Legal Tips to Avoid Paying Back Credit Card Debt

paydebtOne of the legal tips to avoid paying back credit card debts stars with outright stop payment. As you read and learn more you will realise there are ways through which one can avail legal tips to avoid paying back credit card debts.

As we go on using credit card for our daily expenditure, we don’t realise how deep we have gone into the debt trap. It is only when we start defaulting on repayment that we realise, how difficult it is to come out of credit card debt. If recession has made the matters worse than it is recession which also helped elimination of debt in the easiest possible way.

There was time when the easiest legal tip to avoid paying back credit card debt was declaring bankrupt. When debtors failed to repay the money borrowed they simply declared them self bankrupt. But in modern times when credit histories of debtors are easily transferable, it is wise to carry a clean credit history for future transaction. So it is not wise to call oneself bankrupt. Instead one should try to clear all his debt with possible legal help and move forward.

As we realise that there are legal tips to avoid paying back credit card debt, next thing to do is find out what are those. As per experts the best possible legal option is to take help of debt Relief Company. The company make such an arrangement with bank that a debtor doesn’t have to pay full amount that he owes but only what is left after negotiation. How much amount to pay or how much waiver to avail is entirely dependent on the relief company’s expert negotiation skills.

Many a times a settlement company had succeeded in availing discounts as big as 70%. Whatever left is then paid on easy monthly instalment during a period of 1 to 2 year time. Such arrangements are absolutely legal with no hidden conditions. The most important point to be taken care of is that not all the debt relief companies are legal. There are cases of fraud and bogus company posing as genuine and duping innocent debtors.

Therefore, one of the most important legal tips to avoid paying back credit card debt is to find and hire a debt relief company of repute, a debt settlement company which has a history of successful track record. There are many such companies which one can select through internet.

Getting out of debt through a debt settlement process is currently very popular but you need to know where to locate the best performing programs in order to get the best deals. To compare debt settlement companies it would be wise to visit a free debt relief network which will locate the best performing companies in your area for free.


Legal Tips For Home Owners

legalPersonal home is just like a heaven in the world. Having your personal home is like a dream come true but there are many complexities and legalities associated with it.

It is in the best interest of you to complete all legal formalities before and after purchasing the house. These legal procedures can save you from much bigger problems and tensions. Some of the important legal tips for home owner that you must take care of are given below:

Documents Verification

Verification of documents is one of the critical issues in purchasing your personal home. You must verify all the related legal documents of the property. It is advised that you should perform this verification process either yourself or through some legal firm.

You must also check that there should be no financial liability over this property. If you are buying this house on behalf of actual owner, then you must verify the validity of his / her power of attorney.


This is the first step which you have to take before purchasing your desired house. You should advertise in local newspapers about your intentions to purchase the specific house. The advertisement should clearly state that if somebody has any legal right over this property, he / she can contact you within the given time frame.

Proper Documentation

It is your most important duty to prepare all concerned legal documents which are compulsory to prove your ownership. This documentation may include preparation of lease agreements, registry papers, transfer deeds, sale deeds, no objection certificate, non encumbrance certificate and the clearance from all utility departments like electricity, gas, water and sewerage.

Mode of Payment

It is considered a good deed in favour of you to make all the payment of your new home through bank. This will make a proof of your payment about the purchased property.


Now you have become the owner of your personal home so it is your responsibility to register your home with all concerned governments departments. You may register this property to cantonment board, Municipal Corporation, local government department of land, union council or any other institution.

Utility Connection

It is a better approach to have all utility connections on your personal name. If you have purchased an already built house then you should transfer all connections to your name by giving application of transfer. If you have built a new house yourself then apply for the new connections on your name.

Issuance of Power Of Attorney

You should not issue any kind of power of attorney to anyone for any purpose. If you are willing to transfer your share to your family or anyone else then it is advised to do it with your will papers rather than issuing the power of attorney.


It very important to get insurance policy for your home as it will insure your home from any accident like theft, fire, earthquake or any sort of natural disaster.

Some people are against the insurance policy of houses. They are unaware of the terms and conditions of the policies and assume it as wastage of money. However the fact is that if you adopt right policy then it is in your best interest of you as you can claim for the damages caused to your home in case of any disaster.

Rent Agreements

There can be the case when you are not interested in living in your own house and want some portion of it to be rented out or have a paying guest in your home. In such scenarios it is advisable to make proper agreement / deed about the rent and other related terms and conditions. Also you should check and verify the character of your tenants.


Legal Services Can End Up Costing a Substantial Amount

zAccess to lawyers and advocates is often only an option for those with money. Litigation is expensive and the availability of legal services to less wealthy citizens is often problematic. In a democratic society, however, fairness and justice should be the same for everyone, whether they are rich and poor. As such there are ways to ensure that you are treated fairly, without necessarily having to revert to the major expense of lawyers in the case of litigation.

The most obvious is access to legal services by subscribing to a legal aid organisation, for those that can afford a reasonable monthly premium from eighty to about a hundred and fifty rand per month. These organisations offer access to legal services through a network of appointed lawyers and an annual limit of legal expense is guaranteed. In reality this is another form of insurance and should be considered by people who believe they may well use the services of lawyers in litigation from time to time. These services clearly wouldn’t include transfer of property and such issues, but will assist in dealing with the secondhand car dealer that sold you a ‘bum’ car and so on. The service is rendered by a panel of regular lawyers appointed countrywide by the service provider.

By subscribing to legal services by means of a legal aid organisation, you basically have access to your own legal specialists 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, simply by picking up the telephone. In many instances a bit of “over the phone legal advice” is all that’s required to quickly resolve a distressing matter. In other words, if you are not sure of how to address a specific situation, you do not have to make an appointment with a lawyer; you can simply contact your legal advisor by telephone and ask advice. Obviously, if the matter requires a bit more than just straightforward advice, your legal professionals can also assist further

Legal services should not only be seen as an actual court case. If that was the case, not a lot of people would ever require the services of qualified legal professionals Legal services can range from something as basic as a lawyer writing a letter on your behalf, to the more severe court battles. For this reason, you cannot go about life with the thought that “I will never do something drastically wrong, so I will not ever need legal advice”. As mentioned earlier in this article, you might buy a car from a dealership and 3 days later the car literally fall to pieces. The car salesmen will not necessarily smile and hand you back your money – you might in fact need legal advice and possibly even a court case In other words, never say never Make sure that you are protected against the unforeseen, no matter of how responsible you go about your daily existence

Legal services can range from labour law to immigration law, property law, criminal law and even family law. Don’t allow legal costs to get your down – take the necessary action as soon as possible


US Citizenship Application: Tips for Getting Your Application Approved

Though USCIS receives thousands of applications, probably the form they receive the most is Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The US citizenship application is a 21-page form with complicated legal language. Completing the entire citizenship application without any mistakes is complicated.

Filling out the application yourself is risky: a single mistake can cause an application to be denied. The bottom line: if you want to become an American citizen, the US citizenship application has to be filled out perfectly.

What follows is a list of the top 10 reasons why a US citizenship application can be denied.

1. Not Paying Taxes

Make sure you have no pending obligations with the IRS before filing your citizenship application. If you don’t pay your taxes, your application might be denied.

2. Not Paying Child Support

Complying with child support payments is just as important as paying your taxes. If you are behind on child support payments, your N-400 citizenship application might be refused.

3. Not Registering for the Selective Service

All males applying for American citizenship must register for the US Selective Service. If an application is denied because of man fails to do so, they may be unable to refile until they are 31.

4. Having a Criminal History

USCIS will check for any citations, arrests, or other violations in an applicant’s criminal history. Note that some crimes can cause an automatic denial of citizenship or deportation.

5. Possession of a Fraudulent Green Card

If USCIS discovers that your Green Card was issued fraudulently, they can deny you citizenship. US immigration services can also refer you to an immigration judge for deportation proceedings.

6. English Proficiency

You must have some level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing English. This is critical, as English is the principal language in the United States.

7. Lying on the Citizenship Application

If you give a false or misleading answer on your citizenship application, you will be denied. Be careful when answering questions, especially about criminal background.

8. Failing the Civics Test

Failing the civics test is another reason many people have their citizenship application denied. A USCIS officer asks 10 out of the 100 possible questions; 6 must be answered correctly.

9. Failing the Naturalization Interview

During the US naturalization interview, you will be asked questions about your application in English. A USCIS officer will look for inconsistencies in an application and for anything that might seem suspicious.

10. Not Renewing Your Green Card on Time

If your Green Card has expired, your citizenship application can be denied. You should begin the Green Card renewal process at least six months before it expires.

Becoming an American citizen is no easy task. The US citizenship application is complicated and it’s easy to have an application denied. Because these errors can be costly and time-consuming, it is even more important for you to file your US citizenship application correctly the first time.

Choosing Legal Representative in Careful Manner and How It Impacts Your Case


Protecting your basic rights as a human being is big enough reason to answer the question of Why You Need a Lawyer for Marijuana Possession. To be fair, possession of any kind of drugs and substance, including marijuana, is a criminal offense that should subject you to court processing. But just because you happen to be in possession of certain amount of marijuana does not mean you have to be treated unfairly, suffer from biased judgment, and unlawful punishment. You have to pay for the deed, that much is true, but it is the extension of the punishment that needs clear directions. This is not something that can be achieved on your own. You need someone who understands what he or she is doing on your behalf. You need a professional that can guide you in navigating legal corridors in order that you can obtain satisfying and fair outcomes.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Marijuana Possession is a question whose answer can be found by simply observing the fact that you are a human being to begin with. Marijuana under your possession is indeed incriminating evidence that should be enough to subjugate you to legal processing. But, for all you know, that substance could be in your possession as a means to treat certain medical condition that you have. Marijuana is legal for medical purpose in some states but there are states that still take it as an illegal substance. You could be getting that marijuana illegally because while you know your condition is treatable with it but the state law rules out its use. Law enforcers will not care about this fact as in their eyes laws are there to establish and you possessing the marijuana is clearly a violation of regulation. Eventually, you would be charged with a drug offense, which may lead to you being prosecuted a bit unfairly.

Actually, whatever the story behind your marijuana possession might be, you still need to have a capable lawyer by your side throughout the legal proceedings. With you being properly presented by a knowledgeable attorney, chances are good that you might get the best possible results by the end of the day. If indeed you were to be legally convicted, at the very least, you would be granted with an indictment of the lowest grade. This is not about how you can get away with the offenses you have committed. This is about fighting for your most basic human rights. So, it is clear that the next problem in line is how you can get such a help that will relieve you of too big a burden. Luckily for you, if the case happens to take place in Phoenix, Arizona, you can rely on AC Law Group for this very purpose. The firm is composed of skillful attorneys that possess sizeable amount knowledge, which is more than enough to help you out of the bush. Getting tangled in legal problems is never an easy thing to go through. This law firm knows and understands that and is here to help you.

Advocating for a Loved One

We tend to take our independence for granted — our capacity to manage and direct our own legal, financial, and medical affairs. It’s something we always assume we’ll be able to do, but there do come times when we have to get a little help to move forward. When this happens, whether through an injury from a car accident or the effects of a long-term illness or ailment, we count on our families and loved ones to see us through the hardship, and sometimes even fight for us when we can’t.

But this is not without its challenges and, indeed, it can be a tough job. The intricacies of traumatic injuries and chronic illnesses, as well as the medical and legal hurdles that frequently come with them, can be difficult for anyone to understand and deal with. Remaining emotionally sound and supportive as you endeavor to do so is, likewise, no easy feat.

Forewarned Is Forearmed

If this has recently become your world, you need to arm yourself with as much information and as many resources as you can. Whatever condition has affected your loved one is something you now need to become an expert in. You need to understand the short- and long-term impacts of that condition, as well as the in’s and out’s of any treatments that are or may become necessary. You will also need to make sure that you understand the level of advocacy that may be required of you, and if or when it may be required of you to legally act on their behalf.

This means that you’re going to have to start documenting, and researching, everything from the hospital your loved one is being treated in, to the staff in charge of their care, to the dates and details of the care itself, as well as any pertinent conversations. Mark down dates, times, and especially any changes in condition. It’s a lot to remember, but details such as this are crucial to ensuring your loved one gets the help and care they need, and you’ll need to start recording them immediately. You’ll also need to make sure that any records of injuries, diagnoses, consultations, medications, and treatments are collected and organized.

Keeping track of these details is not only crucial for ensuring that your loved one receives the medical care that they need, but also to ensure that you can overcome any hurdles you may encounter when working with insurance companies and healthcare providers. It’s not uncommon, especially in catastrophic health care scenarios, for insurers to dispute the medical necessity of a given procedure or to deny claims and coverage if there is insufficient or missing documentation. Should any medical malpractice occur, this will only become more crucial.

If your loved one is facing a situation where they may be unable to understand their treatment options or make decisions for themselves, you may need to talk to them about naming a health care proxy and establishing power of attorney. This will allow you to legally advocate for them in any situation where they may be incapacitated or otherwise unable to advocate for themselves. While some states do make provisions for cases where this did not or could not occur, this frequently does not provide the legal authority for the medical and financial decisions that will need to be made.

Also, know where you can go for help, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you think you need a second medical opinion, get one. If there are legal considerations or hurdles that you need help with, consult with an attorney. And with a little research, you will find that there are numerous support organizations for people with hardships and severe medical conditions that can assist financially, logistically, and even emotionally. Likewise, these organizations frequently work to support patients’ caregivers as well.

Patience Is a Virtue

It’s important to know whether you’re in a sprint or a marathon and to pace yourself accordingly. There is a lot to take in and understand, a lot of paperwork and hoops to jump through, and you could be looking at an extended care or recovery picture.

It’s natural to get frustrated, to say the very least, but it’s important to keep your patience for a couple of reasons:

First, it enables you to make rational, measured, and thoughtful decisions. This is not possible when you want answers or solutions, and you want them now. Rushing things increases the chances of making rash decisions that may negatively impact not just you, but your loved one as well. There may be occasions where you need to be there to make an immediate, real-time decision, but the majority of the time, you need to approach things from an informed and level-headed perspective.

Second, being patient with others makes them more inclined to assist you. Your loved one’s doctors and supporters may well have to divide their time between them and several other people, and are themselves, just as human as you and your loved one human.

Be Vigilant

As well as their advocate, you’re also your loved one’s guardian. You must ensure you keep a watchful eye on them.

Elderly patients, for example, are sometimes subject to abuse at the hands of their carers, whether physical or emotional. Whenever you drop in on an elderly relative or friend, enquire into their care. If you notice anything off, such as a reluctance to discuss the matter or indications of abuse (such as bruising, signs of malnourishment, or an unkempt appearance), look into the matter. Do not be afraid to be nosy. If you find sufficient evidence of malpractice or neglect, then report it immediately to the authorities. If necessary, make arrangements to have your loved one moved to a new facility.

Make sure they’re not being taken advantage of either. Ensure that they never make legal or financial decisions without you present, and keep a careful eye on all their arrangements. If necessary, make legal arrangements to ensure that you’re recognized as their legal guardian and given powers of attorney. This should help prevent people from conning your loved one into making agreements they may not fully understand.

Remember that You, too, Can Ask for Help

If you’re struggling with the legal and financial responsibilities laid upon you as an advocate, you don’t have to struggle alone. Seeking legal advice from a law office may be a good step to ensure you’ve at least got the basics covered, especially as the specifics may vary depending on where you are. The legal landscape of medical malpractice in Florida may differ from that of California, for example, and may even differ within the state depending on which county or municipality you fall under.

A professional opinion never hurts and may save you a major headache further down the line.

Helpful tips for Canada Relocation

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada there are certain things that you should keep in mind. To begin with it is highly advisable to get in touch with an authorized Canadian immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant.  Though foreign students and workers can easily get all information online, it definitely helps to have representation. It is a practical move to hire a consultant as most of them know how the immigration system works; they keep up with the frequent changes in regulations and know the exact method of processing. They will listen to you and advise basis your qualifications and eligibility criteria. There are more than 60 immigration programs offered by the Canadian Federal authorities. It is necessary to choose the right program. A small error in application can result in a rejection. And that can lead to multiple problems, especially if you want to re-apply.

So we bring you a few helpful tips:

As mentioned above, consult a registered Immigration consultant in Canada

The one thing you need to understand is, you are not under legal obligation to hire a representative. Legal representatives understand the Canadian system and can guide you effectively. But they do not have any special influence on the Immigration officials. The onus of granting a visa lies solely with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials.

When you do appoint a legal representative, ensure that they are registered with the Canadian Government. Get clarity on the services they provide, and the amount you need to pay. Be careful while enlisting services because the Government of Canada refuses to deal with anyone who is not registered with either of the below mentioned organizations:

  • Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
  • Notaries who are members of the Chambre des notaires du Québec; and
  • Reputed members of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society.

Furnish Correct Information

No circumstance should you submit any false document, information or data. Misrepresentation, intentional or by mistake, will be treated as a serious crime by the Canadian government. Depending on the severity of the situation the federal government can take the following action:

  • They will make a note of ‘permanent record of fraud’ in the CIC database
  • CIC can set a 5 year ban, so you cannot enter Canada for about 5 years
  • Revocation of Canadian citizenship
  • Removal from Canada
  • Criminal charges for fraud.


Regardless of who fills up the application, you or your legal representative, you must take complete responsibility for the details furnished in it. A single mistake and the CIC will hold you responsible.

CIC Website

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Website offers detailed information on everything related to Canada immigration. So regardless of the part of the world you come from, it is very important to read through each and every directive on the site. You’ll get a lot of guidance on what to do as well.

Acquaint yourself with the official languages

Make sure you learn Canadian English and French. These are the most widely spoken languages. Practically all official communication in all provinces is either in English or French.

Additional Information

You must keep papers regarding any additional information with you. You should be able to produce the right document when asked for.

Copies of Documentation

You must keep copies of all documentation. Make sure you have a clear copy of the application you have submitted.


Drunk Driving Regulations In Cyprus

Police announced that during January, more than 7,000 drivers had been breathalysed in the whole country, and the 8.25% found to be over the legal limit. Following the provisions of section 94 of the Criminal Code (Cap. 154), it is illegal to be in state of intoxication in a public place. Specifically, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other related substances is illegal. In Cyprus, alcohol-related offenses are subject to Criminal Code. Consequently, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is subjected to criminal prosecutions.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs may influence someone’s ability to drive. It is widely known that in many cases driving while intoxicated is the main cause of road accidents because drunk drivers have a reduced mental ability, so they lose control while driving. Some other considerable characteristics of drunk drivers are the increased excitement and recklessness.

In legal terms, drunk driving is defined as driving with a specific percentage of alcohol in blood that can be estimated through breath or blood tests. In other words, drunk driving is specified as driving a vehicle while blood alcohol content is above the legal limit determined by the relevant laws. Precisely, the legal limit in breath is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath. On the other hand, the legal limit in blood is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. However, breath and blood tests do not necessarily confirm that someone was drunk but that he or she had enough alcohol in his or her body that probably affected him or her while he or she was driving.

The main punishments of drunk driving are:

  • Fine
  • Imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension

The defendant should take into consideration that blood alcohol concentration level is influenced by the amount of food in the stomach, the rate of which alcohol is consumed and his or her weight. As a result, the defendant must prove that at the time he or she has been tested, the circumstances influenced the blood alcohol concentration level. Furthermore, he or she has to take into account that alcohol tests do not confirm that he or she was drunk while he or she was driving.

It should be pointed out that drivers do not have the right to refuse to take an alcohol test. If the driver refuses to cooperate with the police, then there might be some severe consequences, such as license suspension and/or fine. Furthermore, he or she might be accused that he or she did not cooperate with the police intentionally. Hence, our lawyers recommend you to cooperate with the police and take the necessary tests.

As it has been explained, drunk driving is subject to Criminal Code. As a result, in case you have been charged with drunk driving offense you will need a professional legal support. The lawyer will study your case thoroughly and gather the necessary facts in cooperation with you in order to support your case properly.


Guide on How to Get Free Legal Advice Online

If you have been in need of legal help you may have noticed that it’s usually expensive to get advice. If you don’t have money you no longer have to worry of hiring a lawyer as you can get valuable, 100% free legal advice.

What you should do

Since law differs from state to state and country to country, you need to find a website that will give you advice relating to your country or state. You should find a website run by reputable lawyers in your state or country and get advice from them.

How to get the most from free legal advice

The ability to get the best free legal advice solely depends on you. When posting your question, include the state or country that you are living in. This will not only help you get professional advice, it will also help you to filter out know-it-alls giving inaccurate information.

Forums are excellent places to get legal advice, but you should be cautious of them. As rule of thumb avoid open forums. Post your question on law specific forums where you will get advice from law students, practicing lawyers, judges and even former judges.

There are some lawyers that run personal sites and allow people to ask them questions at no fee. They use emails or require you to fill contact forms. Before you send an email or fill the contact form, vet the lawyers doing underground checks on them.

Remember that the person might be posing as a lawyer in order to get your information which he/she can use to ruin or blackmail you.

When sending the email and contact forms avoid using your real name. It’s even better if you don’t give a name at all. This will help you state your case better as you won’t feel as if the lawyer recognizes you.

To get better advice, give all the details about the case. If you have contacted a lawyer before, mention it so that the lawyer can know how to go about it. Also mention the history leading to the case. If handling a divorce case, give reasons that lead to the divorce.

It’s also recommended that you let the lawyer know how you expect the case to go. For example, if you are fighting for alimony, let the lawyer know the amount that you want to get. The information will help the professional tell you what is possible and what isn’t.


There are many websites and forums where you can get valuable, free legal advice. You only need to do your research and identify the ones run by professionals in your state. When writing to the lawyers, be courteous. Remember, they are doing you a favor!

If looking for Free Legal Advice online in India we have a site run by professional lawyers where you will get Legal help for all the legal problems that you might be having. Visit the given links to know more.


How a Business Attorney Can Help Your Business

When you own a company, you need legal representation in order to protect your business’s well-being. Business law is a special area that deals with issues that arise from interactions between your corporation and other entities. To protect your company, you need an attorney familiar with this legal area.

Business Law Coverage

In short, this legal area not only deals with legal interactions that may arise from conflicts between your company and others, but also the creation of a new enterprise. An attorney who specializes in this arena has a background in many different disciplines such as bankruptcy, tax, intellectual property, employment, sales, and real estate. Many corporations employ a team of such representatives, one lawyer for each area.

To ensure you have the best representation, you should view your company as an entity of its own. It must be separate from you and your employees and represented in this manner. Your enterprise is subject to the same laws and rules as every other person or association working in the same marketplace.

Forming New Enterprises

While it may seem like a business attorney has the main job of keeping his or her client out of trouble, he or she also works to form new companies. In order to create new entities for their customers, they must fill out the necessary documents for the secretary of state. Small associations may be able to handle some of this paperwork themselves. However, it is a good idea to contact a legal representative to ensure the documents are filled out correctly.

There are many different ways your attorney can form a new entity. Limited liability companies (LLC) and corporations are among the most common. However, sometimes a limited partnership is formed that allows the owners to participate in the corporation as an investor only. Other options include becoming an “S corp,” which allows the syndicate to gain certain tax savings.

While drafting the paperwork to form a new opportunity, your lawyer may also work to draw up documentation that outlines management of the new association. Heavy consideration and care are taken in order to draft these files, as it indicates how owners will agree on decisions, transfer any ownership rights, and share in the profits and losses. A good example of this type of document is an operating agreement for a new LLC.

Transaction Navigation and Avoiding Litigation

There are many times that you, as the business owner, won’t need to seek legal advice before conducting transactions. Day-to-day operation of your enterprise is based on the needs of your customer base. If you need to order new equipment to do the job, you simply do it. However, there are other areas in which you need someone to weigh in. These are complex legal areas such as Internet commerce or securities regulations that are wrapped in a lot of legalese that you may not understand.

An attorney that works in this legal area can also take steps to keep his or her clients from being drawn into a lengthy court battle. By allowing your representative to handle these complex transactions, he or she can structure the deals in a way that will minimize the litigation possibilities for your entity.


Legal Disputes of the Future

Who owns food? Who pays for this accident? Who owns my face? Who owns the Arctic? Who owns the Pacific Ocean? Who owns the sky? These sound like some ridiculous questions at first glance but let’s take a second look at the future through the Great Karnak’s trusty crystal ball.

Who owns food?

Let’s start with this one, since it has, more or less, already taken place. A small landowner in Nebraska named Bill parks his tractor in the shed after a long day of work in the fields. He wipes sixteen hours worth of sweat off his brow while he opens his mail. All bills. Two men in dark suits approach him at the front door and hand him a subpoena. The farmer opens the subpoena, quite surprised to learn he’s being sued by a major U.S. corporation for copyright infringement. It’s a huge settlement they’re after – in the millions. He doesn’t have one tenth of what they’re asking in damages. Since he sits on a tractor most days, he hasn’t got the faintest notion how he could be named in a suit for copyright infringement. He’s certain they’ve got a case of mistaken identity and places the document at the bottom of a pile of correspondence, making a mental note to consult his lawyer about what to do with the nuisance suit.

Rest assured, it’s no mistake. The large U.S. corporation spent millions in developing a strand of DNA for corn that is resistant to a pesticide they also own. When you buy their corn seeds and use their pesticide for your crops, you’ll get excellent results. They copyright the strand of corn DNA they worked to develop. To protect the investment in DNA research they hire over seventy-five corporate lawyers to aggressively prosecute copyright ‘thieves’. They have to establish a legal precedent that attracts a lot of publicity; they intend to branch out into other food stuffs, such as eggs that last longer on the shelf, wheat that produces heavier grain, chickens that add weight quickly, beef that responds to their brand of steroids in cattle foods. The list is endless, and it’s all going to be done by protecting copyrighted DNA strands.

Bill consults his country lawyer about the suit, explaining that he has stolen nothing in his life from anyone. The lawyer does a bit of researching and discovers he’s opposed on the brief by some of the best legal minds in history, paid for by a Dow Jones multinational. He first explains to the multinational that his client doesn’t know how the patented corn seed got into his fields. Possibly the seed cleaning company that strips seeds off Bill’s corn for next year’s crop has intermingled patented seeds with his. He tries to offer a settlement but this is not what the corporation wants. They want a trial. They wish to establish for the record that they’re prepared to sue if anyone grows their corn without paying them for the seeds.

Bill and the country lawyer lose the case which costs him more than he can pay in damages and legal costs. He appeals. The appeal also loses right up to the Supreme Court since copyright law is sacrosanct in the U.S. Intellectual property, in this case a section of DNA, is property protected by the highest court in the land. Bill’s house, farm and equipment are sold at auction to the highest bidder, and the proceeds given to a multinational worth more than a quarter trillion in market cap. The proceeds don’t cover the cost of one of the lawyers for one year, but they’ve earned an important victory – they own food.

Who pays for this accident?

Late June, 2016. A new electric car with one occupant is proceeding along a Florida highway within the speed limit. Up ahead, a tractor trailer crossing the pavement at an intersection blocks the way. The driver, who has the vehicle on ‘auto-pilot’ is reading work-related files and doesn’t see the upcoming collision; he trusts his car will react properly and put on the brakes, as advertized. The software or hardware on the car malfunctions, the result is that the car smashes at full speed into the trailer blocking the road, disintegrating the car and killing its occupant.

Within hours of learning of the crash, the vehicle manufacturer issues a statement: ‘Neither the auto-pilot nor the driver saw the tractor trailer in the blinding sun’, trying to diminish responsibility by including the driver’s inattention to the road. A sharp lawyer advises the family of the deceased to sue, since, by definition, he was not the driver; the car company’s software was driving. The driver of the tractor trailer is found blameless because it was possible to avoid the accident, just as every other vehicle did in this situation.

The impending lawsuit sends shivers down the corporate world’s spine. Will they be forced to halt production of their cars? Offer compensation in the billions as GM or Ford experienced? Will it affect future car sales? Will there be expensive recalls? Their very survival hangs in the balance on the outcome of this legal battle. The car company uses as its indemnity the disclaimer every software user accepts before they can switch on the ‘auto-pilot’. Use at your own risk, they say, just like all software. If a calculator gives you the wrong answer, is the calculator manufacturer to blame if you make a wrong bid on a billion dollar tower construction and lose your shirt because of it? No, it’s the user’s responsibility to check all calculations.

Not so fast, says the family’s lawyer. I present to you as evidence sales material from the car company showing people in these cars on ‘auto-pilot’ busily reading files related to work, texting on their phones, eating sandwiches and coffee, streaming movies. The company has promoted the auto-pilot as reliable, in fact more reliable than humans. The manufacturer, in order to sell the product, has accepted the responsibility for the safety of its passengers, or users, by heavily implying that users can relax while the software guides them safely to their destinations. It’s the car company that killed their client, no one else, by encouraging the car buyers to trust the software to the extent that they don’t have to pay attention to the road ahead. Why else would you buy it?

Insurance companies are prepared to fund the legal challenge to a successful outcome. They want a clear definition of who’s at fault before they begin underwriting any more policies. Driverless car manufacturers are rushing headlong into the intersection of Lawyer and Technology Streets with their eyes closed. Keep watching this space, you’ll never see a bigger smash-up.

Who owns my face?

Brad Pratt is a famous movie star. His wife Angie Groaner is too. They’re fed up to the teeth with being filmed by paparazzi. Brad is filmed in public toilets. Angie is filmed at the doctor’s office. What gets them most upset is they’re captured on film with their kids. They don’t have a moment to themselves, not even after they move from the U.S. to the outskirts of London, England. Every time they walk past a newsstand they look the other way so they don’t have to read headlines about themselves in stories they didn’t sanction. Angie especially deplores the stories depicting her children as alien babies. Paparazzi invade their lives every waking, sometimes not waking, moment.

That’s the price of fame say the news organizations. Bullpoop, says Brad, and I’m going to come up with a way to stop it. Unbeknownst to the so-called ‘news’ media, Brad and Angie consult with the best legal minds and come up with a solution: trademark their faces.

A trademark is the copyright of an image related to the conduct of business, and since Brad and Angie’s faces are their business (worth millions), they’re well within their rights to trademark their mugs. They take a 360° view of their faces and deposit them with all the necessary paperwork at every major trademark registration office throughout the world.

They can’t wait for their first lawsuit to prove the concept. Soon, a tabloid prints the story, ‘Brad and Angie Have Alien Twins’. The photographer and Celebrity Ogler are served with an invitation to attend court in every country in which they publish.

The photog is a nobody with a camera. He’s paid up to a quarter of a million dollars for candid shots depicting Brad on the toilet or Angie in a dress shop changing room. He explains that Celebrity Ogler paid him to take these pictures on a spec basis. The more revealing and damaging the photo, the more they get paid, so anything goes, regardless of the rules of common courtesy or decency.

The publisher, Celebrity Ogler, claims that the two famous people made their millions by being in the public eye, and if it weren’t for news and tabloids, the couple would be living in anonymity. They benefited from free publicity for their rise to stardom and now it’s simply inconvenient to them. They also argue in most countries, it’s their constitutional right to publish news stories related to anyone, regardless of their position in society. What if they were guilty of murder, could we be prevented from displaying their pictures on newspapers?

Pratt and Groaner’s legal team argues that their trademark, central to their business of making films, has been used without their permission and that both the photographer and the publisher have profited using someone else’s copyrighted image. These magazines are not reporting ‘news’; they rely on sales of their tabloids based on the already established popularity of their subjects. Now that they have trademarked their faces, the defendants have profited off someone else’s popularity and their image.

The court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. They’re awarded damages and any further use of their trademarked images can only be done by permission. It will be a very long time before Pratt and Groaner give permission for strangers to take their picture. A new business for trade-marking faces is spawned.

Who owns the Arctic?

In the 1850’s a British expedition to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean goes missing for over a hundred years. Fast forward one hundred and fifty years. Due to global warming the ice pack has melted and it is now possible to sail year round through the Arctic Ocean.

Oil is discovered outside the new economic exclusion zone and Canada protests the invasion of oil drilling wells from the U.S., taking the case to the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Canada claims sovereignty of the Artic to the North Pole. The U.S. says, ‘See you in court. No one can own an international waterway.’

Who owns the Pacific Ocean?

In a mirror image incident in the Pacific Ocean in international waters off China, barges filled with earth drop millions of tons of rocks and slurry to create a small land mass. The Chinese fill enough of the ocean to create a tiny island in the Pacific large enough to plant their flag. They then declare an economic exclusion zone of two hundred miles in all directions and begin drilling for oil.

The American navy sails through the disputed waters. Certain of the rightness of their cause, China begins sending belligerent diplomatic notes of protest to the United States and the United Nations. The U.S. does not recognize their sovereignty in an international waterway by the artificial creation of a land mass. The Chinese are ready to start a war and take pot shots at the U.S. navy in what used to be international waters. Tensions come to a boil before the case can be heard in international courts. The Chinese threaten to begin a war with the U.S. over the issue.

The U.S. responds by entering trade agreements with India and setting up manufacturing facilities for a wide range of consumer items, directly competing with cheap Chinese labor. Twenty years after the shift to India, the U.S. and its allies block all further Chinese imports.

Who owns the sky?

Fred and Harriet are having dinner in their isolated country home. They’re having Fred’s favorite recipe – Mulligatawny soup. An object crashes through the roof and kills the couple outright. Upon investigation, the object belongs to Grooble, a technology firm developing driverless cars. One of their satellites, while repositioning itself to a new orbit, received an incorrect set of coordinates from the controller and crashed back to earth, landing on hapless Fred and Harriet, and the soup tureen. The pieces of wreckage found clearly indicate the ownership of the fallen satellite. Fred and Harriet’s heirs file suit.

The ownership of a piece of land includes the space above and below it, with no defined limit. If you wish to build above the land five hundred stories high there can be no legal objection to it. The plaintiffs argue that their property rights are infringed at any altitude and Grooble was encroaching on the couple’s right to ownership of their property, even though the satellite might have been hovering six thousand miles above them. Since the satellite owners accept the premise that the hardware might malfunction for any number of reasons and come crashing back to earth, they knowingly encroached on property they do not own.

The Grooble Corporation argues that international agreements have determined space (defined as 62.5 miles altitude) to be outside the purview of local property laws. The heirs of the property owners claim that once the satellite re-entered the atmosphere, it was no longer subject to the laws that govern space and are therefore seeking damages afforded them by local property rights, the same as they would if an airplane dropped on their house.

Looking back we find it hard to believe some of the cases that were heard to defend people’s rights and property. The Scopes trial of the Twenties comes to mind, which defended an educator’s right to discuss evolution. A divisive question for its time, a mere ninety years later, it’s almost irrelevant, replaced by the new issues that arise with the advent of technological discovery. The conflicts these new challenges create will burn brightly in their time, setting one against the other in tumult and violent upheaval until, just like all issues, the unveiling of new eras and new civilizations will make them pass into irrelevance. But is mankind now changing too quickly to adapt to new situations? For instance, will we pollute and kill all marine life in the oceans before we can develop legal frameworks to stop it? Will a country poison the atmosphere for the rest of the world? Will nations figure out a solution to global warming before it’s too late? Will DNA continue to be copyrighted preventing food from being grown by private citizens in times of starvation? Will space be cluttered with so much debris as to make it unusable? Legal disputes of the future are extremely difficult to predict but their outcomes greatly impact our societies.


Florida Revamps Child Safety Restraint Law

There is very little that will cause as much heartache to a parent as seeing his or her child hurt. When a child sustains an injury as the result of a traffic accident that occurs while the parent is driving, the guilt can be overwhelming. Even if the parent is not at fault in the accident, second-guessing whether or not there was something that he or she could have done to have avoided injury to the child or children can be distressing.

Regrettably, one estimate states that there are roughly 650 children killed every year in car accidents and almost 150,000 others who sustain injuries. Other research indicates that fatalities among children due to motor vehicle accidents is more than twice that amount at 1,500, with injuries as high as 175,000 annually. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, by late December, 2014, five children had been killed and 145 had suffered injuries on Florida highways. These startling statistics have caused tremendous concern among several national organizations which have put into place various initiatives to promote child restraint systems. The suggestions of these various agencies may vary, but the goal is the same – to reduce injuries and deaths among children involved in car accidents.

The Florida locations of one national agency are providing parents with free booster seats. These seats are available for children between the ages of four to eight years old who weigh 30 lbs to 110 lbs and who range in height from 3 ft., 4 ins. to 4 ft., 9 ins. tall. The program is intended to help the parents of children who meet these requirements. Although you need not be a member of the agency to benefit from the program, the quantity of booster seats available is limited. Consequently, these booster seats are provided to parents as they are requested while they are still available. Contact your local law enforcement to find out which agencies offer such programs.

The purpose of this program is to help parents meet the new safety requirements that were implemented as the result of a recent change to Florida’s child restraint law. Previously, Florida law stated that children age three and under must be in a child safety seat, yet it permitted children who were four- and five-years-old to be restrained solely by a seatbelt. Effective January 1, 2015, however, children who are age five or under are required to be in either a child safety seat (car seat) or a booster seat.

Which of these two safety devices should be used is dependent upon the height and weight of the child. Once the child exceeds the manufacturer’s size recommendation for a car seat, he or she then is required to use a booster seat. There are a few circumstances which allow for exemption of this requirement. A four- or five-year-old can use only a seatbelt when the driver is not a close family member, if there exists a documented medical reason that the child cannot be in a booster seat, or if there is an emergency, but there is no booster seat available for the child.

One national agency that monitors and promotes child safety restraints is the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, the use of a booster seat can minimize the risk of injury to children ages four through eight by as much as 45 percent. Consequently, the CDC makes the following suggestions as to when and how to use car seats and booster seats, as proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

    • Rear-facing car seats are designed for children age 2 years or younger or until they exceed the height/weight limitations for the car seat.


    • Front-facing car seats are intended for children 2 through at least 5 years of age. Again, the CDC suggests that the child remain in a front-facing car seat until they reach the height/weight limit of the car seat, as advised by the manufacturer of the car seat.


  • Booster seats are only endorsed for children age 5 or greater who have surpassed the height/weight limit advised for the forward-facing car seat, but who have not yet reached the height of 57″ which is the height for seatbelt use alone.

(Although these standards are advocated by the CDC, laws governing child safety restraints vary from state to state.)

Even among those parents who use car seats and booster seats for their children, there are still many injuries to children that occur through improper use of these safety devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that four out of five car seats or booster seats are installed improperly. This, in conjunction with not using a height/weight appropriate child restraint, could be a contributing factor to car accidents being the number one cause of death among children between the ages of 2 to 14.

In addition to the weight, height, and age standards for having a child in a car restraint, remember that to be in a just a seatbelt, the child should be able to sit all the way back in the seat while having his or her legs bend at the knee over the edge of the seat. Also, the lap belt should lay across the child’s lap, not stomach, and the shoulder strap should cross the child’s chest, not throat.

“Safety belts save lives, but only when used and used correctly,” said Terry Rhodes, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Booster seats help elevate children to the height at which the safety belt will properly secure them.”

Once a child is big enough to use just a seatbelt, remember to always put children 12 and under in the back seat where they are not sitting in front of an airbag. It is also important to keep in mind that if you only have one child, buckling him or her in the middle of the back seat is the safest position for them should you have a car crash.

The same is true for making sure your child has not outgrown the car seat. If you are buying bigger clothes for your child or notice other indicators that the child is growing, then it is a safe bet that you may need to monitor the ‘fit’ of the car restraint. Failing to have your child properly secured in a motor vehicle can result in a $60 fine, court costs, and three points being assessed against your driver’s license. Although the fine and court cost may seem manageable, this can get to be quite costly when you factor in the cost those points will add to your car insurance rates.


Responsible Walking and Bicycling

It seems like I hear about pedestrian and bicyclist deaths due to cars or trucks almost every time I read the news, and it seems the driver of the vehicle often leaves the scene. Just last week alone, the Sun-Sentinel published articles on a pedestrian and a bicyclist who died as a result of hit-and-run accidents. On Wednesday, March 4th, a 57-year-old man was crossing a road in Dania Beach when he was struck by a pickup truck. The victim was pronounced dead upon arrival at Memorial Regional Hospital.

After the collision, the truck then fled the scene without supplying any aid to the victim. The roommate of the victim described the vehicle to the Broward County Sherriff’s deputies who responded to the scene and pieces of the perpetrator’s vehicle were found at the scene. The combination of this information led to an investigation that ultimately resulted in them speaking with a person of interest.

The bicyclist who was hit was a 46-year-old male who was riding his bike at approximately 2:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. The person responsible was eventually found and arrested, charged with tampering with evidence and failure to remain at an accident involving a death.

Regarding the pedestrian death, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office stated, “We have seen many hit and runs recently and many of them fatal. Often times it’s the pedestrian’s fault and panicked drivers tend to flee and end up facing charges they wouldn’t have faced if they had stayed on scene.”

Although the first victim was not in a crosswalk at the time that he was struck, and both incidents occurred after dark, these are hardly actions that should be punishable by death. Additionally, it is horrifying enough to strike someone with a vehicle, but to do so and drive off is absolutely heinous. You cannot possibly strike someone with your vehicle and not be aware of it. Not only is it a heinous act, but it is also a felony and an act of stupidity. Both of the vehicles involved in these incidents left behind broken bits of the vehicles involved. Additionally, with the density of the population in South Florida, it is virtually impossible to commit such a violation without witnesses. I am sure it is just a matter of time before the first driver is also identified.

Why these types of incidents continue to occur in what seems to be with ever-increasing frequency is of some debate. According to a study conducted by the State of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida’s pedestrian fatality rates have consistently placed among the highest in the nation. It is possible that one reason for this startling statistic is that it is a matter of continual urbanization, yet relatively little investment in addressing safety concerns. Add to that the number of major highways that are in use in South Florida which pedestrians and bicyclists have to share with motor vehicles and it becomes clear that all of these issues could be determinant factors.

There is, however, a dissenting opinion that raises concerns which addresses the issue of how the fatality statistics are gauged. For example, because there are so many visitors to this state and the climate encourages people to be outdoors, there is greater exposure of bicyclists and pedestrians to traffic.

Another hypothesis is that the length of nights tend to be longer in the south. Walking in the dark is inherently more dangerous and occurs more frequently in Florida due to its relatively warm winters as compared to other areas of the country. The variables of climate and length of day are considered to be the two key components for nearly 60 percent of the variation between Florida’s metropolitan fatalities as compared to other areas. Let’s also remember that the sheer volume of traffic in Florida motivates drivers to seek alternate routes, often leading them to roadways where there is unrestricted pedestrian traffic.

Some of the findings of this traffic study which was conducted from 1998-2000 were quite surprising. There were 353 accidents that involved pedestrians and 61 that involved bicyclists during that timeframe. Of the 353 pedestrian events, 350 resulted in the death of the pedestrians. Sadly, most of these deaths (80 percent) were the result of pedestrian errors. Fifty-three percent were caused by pedestrians trying to cross the road at areas that did not contain crosswalks. Generally when this occurred, 69 percent of those people were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The likely correlation is that drivers learn to look for people in crosswalks, but seldom do drivers anticipate people walking out from between cars and so forth.

As for driver responsibility, the study showed that 71 percent of the time, poor lighting was a major issue. This confirms the earlier statement that the lack of financial investment into greater safety measures by the State of Florida is a huge part of the problem. Better and greater use of streetlights, crosswalks with pedestrian signals, etcetera could markedly reduce these types of tragedies. These methods, however, only work when pedestrians and bicyclists heed them.

It has been my perception that with the growing use of bicycles as a means of transportation, bicyclists tend to forget that they are not afforded the same safety as if they were in a car, yet they often ride as though they are in a car. Florida General Statute 316.2065 states that

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle…

Although the same laws apply to both vehicles and bicycles, I have seen many bicyclists use their added maneuverability to engage in illegal and dangerous behaviors. Also, although recumbent bikes are very popular, many times it is extremely difficult to see them in traffic and their width makes them harder to avoid than a standard bicycle.