Thursday, April 24, 2014

Store with 'Wake the ---- Up' coffee can't fire worker for explicit chat without warning, says judge

Store with 'Wake the ---- Up' coffee can't fire worker for explicit chat without warning, says judge.  Kind of hard to fire someone for using explicit words to a customer when your products bear explicit words.  Likewise, when you as CEO are called for comment, using the f-word doesn't exactly strengthen your argument.  Maybe this is a "Christian" business.  Businesses that misuse religion for monetary gain tend to be the worst offenders.

Jury awards nearly $3M to family over fracking pollution

Jury awards nearly $3M to family over fracking pollution.  It is about time Texas does something right.  Fracking is a barbaric process, and it is horrible for the environment.  The Duke Energy coal ash spill is nothing compared to the dangers of fracking; the Duke Energy spill was horrible too--worst in US history.  I hope there are more lawsuits like this.

Child porn possessors must pay victims restitution, but liability is limited, SCOTUS rules

Child porn possessors must pay victims restitution, but liability is limited, SCOTUS rules.  I think you have to construe Congressional intent in favor of the victim.  Child porn is perhaps the most pernicious illegal activity in our country.  I do not agree with the majority that liability should be limited.  $3.4 million should have been the award.  I see no reason for a limit on the liability of the uncle who took pictures and exploited his young niece.  Damages can never be proportional to the harm; therefore, damages must be very liberally granted and punitive in nature, otherwise the law cannot begin to hope to exact the wrong.  Obviously collection is an issue, but the more the damages, the greater the message. 

I enjoyed speaking at the Gateway YWCA about Social Security disability

The attendees asked great questions as we delved into the complex world of Social Security disability.  I will speak in conjunction with Legal Aid on the same topic next week at the Downtown Health Plaza on Wednrsday, April 30th, at 5 pm until 6 pm.

I'm going to speak at the YWCA about Social Security disability today at 12:30

The YWCA was nice enough to ask me to speak about Social Security disability.  Hopefully I will get a good crowd.  It is a great facility, and I am happy that area of town has been revitalized.

Lawyers can probe jurors on social media but can't connect with them there, ABA ethics opinion says

Lawyers can probe jurors on social media but can't connect with them there, ABA ethics opinion says.  I'm not sure why they need an ethical opinion on this.  It seems pretty obvious friending a juror would be improper conduct.  I suppose a lot of lawyers don't understand social media.  In fact, I know of plenty who don't.  It is really pathetic, yet it is amusing too.  I should compile the incorrect statements made by lawyers.  I could call it, "Dumb Things Lawyers Say About Technology." 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Traces of marijuana in bloodstream not enough for DUI conviction, Arizona Supreme Court rules

Traces of marijuana in bloodstream not enough for DUI conviction, Arizona Supreme Court rules.  Interesting case.  I wonder if this will be used by anti-legalization advocates.  I suppose these kinds of arguments have been made and will continue to be made.  I can see why the Arizona Supreme Court made this ruling as there were clearly proof problems.

Why should I hire a Social Security disability lawyer instead of a non-attorney claims representative?

It is important for Social Security disability claimants to have representation, legal representation.  Certainly non-attorney claims representatives are allowed to represent disability claimants in their cases.  Claimants do so, however, at their own peril.

Let me give you an example of non-attorney incompetence:

I will call the claimant Bill.  Bill used to work as a CNA, but he can't because he is unable to lift more than 20 lbs. continuously.  He only has a 12th grade education, and he is over the age of 60 so he does not have the residual functioning capacity to do sedentary work.

It comes up at hearing that Bill worked for a company that did parties to sell certain kinds of goods.  Claims representative failed to question Bill about the job duties and whether he could perform the job.  Judge issued am "Unfavorable" decision because he concluded Bill could do his job with the party company.

The representative should have asked how long Bill could stand.  He should have asked if he could do the work eight hours a day five days a week.  Then he should have asked how much weight Bill would have had to lift at the job.  If these questions had been asked and answered, Bill likely would have prevailed at the hearing.  Any attorney would have asked these questions.

Claims representative also left out that Bill's mother died in a car wreck in front of Bill when he was 7.  Certainly this would bolster PTSD and  depression claims.

The long and short of this was the claims representative was incompetent and clearly not a lawyer.  A lawyer would have won this case.

Failed Justin Bieber deportation attempt elicits brilliant White House response

There are a few hundred thousand idiots who have nothing better to do than to sign a petition asking the President to deport Justin Bieber.  Obviously the President can't comment on pending Homeland Security issues, a legal reality lost on the dull witted petitioners.

In a brilliant move, President Obama used the feeding frenzy to stress the need for comprehensive immigration reform that 1) secures our borders, 2) streamlines the process and 3) provides a path to citizenship.  This is what these petitioners should focus on.  Critics rarely have solitons, especially when they are in the #tealiban. 

Why does it take so long to get Social Security disability?

There are a number of reasons.  There are hundreds of thousands of claims.  Since 2010 Congress has continued to defend the Social Security Administration's (SSA) local offices, and this results in claims processing delays.  Sequestration has exacerbated this trend by cutting funds for local office funding more.  Lastly, the government shutdown in 2013 has caused more delays.

Congress has systematically cut funding for local offices since about 2010.  This has increased the processing time for an average claim that goes to hearing from 18 months to more than 24 months.  This is a concerted effort by conservatives in Congress to discourage disability filings and to "wait out" claimants so that they give up or die.

Sequestration further delayed cases by cutting local offices budgets further.  There is hostility to disability cases in Washington in spite of the cases being a small portion of government programs.  Likewise, many of these claims are returning money people already paid into the system. Contrary to the mindless rhetoric of intellectually bankrupt Congress people, disability is not a handout, yet tax breaks to billionaires are.  Logical consistency is not important to the illogical.

The government shutdown in 2013 delayed cases already waiting on decisions; it delayed hearings; it delayed denials; it delayed payments; it delayed everything.

There are other reasons, but these are the main reasons.