Posts by Amanda

Common Issues in Child Custody

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Family | 0 comments

Divorce is already a stressful thing, but it can even be more stressful when children are already involved. Determining custody of children is often the most highly contentious part of a divorce.

Of course, all the contention can result into physical, emotional, and psychological exhaustion. To limit the toll of the legal process of child custody, it is important to know the most common issues associated with it.

Child’s best interest

It is a misconception that child custody is always granted to the mother. In fact, the courts have no gender bias and consider the best interest of the child. Best interest has no clear scope, but it may include the child’s age and his or her development process, such as in health, education, and security. The parent who can give the better development for the child is the one granted custody. Since there is no clear threshold for best interest, it is often an issue in child custody, as arguments arise on who really gives the best interest to the child.

Child’s preference

It is true that when the child reaches a certain age, he or she may have a voice to choose which parent he or she wishes to be with, but it is important to note that this choice is not absolute. The court may be able to use it as a factor in determining custody, but the best interest of the child is still the primary factor. The weight of the child’s choice depends on the child’s age, maturity level, and reason for the choice.

Physical and Legal Custody

Custody can be classified as physical and legal. Physical custody refers to the right to have the child reside with him or her, while legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s development, such as in health, education, and religion.

Sometimes, sole custody is awarded to a parent, where he or she will have physical and legal custody over the child. Sometimes, physical custody is awarded to a parent and legal custody to the other. There may also be instances where joint custody is awarded to the parents, where physical and legal custody are divided between them.

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The Many Toxic of Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 in Toxic Chemical | 0 comments

Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are a group of 209 different chemicals which the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency has classified as probable human cancer-causing compounds. The National Toxicology Program and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have also determined that PCBs are linked to breast cancer and increase rates of liver cancer, biliary tract cancer, gall bladder cancer, brain cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer and melanomas.

Other adverse effects linked to PCB exposure include:

  • Decrease in birth weight and head size, lowered performance on behavioral tests, standardized memory, psychomotor and behavioral tests, as well as lowered IQ. These effects were found in a group of children in Michigan whose mothers had been exposed to PCB;
  • Occupationally exposure to PCBs (in upstate New York) resulted to shorter pregnancies and shortened menstrual cycles among a group of women;
  • Reduced sperm counts, premature puberty, altered sex organs, and changed sex ratios of children;
  • Disturbs the amount of some immune system elements, such as T cells and lymphocytes; and,
  • Increased incidences of ear infections and chickenpox (this was shown in a study of Dutch children).

The most common ways of being exposed to PCBs include:

  • Eating contaminated fish, such as those from Lake Ontario;
  • Breathing in of PCB polluted air which abound, especially, near contaminated sites, such as the Hudson Valley;
  • Swimming in highly contaminated water, although only small amounts of PCBs may enter the body from this activity.

Note: Municipalities where the Hudson River is used as a source of drinking water assure residents that no detectable levels of PCBs are found in their water supply.

As PCBs enter a person´s body, these are absorbed into fat tissues and remain there, accumulating over the years. A fish that absorbs PCBs by eating plankton, therefore, stores these in its body fat. Breast-feeding women, who eat contaminated fish, can pass on PCBs to their infants through breast milk.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned PCBs in 1979. Before this, however, General Electric was said to have dumped about 1.3 million pounds of different types of PCBs into the Hudson River from 1946 to 1977.

From 1935 until 1977, Monsanto, the sole manufacturer of PCBs, used the chemical to insulate electronics. Besides this and other uses that included capacitors, transformers, microscope oils, heat transfer fluids, lubricants, electric appliances like television sets and refrigerators, plasticizers, inks, adhesives, flame-retardants, paints, surface coatings, and carbonless duplicating paper, PCBs were also sprayed on dirt roads to keep the dust down.

Despite the many uses of PCBs, its many toxic adverse effects and negligent handling have only resulted to so many lawsuits filed by those already harmed by this poisonous substance. Getting in touch immediately with a PCB lawsuit attorney, as soon as you are able to discover that you have been harmed by this substance may enable you to pursue a legal action for the compensation that you and your family may legally deserve.

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Finding a Way Out of a Statutory Rape Charge

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Statutory Rape Charge | 0 comments

Going online to find women willing to meet and have sex with you is totally inappropriate behavior, says a Michigan judge who convicted a 19-year old male Indiana teen of a sex offense and ordered him to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.

The male teen’s crime was have consensual sex with a 14-year old girl who he had met on “Hot or Not,” a dating app. The girl, besides registering on the dating app’s adults section, also lied about her age, saying that she was 17 years old. Lying about her age and testifying in court about this lie did not save the male teen from conviction, though, since the state of Michigan does not provide an automatic defense (for statutory rape charges) based on false info on age.

As regards the male teen, the effects of being convicted of a sex offense does not only include mandatory jail sentences, fines, probation, mandated treatment services, and registering as sex offender, but also keeping a 1,000-foot minimum distance from public areas where there may be children, being home before 8 p.m. every night and prohibition to: own a smartphone or use the Internet; and talk to anyone younger than 17, other than members of immediate family – all of these he should observe for the next five years.

There are people who would argue that a person should be responsible in confirming the age of his/her sexual partner, since it is possible that his/her sexual partner may be under the age of consent. But how should one confirm his/her sexual partner’s age besides ask him/her? Ask for his/her driver’s license or ID? How can one even spot a fake ID?

It is clear, though, that verifying a prospective partner’s age is necessary, if one does not want to be charged with statutory rape, despite the sexual act being consensual. This is because statutory rape laws make sexual intercourse even between willing partners illegal if one of the participants is below the age of consent since this will make such partner incapable of knowingly consenting to the sexual act, appreciating the impact of the act, and knowing its possible consequence.

Though states vary with regard to the age of consent, or the age at which a person can legally agree to engage in a sex act, its range is from 16 to 18. However, to save many teens from statutory rape prosecution and conviction, some states have a provision, called the “Romeo and Juliet” law. This law allows those under the age of consent to legally consent to sex depending on the age difference between the partners (some states allow only up to two years difference, while other states allow a difference of up to four years) .

While statutory rape statutes only intend to protect minors from sexual predators, it cannot be denied that these statutes have unintended consequences due to many legal gray areas. As a result, many have been (and continue to be) convicted and ordered to register as sex offenders; this very likely means ruined lives.

As explained by the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, ‘although the U.S. justice system holds that individuals are innocent until proven guilty, many individuals charged with sex crimes find that this is not the way that they are treated, as those around them, and even family members and friends, may jump to conclusions based solely on the accusations made against them. Therefore, knowing how difficult it can be for anyone to face a sex crime charge, having an aggressive legal team for his/her defense might be able to have charges reduced or even dismissed altogether.

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Defendants in a Product Liability Lawsuit

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Consumers believe that the products they purchase are safe and without defects. This belief is not just rooted on consumers’ knowledge of the legal responsibility of manufacturers, which is to ensure that their products are never sources of harm, injury or illness, but also on the standard of quality (which is a major basis of a company’s reputation) that they themselves have implemented and observe.

Sadly, however, the laws, the quality assurance, company reputation, and the watchful eyes of government authorities and company managers, seem not enough or not totally effective as flawed or defective products continue to find their way in stores and be made available to billions of consumers. As a result, every year, thousands of product liability claims, also known as tort lawsuits, against manufacturers of harmful products are filed by consumers due to the injury they sustain from the use of these products.

With millions of defective, harmful products available in the market, the list is close to endless. However, to name a of things on this list, there are nursery items, children’s toys, electronic gadgets, tools, furniture, and household appliances, office equipment, jewelry and clothes. These products, by the way, include only those items that fall under the control of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Other products are specifically categorized and assigned by the government as falling under the jurisdiction of specific agencies, like:

  • The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food, medical devices, drugs and cosmetics;
  • The Federal Aviation Administration, which has charge over aircrafts;
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which manages automobile-related products; and,
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates alcohol, tobacco & tobacco products

In the website of the Goings Law Firm, LLC, it is said that “the impact that a dangerous or defective product can have on a person’s life can be devastating. However, a product liability claim can help alleviate some of the challenges that victims may face.

Some of the most common types of product liability claims that people pursue include:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Defective household appliances
  • Toxic Food Products and Containers
  • Dangerous Childcare Products and Toys
  • Defective Vehicles
  • Manufacturing Defects
  • Design Defects
  • Defective Implants, such as defective hips or knees

As further explained by Williams Kherkher, when a product injures anyone, especially a child, all those involved in the chain of distribution, including the manufacturer, the distributor and the retailer, can be named as defendants in a civil or tort lawsuit. But while proving that an injury exists may be easy, establishing that such injury was caused by a defective product can be challenging. It will probably be advantageous to a victim if he/she would be represented by a highly-skilled personal injury lawyer from the start to the end of his/her legal pursuit.

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What are Bodily Injury Claims?

Posted by on Oct 5, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

If you are injured in a car accident, filing a claim as soon as possible is key to recovering any losses. Bodily injury caused by an accident can be difficult to recover from, and filing a claim may be the last thing you want to deal with. It is important to take action quickly, since time to seek compensation is limited.

Common Bodily Injuries

Car accidents can cause severe bodily injuries that are difficult to recover from. Some of the most common bodily injury claims are made for the following:

  • Concussion/Brain Injury
  • Whiplash
  • Burn Injuries
  • Permanent Disability

These kinds of injuries can have lifelong consequences. This is why making a claim for compensation is important.

Information Required for a Bodily Injury Claim

Should you decide to file a claim, there are several pieces of information you will have to provide to an insurance company. The company’s claims adjuster will accept the information you gather, which should be done as soon after the accident as possible. Some information to begin collecting includes the following:

  • Contact information – gather the names, phone numbers, and any other contact information from everyone involved in the accident.
  • Insurance information – gather insurance information from each person involved in the accident.
  • Accident information – record any information specific to your accident, such as the time and location.
  • Photos – if you took photos of your vehicle or any conditions causing the accident, be sure to provide them.
  • Police report – Though there may not be a police report needed, it may help an insurance company choose a liable party.
  • Medical bills – keep track of any costs incurred, including ambulance rides, medications, etc. also record any ongoing medical symptoms you experience post accident.

Acquiring all of the necessary documentation can be difficult, but if you suffered bodily injury and wish to file a claim, it is a necessary process to go through.

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What A Business Lawyer Can Do For Your Company?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Business Lawyer | 0 comments

When it comes to running a business, the first thing that comes in the mind of the business owner is whether or not they need a business lawyer or not. The fact that attorneys charge high rates which some businesses cannot afford. An Austin business attorney will tell you that having a legal team to assist you with legal matters. Here we will look at how a business attorney can help in the operations of a business.

1. Selling Your Business or Acquiring a New One

Whether you are planning to sell your own business or acquire a new one, it is something that you cannot handle yourself. Mergers & acquisitions as well as selling a business is an entirely legal matter that an attorney can handle.

2. Compliance With Local, State, or Federal Laws

Non-compliance with business-related laws can subject businesses to fines and penalties. A business lawyer has knowledge about the laws that businesses must follow to avoid being penalized for not following the law.

3. Lawsuits From Previous or Current Employees As Well As Discrimination Cases

An employee who feels that their firing was done illegally may file a case against their employer. This is another aspect where a business lawyer can be of great help. They can be consulted upon by the company on issues concerning firing or termination. The lawyer can advise the company on the legal way of doing so.

When faced with issues that are too complex and time consuming, the best way to deal with them is to hire a business lawyer. You need not necessarily hire them to become one of your staff but you can always consult them when legal matters related to your business arises and you cannot deal with them. You can use the lawyer as a preventive measure to avoid actions that can provide grounds for lawsuits or cases.

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Inside “Sham Marriage” Interviews

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in Immigration | 0 comments

The process of receiving a green card is a demanding task involving piles of paperwork, complex qualifications, and countless procedures. However, one of the fastest ways to obtain a green card is family based immigration via marriage. The USCIS estimates that 30 percent of alien and immigrant marriages are suspect of being fraudulent or a “sham.”

Before the couple is even granted an interview, they must submit towers of paperwork including biographic information, insurance account records, and form I-130 which establishes the couple as legally wed. According to the Austin immigration lawyers of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC “to prove that the married couple has not entered into a “sham” marriage, the couple must already or intend to live together, join their assets, and be mutually responsible for any liabilities.”

This consular interview is usually the final phase of becoming a married couple in the U.S. It often takes place in the immigrant’s home country and it is required that both spouses are present. If the officer determines the marriage as suspect, the couple will enter the fraud unit. They are separated and are questioned for several hours. Some of the questions include:

How many people were at your wedding?

Do you or your spouse use contraception and if so, what kind?
Who does the cooking?

If you are standing at and facing your kitchen sink, where is the microwave oven?

According to the U.S. Government and Customs Enforcement, persons who are convicted of having a fraudulent marriage have committed a felony offense with a fine of up to $250,000. The strenuous interview process exists to ensure that the marriage is solidified and legitimate. So, if a U.S. citizen and an alien are looking to get married, they have to prepare for more than just the wedding.

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The Fast Food Unpaid Labor Problem

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 in Economy | 0 comments

The fight for a raise in minimum wage has shifted a focus on the labor practices of the fast food industry. For example, starting December 31, New York City fast food workers will be paid an increased minimum wage of $10.50 per hour. Workers may be getting higher pay, but will the restaurants pay them all that is due for overtime work? According to the FLSA, “Employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay.”

Fast Food chains can contribute to the unpaid labor problem by asking employees to work during lunch breaks, during a non-mandatory training program, or by simply making them work off the clock. To be exempt from these laws you must be a worker of higher authority such as an executive position. Also, according to Cary Kane LLP, “To be a Fast Food Establishment the company must be a part of a chain of 30 or more locations.”

The arguable king of fast food, McDonald’s, was sued multiple times for wage theft violations. The suits claim that McDonald’s ignore the laws set by FLSA by forcing employees to work off the clock. Additionally, CNN Money claims that Subway chains have “violated pay and hour rules in more than 1,100 investigations.” A former Subway employee sued a Subway, alleging a denial of minimum wage and overtime pay.

The FLSA specifically outlines labor laws for the fast food industry, which may be overlooked. Many workers are unaware of their rights as laborers. An authority figure may falsely claim an employee as exempt for paid overtime. There seems to be a growing concern for the corrupt labor laws in the fast food industry, outside of the minimum wage issue. While fast food workers are typically pegged as lazy teenagers, some may be actually working for free.

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The State Who Doesn’t Use Breaks

Posted by on Jun 18, 2016 in Automobile | 0 comments

With the rise of technology, the world has become more about convenience and speed. People want their food made fast, their internet connection fast, and of course, they want to get to their destination fast. According to Iowa car accident attorneys, 33% of all fatal car accidents can be attributed to speeding. Fatal car accidents are a serious reality today, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals the top state with fatal car accidents in 2014.

The top of the list is a state that prides themselves on being bigger, but in this case it doesn’t work in their favor. Texas had the most car accidents resulting in 3,193 total deaths. Texas has the fastest highway in the U.S. with a posted speed limit of 80-85 mph. This implementation was a cause for concern as many saw it as a huge safety hazard. According to the Boston car accident lawyer, speeding can cause the following conditions:

– Inability to stop suddenly
– Decreased visibility
– Increased nervousness of other drivers

Unsafe driving conditions have fatal consequences for the drivers and the economy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the economic cost to society from car accidents related to speeding is $40.4 billion. Texas shares a large portion of this cost with its dangerous highway conditions. Texas is also home to many highways, many of which are under constant construction, congested, and full of fast moving vehicles. I-35 and I-45 are in the top of the most dangerous highways in the state.

While a culmination of factors may lead to a car accident, it is ultimately the decisions of the driver that determines the safety of the road. According to LaMarca Law Group P.C., “Vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death…a large number of these accidents were likely caused by another person’s negligence.” Texas is not the only state with car safety issues, for the nation as a whole must face the issues of this fast-paced world.

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Risks of Working an Office Job

Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 in Health | 0 comments

When one thinks of a dangerous job, words like policeman, stunt man, and construction worker probably come to mind. However, there are many serious risks that come with an office job. Working a sit-down job can put an employee at risk for many physical handicaps. According to Lamarca Law Group, P.C., “In reality, any job can lead to serious injuries and medical conditions.” While the health risks depend on the position in the company, there are aspects that apply to varying roles.

Most jobs in an office require sitting for hours on end. It is no surprise that extensive periods of rest can cause a myriad of health issues. According to Mayo Clinic research, sitting for a long time causes an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. It is important that a job allows an employee ample time to take walks or stand.

Additionally, many office jobs necessitate some sort of repetitive motion. Whether that is typing, lifting, or continuous eye movement, reoccurring motion can cause ill affects. The most susceptible parts of the body are the joints. This especially includes the wrists, fingers, shoulders, and elbows. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “RSIs or repetitive stress injuries compromise more than one hundred different types of job-induced industries and illnesses.” In order to prevent these types of injuries, a worker should stretch and take frequent breaks.

One of the most common causes of missed workdays is due to illness. The illness that comes from an office job attacks slowly through time. If one is suffering from a work-related injury, it is important to see a doctor and explore options for worker’s compensation. The human body is not made for an office job, and so it is essential that an employee understands the possibility of certain health issues.

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