Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability Substantial Gainful Activity for 2016 is $1,130 for non-blind individuals

This is the amount an individual on Social Security Disability Income can earn in 2016 per month and still receive DIB benefits. The amount is adjusted slightly upward each year. Oh how generous the federal government is (sarcasm intended).

Here's the link

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

5 Legal Mistakes Made on Social Media #ebook #Kindle #99cents

5 Legal Mistakes Made on Social Media by [Wells Jr., Michael]

#NorthCarolinaStateTrooper kills unarmed and deaf #DanielHarris for using sign language in #King #NorthCarolina

This is despicable. A State Trooper killed him for using sign language earlier this week.

This isn't surprising unfortunately. 752 people have been killed by police so far this year. This remains unacceptable.

Why do we have these worthless cops? There are so many good ones, but why can't we fire all the bad ones?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Police catch criminals through #socialmedia #lawyerslife

·         Police look to Facebook first.
·         Social media can be used in court—and often is.
Criminal defendants love to talk about their exploits, and social media is the perfect place for it. It is obvious why this wouldn’t be a good idea as it provides evidence that can be used against you, and it is used against criminal defendants all the time.
Police always look at Facebook
And why wouldn’t they? I look people up on Facebook all the time. NEVER say things on Facebook you don’t want repeated. This rule is most true and impactful when criminal activity is involved. It would be fruitless to discuss the nature of criminal activity and what should and should not be illegal. If you are going to break the law, don’t talk about it on Facebook. The police will catch you.
Social media can be used against you in court (and in life)
Social media is a treasure trove in both civil and criminal law. People say things that are revealing and harmful. Criminal defendants brag about crimes, and prosecutors use that information. Civil plaintiffs and defendants make statements that hurt their cases, and opposing attorneys find and use that information.
Cheating spouses are caught on social media.
Kids skipping school are caught.
Employees skipping work are caught.
The list goes on and on.

What you say on social media will get you caught (if it hasn’t already). Again, don’t say things that will be detrimental to you later. It doesn’t take a law degree to know some things are better left unsaid.

Friday, August 19, 2016

#TMI on #SocialMedia is a bad thing #lawyerslife #legal

·         Giving TMI may make you susceptible to identity theft and blackmail.
·         Don’t post pictures of your children or say where you live.
·         Don’t say when you are out of town.
·         The less people know, the better off you are.

People are stupid. The Internet is the greatest medium for idiocy in human history. I remain baffled as to why people say what they say and how they say it. We’ve all read incomprehensible drunk posts and posts from people who write so poorly they seem drunk.
I would love to post some of the things I see on Facebook, but I would be breaking my own rules. I also don’t want to read Facebooks disclosure statement as it is very long and boring. I don’t want to incur the wrath of Facebook, which owns the content people post.
One of my favorite things to ask my wife is, “Did you see what her or she posted?” Both of us aren’t really shocked anymore.
It is better not to post pictures or information about yourself or your children because people can use this information against you. The less people know the better.
Identity Theft
Regarding identity theft, we’ve all seen the “Nigerian scam” that usually comes in the form of an e-mail. People still fall for this. When you post detailed information online, it makes you more visible to scammers, scammers who know enough about you to sound more credible. Scams are called “confidence games” for a reason. The so-called “con” is that you believe what you are told.
Detailed information on social media supplied by you gives scammers the information they need to steal your identity. Likewise, it lets potential thieves know who you are, what you have, and when it is best to steal from you. Now, I’m speaking in general terms here, but why make it easier for people to steal from you or put yourself in danger unnecessarily?
The world is dangerous enough as it is. As a lawyer, I try and get my clients to minimize their chances of incurring legal liability. I believe this is a good way live too.

Don’t post about your family, especially children
Liability is one thing, but safety is a more important thing. There are a lot of sickos in the world, and the Internet makes it easier for these depraved individuals to find victims. It is the dark side of the Internet. The flipside of that is we can learn who sex offenders and other criminals are and where they live.
People love to post pictures of their children and detailed information about their children. I get the desire to tell people about your kids, but think about your kids’ safety. If you haven’t looked at your state’s sex offender registry, you should because there are a lot of them out there. They live closer than you think. When you put pictures on social media that give locations, then it tells these individuals where you are and who your kids are.
I’m not being alarmist in the least. Children and teenagers are molested far more than people realize, and that’s why parents should do ALL they can to protect their kids. So resist the urge to post your kids’ pictures online.

TMI is easily preventable. Giving too much information may make you more susceptible to identity theft, break-ins, and, most important, make your children vulnerable to predators. 

Refrain from saying things on #socialmedia you don't want repeated #lawyerslife #socialmediaandthelaw #lawandsocialmedia

·         When bad judgment goes viral, watch out.
·         Online activity may hurt your current job and future employment prospects.
·         Youthful indiscretions live on in perpetuity online.
Be careful about what you say and when you say it.  There are numerous examples of employers seeing Facebook posts where people have said they never work at their job; then the employer fires the employee.
Bad judgment goes viral and employment (or unemployment)
People need to be careful about what they say online. Your words can hurt you professionally, and they can reflect negatively on your employer. There are tons of stories out there where people made racial or ethnic slurs online, and then they lost their job. I remember the woman who made a racial slur on Twitter right before taking off on an international flight. She cut off her phone. When she landed, her tweet had gone viral; someone alerted her employer; the employer fired her; and the employer issued a statement. The kicker is no one will hire this woman now because everyone knows what she said, and it shows how bad her judgment is. No one wants an employee with bad judgment because it can subject an employer to legal liability.
Perpetual youthful (and adult) indiscretions
Bad judgment online doesn’t necessarily always equate with legal liability. Sometimes it just plain makes you look bad. We all look bad sometimes, but we don’t want that to live on online forever and ever.
Be careful about what you say and when you say it. There are numerous examples of employers seeing Facebook posts where people have said they never “work” at their job; then the employer fires the employee. Also, who can forget the “Alabama Tea-bagger”You Tube video or the video of David Hasselhoff shirtless and muttering to himself while eating a massive cheeseburger?

It is simple: don’t be stupid, but, if you are going to be stupid, please don’t put it online. Your parents will thank you. Your employer will thank you. Current and future spouses will thank you. Your future and current children will thank you. If you do put your stupid acts online, we will all laugh at you and be glad it isn’t us. That’s mean, but it is true. 
It is simple: don’t be stupid, but, if you are going to be stupid, please don’t put it online. Your parents will thank you. Your employer will thank you. Current and future spouses will thank you. Your future and current children will thank you. If you do put your stupid acts online, we will all laugh at you and be glad it isn’t us. That’s mean, but it is true. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Get permission before using pictures, articles, videos, and other online content #lawyers #copyright #socialmedia

  • ·         Pictures, articles, videos, and other online content may be protected (essentially “owned”) by someone else.
  • ·          Assume copyright laws apply unless told otherwise—even then assume they still apply.

Intellectual property is a vast area in the law, and it can encompass many forms. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to create copyright laws to protect ideas that are in a fixed form. This can get very complicated and trigger nuanced areas of the law, but copyright laws usually apply to forms of written expression, recordings, drawings, paintings, and other forms of expression that is recorded in some form.
Copyrighted material
The example I see most often is when people pull images off of Google. Usually the image says, “This image may be subject to copyright law.” People disregard these warnings; they use the image; and then they receive a demand letter from a lawyer telling them to pay $2,000.00. If you used the image without permission, it is likely you are liable. The amount of damages may be in dispute, but who wants to fight that battle? Better yet, who wants to pay a lawyer to fight it for you?
You can see how the same rules apply to written and recorded material.
While I do not purport to be an expert in the nuances of copyright law, I have one simple rule: I don’t use what is someone else’s material without permission.
A related issue is plagiarism. This is using someone’s material and passing it off as your own. It may or may not be copyright infringement. For example, if I were to use a speech in a political convention that was given by someone else without quoting the person or in any way attributing it to them, then that would be plagiarism. Whether it is copyright infringement depends on the situation.

Be careful when you use content created by others. If you don’t have permission, the best rule of thumb is to not use it.

#RyanLochte and #RyanLochteGate embarrassed the United States, but their alleged offenses were minor

But they ticked off Brazil because they allegedly lied about being robbed. In reality, it appears they were detained by police for vandalizing a bathroom. Now I'm sure they were being kids, celebrating after doing well at the Olympics, but they went too far. And, understandably so, Brazilians felt degenerated,. I get that. I can see how they perceive "gringos" think they can do whatever they want in Brazil. It seems like that happened here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The things you say may have legal consequences #defamation #cyberbullying #lawyers

·         Defamation of character (libel and slander).
·         You can be sued for what you say.
·         Words cannot be taken back.
·         Cyber-bullying factor (Criminal liability, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)

Freedom of speech is perhaps the most sacred of all rights under the United States Constitution, but with that freedom comes responsibility. The First Amendment is not absolute. What you say can have legal consequences. Without getting into state specific definitions, defamation is taking some action to damage a person’s reputation. Defamation is usually broken down into general categories: libel and slander.
o   Libel
Libel is written defamation, and slander is spoken defamation. In general, if you say or write something that is untrue, and it causes financially quantifiable harm, you may be liable for money damages. It follows you need to be careful what you say about people on Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media.
Let’s assume I am a thriller writer. I have a rival named Luigi Vampa. Luigi’s books always sell better than mine. I make up a story that Luigi plagiarizes his novels. I post it all over Twitter and Facebook.  As a result, Luigi loses a book deal where he would have received a million dollar advance and royalties of a million dollars. Am I liable for this? More than likely, yes, and I could have to pay Luigi a few million dollars because I committed libel i.e. written defamation.
o   Slander
Now assume I am a motivational speaker. My rival, Tom Thumb, is better. He gets larger
audiences, and his stories are more compelling. I hate Tom. I envy Tom, and I want to hurt him. So I start saying Tom fathered numerous illegitimate children, none of whom he pays for. He uses the millions he makes from speaking and writing just for himself.
Tom loses all credibility, and his speaker’s bureau cancels his tour. He loses two million dollars.
Am I liable to Tom Thumb? Yes, assuming it can be shown that my spoken words directly caused Tom’s economic harm. That’s slander.
o   The Tie-In
It should be obvious by now how your words on social media may subject you to legal
Liability for defamation of character. While you may not be liable for millions of dollars, it costs money to defend a lawsuit, and do you really want to be known as someone who defames another person?
I’m amazed at the things people say on social media. We’ve all said things we shouldn’t, but some people go insane on social media. They spew the most vile venom. This kind of thing is not allowed under the law if it is untrue and if it causes financial damage. Even if there are no legal consequences, the damage to your own reputation that comes from spewing nasty comments should be considered before ever writing anything on social media or a blog.


“Cyberbullying” involves the use of the Internet, though mobile technology or other

computer devices, to harass, humiliate or cause harm to another person. This can take many forms.
For example, assume a high school student takes an unflattering picture of another student, posts it online, and then the picture goes viral. The student who had his or her picture taken does not approve of the photo, nor does student give consent for the photo to be posted. People say humiliating things and begin to repost the picture, and student eventually commits suicide as a result.
Sadly there are many instances of this sort of thing, and there have been many suicides in the last few years due to this kind of harassment. That’s why many states are enacting so-called “cyber-bullying” laws, which impose criminal penalties when certain elements are met.
In addition to criminal penalties, there are also civil penalties too. Depending upon the state’s laws, it could be viewed as intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress usually involves activity that is “extreme and outrageous.” This intentional behavior results in extreme emotional distress to the afflicted individual. It is usually emotional in nature, but there can be physical manifestations.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress is when there is behavior that is likely to cause extreme emotional distress to the afflicted individual.
Requirements vary from state to state, but it is never a good idea to engage in this kind of behavior. It is cruel, and it can subject you to civil and possibly criminal liability.

Words matter. They can carry legal consequences, so be careful what you say. If you are
are not careful with what you say, you may face civil and possibly criminal liability. Contrary to what many people say, you aren’t free to say what you want.

#SocialSecurityDisability clients deserve to be treated like anyone else #lawyerslife

Lawyers can be an arrogant lot, and that's unfortunate. There is no reason to ever be arrogant, but lawyers are all the time. Between their degrees and their country clubs lawyers can be real jerks. They say things the wrong way even though they are supposed to be supremely skilled with language.

I'm amazed how some lawyers don't treat their Social Security Disability clients with respect. I see it all the time. I have no tolerance for that sort of thing. You should treat clients with respect because that may be you someday.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Try and avoid unpleasant people, and your career will thrive #lawyerslife

We all have to deal with unpleasant people. That's life, but sometimes law firms can become warrens. It happens when you have people who work there for years and aren't accountable. As a result, they overestimate their own worth, and they cost the firm money. That's because they are generally lazy and sick all the time. Why is this? Because they are unhappy mentally and physically.

Surround yourself with positive people who work hard and who have goals. Stay away from negative shrews (and nasty crows if male), who play gotcha (whether they be lawyers, paralegals or other support staff. Fortunately I deal with none of these issues now.

#ImmigrationLaw misconceptions #lawyerslife

Immigration cases are complicated, and there are multiple ways to misstep.  If there are specific legal questions, it is important to contact an immigration attorney.  In order to illustrate the point, here are some common misconceptions:

  • ·         Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) no longer exists, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken over INS’ functions.  DHS also coordinates with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and other governmental agencies to oversee immigration;
  • ·         Lawful permanent resident status and citizenship cannot be achieved simply by marrying a U.S. Citizen.  There are other criteria.;
  • ·         Illegal entry into the United States will likely jeopardize a later immigration case; Certain criminal plea agreements such as no contest or deferred prosecution may be deemed a guilty plea by DHS and therefore have a dire impact on a person’s immigration status.

   This is by no means an exclusive list, but it demonstrates the necessity of talking to an attorney prior to making a decision that may adversely affect you or the person who needs assistance.  For additional information, see the DHS website

Thursday, August 11, 2016

#InkSketch and #lawyerslife

In the legal profession, to be successful one needs to go after it like a wild horse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

#SocialSecurityDisability cases tend to be sad #lawyerslife

No one wants to file a Social Security Disability claim, but things happen. Many of them are beyond a claimant's control. These occurrences, genetic dispositions or both render a person unable to work. It happens, and it happens a lot. I have multiple cases a week that come in where people cannot work full time. That's the standard: can you work eight hours a day, five days a week? If you can't you are disabled. That's the law.