Saturday, February 28, 2009

Good Shopping Gone Bad

Many Americans love shopping. Some find it relaxing and enjoying while others just want to get in and out with what they need. Whatever the reason you have for shopping, you want a safe and secure environment. Every store has an obligation to keep its grounds free from harmful obstacles. Any personal injury that occurs on public property can fall under premises liability.

Causes of Personal Injury There are many causes of personal injury in stores. Some of these causes seem little while others may cause major injury. In any case, these causes range from wet floors that cause slips and falls to improperly maintained automatic doors. Other causes include: • Insecure products on shelves
• Unmarked hazards in traffic areas
• Elevator accidents
• Assaults and attacks
• Construction accidents
• Accidents in the parking lot

Many stores have a large volume of customers that come and go all day. This large volume of customers must feel safe when entering a store. Each store's staff is responsible for maintaining this safety. Some staff members' actions can be considered negligent if they fail to mark slippery floors or properly secure merchandise.

Store Security The security of the store grounds is an important part of making sure customers are safe. Negligent security is a main cause of personal injury in stores. Proper security consists of:

• Security cameras
• Proper lighting
• Security guards
• Assistance walking out

Many employees in shops such as grocery stores are trained to ask customers if they need help out after checking out. This question is asked even if a customer has only a grocery bag or two. The employees ask not only to help you carry your items, but to make sure that you feel safe while walking to the parking lot. Security guards are also available to help strengthen your sense of safety. They are in place to watch out for possible violence, theft, and assaults.

Adequate lighting is essential for a safe parking lot. Many larger parking lots have security cameras to watch for any suspicious behavior. Parking lots can become dangerous when they are dark and not many cars are around. Brightly lit parking lots leave little room for anyone to hide and cause accidents.

If you live in the Orlando, Florida area and have suffered a personal injury, please visit our personal injury website to learn more about your case. Our personal injury attorneys will help you understand your rights and lawsuits.

About the Author
If you live in the Orlando, Florida area and have suffered a personal injury, please visit our personal injury website to learn more about your case. Our personal injury attorneys will help you understand your rights and lawsuits.

Getting Dog Bite Compensation

Incidents involving animals are unfortunately quite common, ranging from simple dog bites, to a kick from a horse or deer running in front of a car.

Particularly here, the law recognizes that the innocent party should be compensated. Whilst it might help your case to prove that the animal owner or keeper is to blame for your injury, it is not absolutely necessary.

If an animal has caused an injury by just behaving normally, then usually the keeper is liable. Only if the injured person was 'wholly' at fault, will his claim fail.

Dog bite injuries involving children and couriers are one of the most common claims solicitors are asked to advise on. Dogs are territorial or may feel intimidated when approached. If they bite, they are probably behaving normally and their keepers liable to pay compensation.

The Animals Act 1971 recognizes this and provides for compensation to be paid without any great investigation into 'blame'. There does not need to be any council or police involvement in the case for the compensation claim to succeed. The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 can also be helpful here.

Horses can cause very significant injury. Do get advice if you have been injured by a horse.

The sort of questions that we might ask you know regarding the animal include if it had it behaved in the way that caused the injury previously? What is known about it's temperament? Who was looking after it? Were there any witnesses?

Most animal owners and keepers are insured for such eventualities, whether they be householders, farmers or otherwise working the animal.

If the owner of the animal is not known or the animal is wild, there may be problems however.

If you are considering whether you can bring such a claim, we suggest you seek advise from a specialist solicitor on a true no win, no fee* basis.

About the Author
Andrew Bowen is the CEO Pinstripe Compensation.

Getting Compensation For MRSA and Clostridium Difficile

As publicized recently, MRSA and Clostridium difficile or C difficile for short has become the most recent epidemic to reach health care services.

Infections of MRSA often occur in hospitals but can also happen in changing rooms, prisons and gyms.

The symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, tenderness, loss of appetite and severe inflammation of the bowel.

Clostridium difficile is a spore forming bacterium which is present as one of the 'normal' bacteria in the gut of up to 3% of healthy adults.

Clostridium difficile rarely causes problem in healthy adults, as it is kept in check by the normal bacterial population of the intestine. It is only when certain antibiotics disturb the balance of bacteria in the gut, will it multiply and produce toxins which then cause illness.

The effects of this illness vary. Some may experience diarrhoea while others may suffer with severe inflammation of the bowel. Other symptoms can include fever, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain or tenderness.

C difficile is a liable to transfer from one person to the next. This is so since those suffering from a C Difficile associated disease shed spores in their faeces. The disease is most commonly spread from the hands of healthcare staff and other people who come into contact with infected patients or with surfaces contaminated with the bacteria or its spores e.g. floors, bedpans and toilets.

Quite often elderly patients over the age of 65 are at a greater risk of contracting the illness.

Many people are often uncertain about claiming compensation for being infected but help is at hand. make it easy to find out if you have a genuine claim by offering a simple online form.

A specialist team of lawyers will be able to look at your case and advise you on the merits of pursuing compensation. The legal team will investigate all the possible causes for your infection and if necessary arrange for you to see a doctor in order to get a full report on your health situation.

You may be able to claim compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of salary, any medical costs and out of pocket expenses.

Getting compensation may not help with the physical and mental pain suffered by the victim and their family but it may help to ease the financial burden which can often have a significant impact in such cases.

A family relation or friend can make the claim on behalf of the person suffering with the infection. All communication is done by email, telephone or mail. There is usually no need for you to ever visit a solicitor's office.

There may be time limits and being able to claim compensation for MRSA or C Difficile so it is best to complete the online form as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been infected with either MRSA or C Difficile then complete an online claim form at to find out if you are entitled to compensation.

About the Author
Andrew Bowen is the CEO Pinstripe MRSA Compensation.

Last Will and Testament - The Perils of Dying 'Intestate'

Not the most enlightening of subjects is it?

And not one you'll probably discuss often, with either friends or family.

What's that I hear you say?


The good news is that I'm not going to take up the next few minutes of your life talking about how we might all eventually leave planet earth.

Instead, I want to spend the time talking about the financial impact upon your family and loved ones you leave behind.

What if you don't have a Last Will and Testament? (and depending on which stats you believe, apparently 70% + of the UK adult population don't have one).

Law of Intestacy

This law dates back to 1925. If you die without having made a Will, your assets are distributed in accordance with this law and 'statutory legacies', which specify the amounts that are distributed to certain parties. The last time the amounts were reviewed was 1993.

The basic rule is that:

- The spouse or civil partner will receive personal chattels and the first £250,000 if there are children, plus a life interest on half the residue

- The children receive a life interest on the remaining half AND the surviving spouse's half (capital) when they eventually die the spouse or civil partner will receive personal chattels and the first £450,000 if there are no children, plus half the balance

- Parents/brothers and sisters receive the remaining half (in that order if they are alive, or the money goes to other relatives)

- Make sure you check all the 'small print' of the law of intestacy as we have only covered the basics here (figures correct at 20 February 2009)

These amounts were actually increased on 1 February 2009 from £125,000 and £200,000 respectively. This followed a review by the Government that commenced in 2005.

Last Will and Testament

Now, assuming you don't want to leave things to chance your best option is to organise a Will. There are a few reasons for this:

YOU can decide how your assets should be distributed and to whom they should go to if you have children you can appoint guardians to look after them if neither you or your spouse/partner are alive. You can also appoint trustees to look after your assets until the children are old enough to take responsibility for themselves If you don't have a Will, why not?

There may be a few reasons:

- It's a bit of a depressing topic. Fair enough, it is. But we're all going to die someday and actually making the Will won't kill you!

- You think you're too young. If you can vote or ask for a drink (legally!) in a pub then you can make a Will

- It'll take too much time. How can you know if it does unless you've been though the process yourself? It's quite straightforward to set one up so this excuse does not really wash

- It'll cost a fortune. Not quite. Depending on which solicitor you use you shouldn't have to pay more than £100-200. If you are setting up 2 wills a discount may apply

One option is to set up a 'DIY' Will. This will be cheaper than going to a solicitor but if you get it wrong you'll only have yourself to blame.

The most sensible option is to use a qualified solicitor. Yes you'll have to pay a fee but at least you'll have the peace of mind that it's been set up correctly and in line with your wishes.

The Financial Tips Bottom Line

If you die without having made a Will you may end up leaving behind a 'mess' for your loved ones to clear up long after you've gone. If you see yourself as a responsible person (and don't have a Will yet) maybe it's time to get one set up.


Contact your solicitor and ask them to begin the process of organising a Will(s) for you.

About the Author
Ray Prince is an Independent Financial Planner with Rutherford Wilkinson ltd, and helps UK Resident Doctors and Dentists get the best deals on mortgages, protection and investments, as well as helping them achieve their financial objectives. Just visit to get your free retirement planning guide. Rutherford Wilkinson ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Friday, February 27, 2009

If you live in Pennsylvania, do not negotiate with a Collection Agency

So, the collection agency is calling you about an old debt. They want you to pay it, and they want you to pay it right now. Threats may come: "We'll put a judgment against you" or "We'll garnish your wages and bank account" are two of the most common. They will try anything to get you to pay the debt, or a portion of it. Negotiation will start immediately.

I say, do not negotiate with them, let them sue you. Its not that I need more clients, quite frankly, I have plenty of them right now. There is sound reasoning behind my statement and it is based on several little known facts.

First and foremost, you need to realize what a collection agency is. For the most part, the agency is a business that has purchased your account from the original creditor, often for pennies on the dollar, with the intent of collecting the total debt from you. Its quite a profitable business. Imagine if you could buy $1,000,000 worth of debt for $3000. That's what they do. You would only have to collect on a few accounts to break even, after that, its all profit.

When the collection agency buys the debt, they often do not get all of the information that they need. I have found that many times the collection agency receives only the name, address, account number and balance due and owing on your account. They do not obtain any account statements, terms and conditions, signed applications, et cetera... That is the important part for you.

In Pennsylvania, a collection agency needs all of previously mentioned documents (and others) in order to prevail at trial if a lawsuit is filed against you. (Other states may have different consumer laws and I cannot speak as to the requirements or laws of other states in this regard). If they cannot come up with them, most times, you win. If you win, that means that you do not owe the debt. The key is in properly presenting your defense. A knowledgeable consumer attorney can file the proper paperwork and make the right arguments to have the case dismissed.

To conclude, I would almost never negotiate with a collection agency in Pennsylvania. You would be much better off in paying a consumer attorney a fraction of the amount of your debt to defend your interests and hopefully make the claim go away.

About the Author
Greg Artim is a Consumer Attorney based in Pittsburgh, PA. He handles Credit Card and Collection Agency Defense matters in all of Pennsylvania. For more answers to your Credit Card, Collection Agency or Debt Settlement questions, please visit his website at Collection Agency Defense Lawyer.

H-1B: Watch Out While Changing Employers

We are often asked this question: What happens if the beneficiary was unemployed for a period of time before a new employer files an H-1B transfer petition?

Our experience is that the USCIS uses its discretion and approves the transfer with change of status when the unemployment period is comparatively short. But it if it is more than a few weeks, then the situation could be a little more complex. The case could still get approved, but with consular processing, meaning the beneficiary should depart the US and get the visa stamp to be able to work for the new employer. In such cases, we advise the employer not to put the new alien on the payroll until the H1B petition outcome is known. We also recommend premium processing for such petitions.

Then what is the maximum period (days, weeks or months) a person can remain unemployed before an H1B transfer is filed? The safest answer is "zero". But we have seen a number of cases approved when the gap in employment was short. Further, as said above, the "transfer" could be denied though H1B classification is approved, i.e., the beneficiary would have to travel out of the US, get the new visa stamped, and return to the US to be able to commence employment with the new employer.

After transferring the H-1B to a new employer, should the beneficiary leave the US and obtain a new H-1B stamp on his/her passport before starting the new job? The answer is that if the H1B is granted with extension/change of status, i.e., with an I-94 with new validity dates, there is no need to get the visa stamped.

A related question then is whether a person can travel while the H-1B transfer petition is pending. We advise against such travel. In the past, we had instances where USCIS came back asking to prove that the beneficiary was still in the US when the H1B transfer was adjudicated.

Disclaimer: The information in the above article is of a general nature only and should not be taken as legal advice. Always seek professional legal advice before proceeding with your case.

Copyright: The Law Offices of Morley J. Nair, Inc.

About the Author
Morley J. Nair is the Founder of The Law Offices of Morley J. Nair, located in Philadelphia, PA, practicing Immigration Law in all the 50 states. The firm has processed thousands of H-1Bs and hundreds of employment-based immigrant visas. The law firm websites are and

DWI Law - Coming up with a Successful DWI Law Defense

The laws in relation to DWI charges are very difficult for the average person to decipher. Since you will be facing criminal charges it is very important that you work with a qualified attorney and come up with a successful DWI law defense. This can help to get your charges dropped or at the very least reduced. Your best chances are to work with a DWI attorney that that specializes in that department. They will have thorough knowledge of the rules and the loopholes that can work for your defense.

Before you place your trust in any attorney to come up with a successful DWI law defense you need to do your homework. It is important to find out if the attorney has any actions against them. You can get this information from the BAR Association. You also need to find out how much a particular attorney is going to charge you for a successful DWI law defense. It may be a flat fee or based on the amount of time that ends up being involved in your case.

The more experience an attorney has in the area of DWI though the more money you can expect to pay for their services. If you compare prices and find some that are much higher than others find out why. Is it because they have a proven track record with DWI cases to back it up? If so then that extra cost may be well worth it.

Find out how many cases the DWI attorney has at the time when you are considering having your case added. You want an attorney who has significant time to spend on developing your successful DWI law defense. You want more than just a phone call that will allow you to make a plea bargain.

If possible check with references to find out how the DWI attorney treated other clients. You can find this information out by friends, family members, co-workers, and even various person reviews available online. It is worth getting a successful DWI law defense because you don't want a DWI conviction taking over your life.

About the Author
If you found this information on DWI Law useful, you'll also want to read about DWI Attorney.

Do You Need A Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney for finances (DPAF) allows you to appoint someone to manage your finances for you in the event you become incapacitated.

Unfortunately, many people think they do not need a durable power of attorney for finances if they are married or if they have put most of their property into a living trust, or if they hold their property in joint tenancy. However, the fact of the matter is that having a durable power of attorney can make life much easier for your family in the event you become incapacitated.

Do not assume that your spouse will automatically be able to manage your finances if you can't. Although your spouse does have some authority over property you own jointly, there are significant limits on your spouses' right to sell property held in both of your names. As an example, you and your spouse must agree to the sale of co-owned or jointly owned real estate or cars. Since an incapacitated spouse cannot consent to such a sale, your spouses' hands are tied.

And when dealing with property that is held in your name only, your spouse has no legal authority to sell or transfer that property. Having a durable power of attorney will give your spouse the authority to sell your property.

The primary purpose of a living trust is to avoid probate. A living trust can also be useful if you become unable to care for your financial affairs. This is because the individual you choose to distribute your trust property (the successor trustee) can, in most cases, take over management of the trust property if you become incapacitated.

However, a successor trustee has no authority over property that is not held in trust. While most people transferred into their living trust assets that would be expensive to probate, such as real estate or valuable investments, few people hold all of their property and their living trust. So while a living trust is helpful, it is not a complete substitute for a durable power of attorney for finances.

About the Author
State Bar of California, State Bar Number 122692

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some Work Related Personal Injury Guidance

Certain jobs expose people to more danger than other jobs. People in certain sectors of employment are placed in constant daily danger. Think of those working on oil rigs, of those deep sea trawler men, of those logging. People that do those sorts of jobs chance their lives every second of every working hour. It is understandable then that these types of workers suffer the odd work related personal injury. That is not to say though that inherent dangers exist within every job. The reason? Where there is negligence there is personal injury risk.

The amount of compensation that a person gets is never relative to the level of danger involved in the type of job that they do. The reason being that the type of injury that a person suffers is not always relative to the type of job that they do. For instance if a person works in a factory that chops up wood then they are not definitely going to suffer an injury that involves losing a limb. They may simply trip over something that should not be where it is and damage a limb in a far less profound manner. In the same way a person working in a playgroup isn't necessarily going to suffer nothing worse than a child getting up quickly and connecting with the personas face in some way. They may get assaulted badly by ten or fifteen precocious rapscallions.

Next we turn to bosses and the misplaced sense of loyalty that people often have in relation to not wanting to file for personal injury as a result of not wanting their boss to be out of pocket. Of course this is very much an ostensible misplaced sense of loyalty which is quite often doubtless a sense of fear. Those that work in close proximity to their bosses or more specifically business owners i.e. in small businesses are less likely to make a personal injury claim against that company as they perceive it to be a claim made against the person i.e. their boss. The perceived consequent breakdown of employer-employee relationship and prospective dismissal can be cited as the chief catalyst in an injured person not making a personal injury claim.

This is a terrible depiction of how retarded Britain still is, for there to be this schizophrenia surrounding a work related personal injury claim. Of course the fault lies more with the employer than it does with the employee. Attitudes need to change and at a time where people are more aware of their litigation rights than they have ever been before, employers need to come to their senses and realise that gone are the days when a liability policy could remain untouched forever and a day. People are going to make personal injury claims because accidents do happen from time to time within the daily running of a business.

If you have been injured in a work related incident then you need to seek legal advice. A good solicitor will be worth their weight in platinum and be able to maximise the amount of compensation that is received. Never respond to any phone calls from insurance companies offering to quickly settle because the purpose of doing so is to save money on behalf of the insurance company. Make sure that you are represented on a no-win-no-fee basis, as this is a guarantee that your legal representative is sure that the case is going to be a success. It is also important that the solicitor that is chosen has previous court room experience and previous experience in relation to work related personal injury. The defence team will look at the level of experience that your solicitor has and use this to gauge whether or not the claim should be taken to court.

About the Author
Be sure to make a claim if you have suffered a work related personal injury.

Becoming a Florida Lawyer - Not an Easy Process

Becoming a Florida lawyer is very similar to becoming a lawyer in any other state and includes obtaining a four year degree from an accredited college (in the state of Florida these include Florida State University, Florida Technical College, and St. Thomas University to name just a few), gain acceptance into a law school that is recognized and accredited by the American Bar Association, graduate from the law school, and finally to pass the Florida Bar exam. This is not an easy process and only thirty percent of those individuals who begin the process actually complete it and become a practicing lawyer or attorney in the state of Florida.

There are thousands of accredited four year colleges in the state of Florida and they range from the huge Florida State University to the much small and private St Thomas University. However, they all offer four year degrees in any number of fields, sciences, or arts. Determining which college is right for you is a largely unique determination that takes into account the cost of tuition, the location of the university, scholarships offered, and ultimately academic acceptance. However, once a university or college has been decided upon, then the successful completion or the curriculum becomes important.

At this stage, it is not necessarily important what type of four year undergraduate degree is earned. While it is important to choose a discipline that encourages logical thinking, academic research, writing, public speaking, and interdisciplinary organization, it is not a requirement for ultimate success as a professional Florida lawyer. Programs that many future lawyers have found useful have been majors in humanities, social sciences, history, and political science.
Again, at this stage of the process, it is not important what four year undergraduate degree is attained. It only matters that degree is successfully attained.

Once you have finished an undergraduate program, then you must get accepted into law school. Law school is usually an additional two year program. Acceptance into one of the two hundred or so law schools across the nation is based on the LSAT (Law Schools Admissions Test). This test is designed to test the attributes that a lawyer should have. It examines basic knowledge, logical thinking, and problem solving. It is largely considered to be one of the hardest admission tests that a lawyer will have to take. The higher the school then the better the chances of being accepted into a law school are. All law schools are not created equal. While they all offer the same basic program, some are much more famous and expensive than others. In Florida, law schools include St Thomas School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, and University of Miami School of Law.

Obviously after the successful entrance into a recognized law school, the next step to becoming a Florida lawyer is the completion of that program and earning a law degree. Earning a law degree is not easy and requires a broad knowledge of all legal standards and situations regardless of the intended field of the law student. It is therefore very challenging.

Even after graduating from law school, an individual is not fully recognized as a lawyer until he or she has passed the Florida Bar exam. This is an exam intended to test the basic knowledge and skills of a lawyer. A person can take this test as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade. Once a person has successfully completed this exam, he or she is a lawyer and can then practice law in Florida.

Insight from a Professional Lawyer In Tampa, Florida.

The US Trustee's role in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case

Ok. You're considering filing for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. You may have heard about the 'means test' and how the US Trustee can file motions or complaints under Section 707(b) to dismiss a case or force it to be converted to a Chapter 13. You might then ask, how and why would this happen, and how can you avoid it happening to you?

To address these concerns, it is useful to think in terms of what the US Trustee is looking for in your petition. The answer is, in a word, income (In a later article we'll consider what the case/interim trustee is looking for, which is something entirely different from the concerns of the US Trustee). That is not to say, of course, that your petition can be inaccurate with such other information as assets and liabilities. The US Trustee's overriding focus, however, is the debtor's income. Let's take a closer look at the process.

When your attorney first files your petition, an electronic copy is forwarded to the office of the US Trustee for that district. An initial screening is performed by a 'bankruptcy paralegal' or 'bankruptcy analyst' in the US Trustee's office. This screening will consist first and foremost of an examination of the debtor's B22 means test calculation. If the debtor's annualized gross income calculation, as set forth in the petition, is well under the applicable median, then the US Trustee will probably never even bother to look at the petition himself.

If it's a close call, however, i.e. if the debtor's gross income is either above, or just under, the applicable median, then the US Trustee will conduct his own examination of the debtor's B22 means test calculation to make sure that it is accurate. That is, the US Trustee will make sure that the debtor's computation of gross income is accurate, that the debtor has used the correct standard IRS expense deductions, and that there are no impermissible expense subtractions in calculating disposable income.

If the US Trustee believes that the debtor's calculation is inaccurate or even questionable, he will take a still closer look by sending to the debtor's attorney a letter warning that the case is under consideration for possible action under Section 707(b), and that to assist in deciding upon such action he would ask that the debtor provide such additional documentation as paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, etc.

If the additional documentation supports the debtor's B22 calculation, indicating that there is no presumed abuse under Section 707(b), then the US Trustee will notify debtor's counsel that no 707(b) action is currently intended. Otherwise, get ready for some unpleasant consequences, inasmuch as in most districts the US Trustee prevails in the vast majority of 707(b) actions it files, succeeding in having cases either dismissed or converted to Chapter 13. For this reason it is vital for debtor's counsel to be knowledgeable of and very precise with his B22 means test income calculations, so that potential US Trustee actions under section 707(b) may be avoided before they happen.

About the Author
David Romito is an Attorney based in Pittsburgh, PA. He handles Chapter 7 Bankruptcy matters in the Western District of Pennsylvania. For more answers to your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy questions, please visit his website at Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer.

Superman Returns? How Superman's Creators Recovered a Copyright and How You Can Too

The creators of Superman sold their copyright during the Great Depression for $130. Their heirs are now in the process of reclaiming that valuable copyright. Their tale is a graphic demonstration of the important copyright reversion rules under the Copyright Act. Under the Act, artists who sold their works many years ago are entitled to recover them, even if they signed contracts that said otherwise. This article explains the importance of these copyright reversion rights and what artists must do to reclaim the rights to their work. demonstration of the important copyright reversion rules under the Copyright Act. Under the Act, artists who sold their works many years ago are entitled to recover them, even if they signed contracts that said otherwise. This article explains the importance of these copyright reversion rights and what artists must do to reclaim the rights to their work.

During the Great Depression, Jerry Siegel and Jerome Shuster created Superman, the now-famous hero who fights to defend truth, justice, and the American Way. Siegel and Shuster then sold the Man of Steel to Detective Comics for $130. In hindsight, we can safely conclude this was not a great deal for the sellers. Indeed, only the daily workings of Congress rival such a gargantuan waste of valuable property. But Superman's creators are not alone. Artists of all kinds have found themselves in a similar position, forced to sell the copyrights in their creative works to make ends meet. Those artists should know that, as with practically all superhero tales, the Superman story has a happy ending. And theirs can too.

In most walks of life, a sale, like a diamond, is forever. Absent unusual circumstances, if you sell your car, it is gone. You have no more right to it, and you never will. Most authors of copyrighted works - be they musicians, artists, authors or architects - probably assume that the same rules apply to their copyright: once assigned, the copyright is gone forever.

It is not. The Copyright Act, in provisions that are virtually unique in all of American law, allow the author of a copyrighted work can reclaim his or her copyright many decades later by jumping through the right legal hoops at just the right time. Because of these reversion provisions, Mr. Siegel's heirs are in the process of reclaiming the Superman copyright, a process that will result in the multimillion dollar transfer of wealth from Warner Brothers to them. All other authors of valuable copyrighted material-and the heirs of such authors-should pay attention to their story.

The copyright reversion rules under the Copyright Act are complicated, and it is likely impossible in a short article to turn a lay person into an expert. In light of the complexity of the process and the consequences of failure, it makes very little sense for most copyright authors to try and reclaim copyrights on their own. Legal help is almost certainly required.

But when should a copyright author who assigned his or her work seek legal counsel to start the process? The answer depends on when the copyrighted work was first created. For all copyrighted works created before January 1, 1978, the Copyright Act of 1909 provides the ground rules. Originally, copyrights under the 1909 Act lasted 28 years. (Was that it in the beginning, or was there always a 28-year renewal term?) At the end of the 28 years, the copyright ended, and the material was freely available to the public. Congress has added to a copyright's life expectancy on multiple occasions since then, and these days a copyright under the 1909 Act can last up to 95 years. The right to terminate an assignment and reclaim a copyright under the 1909 Act can occur after the first 28 years, at the end of 56 years, or at the end of 75 years.

The rules are different for copyrighted works created after January 1, 1978, because the Copyright Act of 1976 applies. Under the 1976 Act, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. And a copyright assignment can be terminated-and the copyright reclaimed-after 35 years. This means, of course, that the earliest copyright reversions under the 1976 Act will begin in 2013. Copyright authors like Paul McCartney and Elton John are-or at least should be-preparing to reclaim their rights. The current owners of their copyrights are no doubt planning their strategies to hang on.

Two other points are worth noting. First, the copyright reversion right is non-waivable. In other words, even if the copyright author agreed to give up his or her reversion rights, those rights still exist. The usual rules of contract law do not apply. Nor do the usual rules regarding probate. A copyright assigned through a will is not lost forever. The heirs of the dead copyright author-the very people the copyright author apparently did not want to have the copyright-are entitled to reclaim it anyway.

Second, and finally, copyright authors should not wait until the last minute to begin the process of reclaiming their property. The Copyright Act requires authors to give notice before the reversion occurs, and the notice period begins years before the copyright reversion can be seized. Moreover, legal counsel might require some time to investigate and prepare your case, so waiting until the last second could potentially prejudice your rights.

As anybody who has watched the Superman movies knows, Superman always comes back. He certainly has come back to the heirs of those who created him. And if you or a relative created a valuable copyrighted work, you may find that your creation can return as well.

About the Author
Chris Arledge, a partner in the law firm Turner Green Afrasiabi & Arledge LLP, specializes in copyright, trademark and patent disputes. You can learn more about Chris at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Children and Divorce: Shielding them from Harm

Divorce is a devastating and painful process, not just for adults, but also for their children whose worlds are often turned inside out when their parents separate.

Children of divorcing parents are often very frightened and confused by the shake up of the stability and security that divorce can create. Divorce can be very detrimental to a child's development, unless his or her parents make a conscious and collaborative effort to explain what is happening and to shield them from the very destructive feelings and situations that can arise from a divorce.

Children may often believe they are at fault for the problems between their parents. Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can arise as a result of a loss of contact with or alienation from a parent in the aftermath of a divorce. in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce. However, with care, communication and self-discipline, parents can help their children deal constructively with their parents' divorce.

Divorcing parents, no matter how fractured their relationship may be, should put their children first and remember that they are entitled to the following.

--A lasting relationship with both parents --Number one priority in both parents' lives --Freedom from interparental hostility --Attention to their emotional and physical needs. --Input into the visitation schedule; remember, it's their life you're organizing --No displacement by competing relationships --No requirement to parent their parents --Freedom from the role of messenger --Parental cooperation throughout the divorce --Truthful answers to their questions about the divorce --Freedom from guilt, blame and shame --No parental coercion to keep secrets --An understanding of the divorce agreement

Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may become aggressive, older children may become depressed. Their schoolwork may suffer and they may develop later problems in maintaining relationships.

The harm of divorce to children can be mitigated if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though they are splitting up. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to pick a side can be very harmful for children and cause lifelong psychological problems. Children do best when parents can put aside differences and work together on behalf of the child.

Parents' ongoing commitment to the children of divorce is vital. By staying involved and letting their children know they have two loving parents, the negative impacts of divorce can be mitigated. children to help cope with the aftereffects of divorce. Trained counselors can suggest behaviors and strategies to reduce conflict and enable parents to create a functional arrangement for the upbringing of their children.

About the Author
Elijah James has over ten years of experience in family law, and shares all his secrets on Children And Divorce and Family Law on his website

What to do After a Motor Vehicle Collision?

A motor vehicle collision is a very unfortunate event for the fact that people can become very injured and the consequences can be very expensive. You have two or more vehicles that have been damaged and individuals within vehicles who have probably been hurt in some way. And if this happens, there are certain procedures that you need to follow in order to ensure that the accident scene is not compromised in any way. This is important so that when the police arrive, they can see exactly how the accident occurred and cite the right party. This is also important for insurance reasons because it is the insurance company of the person at fault that will pay for the damages done to the person who is not at fault. This includes medical expenses and damages to the car.

So what do you do after a motor vehicle collision? - If you are okay, you can get out of the car. If something is broken, sprained, or severely injured, do not hurt yourself worse by trying to get out of the car. Wait for the ambulance to come and they will get you out of the car.

- If you can get out of the car, make sure you redirect traffic. If the other individual is not doing it or they are too injured to do it, take it upon yourself to do this. This will keep anyone else from becoming injured and will keep the accident scene from being compromised by other cars.

- If you have a cell phone on you or someone near can get to a telephone, call 911 so that the police and the ambulance can get there as soon as possible.

- Make sure you keep any witnesses around. Witness statements are very important on a police report because they further establish who was at fault.

- In the meantime, if the other individual and yourself are capable, exchange insurance information. This is so you can contact your insurance company after he accident to find out what needs to be done.

- Once the police arrive, tell them what happened. They will write everything down and create a police report. That police report is going to be very important when it comes to claims with the insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, they will need it before submitting a claim to the insurance company of the person at fault.

This is the procedure you need to follow after a motor vehicle collision. If you don't follow this procedure or the other individual involved does not want to follow, then there could be an issue. Don't fight with them over it, though. If they are being belligerent because they are at fault, the police will be able to see this when they arrive.

In the case of a minor fender bender, you do want to pull the vehicles off of the road and secure any witnesses that may have seen it. From there, you must follow the same procedures as you would in a larger accident with the exception of directing traffic. As for how the police can tell what happened, they can actually look at a fender bender and tell how the incident occurred by the location of the dents and the angle in which they were made. They cannot really be thrown off by these things.

So whether it is a fender bender or a major accident, make sure you follow these steps and everything should be okay. Things will be handled the way they are supposed to be so that insurance claims can be made and medical treatment can be paid.

About the Author
Find Personal injury lawyer in London, not by 'randomly selecting someone you find in an ad. Whether it's a motor vehicle injury our Law Firm can help you.

What is a Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer?

What is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law Attorney?

What does it mean to be a board certified personal injury attorney? The public is constantly exposed to television commercials in which attorneys state that are (or are not) board certified in personal injury trial law. Does board certification mean that a lawyer is better than one who is not? Is board certification easy to obtain?

Board certification does not guarantee that an attorney is better than one not board certified. What it does mean is that the attorney met the requirements for certification, made it through the evaluation and peer-review process and passed the exam. All applicants for any board certification in Texas must be members in good standing with the Texas State Bar Association. They must have been practicing law for at least five years and must disclose any prior disciplinary sanctions or criminal convictions.

To be eligible for board certification in personal injury trial law, the attorney must demonstrate his or her substantial involvement in personal injury trial law, provide professional references that can attest to their competence and pass a written examination.

Substantial Involvement

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization requires that board certification candidates show that during the three years prior to their application they have devoted at least 25% of their practice to personal injury trial law. Furthermore, they must have tried at least 10 contested civil cases submitted to the trier of fact (judge or jury) of a court of record (above JP court) in Texas. At least five of the cases must have been personal injury jury trials. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization defines Personal Injury Trial Law as including, "By way of inclusion and not limitation, personal injury litigation automobile and other vehicular accident reparations, worker's compensation; other governmental claims; professional malpractice; products liability, statutory claims; social security claims; insurance contract claims; or any negligent or intentional tort." Thus the practice of personal injury trial law is broadly defined to include any claims for damages resulting from intentional or negligent conduct.


To be eligible for board certification, the candidate must submit references to vouch for their competence in personal injury trial law. Four must be lawyers - one of which must have tried a case against the applicant. The fifth must be a Texas judge before whom the applicant has appeared as an advocate in a personal injury trial law matter.


If the applicant makes it through the application process regarding showing substantial involvement and providing adequate references, he or she may be permitted to sit for the day long examination in personal injury trial law administered by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

If they make it through the application process and pass the examination, board certified lawyers must maintain their active involvement in personal injury trial law and participate in additional continuing legal education courses.

About the Author
Michael P. Fleming, former Harris County Attorney, is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. AV Rated.

Finding All Court Records Online

Being able to obtain public court records is often thought of as a pretty tough task, when in actual fact, it is a very simple and only takes a few minutes online. Obtaining these records of the courthouse is very useful when wanting to find out criminal history or bankruptcy of a future employee, information about a new suspicious neighbor, divorce records and much more.

It is becoming more popular now days to find these public court records, especially in the US due to ongoing economy problems testing families, and forcing them to apply for almost any form of employment.

Some of these people have felt the pressure financially and may of made some mistakes. The only problem is that some will go on to make these mistakes which can end up costing you in the long run.

It is important to do a background check on anyone before hiring them for a new position, leaving children in someones care, or entering a new business venture.

Being able to find these court records online now makes the process a whole lot simpler.

US Court Records offers a range of services for background checks including:

* Full Criminal Check: Felonies, Misdemeanors & Sex Offenses

* 20 Year Address History with Phone Numbers and Details

* National Arrest & Court Warrants

* National Federal & State Tax Liens

* National Federal & Civil Judgments

* National Federal & State Bankruptcies

* Distinguishing Bodily Marks

* List of Relatives with Addresses

* Roommates and Associates

* Age/Date of Birth

* Alias/Maiden Name

* Possible Neighbors

* Property Ownership

* Marriages/Divorces

* Death Index Check

* DUI Records

* And many more.

The link below will take you to their page where you can start searching these records in a matter of seconds. The reason for this is that they are linked to thousands of public and private database resources, allowing them to give complete background information on any individual.

Simply fill out the form with the details and you are then on your way to finding the essential information you are after.

Using this preliminary name search tool will give you instant information about the person in question. You can refine your search down to the persons name, age and location to get the best results. They will also give you further information so that you can make sure that you find the right individual. This makes the whole process that much easier.

If you would like to check all court records today, you can do so by visiting the Court Records Website. The site also offers links to other state services within the United States.

For further information regarding the U.S. Court Records, please visit their site at US National Court Records. Copyright Paul Alberti 2009

About the Author
The best source to finding all and any Court Records online. This service makes it easy to find any court records such as bankruptcy, civil, county, criminal, district, divorce, public, state and much much more for those living in the United States.

Monday, February 23, 2009

San Antonio Criminal Attorney Will Aid You With Legal Matters

Federal charges for illicit substances differ from state charges. Based on the Controlled Substances statute, among these federal crimes are simple possession (without the intention of trafficking in drugs), making drugs, drug traffic charges, and conspiring to make, traffic in, or import drugs. All of them are grave charges that carry serious and even life-changing consequences.

If you are ever charged with a federal drug charge, it is important to seek appropriate legal counsel. These offenses can ruin a person's life and one minor mistake can potentially ruin your future, your ability to travel internationally as well as the respect of your friends and family. No one wants a minor record to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

A san antonio criminal attorney can make a world of difference. It is essential that your federal drug attorney be competent, trustworthy, ethical, and experienced. You can find a criminal lawyer in san antonio by looking in the phone book. If possible, it is a good idea to check out his or her reputation beforehand - often using an Internet search engine is sufficient.

Lawyers are expensive. However, they can also help you significantly, provided they have the expertise and determination necessary. Think of it as an investment in your future - if you are looking at prison time, paying a lawyer to help you plead down the charge or maybe even be acquitted is well worth the money. Consider your future, and what is in your best interest.

A person representing himself in court would be doing a blunder mistake as he is unfamiliar with the rules and regulations of the court and the way it operates .Secondly he would get nervous by pressure put on him by his opposite group also present in the court.So a better choice is san antonio criminal attorney which is much more familiar with rules and regulations of court than a average citizen.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, it is a good idea to get legal counsel. Representation from a good San Antonio criminal attorney may oftentimes be beneficial and certainly won't harm your case. The attorney will go through the steps of the legal process, battle to safeguard your interests, and do whatever they can to assist you in righting your wrong. A federal drug charge doesn't need to signify the end, rather, think of it as a second chance.

About the Author
Two news items during the past couple of weeks in California highlight the complicated legal and political tangle that is American federalism - the relationship between federal and state governments - today.

Proving a Car Accident Claim in Texas

Who is liable after a car accident?

Car accidents can happen for many reasons. The basic elements of a car or truck accident are similar to any negligence claim. To prove somebody acted in a negligent manner causing recoverable damages (such as in an automobile accident), you must prove:

A Duty Breach of the duty (negligence) Causation between the duty and Damages resulting from the breach of the duty. To prove that somebody was negligent (breach of a duty), it must be shown that the defendant failed use ordinary care - that which a reasonable person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances. We are all under a duty to use "ordinary care" in operating an automobile or truck. In a personal injury claim involving a car or truck accident, negligence is generally what causes most accidents. Some types of negligent behavior which can cause a car accident and personal injury include:

Failure to keep a proper lookout Failure to control their speed such as speeding or driving too slowly. Following too closely behind another driver Failing to yield right-of-way Going through a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign Failure to control the vehicle Failure to use the brakes in the car Failing to use the horn Failing to use a turn signal correctly Driving in an impaired state such as under the influence of alcohol or drugs Driving on the wrong side of the road This is not an exhaustive list as there can be many other ways that the car or truck driver can act negligently and cause injuries. Furthermore, in many car accident cases, the negligent driver has failed to use ordinary care in multiple ways.

To prove that the negligent actions of the other car or truck driver is liable, you must show that they were the "proximate cause" of your injuries. " Proximate cause" means that cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, produces an event, and without which cause such event would not have occurred. In order to be a proximate cause, the act or omission complained of must be such that a person using ordinary care would have foreseen that the event, or some similar event, might reasonably result therefrom. There may be more than one proximate cause of an event. In a car accident case, proximate cause is rarely an issue in a car or truck accident case.

Once negligence (duty, breach of the duty) and causation are established, it is necessary to evaluate the damages that can be recovered by somebody injured in an automobile accident. The most common types of damages sought and recoverable in a car accident personal injury case in Texas are:

Past and future physical pain and mental anguish Past and future disfigurement Past and future physical impairment Loss of consortium Loss of household services Loss of past wages Loss of future earning capacity Past medical expenses Future medical expenses Punitive (Exemplary) damages in certain cases Car wrecks can be the result of driver inattention, excessive speed, distractions and impairment. Car accidents that are the result of driver impairment are quite common. The impairment can be caused by many factors including drug and alcohol abuse.

In some cases, a claim for personal injuries from a car accident may also be brought against individuals other than the negligent driver. If the driver was working for a company or individual, then the employer may be responsible for the driver's negligence and the resulting damages. Furthermore, even if not working, the owner of the vehicle may be liable for the negligence of the driver. This is known as liability for negligent entrustment. Under this cause of action, an owner of a vehicle that allows another to operate it can be held liable for his or her negligent driving. The owner - whether friend, acquaintance, parent, brother, sister, spouse or other relative - may be liable if they negligently entrusted the vehicle to somebody they knew, or should have know, to be a reckless, incompetent or unlicensed driver.

About the Author
Michael P. Fleming, former Harris County Attorney, is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. AV Rated.

California Antiquities and Art Lawyer and International Maritime Lawyer Looks At Recent Shipwreck Treasure Discoveries

Recently there have been a number of shipwrecks found by treasure hunters which hold some of the greatest treasures ever found. As one might expect, there are competing claims to the treasures found in those shipwrecks. In this article, California Art, International Antiquity and Maritime Lawyer Sebastian Gibson looks at the competing laws which govern these shipwrecks as well as the competing legal principles which govern stolen art and antiquities.

If you have a legal issue involving art, antiquities or have a claim to a maritime shipwreck, sunken or buried treasure under California, martitme, or international law, visit our website at and call us at any of the numbers easily found on our website.

Maritime Shipwreck Treasures

Recently, a number of prized shipwrecks have been found, one as recently as February 2009 when a U.S. salvage company, Odyssey Marine Exploration found a prized British warship believed to be the HMS Victory, lost in 1744, which just may hold four tons of gold. The HMS Victory discovery may solve one of the most intriguing naval mysteries in history. Why did this ship with one of the most famous admirals of his time, disappear with a crew of 1,100 men with one of the largest shipments of gold and silver, including four tons of gold coins, and why has it eluded treasure hunters for so long?

Believed sunk near the Channel Islands by a fierce storm that separated the Victory from other ships that broke through a French blockade at Lisbon and were returning home, the Victory (a later version which would be commanded by Admiral Nelson) had the sons of some of Britain's most influential families on board when it sunk with perhaps the largest collection of bronze cannon as well.

In a less important find of another English shipwreck, Odyssey negotiated a deal whereby it received 80 percent of the first $50 million salvaged, and then a sliding scale up to $500 million, after which the profits were split 50-50. Since that time, however, the British government adopted a set of UNESCO guidelines that will complicate any hope of a similar arrangement.

Two years earlier, the same company, Odyssey, located the mystery ship, the Black Swan" believed to be a Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas, that sank off the coast of Portugal, with seventeen tons of gold and silver coins.

The Spanish government has sued Odyssey in a Florida federal court on the basis that it never abandoned the shipwreck. One could say, they simply lost it for a few hundred years. The British government is believed to be negotiating with Odyssey about a collaboration to salvage the warship.

Maritime Shipwreck Treasure Law

What's important in sunken treasure cases is where the treasure is found, whether the ship was owned by a government or a private entity, and whether there has been any dishonest conduct by the treasure hunters. Most countries and their maritime lawyers claim anything to be within 12 nautical miles from their coast as their territorial waters. Additionally, if the ship was owned by the state or government, Law of the Sea Conventions come into play, which again allow the state or foreign country to determine what compensation the treasure hunter is entitled to. Finally, if the treasure hunter or salvage company has been guilty of any fraud or dishonest conduct, they can be deprived of any or all of any payment due them. Entering a foreign state's territorial waters to look for a sunken ship counts as such misconduct.

International Maritime Law and The Law of the Sea

Under international maritime law and the law of the sea, if an owner abandons a vessel, it can be claimed by the finder. When a vessel has not been abandoned, it can still be salvaged by the finder and is usually compensated by the sovereign state claiming ownership. The Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 encourages cooperation between sovereign governments and states and private entities.

The rule of "finders, keepers" applies only where the previous owner of a ship is found to have abandoned its property. Under various state laws, treaties and conventions, however, the positions taken by most governments, including the U.S., is that the state only abandons its sovereignty over, and title to, sunken U.S. warships by affirmative act. Mere passage of time or lack of positive assertions of right are insufficient to establish such abandonment. Thus, France's claim with respect to the Griffin (or Griffon) that it never abandoned its interests in the ship.

Sorting out these competing claims can take awhile. In 2001, the Great Lakes Exploration LLC found a 17th Century ship, the Griffin, in northern Lake Michigan, near Wisconsin. One might think that Michigan or Wisconsin would have good claim to the ship. But just in January 2009, France filed papers with the court hearing the case that claims the ship expedition was undertaken on behalf of the French Crown and was not a private enterprise.

The Richest Shipwreck Ever Found

And then, just when you thought the scale of these discoveries could not be topped, they have been, at least monetarily, with the discovery of a British merchant ship, sunk by a Nazi submarine, that was transporting just goods from a European port, to the U.S. with repayment to the U.S. Treasury for the Lend-Lease Program that gave support to the Allied war effort. And what was this ship, code named the Blue Baron carrying? Just the world's richest shipwreck cargo ever. The ship is thought to have been carrying a $3.7 billion cargo of gold, platinum and diamonds.

Believed to have been found about 40 miles off the coast of Guyana by Sub Sea Research, a U.S.-based marine research and recovery firm, the shipwreck will be the richest find ever. It was reportedly carrying at least ten tons of gold bullion, 70 tons of platinum, one and a half tons of industrial diamonds and 16 million carats of gem quality diamonds.

So far, no counter claims have been filed in the federal admiralty court case relating to the find, but it is likely that a number of countries may make claims to possessions on board that originated in those countries, including Russia which, like Britain, shipped large quantities of precious goods to the U.S. in payment for the war effort by the U.S. The question for historians who may have some influence in this case, is whether the Soviet Union paid subsequently for the Lend-Lease war effort after the ship was sunk.

Stolen Art and Antiquities Law

The law with respect to stolen art as opposed to lost shipwrecks is quite different, but no less complicated. Some countries view the movement of stolen works of art as the smuggling out of its country of a "national treasure," even if it was previously, privately owned. Other countries view the contents of tombs and other relics to be the property of the state and their taking as "theft." Another view of situations in which a work of art is previously owned by one person and then appears in the collection of another, is viewed as a further variation of theft. In this last variation, most legal systems provide protection to the bona fide purchaser, unless the property is stolen.

Unfortunately, the laundering of stolen works of art is facilitated by the lack of consistency of state laws and international law, statutes of limitations, the bona fide purchaser defense and the burden of proof on the person claiming that the art work was stolen.

Under a common law rule in Anglo-American law, a person cannot give what he or she does not have. Thus, a thief cannot convey good title to a stolen work of art, even where there have been several subsequent purchases by bona fide and unsuspecting persons acting in good faith. However, the vast majority of western countries with civil law systems accord protection to the purchaser in good faith of stolen art. While there are international treaties and conventions which are gaining supporters, for the most part, it has been said that international law on the illegal sale of art works and cultural treasures is not retroactive.

The FBI now maintains a National Stolen Art File (NSAF) which is a computerized index of stolen art and cultural property reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and the world. The primary goal of the NSAF is to serve as a tool to assist investigators in art and cultural artifact theft cases and to function as an analytical database providing law enforcement officials with information concerning art theft.

It has been reported that the trade in illegal art and antiquities in the U.S. is exceeded only by the trade of guns and drugs. It is believed that most of the stolen art in the world (over 100,000 objects since the 1980s) comes to London or to the U.S. with much of it bought secretly by persons for their private collections, for a fraction of their market value.

Visit our website at and call us if you have an issue involving stolen art or any art issue, maritime shipwreck sunken treasure, or with regard to international or cultural antiquity treasures.

At the California Law Firm of Sebastian Gibson, we have the knowledge and resources to be your art and antiquities lawyer, and your maritime shipwreck attorney and assist in the recovery of stolen art and pursue litigation over sunken and buried treasure. If you need legal assistance in connection with any type of art, treasure or antiquity, look to California art, maritime and international attorney Sebastian Gibson for representation in the U.S. and throughout the world.

About the Author
Visit our website at if you need an art or antiquities lawyer in California or an international maritime shipwreck attorney. We have the knowledge to be your California Art Lawyer and California Maritime Attorney anywhere in Southern California from San Diego to Orange County.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Orange County Non-Profit Organization and Charity Lawyer Looks At Charity Raffles and Poker Tournaments

Charity Raffles

In these tough economic times even for charities, there is a growing trend in California by non-profit and charitable organizations in Orange County and elsewhere to conduct raffles, but these are not the bake-sale raffles of old. Today, such raffles are often for homes worth between one and three million dollars. If that doesn't excite you, how about a charity poker tournament for a good cause.

If you are a charity or non-profit organization and need legal advice or representation with regard to holding raffles, or poker tournaments or other events, visit our website at and call us at any of the numbers easily found on our website.

In 2008, nearly 2,200 charities registered approximately 3,500 raffles with the Attorney General's Office in the State of California. Not all of the raffles were for prizes as spectacular as a million dollar home, but there have also been charities who have failed to register their raffle with the state in advance of their raffle and some of the charities who have failed to comply with the rules have been referred to county prosecutors.

While noncompliance with the raffle rules has usually been the result of an honest mistake, some charities simply don't like all of the reporting requirements.

The rules relating to charitable raffles in Orange County and all of California are contained in California Penal Code Section 320.5. The rules are straightforward, though somewhat complex. The most important rule perhaps is the requirement that at least 90 percent of the gross receipts generated from the sale of the raffle tickets for any given draw are used by the eligible organization conducting the raffle to benefit or provide support for beneficial or charitable purposes.

While California Gambling Laws are contained in a myriad of Penal Code Sections, rules relating to sweepstakes, promotions and contests are contained in California Business and Professions Code Sections 17539-17539.55 and the enforcement provisions are in Sections 17200 and 17534-17536.

Non-Profit Organization Poker Tournaments

With the popularity of poker tournaments on television, charities in Orange County and throughout the state have gotten into the act as well. The holding of Charitable Poker Tournaments and other controlled games is governed by sections 19985-19987 of the Business and Professions Code. The same 90 percent rule applies as it does to who may conduct charitable raffles.

Visit our website at and call us if you need legal advice or representation for your charity or non-profit organization anywhere in Southern California.

If you are a charitable or non-profit organization and would like legal advice as to how to conduct or set up charitable fund raising events of any kind in Orange County or anywhere in Southern California, especially those which involve any types of games of chance, contests, sweepstakes, promotions, gambling, poker or raffles, be sure to consult with a Charity and Non-Profit Organization attorney from our offices before preparing any advertising materials or rules for your event.

About the Author
Visit our website at if you need advice for a charity or non-profit organization in Orange County or anywhere in Southern California. We have the knowledge to be your Orange County Non-Profit Organization Lawyer and Orange County Charity Attorney anywhere in Southern California from San Diego to Orange County and Palm Springs.

San Diego Life Insurance Attorney and Life Insurance Lawyer for Orange County Analyzes Claims Denials And CA ERISA Appeals

Life Insurance Claim Denials

Sadly, it is common for life insurance companies to deny valid claims of beneficiaries under policies insuring the lives of policy holders. When that occurs, family members in Orange County and San Diego can turn to the Law Offices of Sebastian Gibson for assistance.

At the Sebastian Gibson law firm, we don't represent life insurance companies. We only represent policy holders and their family members and beneficiaries. We have a long history of standing up to insurance companies both in personal injury matters and in insurance bad faith cases.

While large insurance companies hope a grieving widow or small children will feel powerless against a company worth billions, with the Law Offices of Sebastian Gibson fighting for your rights, the insurance companies are the ones who have something to be concerned about.

If your claim for life insurance benefits or the policy limits has been denied by a life insurance company in San Diego, Orange County or anywhere in Southern California, or if you need a California ERISA attorney, visit our website at and call us at any of the numbers easily found on our website.

Unfortunately, life insurance companies know that they can take advantage of an unrepresented person who doesn't know the law. And in this area of law, perhaps more than most, the law favors the life insurance company over the unwary and the unrepresented claimant.


Many, if not most life insurance claims are subject to ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act which by its name alone, causes most attorneys to want nothing to do with it, for fear it will make such claims unduly complicated and unimaginably complex. Some attorneys even have it mixed up in their minds with RESPA, which deals with real estate and mortgage rules, something altogether different.

The most important aspect of ERISA, however, is that most insurance policy claims allow only one appeal of the denial of a claim. That appeal must be handled by the claimant or the claimant's attorney as if it were the claimant's one and only shot at winning the claim. Unless an appeal is made, the claimant will have no right to bring a lawsuit and many grieving family members have made the mistake of failing to make the appeal altogether.

If the appeal is made and denied, the claimant must go to federal court with the lawsuit based solely on the administrative record of the appeal. In most cases, the claimant may not submit any new evidence or call any witnesses after the denial of the first appeal. The case will turn of the record of the earlier appeal alone. And if the claimant has attempted to represent themself without an attorney, it is more than likely that their case may already have been lost by the time it is filed in federal court.

Without the proper preparation of the appeal by an attorney, and without the proper evidence, an appeal of a claim will likely result in a denial which cannot then be appealed with much probability of success. What is even more astounding to the claimant, in most cases, is that it is the same insurer who reviews an appeal. And an insurer that denied the claim in the first place is unlikely to decide the claim differently when the claimant appeals the denial based on the same arguments that failed to persuade the insurance company the first time around.

Insurance Company Claim Denial Excuses

Denials commonly are based on a number of excuses by insurance companies who hide behind them in order to increase their profitability under the pretense, in many cases, of preventing fraud. The insurance companies claim either that there was some misrepresentation or non-disclosure in the life insurance policy application, a pre-existing condition, or that, in the case of an accidental death, that the injury was self-inflicted by being the result of drunk driving, or some other dangerous behavior.

Visit our website at and call us if you have had a claim for life insurance benefits denied by a life insurance company in San Diego, Orange County or anywhere in Southern California or if you need a California ERISA lawyer to prepare an appeal.

If a life insurance company has denied your claim for death benefits, don't let your overwhelming grief for your loved one play right into the hands of the life insurance company. As soon as your claim has been denied is the time to meet with an experienced life insurance and bad faith insurance attorney from our law firm who can properly prepare an appeal and seek to compel the insurer to pay the policy amount to the proper beneficiaries.

About the Author
Visit our website at if you have had your claim for life insurance benefits denied in San Diego, in Orange County or need a California ERISA attorney appeal in Southern California. We have the knowledge and resources to be your San Diego Life Insurance Lawyer and Orange County Life Insurance Attorney anywhere in Southern California.

California RESPA Lawyer Analyzes the RESPA Final Rule And The Penalties Imposed For Violations of Section 8's Kickback Prohibition


There's a new rule in town. It's name is still RESPA, but it is the new and improved RESPA and this time it may have some teeth to it's enforcement.

In 1974, Congress enacted RESPA, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act primarily to address abusive practices, promote greater understanding to homebuyers and to prohibit practices such as kickbacks or referral fees that result in higher costs.

Efforts began in earnest in 2008 to reform RESPA and on November 17, 2008, HUD published its new 341-page RESPA final rule. Though published in the Federal Register, there is a one year implementation period and mandatory compliance begins January 1, 2010.

If you have been the victim of a violation of RESPA in California and have been improperly charged as a result of such a violation, or if you are in the real estate industry and are facing RESPA litigation visit our website at and call us at any of the numbers easily found on our website.

RESPA Prohibition of Kickbacks

RESPA was created in the first place partly because various types of entities involved in the purchase and sale of real estate such as Realtors, lenders, construction companies, and title insurance companies were often engaged in providing undisclosed kickbacks to each other, thereby causing the costs of real estate transactions to become inflated.

RESPA was designed to prevent kickbacks not just in California, one of the states with the greatest number of foreclosures in this current economic crisis, but throughout the U.S. But RESPA has been criticized for failing to prevent what it was meant to prevent. Lenders and others in the real estate industry in California, for instance, still see customers go with the default service providers associated with a lender or Realtor, even though the documents the homebuyer signs explicitly state they can choose any service provider they wanted.

However, Section 8 of RESPA quite explicitly and forcefully prohibits a person from giving or accepting a fee, kickback or anything of value for referrals of settlement service businesses relating to a federally regulated mortgage loan. It also prohibits fee-splitting or a person from giving or accepting any part of a charge for services that are not performed.

RESPA Penalties for Kickback Violations

Violations of Section 8's kickback, referral fee and unearned fee provisions subject a person who violates RESPA to criminal and civil penalties. In criminal cases, a person in violation of Section 8 cam be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to one year. In a civil lawsuit, a person in violation of Section 8 can be liable to the person who was charged for a settlement service an amount equal to three times the amount of the charge paid by the person for the service, and for the person's attorneys fees. Individuals have one year to file a complaint to enforce violations of Section 8 in federal court in the district the property is located or where the violation occurred.

Without oversimplifying Section 8, a real estate agent in California or anywhere in the U.S. may not offer nor may a real estate agent accept anything of value for referring business to a settlement provider such as a mortgage banker, mortgage lender or title company or to a friend who refers the agent business. Realtor to Realtor referrals are excluded and there is a contract for such referrals that is enforceable. It is probably still acceptable to take such contacts out to dinner, discuss business and thank them for their support, but that is about as far as one can go.

With all that has happened in the mortgage industry in California and throughout the U.S. that has led to the current economic recession (and some would call it a depression), anyone criticizing the kickback and fee-splitting prohibitions should remember the excesses in lending to unqualified homebuyers that led us to the situation the financial industry now finds itself.

Entities who are found to have formed sham joint ventures for the purpose of evading the Section 8 prohibitions risk potentially millions of dollars in damages and attorney fees as well as criminal charges and imprisonment.

Visit our website at and call us if you have been the victim of a violation of RESPA in California and have been improperly charged as a result of such a violation, or if you are in the real estate industry and are facing RESPA litigation.

If you believe you have been the victim of a violation of RESPA in California and have been improperly charged as a result of such a violation, or if you are in the real estate industry and are facing RESPA litigation, we recommend that you consult with our California RESPA law firm immediately.

About the Author
Visit our website at if you have been the victim of a violation of RESPA in California or if you are in the real estate industry and are facing RESPA litigation in California. We have the knowledge and resources to be your California RESPA Lawyer and California RESPA Attorney or anywhere in Southern California.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Job Background Check - How Long Do You Have to Worry About Past Problems

Having a job background check run on you can be tricky and discouraging, especially if you know that your record hasn't exactly been impeccable. The fact that you fear the results of your job background check might not be good, and can have negative repercussions on your confidence, and the idea that this sort of check could be run on you could even make you give up on applying for a job that would otherwise be ideal for you. If you have such worries about the prospect of a job background check, you should know that only certain elements can make their way into the background reports, and even so, only within a few years of their happening.

For instance, a file for bankruptcy would usually show up on your record, but only if it happened in the past ten years. If your filing was prior to the 10 year margin, it will no longer show up on your file. And most importantly, even though it is public, you cannot be refused a job on the basis of your bankruptcy. It does not affect your candidature for a position.

A seven year limit applies to other things that might put a damper on your record, such as civil suits, arrest records, fines or other tax violations, foreclosures and other minor offenses, so if the incident you are worried about happened more than seven years ago, chances are that you don't have to worry about it anymore. Seven years is not a very long period and enough for you to put it behind you and start afresh.

While in some US states even criminal offenses are a subject to this seven year rule, most states will show record of such offenses for the duration of one's life. The best thing to do is be ready and face the check.

If you'd like to know more about what you should and shouldn't worry about during a job background check, visit the website and you will have access to a variety of information that will help you shed your worries aside and give you a lot of valuable tips to help you get that dream job you are chasing.

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Psychological Harassment in the Workplace and How to Protect Yourself

Psychological harassment is a common form of harassment affecting people in the workplace. It can have serious and long lasting effects if it is not addressed. Psychological harassment is abuse and it appears in the form of verbal comments, physical action or gestures directed at a person with the intention of humiliating or lowering their self esteem. Often times a victim of psychological harassment is unaware that they are being harassed and therefore may feel that the abuse is deserved due to the abusers manipulative tactics to lower the victims self worth.

Psychological harassment usually begins slowly and increases over a period of time. The actions are repetitive and often hostile creating an unpleasant work environment for the victim. The harasser will usually attack the victim by making rude or unusual remarks about the victims personal life and will attempt to intimidate the victim by yelling, making threats or by use of intimidating gestures. Victims who are suffering from psychological harassment often show signs of anxiety, irritability, insomnia, paranoia, stress and depression. In many cases the victim will be unable to continue to do their work and be forced to leave their job causing them financial loss and instability.

Psychological harassment should not be ignored or allowed to continue. Here are 4 things you can do to protect yourself if you are a victim of psychological harassment in the workplace and to prevent future occurrences from happening to you.

1. Log every incident of harassment. Keep an ongoing journal of your thoughts and feelings, and safeguard any evidence that can be used to provide proof of your claim.

2. Express your feelings to the harasser and ask that they stop their abusive actions immediately.

3. Communicate your thoughts and feelings with someone whom you are close to such as a relative, friend, or spouse. It is important to express your feelings. Do not keep them isolated.

4. Inform a proper authority of the harassment such as your employer, union representative, state labor organization, or contact a lawyer. If you wish to file a claim against the harasser be sure to do so within 90 days of the last incident. Do not try to fight this on your own.

Andrew Williams

Learn how to empower and protect yourself from psychological harassment in the workplace, please visit

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Know the Employment Laws of Your Business

A friend of mine who also happens to be a Human Resources consultant wrote an article on Ezine the other day and I read it and found out that a recent court decision has been given out that affects all employers in the State of Minnesota, the state where I live in. Here's what the article had to say:

"In a nutshell, in August 2006 the MN Court of Appeals ruled that employers must pay employees all of their earned but unused vacation when their employment terminates. Many employee handbooks, including some I've written, have clauses in them that deny vacation payouts to employees who are terminated due to policy violations or who fail to provide adequate notice of their resignation."

We too have a clause in our employee handbook that states that terminated employees and employees who fail to give a two week notice of their resignation forfeit their vacation pay. After all, who wants to give vacation pay to someone who has been terminated for theft or sub-par work, or who quits without notice, leaving you high and dry?

I'm hoping this case will be appealed to the MN Supreme Court. In my opinion, vacation pay is a privilege, and not something that employers are required to pay. In any event, it pays to stay on top of any laws that affect you and your business. You don't want to find yourself in hot water because you failed to comply with the law!

Tips for Hiring Great Employees

A recent discussion about how some employees drag down their company's name has caught our attention. It is then extremely important. A while back we had a discussion about the problems some cleaning companies have with employees who drag you and your company name down. It got me thinking about what we try to do in our cleaning business to avoid this and hire great people. Here's a file I came up with:

1. Use a training program so everyone is trained the same. Have them sign off on the training program so they can't come back and say, "no one ever told me that!" This is why we developed our own training program. We found our supervisors weren't training consistently. Now they train everyone the same, covering everything we want them to cover.

2. Go after and follow up. Whether it's you in person or your supervisors. Once people are trained, you can't just leave 'em and forget 'em. People forget what they've learned so you need to remind them, point out what they're doing well and bad -- and don't just tell them about the bad - everyone needs a pat on the back once in a while.

3. Recompense employees for outstanding work. Give bonuses for perfect attendance, great walk-off or whatever incentive you can think of. Conduct regular reviews and give them raises based on performance.

4. Recompense your employees well. Give them a reason to stick with you versus going to the competition because they pay a quarter an hour more than you do. The employees that have been with us a while are making a good wage.

For more: How to start a cleaning business

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Friday, February 20, 2009

What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOA-HC) is a form that allows us to name a person or persons to make decisions about our health care in case we don't have the capacity to make those decisions ourselves. It will give direction to the kind of medical treatment we want even If we cannot communicate those directions.

Advances in medical technology have brought upon mixed blessings. Now a days people are living longer and longer lives. Yet some feel the quality of life does not match the quantity of life. In other words, many people wonder what good is it to live to be a hundred years old if we spend our last years confined to a bed, not knowing who we are, and unable to feed ourselves. "Is it really living?" some ask.

Today, most courts agree that we have the right to control our health care. It is your right to accept or even refuse treatment. Doctors do not have the legal capacity to force us to live. They cannot force us to take medicine or receive other life sustaining procedures if we expressive state those wishes. If you are unable to communicate those wishes then putting them in writing is the only other way to do it. That's why today we have access to the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form.

If later on you change your mind about your medical wishes in your durable power of attorney form then you can revoke it (make it not legally valid). Depending on which state you live in there are laws that will revoke a power of attorney. For example some state laws will automatically revoke it if your spouse is not appointed as your agent (person executing the DPOA-HC). Doing the research of your state's current procedures is the only way to be absolutely sure it will be revoked.

This article has been brought to you by Legal Forms Bank .biz, a site that provides do-it-yourself legal forms online as an alternative to expensive lawyers. They have your state's current, up-to-date durable power of attorney form that includes instructions.

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Discover 4 Important Differences Between Elder Lawyers and Estate Planners

One of the most common questions asked by my clients is what are the key differences between elder lawyers and estate planners. There are real differences between them. Discover these important differences between elder lawyers and estate planners.

Important Difference 1 - Elder lawyers plan for life. They provide more than death planning. Estate Planners focus just on your death. They plan for your estate at your death. It is why they are called estate planners. Elder law planning deals with your important health care and financial decisions while your are alive and not just who gets your stuff when you die.

Important Difference 2 - Estate planners are for the wealthy. Elder lawyers are for the rest of us. If your net worth is more than 3.5 million dollars, then an estate planner can help you save federal estate taxes. An elder lawyer can help you protect your assets against the high costs of disability and long term care even if you will never pay estate taxes.

Important Difference 3 - Elder lawyers focus on people not things. They help you plan who will make your critical decisions when you no longer can. Estate planners deal with what happens to your things after your death.

Important Difference 4 - Elder lawyers are holistic. They deal with all of needs of seniors as they age. Plans are made for disability and long term care needs. Assets are protected. You are in control of how decisions are made rather than the courts. Estate planners focus on when you are incompetent or dead.

Do you need an elder lawyer or an estate planner? You know the important differences. Now you can decide which one you need. When you consider hiring your lawyer, ask him if he is an elder lawyer or an estate planner. Before you hire any elder lawyer, ask him if he is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (

Provided as an educational service by Jerry L. Siefers, Jr., Attorney at Law, Siefers Law Office, P.C. If you have questions or comments in the areas of elder law, estate planning, trusts (including special needs trusts), probate, guardianships, or medicaid assets protection, you're invited to contact Jerry as follows:

Jerry L. Siefers, Jr.

I'll gladly talk with you over the phone or in person for free. I'll help you understand what decisions you face so you can properly plan for you and your loved ones while protecting your assets.

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Alzheimer's Disease - Legal Issues to Consider

When a person close to you is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a host of issues have to be dealt with immediately and in the future. One area that needs to be looked at closely involves the legal issues that arise.

To say the field of law is complex is a minor understatement. That being said, there is one concept that is runs through much of law that is fairly easy to grasp. The concept is know as "capacity." It refers to a person's ability to make a decision. For instance, a person under the age of majority is automatically considered to be incapable of forming a contract in most states. The reason is they are considered to have an insufficient capacity to determine whether entering a contract is a good move. This is why 13 year old cannot buy guns.

I am discussing the concept of capacity because it is central to any diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. All to often, people will drag their feet on making legal decisions and executing legal documents because Alzheimer's tends to progress slowly. This is a mistake because Alzheimer's is a disease that attacks the brain and any such disease automatically raises the issue of whether a person has sufficient mental capacity to enter legal agreements.

For instance, a court might find a person diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease who waited five years to form a durable power of attorney did not have the capacity to do so. The court would then terminate the power of attorney and assign a court guardian to make the decisions. Do you really want that to happen?

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a lawyer should be retained immediately. The legal documents that should be discussed with that attorney include a durable power of attorney for financial decisions, a durable power of attorney for health decisions, the creation or modification of a trust, the creation or modification of a will and the creation of a living will. Each of these legal documents is a complex subject, but all are useless if the person diagnosed is rendered incapable of forming them.

In short, you need to act quickly or you might end up with a judge making decisions for you and your family. I can't think of any family that would want that to occur.

Alex Jensen is with - a free senior housing placement service in Southern California for Alzheimer's patients.

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