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New Law To Help Small Biz

Small-business owners can now breathe a sigh of relief with the presidential signing of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, which would limit class-action lawsuits.

The bill, which was signed into law on Feb. 18, is the first of many tort reform initiatives before the 109th Congress. It would require suits filed by multiple defendants from various states in excess of $5 million to be tried in federal court, instead of state courts.

The bill aims at changing the way settlements are rewarded, which, in the past, have resulted in consumers receiving coupons or a small monetary relief while the lawyers receive millions, according to the bill.

Hector Barreto, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said the new law will help improve the economic environment for small businesses, which have often been affected by these types of lawsuits.

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“This is a big win for the nation’s small-business community, which after all represents 99 percent of all businesses,” Barreto said in a release. “Abusive lawsuits can result in significant added costs to doing business. With this worry off the table, it will give American small businesses more time to focus on what’s really important to them: growing their business and creating more jobs.”

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Small Firm Gets Bigger:

On a trip to Mexico, local chiropractors Craig Cook and Chris Miller wanted to be able to drink a margarita, but without all the calories associated with this popular drink.

That trip in 1998 became the springboard for launching Baja Bob’s, a San Diego-based company that offers low-carbohydrate, sugar-free bar mixes.

Established in 1998, the company, which does business as Low Carb Living, Inc., has grown to offering 11 flavors of mixes, including Original Margarita, Lean & Mean Bloody Mary and Maui Madness Mai Tai.

The company most recently released its low-calorie, sugar-free Martini Mixes, which come in Cranberry Cosmo, Sour Apple, Lemon Drop and Blue Raspberry flavors.

The mixes are flavored with Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener made from real sugar, and have zero to two carbs and only 10 calories per drink.

“We were looking for healthy ways of living,” Cook said. “Our primary focus was reduced calories and reduced sugar. And our goal was to create something that tastes just as good as the real thing.”

The low-carb margarita mix contains approximately 60 percent fewer calories than a traditional margarita and has only one gram of carbohydrates.

The company has a warehouse in Carlsbad and three additional warehouses throughout the country.

With 15 employees, the company’s revenue has grown by 1,200 percent in the last five years and has grown by 100 percent within the past year, Cook said.

“We knew we stumbled onto something,” he said.

The products sell for $2-$7 and are distributed at 38 locations nationwide, Cook said.

They can be found at nationwide outlets, including Albertsons, Safeway, Beverages & More and select Costco locations throughout the country.


Send small-business news to Lisa Kovach via fax at (858) 571-3628 or e-mail at lkovach@sdbj.com. Call her at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3107.

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