very limited circumstances. The plaintiff is asking the Court to adopt a new theory on ‘piercing the corporate veil’ that would disproportionately harm small businesses by dramatically expanding the instances in which the owner of an LLC could be held personally liable. Businesses of all sizes will flee the Commonwealth if the Supreme Court changes decades of Pennsylvania law.” Read more.


Carmen Nieto v. Clark’s Market. In August, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center filed an amicus brief in Carmen Nieto v. Clark’s Market, which concerns the Colorado Wage Claim Act and the payment of unused vacation time. NFIB supports Clark’s Market, arguing that the Colorado Wage Claim Act makes it clear that employers have the freedom to determine whether they will pay for unused vacation time when the employee leaves.

“This case is a small business issue to its core,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado State Director at the time of the amicus brief filing. “Vacation pay is a voluntary benefit that employers can provide to their working employees. It’s an additional expense and one that is truly an employee benefit. Employers, especially small business employers, have the right to determine their employment agreements.” Read more.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is the voice for small business in the nation’s courts and the legal resource for small business owners nationwide. Learn more here.

Take action: Make your voice heard on small business legal issues, share your story about the impact of federal regulations here.

Subscribe For Free News And Tips

Enter your email to get FREE small business insights. Learn more

Get to know NFIB

NFIB is a member-driven organization advocating on behalf of small and independent businesses nationwide.

Learn More

Or call us today

© 2001 - 2023 National Federation of Independent Business. All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy