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If I Am Not a Citizen, Can I Be Deported if I Am Convicted of a Crime?

Individuals who do not have citizenship status do not have as many rights as citizens and must constantly worry about whatever immigration status they have being stripped away from them. Being convicted of a crime may very well mean that an individual can be deported from the United States. Being aware of these consequences from the beginning of the case can help individuals make more informed choices.

Should I Just Plead Guilty and Avoid a Trial?

When a criminal defendant is confronting a criminal case and is slated to go to trial, it is the criminal defendant’s decision whether to proceed to trial or to plead guilty in order to avoid it. While his or her lawyer can provide information about the pros and cons of going to trial, the lawyer cannot generally make this decision for the client. However, before a criminal defendant decides to plead guilty, he or she should be aware of the consequences of this action and any alternatives.

How Can I Get a Bankruptcy Exemption?

Bankruptcy exemptions can make a dramatic difference in your bankruptcy proceeding whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. While the result for having an exemption is different for each type of bankruptcy filing, both help the consumer keep more – either property or money.

I Would Like to Change My Defense Lawyer. How Can I Do This?

At times, a criminal defendant may find that he or she is not satisfied with the attorney that was hired for one reason or another. Generally speaking, a defendant who has been appointed a public defender or who hired a private attorney can fire the original attorney and hire a new private attorney when he or she wants to do so. Usually, the defendant does not need court approval in order to take this action. However, there may be consequences to taking this action.

When Can the Hospital Be Sued for Malpractice?

When a person is injured while in the hospital, he or she may consult a personal injury attorney who focuses on medical malpractice claims. One of the first questions that an attorney of this nature will try to answer is who may be sued. In addition to surgeons or other healthcare staff, hospitals may also be sued in some cases for malpractice. The hospital may be able to be sued if one of the following situations is applicable.

What Are the Surgical Errors that Can Lead to a Medical Malpractice Case?

A medical malpractice case may arise when a patient’s treatment falls below the standard of care when compared to other surgeons in the same practice area and the patient is harmed. A patient may be injured due to a variety of surgical errors.

How to Calculate the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Payment

A debtor proposes a repayment plan that will allow them to repay a portion of their debt. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan determines the amount that each creditor can expect, the duration of the plan, the value of the debtor’s property and the funds that are available to repay the debts. Several factors impact the amount of monthly repayments that the debtor will make.

Inheritance Issues- Family Not Cooperating, What Are My Options?

Inheritances have specific rules that make them different than other kinds of assets. For example, an inheritance is usually treated as separate property, even in community property estates. If family friction has begun due to friction of learning about a future inheritance, steps can be made in the estate planning process to minimize conflict. Additionally, steps can also be taken after the testator dies to help deal with family problems.

What is a Defamation of Character?

While the First Amendment provides for the freedom of speech, this amendment does not protect all forms of speech. For example, it does not give a person the right to injure the reputation of another, or defame, that person. In order for a person to prevail in a defamation of character lawsuit, there are several elements that he or she must be able to prove.

The Calculation of Child Support in California

Like many states, California uses child support guidelines to help determine the amount of child support that should be awarded in any particular case. Child support is determined by taking several factors into consideration.

Do I Have a Family Case? How to Determine if My Situation Is a Case for a Lawyer

While some individuals are able to reach an amicable decision with another individual in a family law dispute and maintain a healthy relationship, the majority of individuals who go through these types of disputes can benefit from the assistance of having a lawyer.

Do I Have a Criminal Case? How to Determine if My Situation Is a Case for a Lawyer

While many criminal defendants decide to plead guilty early in the process in order to save time or to get a deal with the prosecutor, there are many times when it is reasonable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer. If one of the following applies to you, consider speaking with a criminal defense lawyer.

When a Business Can Be Sued for Personal Injury

Every day, individuals are injured while on the premises of a business. Injured individuals may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit and recover for the damages that they suffer.

I Found Mold in My Rental Home – What Can I Do?

In recent years scientists have learned more about the potential dangers of mold and breathing it in on a daily basis. While some individuals may develop minor respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing, more serious conditions may develop, such as fungal respiratory infections. In many states, your landlord may have some responsibility to help remediate the problem.

I Did Not Get Paid by My Employer – What Can I Do?

You are legally entitled to receive the wages promised to you. Additionally, you may be entitled to additional benefits and penalties if your employer refuses to pay you in violation of local or state law. If you have not received your pay, the following courses of action may be available to you to help recover your wages.

How Do I Know If I Have Been Wrongfully Terminated?

If you are a victim of wrongful termination, you may have a case against your former employer. A successful lawsuit may mean that you have the right to recover back pay, statutory damages and expenses that you incurred to find another job.

Is There a Statute of Limitations When It Comes to Workplace Injury?

The statute of limitations provides a time limit in which a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit without it being time barred by the court. With few exceptions, if this time limit passes, the plaintiff will be forever barred from bringing the suit. Like other types of claims, there is usually an applicable statute of limitations.

Do I Have a Civil Lawsuit Case? How to Determine if My Situation Is a Case for a Lawyer?

If you have been injured in another accident that was caused by another party, you may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the responsible party. However, a lawyer may evaluate certain factors of your case to determine whether or not to take your case.

I Feel I Got Ripped Off at The Auto Dealership, What Can I Do?

If you have purchased a vehicle and feel that you got a bad deal, you may have recourse against the dealer by using one or more of the following tactics:

We Got Married in One Country, Live in Another Now and Want a Divorce.

Where do I find a divorce lawyer (where we live now or where we got married)? Many countries, including the United States, allow you to get a divorce there, even if your marriage occurred in another country. Laws can vary drastically between countries, so be sure that you consult with your attorney regarding the steps necessary to get a divorce and whether the divorce will be valid in the country where you are currently residing.

How to Confirm a Lawyer Accreditation

Lawyers may receive accreditation to practice law or to practice in a particular area. While lawyers may focus in particular areas, state ethic rules regarding professional conduct generally prohibit lawyers from advertising that they are “certified” or that they “specialize” in particular areas unless they receive such certification from a particular agency, such as the state bar.

What Happens After You Get a Traffic Ticket?

After you get a traffic ticket, you want to know what happens next and what you can do about it. For most people, it simply means paying the ticket and going to traffic school to remove any points on your driving record. It’s expensive, but a fairly simple situation to take care of.

What Happens After a Felony Conviction

A felony charge is pursued by a prosecutor when a serious crime is committed. A federal felony is category of crime that involves breaking a law at the national rather than local level. Both types of felonies carry similar punishment.

Driving Regional Traffic with Google+ Local for Lawyers

Google search now makes up nearly 95% of all consumer searches for local businesses. As a lawyer that relies on a steady stream of local clients, you can’t afford to leave search engine marketing out of your lead-generation repertoire.

I Have a Legal Question – Who Can Help Me?

Each day that goes by may present a unique legal problem. You may have a dispute with a neighbor regarding differing opinions on the boundary. You may be fighting for custody of your children in family court. You may have been hurt in an accident when you were heading to work. The following list provides potential resources to assist you if you have a legal question.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person certain rights and responsibilities, the agent, over the person who had the document prepared, the principal. There are generally two different types of power of attorneys: a power of attorney for financial reasons and a power of attorney for healthcare matters. These documents are generally prepared separately, even if the same person is named as the agent in both documents.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case? How to Determine if My Situation Is a Case for a Lawyer

If you have been injured in an automotive accident, slip and fall or workplace accident, your immediate reaction may be to sue the party responsible for your injuries. However, not all cases warrant an attorney’s involvement. Furthermore, attorneys may refuse to take a case if it is not worth the attorney’s time or experience.

I Cannot Pay for a Lawyer. What Should I Do?

Most people do not anticipate that they will need an attorney and as such do not save for such an expensive need. While many lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services, there are a few options available for individuals who are unable to pay for an attorney.

How To Deal With Sneaky Insurance Adjusters

If you need compensation for injuries due to an accident, you need to be aware of one important thing—insurance companies are in business to make—not give away—money!

When Should I Fight a Traffic Ticket in Court

When you get a traffic ticket, consider the following issues before deciding whether to fight the ticket:

Legal Ramifications of Pocket Breathalyzers

With the march of modern technology ever forward, interesting new gadgets find their ways into our pockets. Take, for example, the rise of recent gadgets to help keep intoxicated drivers off the road. Of course, when technology makes its way into our lives, the law is often not far behind. So how will pocket breathalyzers affect the law?

Are Sports Injuries Actionable?

When it comes to American football or hockey, there is nothing more thrilling than the sound of two athletes smashing into each other. They put their bodies through unbelievable abuse for the entertainment of the crowd and a sizable paycheck. But what about the rest of us? What happens if a child is injured in a recreational league game, a college student at intramural sports, or adults during a social game? Could that injury form the basis of a lawsuit?

What is Physician-Patient Privilege and Why is It Important?

Most of us have probably heard or been told that anything we tell our doctor is confidential. While this may be reassuring, it may have left you wondering why it was true and what the reason for that confidentiality was? How far does it extend? Would it hold up in court?

What Does the Law Say About Using Someone's Webcam or Computer Microphone to Spy on Them?

In our modern, connected age, it seems everyone has a tablet or laptop computer that they use on a daily basis. These computers usually have built in webcams and microphones which, while very useful for legitimate purposes like video calls, can also be a vehicle for embarrassment, identity theft, and spying on your most intimate moments. So, what does the law have to say about using someone's webcam or computer microphone to spy on them?

Aside from Jail, What are Other Possible Consequences of Getting a DUI?

We are all well aware of the dangers of driving intoxicated or while otherwise impaired. Not only can you seriously injure or kill someone (including yourself), you may also face jail time, fines, and loss of your license. What other possible consequences exist for getting a DUI?

What Are the Laws Regarding Animal Testing?

In the United States, a number of products like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and detergents are first tested on animals to determine what their effects are likely to be on humans. This has raised a number legal and ethical concerns among consumers. So, what are the laws regarding animal testing?

How to Choose the Best Personal Injury Attorney

Few areas of legal practice are as crowded as the personal injury field. In most jurisdictions, billboards, website banner ads, television commercials, radio spots, yellow pages and magazine ads, and other forms of advertising permeate our consciousness with pitches for different personal injury attorneys. With so many choices and so much information, how does one choose the best personal injury attorney?

What New Bankruptcy Rules Came Into Effect in 2013?

Nearly every year, the rules of procedure for various types of courts change. Bankruptcy courts are no exception. Bankruptcy courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Often these changes are relatively small and technical, and only of interest to bankruptcy attorneys, but this year the rules changes primarily affect cases filed by individuals. So, what new bankruptcy rules came into effect on December 1, 2013?

What Are the Possible Legal Issues Related to Sperm Donors?

More and more Americans are turning to in vitro fertilization as a means of conceiving. Sometimes the sperm donor for these procedures is known, sometimes he is not. In either instance, what are the possible legal issues related to both the mother and biological father as the sperm donor?

Why American Women Should Be Interested in the FAMILY Act

In 2004, a Harvard University study found that of 168 countries surveyed, 163 had some form of government mandated maternity leave pay. The United States was not one of them. As a result, millions of American women suffer crippling economic hardships when they must take time off to give birth, and then are forced to return to work prematurely or go without income. Enter the FAMILY Act.

What You Should Know About Concussion Injuries

Over the last few years, we have become increasingly aware of the dangers of concussions as several professional athletes have experienced severe emotional problems related to their traumatic brain injuries. Unfortunately, concussions are not just limited to top professional athletes. So what can you do if you or your child suffers a concussion?

Is it Possible to Commit the Crime of Theft with Regard to Intellectual Property?

When it comes to intellectual property, many of us think of copyrighted works of art, patented products, or trademarked logos. All of these items are intellectual property, but infringing on someone's intellectual property rights is usually handled as a civil matter, not criminal. So, is it ever possible to commit the crime of theft with regard to intellectual property?

Are Employers Required to Allow Union Signs on Company Property?

In states where unions are strong, it is not uncommon to see posters and other materials related to the union located in company break rooms or other parts of the employer's property. Even in “right to work” states, where unions are less prominent, one can occasionally find such materials. But some employers resist, and would prefer not to have such materials on their property. So, is an employer required to allow union signs on company property?

Is Drone Hunting Going to be Legal in the United States?

After reports of domestic spying surfaced, and the possibility that drone aircraft might be used to carry out surveillance of Americans, many reacted violently. This led to what was initially considered an absurd suggestion that “drone hunting” should be legalized. However, several jurisdictions have actually made movement in the direction of issuing permits to shoot surveillance aircraft out of the sky.

Are There Any Laws That Regulate Psychics?

Every year, millions of Americans use the services of psychics, mediums, palmists, and others who claim supernatural abilities. While most see such activities as entertainment and not to be taken too seriously, there are many who believe it wholeheartedly and, as a result, often find themselves out thousands of dollars before they realize they have been had. This leads many to wonder whether there are any laws that regulate psychics.

How Much Contact Should Children Legally Be Allowed to Have With Their Teachers?

What has been perceived as a rash of inappropriate teacher-student relationships has led to some interesting new legal territory. Concerned about interaction between teachers and students, a number of jurisdictions have passed laws variously prohibiting social media contact to physical contact (such as hugging or spanking). So, how much contact should children and teachers have with one another?

What is the Affluenza Defense?

A recent new concept has entered the legal lexicon: “Affluenza.” It was first used in the case of a Texas youth accused of stealing beer, driving intoxicated, then killing four people with his car. So what is “Affluenza,” and how was it used in a legal setting?

Laws Regarding Sleeping

I used to attend and speak at events designed to educate youth on the legal profession. I would often start my presentation asking the children if they could think of anything for which there was not some related law. Invariably, several of the kids would shout out “sleeping!” But, as I would point out, there are actually quite a few laws that have some impact on sleeping. Here are a few:

When is a Schoolyard Brawl a Battery?

Kids will be kids, or so the saying goes. As such, children often roughhouse and get into small fights in the schoolyard. Most parents, teachers, and administrators, while not pleased by such conduct, know that it is an inevitable part of life in the school system and for many, a rite of passage for the children involved. But legally, when does it go from a simple schoolyard brawl punished by detentions or suspensions to a battery that could be punished by jail or a civil lawsuit?

Common Eviction Mistakes

When renting out a property you own, it is only natural to want to make the most money and incur the least expense. Unfortunately, for some landlords, this leads to cutting corners in the legal department; a potentially very costly mistake. The following are a few common mistakes landlords make during the eviction process and what you can do to avoid them:

What Are the Consequences for Making Bomb Threats?

Some believe bomb threats to be an extravagant prank, others use them to avoid responsibilities like exams or bills, and still others use them to hide some other nefarious purpose. Whatever the reason, making bomb threats is a very serious crime with heavy criminal penalties. So what are the consequences for making bomb threats?

What is the Threat of Money Laundering Associated with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has become increasingly popular as an alternative form of currency over the last several years. The digital currency offers interesting new options for secure and private transactions, for earning money through “Bitcoin mining,” and, unfortunately, for money laundering. What is the threat of Bitcoin and money laundering and what is being done to stop it?

How Do I Sue the Person Suing Me?

Once embroiled in a lawsuit, one can often feel powerless, angry, abused, and confused. Indeed, many feel as though they did nothing wrong but that the other party – the one suing them – did. In that situation, it may be possible to actually sue the person who brought the original lawsuit. But how does one do that and what are the limitations?

Four End of the Year Ideas to Save Money on Your Taxes

For millions of Americans, the holiday season is about giving and charity, and few stop to consider the state of their personal finances and taxes. But, the end of the year is also the end of a tax period for individuals, meaning that come December 31, they cannot make any more changes that will help reduce the taxes they will have to pay in a few months.

Can You Go to Jail for Debt in America? Maybe.

Anyone who has ever fallen behind on their bills knows just how troubling that experience can be. Harassing phone calls, letters, and emails are the usual tricks of the trade, or for secured debts, repossession or foreclosure. But, America abolished debtors prisons. So, debt collectors are not supposed to be able to put you in jail because you owe money. However, a few have discovered a way to do just that.

Did You Know There Are Laws Against Dancing?

Prom, homecoming, and other formal dances are rites of passage for millions of American youth. So, it is perhaps surprising to many that such an activity may be regulated by the law, but in many jurisdictions it is. And, we are not talking about exotic or belly or other suggestive types of dancing. These laws apply to any kind of dancing, including the stuff your grandparents were doing. So, what are some of the more unusual laws against dancing?

How Does the Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) Work?

We have all heard about how interest rates might be going up when the economy is improving or how interest rates fall as the economy suffers. But how are these rates set? Who determines what the rates should be? What keeps interest rates from continuing to climb while the economy declines?

What is Parol Evidence?

One of the most confusing concepts to many lay people involved in legal disputes over a contract is the idea of parol evidence. It seems incomprehensible that one should not be able to rely on this evidence to explain what they expected to happen, yet it serves a purpose in the American legal system. So, what is parol evidence and why does it matter?

Common Advertising Mistakes that Get Lawyers in Trouble

Although it seems impossible to drive around any city in America without seeing billboards advertising attorneys or hear radio ads for law firms, attorneys are actually one of the most heavily regulated industries when it comes to advertising. Most rules make sense, like avoiding doing anything that would mislead the general public. But, there are a few that are easily and commonly violated, though not often considered until the damage has already been done.

Injured by Online Dating, Can I Sue?

Just as with real world dating, sometimes Internet dating can be dangerous. People may not be who they say or may actually be dangerous. Online dating services may use your personal information and photographs for purposes other than what you had intended. Internet dating sites may actually put tracking software on your computer or expose you to identity theft, computer viruses, or other harm. So, if you have been injured by a dating site in some way, it is common to wonder whether you can sue?

My Car is Defective and Caused an Accident, What Can I Do?

Automobiles are safer today than they ever have been. Airbags, seat belts, crumple zones, computers that monitor road and vehicle conditions, and many other features help to keep drivers and passengers out of accidents all together, or protect health and safety if one does occur. But sometimes those systems are improperly manufactured or installed. Sometimes after-market additions interfere with their proper function.

Is Polygamy Illegal in the United States

Over the last few years there have been a number of television shows regarding the polygamist lifestyle. This has led some to wonder whether polygamy may be legal anywhere in the U.S. It also raises questions about why bigamy is outlawed and whether this is a trend that may be changing.

Fake ID Laws

Many remember a time before 9/11 when using a fake ID was almost a rite of passage, and those caught doing so were usually subject only to having their ID confiscated, a thorough scolding, and being sent home to answer to likely irate parents. While still prevalent, using fake ID's is no longer considered a harmless practice and those caught making or using them can face very severe criminal punishments.

What Laws Affect Mail Order Brides?

As the Internet makes the world a smaller and smaller place, unusual new ways of meeting people have become increasingly popular. While personal ads placed in the newspaper used to be a somewhat embarrassing way of meeting someone, the explosion of the Internet made online dating sites almost the norm for arranging romantic encounters. Similarly, the Internet has also opened the doors to international romance in the form of “mail order bride” services. But what laws affect mail order brides?

Can I Be Held Liable for My Spouse's Debts?

Often, when considering marriage couples are thinking only about love and romance, not the more practical concerns like how one spouse's debts might affect the other after they are married. So, the question often arises “can I be held liable for my spouse's debts?”

What is Negligent Hiring and Retention?

As an employer, one is often subject to a lot of liability and often from unexpected sources. Not only are there concerns about meeting payroll and keeping your business afloat, an employer must also ensure that all of its employees are properly qualified before hiring and adequately trained and supervised once employed. Otherwise, an employer could find itself liable to a third party for negligent hiring and retention. But what is negligent hiring and retention?

What is Negligent Entrustment?

Ever had second thoughts about loaning your car to someone, or wondered what kind of liability you could face if they got in an accident? If so, and probably without realizing it, you may have been worrying about the idea of negligent entrustment.

Are There Laws Against Spying in the United States?

Movies and television shows often glamorize the world of espionage. But, in reality, is it quite so exciting? Aside from the lack of martinis and frequent shoot outs to save the world, the reality is that espionage is a crime in the United States.

Can You Travel Across State Lines with Legally Obtained Marijuana?

As more and more states are opting to pass laws authorizing either medical (or in the recent case of Colorado) recreational marijuana use and sales, it has become increasingly common to wonder what the new legal limitations are on the product.

Five Common Myths About the American Justice System

Much of what most people know about the American justice system is derived from television and movies. Unfortunately, these are entertainment and not as focused on conveying the truth about the legal system as delivering a compelling story. Even the news has a tendency to “spin” the truth in a way that makes it more interesting to the audience in order to increase the audience. As a result, here are 5 common myths about the American justice system:

Are There Laws in the U.S. Against Importing Goods Made by Child Labor or Slaves?

Ever stopped and wondered where your various household goods came from? Not just the country of origin, but who actually worked to produce it? Most products, even those from other countries, are produced by adults, and though their standard of living may be different than that of their counterparts in America, they are working of their own free will. However, some products and services, even today, are still being produced by children and forced labor.

What is the Difference Between an Attorney a Paralegal and a Lawyer?

One common area of confusion for those outside the legal profession is the difference between various job titles among legal professionals. After all, in many jurisdictions there are now paralegal firms that offer services that to some might seem similar to what an attorney can do. So what is the difference between an attorney and a paralegal, an attorney and a lawyer, and other legal professionals?

Is it Legal for Someone to Post my Private Photos Then Demand Money for Their Removal?

Over the last few years, a number of unscrupulous websites have developed around Americans' increasing comfort with sharing private, intimate photos with one another. While the photos are usually not intended for public consumption, often after a rough breakup or other event in which the recipient is left unhappy, that person will post those photos for the world to see. But is this legal? More importantly, can the site where the photos are posted legally charge you to take them down?

Help, I Was Injured by a Faulty Power Tool!

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured while using a power tool. Many of these injuries are self-inflicted and the result of inexperience or recklessness. Still, others are the result of a defectively designed or manufactured product. So, what should you do if you fall into the second category and have been injured by a faulty power tool?

Is There Any Tax Liability for Giving a Gift?

Those who have dabbled with tax laws much at all are probably familiar with the general mantra that any money received may be taxable income. They may also be familiar with the idea that payments over a certain amount or in certain types of relationships (like employer/employee) often require that the payer ensure taxes are taken out before the balance is given to the payee. But what about gifts? Is there any tax liability for giving a gift?

Is It Legal to Leave a Car Running Unattended?

Whenever cold weather approaches, there is an increase in the number of people who leave their cars running unattended in an effort to warm them up before driving anywhere. While this might be good for the engine and make for a toasty commute, it may not always be legal.

Injured at the Beauty Salon, What Should I Do?

Everyday, millions of women have various services performed at beauty salons. Hair cuts, dying, threading, manicures and pedicures, massages, and a host of other services are now available. While one rarely thinks about it, though, beauty salons are actually very dangerous environments. So what should you do if you are injured at the beauty salon?

What Can You Do if Someone Falsely Accuses You of Rape?

It is an ugly reality, but it is known to happen: petty people misusing the very serious charge of rape as a way to gain an upper hand, get revenge, or otherwise harm another person. The results of such a false accusation can be devastating, even if the person wrongfully accused is ultimately acquitted. So, what can the innocent person do in such a case? What are the consequences to the false accuser?

How Do I Throw Someone Out of My House?

Ever had the house guest you just cannot get to leave? Maybe someone you thought you could share a relationship with and things did not work out, or a friend or family member who just cramps your lifestyle, eats your food, and does not contribute to the bills? Whatever the case may be, getting someone out who has overstayed their welcome can sometime be a very difficult task. So, how do you throw someone out of your house?

Are Same-Sex Couples Entitled to Share Employment Benefits?

Traditionally, one benefit of marriage was being able to share in a spouse's employment benefits, like health, vision, and dental insurance. Unfortunately, many same-sex couples have struggled for years to receive the same level of benefits and even the right to be married. With more and more jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriages, are employers now required to provide same-sex couples with the same level of benefits as heterosexual couples?

Are 3D Printed Plastic Guns Legal?

The arrival of 3D printing technology has led to some amazing new possibilities for things like replicating broken parts, creating amazing works of 3D art, and manufacturing entire items from patters found online. But, as is usually the case with any new technology, someone finds a way to use it for something sinister. Several creators invented 3D printed plastic guns and made plans available online. But, are these 3D printed plastic guns legal?

What is a Patent Troll?

Many have read about legal battles fought between large technology companies and entities referred to as “patent trolls” and wondered, “what is a patent troll?” Obviously, it has something to do with patent laws and infringing on someone's patent rights, but what does it really mean? Who does it apply to? Is anyone who asserts a patent infringement a “troll,” or just certain people and entities? Where did the term come from?

Do Real World Laws Apply to Virtual World Problems?

Everyday, millions of people login from all over the world to experience various virtual worlds. Some are part of a video game, others are intended to allow for social interactions, and still others include elements for commercial dealings. Whatever the purpose, any environment in which people interact can lead to friction and disagreements of various sorts. This has led many to ask whether the laws of the real world can or should apply to virtual world problems.

Can You Fire Someone For Their Social Media Complaints About Work?

Social media is everywhere today; from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, it would be almost impossible for an employer not to have someone working for them that has some form of social media presence. While you might be able to keep an employee from updating their Facebook status from the office, can you do anything about what they say or do about you or your company on their social media in their own time? Indeed, can you fire someone for their social media complaints about work?

How Does the U.S. No Fly List Work?

Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the U.S. federal government enacted a number of measures meant to combat the threat of terrorism on American soil. Among these measures was the implementation of the No Fly List, created and maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). Often the subject of jokes in TV shows and movies, many wonder what it really is and how it works. So, how does the U.S. No Fly List actually work?

What is Hearsay?

Easily, one of the most complicated subjects for law students to grasp and one of the most commonly misused terms in the English language is hearsay. Many incorrectly use it to refer to something that is speculation or rumor. What is hearsay? Is it admissible in court? Are there exceptions?

Is a Polygraph Test Admissible as Evidence?

Have you ever wondered why, in a system of justice that relies so heavily upon people telling the truth, every witness is not strapped to a polygraph machine (i.e., a lie detector)? It is a logical question that leads to others about how interrogations and investigations are conducted when polygraphs are used. So, is a polygraph test admissible as evidence?

When a Business Folds, Who Is Responsible for Its Debts and Other Obligations?

A common question among small business owners is who will be responsible for debts and other obligations if a business entity folds or reorganizes. Many things can happen in the life of a business entity, whether a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and this can lead to questions about who will be left holding the bag.

In a Rear End Collision, Is the Guy in the Back Always at Fault

Being in any accident can be a nightmare, but when you are the driver of a vehicle that collided with another from the rear, it can be particularly troubling. Conventional wisdom will usually tell you that the driver in the back is always at fault, and in most instances this will be true, but not all.

Why Does a Lawsuit Take So Long?

One of the most common questions attorneys get while representing a client is “when will this case be over?” This is an obvious question given that the attorney probably costs money, the lawsuit takes time and energy, and living with worries about the outcome of the case can be a constant source of stress. Still, lawsuits take time, and parties who expect a case to be over in a few weeks are usually disappointed. So, why does a lawsuit take so long?

Legally Speaking, What is an Act of God?

Contracts talk about them, statutes mention them, even TV sitcoms joke about them, but what are acts of God? Many people might think they have a good idea, but given that insurance is often designed to protect against most catastrophes except acts of God, how confident are you that you actually know what is covered?

What Are America's Minimum Wage Laws?

The United States has statutory minimum wage laws intended to ensure that even the least skilled of workers are able to earn enough money on which to live. As of July 2009, the federal minimum wage was set to $7.25 per hour, which equates to weekly earnings of just $290 per week (before taxes) for a full time job. However, many feel this number has not kept up with inflation and that this number is no longer a livable figure.

Who or What Can Legally be Considered a Person

Since the dawn of civilization, there has been an ongoing philosophical and political debate about who or what can legally be considered a person. Traditionally, this took on the debate of whether certain human minority groups should be afforded the same rights and obligations as those in power. But, the debate has shifted in recent years to one involving non-humans. So, what makes a “person,” legally speaking.

Who's Who and What's What in the Courtroom

Going to court can be a stressful experience, especially if you have never been. Aside from the fears of what may be at stake or concerns about a new social setting, many are scared of embarrassing themselves by not knowing who does what, what things are called, etc. There are actually a number of traditional rules, terms, and procedures many are unaware of, and though not usually that important for the lay person, knowing what they are could be useful in putting one's mind at ease.

Legal Considerations for Office Holiday Parties

Every year, millions of Americans engage in office parties around the traditional holiday season. Sometimes these are at the boss's house, a country club, a nice restaurant, or even somewhere at the office itself. But, is the party considered a work function? Could there legally be a consequence for not attending, even if it is after hours? And, what happens if someone is injured, either at the party or on the way to or from it?

Is There a Law Against Cyberstalking or Cyberharassment?

With the rise of social networking, many have lost some of their concerns about personal privacy. Indeed, millions of Americans share the intimate details of their lives with an audience of dozens to thousands to sometimes even millions of people everyday, and think nothing of it. But what happens when someone begins to use this information against you? Are they violating any laws by following you online or bothering you on the Internet?

Are Credit Checks Legal in a Job Interview?

Millions of Americans have found themselves in this situation in the last few years: looking for work, they fill out an application only to find a portion asking for permission to run their credit report. Some refuse because they fear identity theft. Others lose the job, despite being otherwise qualified, because they have bad credit. So is it legal for an employer to ask to run your credit during a job interview?

My Loved One's Estate Was Looted By Someone Who Was Supposed To Be Caring For Them – What Can I Do?

Recently, I was approached by someone asking me about a situation that occurs all too often. Her grandmother's estate had been bled dry by someone who was supposed to be taking care of her. My friend wanted to know what the legal rights and responsibilities of the parties were in this situation and what could be done about it.

Are Online Degrees Really Valid and Legal?

Whenever jobs become scarce, one of the first industries to see a boost is higher education. In order to compete, many job seekers return to college (or go for the first time) to get a degree in a particular career field in order to better be able to compete for jobs. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous institutions that take advantage of those in this position, selling replica degrees from actual universities or offering degree programs despite lacking any accreditation.

When Can Kids Fly Alone?

It is not uncommon, particularly around the holidays, for children to visit family members in other states. Sometimes this means taking a flight. But, for many families, it is just not financially feasible for a parent to accompany the child on the flight. So, what are the laws and rules regarding when children can fly alone?

If You Ever Work From Home, How Protected Are You If A Disaster Strikes?

Millions of Americans work from home, either all of the time or on occasion. But, if a fire, flood, or natural disaster were to hit your home, would your insurance cover the lost business revenues, office equipment, or property belonging to your company?

What is Alienation of Affection?

Divorces are commonly very messy affairs, with hurt feelings and concerns about the future leading former lovers to take very aggressive and hurtful actions against one another. But, when another person is involved, the matter can become even more heated, and in some jurisdictions the adulterer may actually face civil liability under a cause of action called alienation of affection.

How Do The Law and Social Media Intersect?

Finding someone who does not have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or other social media profile is getting harder to do. Granted, there are still a few stalwart holdouts, but the vast majority of Americans use social media everyday (in fact, you may have come across this article in your social media feed). With social networking such a huge part of our lives, are there any social media laws? How are common legal issues resolved when they occur in a social network?

Are Self-Driving Cars Legal?

Recently, there have been a number of stories in the news about the development of autonomous automobiles, or self-driving cars. In fact, a number of states have taken interest in this technology and have passed legislation approving the deployment of self-driving vehicles to their roads. So what are these laws? What do they allow or prohibit? Which states currently authorize self-driving vehicles?

What is Sharia Law and How Does it Apply in America

Sharia law is the Islamic system of moral codes that govern all aspects of Muslim life. Since 9/11, a wave of anti-Sharia legislation has swept across America. But what is Sharia law, and is it really something that Americans should be concerned about? Is anti-Sharia law actually more dangerous to American freedoms than the moral code it seeks to prohibit?

How Does U.S. Law View Offshore Bank Accounts?

Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few who has achieved a level of wealth where you are legitimately concerned that the ebb and flow of the U.S. economy could have a dramatic effect on your personal finances. Or, perhaps, you have heard that there are ways to avoid certain taxes if you keep your money offshore.

What Do I Have To Declare At Customs When Entering the United States?

When traveling abroad, one set of laws tend to concern and confuse people more than others: customs laws. When entering the United States, certain items must be “declared” (i.e., one must alert customs officials that they are in the that person's possession). This could lead to the requirement to pay a small “duty” fee to bring the item into the country, or it may be seized and you may not be allowed to bring it into the country at all.

What Do You Do When Your Ex Kidnaps Your Kids?

It is a nightmare scenario that occurs all too often: after a breakup or divorce, your ex picks up your kids when they are not supposed to or disappears with them after a visitation. Sometimes this is done to hurt the other parent, sometimes it is done out of a sincere desire to spend time with the child(ren). Whatever the case, the effect is the same: terror, confusion, concern, and often a nagging question about what one should do. So, what do you do when your ex kidnaps your kids?

When Someone Allows Your Identity To Be Stolen, Are They Liable?

Imagine this: you go to the car dealership, financial information in hand, ready to buy a car. A few weeks later you discover that someone has stolen your identity. Based on the information stolen, you realize that it was taken from the car dealership. Maybe you get some of the damage undone, maybe not. Aside from the actual thief, who you may never be able to identify, can anyone else be held responsible?

What Does the Law Say About Loaning Money to Friends and Relatives?

Has someone close ever asked you for a loan? A lot of feelings and thoughts probably hit you all at once: an urge to be helpful to someone you care about, concern about getting repaid, wondering if you can afford to help this person, questions about why they are in need of a loan in the first place, and possibly even questions about the laws regarding the loan. So, what does the law say about loaning money to friends and relatives?

What Are The Laws Regarding Declaring War?

Since its inception, the U.S. has been required to take military action of one sort or another under every president and administration, even before the United States of America had a Constitution. Since the creation of the U.S. Constitution, however, the United States has had laws regarding declaring war. Certain military actions can be taken without formal declarations of war, others cannot. So what are the laws regarding declaring war?

How to Avoid Scams

Psychologists and sociologists will tell you that humans have a natural tendency to want to trust one another. Unfortunately, there are many who would exploit that natural tendency for illegal personal gain. Whether the famous “Spanish prisoner” scam or the phony charities that seem to pop up after natural disasters or around the holidays, fraudulent activity is an unfortunate reality of the modern world. So, how can one avoid those scams?

Common Tricks Attorneys Play in Civil Litigation

For young attorneys, those who do not go to court often, or pro se litigatnts (those representing themselves), running up against an experienced litigation and trial attorney can be a stressful experience. Regardless of how much merit your case may have, a good litigator can derail your case, even before trial, using a few procedural tricks. Following are a few of them, how you can use them like an expert litigator, and things you can do to fight back.

If a Drug is Not Illegal, Can I Get in Trouble for Having, Taking, or Selling it?

Over the last few years, a number of drugs have made it to the market that, while not technically illegal, had the same effects as taking other, outlawed narcotics. Unfortunately, many of these drugs only made the news after something unfortunate happened, like an overdose, an accident caused by someone intoxicated by the alternative drug, or a celebrity disclosing their addiction to it.

What is a Standard of Review in an Appeal?

Sometimes, after one finishes the trial, the case is still not over. One side or the other (or sometimes both) may feel that the court made an error in either allowing or preventing something to be shown in court, applying the law, or in some procedural matter. When one files the appeal, they are asked to describe which standard of review they believe will apply to the higher court's review of the case. So what is a standard of review and why does it matter?

When Can You Be Held Responsible for Drugs or Guns That Aren't Yours?

Of all the concepts in the field of criminal law, few are more hotly debated, and more subject to constantly inconsistent results, than the concept of constructive possession. But what is it? How can someone be held responsible for possessing drugs or guns that are not on their person (especially if there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of who may actually be the owner)?

Diet Pills Hurt Me, What Can I Do?

Every year, millions of Americans buy a range of diet and exercise products. After obesity became one of the most prominent health concerns in the United States, the market for these products exploded. Unfortunately, each year a number of these products is discovered to have a harmful effect on the health of the person using them. So what do you do when you find out that your diet pills are hurting your health?

Found Money – What Are My Legal Obligations?

Everyone has seen a few cents on the ground, likely dropped while someone pulled a ring of keys from their pocket. While we would probably not think twice about picking up a penny, what if it was a bank envelope full of $100 bills? It may seem like a dream come true, but there are certain legal obligations when one finds misplaced money.

Which Is Cheaper, Execution or Life in Prison Without Parole?

It is an age old question that many of us have debated at one point or another: should executions be legal? Are they an effective deterrent and means of punishment, or is it an expensive and anachronistic practice from a less civilized time? Regardless of where you come down on the debate, one key factor that always seems to come up is cost. So, which is cheaper: execution or life in prison without parole?

What Are the Laws Against Looting?

After a natural catastrophe, riots, terrorist attack, or other devastating event, it is not uncommon for some members of society to take to the streets and begin taking almost anything they want. Sometimes looters only take necessities, like food, water, and toilet paper, but more often than not, looters are taking items of value like televisions, computers, jewelery, etc. How does the law deal with this and what are a person's rights when trying to prevent looting?

What To Do After a Tornado or Other Natural Disaster

When any sort of natural disaster hits, it can be terrifying. Once it has passed, though, victims are often left wondering what they need to do to pick up the pieces. Is there anything they need to do in filing their insurance claims to make sure that they will get paid soon and as much as possible? This is especially important for those whose houses are destroyed and who have lost everything.

What is Insider Trading and Why Is It Illegal

The term “insider trading” seems to pop up in the news with a fair degree of frequency. Celebrities have even been accused of engaging in it, like Martha Stewart. But what is insider trading and why is it illegal?

What Do I Need to Know About A Non-Compete Agreement?

Many have been asked to sign non-compete agreements or thought they might be a good idea to protect their business interests when hiring someone. But, what do they do? How are they enforced? What legal requirements do they have to follow?

Cut Out of the Will, What Can I Do?

Losing someone you were close to is always difficult. But, it can be all the worse when you find that the lost loved one may have cut you out of their will, either intentionally, accidentally, or as a result of someone exerting undue influence over the person before their death. So what can you do it you get cut out of a will?

How Does Venture Capital Work?

When starting up a business, one thing virtually every business owner runs into is a need for funding. There are a few ways one can acquire these funds, like dipping into personal savings, taking out bank loans, or through traditional stock sales. But, for a lot of money fast, one approach that is increasingly popular in the Internet age is venture capital. But what is it and how does it work?

What Are Monopolies and Why Are They Bad?

Aside from the board game, a lot of people may not really know what a monopoly is. They make their way into the news once in a while, but what does it really mean when something becomes a monopoly and why do we care? Everyone says they are bad, but why?

Do Animals Have Rights?

Many have heard of people who hold themselves out as “animal rights activists,” but what does that really mean? Can animals really have rights? If so, how do they exercise them and what are they? Obviously they can not be the same as human rights or anyone who had a burger would be an accomplice to murder, so what is protected?

Which is Safer: Tap or Bottled Water?

Each year, millions of Americans consume billions of gallons of water. The boom in the bottled water industry was fueled, in part, by beliefs that bottled water was cleaner and more heavily regulated than tap water. But then a backlash by others in the media showed that much bottle water was simply tap water in a bottle. So, is one form of water more heavily regulated and safer than the other?

Is it Illegal to Buy Counterfeit or Knockoff Designer Goods?

Every year, millions of Americans visit the little bodegas and shops, often located in ethnic ghettos of large cities, to purchase counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. Others buy these items online, at flea markets, or dozens of other locations. Wherever one goes, there is some question as to the legality of such transactions. After all, one is knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademarked and copyrighted work. Is this legal?

Can Foreigners Buy Real Estate in the United States?

As the real estate market in the U.S. has made a strong indication of recovery, some outside of the United States have begun to look again at American real estate investments as a possibility. This leads some to wonder, though, whether it is even possible for a foreigner to buy real estate in the U.S.? If so, are there any special laws to be aware of or taxes that must be paid?

Do Native American Indians Have Special Rights?

Many have wondered as they drive along the road and see signs for so-called Indian Casinos how this could be legal in a state that otherwise outlaws such forms of gambling? Others may have heard of Native Americans having their own tribal laws and police and wondered if these are separate and apart from the laws of non-Indians in the area. Do Native Americans have special rights that other American citizens do not?

Surrogacy and the Law

There are thousands of people who would love the opportunity to have a child of their own but, for whatever reason, are not able to do so. Many of these parents turn to adoption, but some would still like to have a child that is biologically their own. For these parents, surrogacy can sometimes be an option. But what are the laws related to surrogacy? How does the process work? What does one need to think about when considering using a surrogate?

What Are My Legal Rights if My Flight Gets Canceled or Delayed?

Anyone who has done much travel has had to contend with delayed flights or cancellations. Though often unavoidable due to weather or conditions beyond the airline's control, the ones who usually suffer the most are the stranded passengers. So what are your rights if a flight is canceled or delayed?

What Makes for a Street Legal Vehicle?

Many of us have drooled over exotic racing cars, fantastic movie prop vehicles, or futuristic looking concept cars, only to learn that we could never own one for our daily commutes (as though money were no object) because it is not “street legal.” What does that mean? What is required for a vehicle to be considered “street legal?”

Every Book Ever Written Soon to be Searchable on the Internet Thanks to Fair Use Doctrine

Virtually anyone who has used the Internet outside of China has heard of the search engine giant Google (China blocks Google and has its own domestic search engine). But, many did not know that in 2002, one of Google's founders, Larry Page, had a plan to put every book ever written on the Internet. The plan stalled after legal troubles, but may now be back on track thanks to the Fair Use Doctrine.

Can Dating Sites Post Fake Profiles to Lure In Members?

It is the end of a long week, and you find yourself at home wishing you had something to do. But, tired of being a fifth wheel to all of your friends in relationships, you decide it is time to join the millions of other people who are online looking for a date. Unfortunately, some of those millions may not be real people after all. Is it legal for dating sites to use fake content to lure in new members?

Is It Legal For Someone to Share Your Revealing Photos or Videos for Revenge on the Internet

In this modern digital age, it is often common for romantic partners, particularly those in long distance relationships, to exchange revealing photos of one another. These photos are often intended for the eyes of the receiver only. But, how can you be sure? What happens if you break up or the other person turns out to be less discrete than you had hoped? Is it illegal for someone to share those photos with others?

What is the Difference Between a Human Right and a Civil Right?

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a human right and a civil right? After all, if some Americans had to fight to obtain civil rights as recently as the late 20th Century, what are all of these human rights we and other nations are enforcing in other countries through military action? Is there a difference between the two terms?

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

For many, it can be a nightmare scenario: driving safely and minding their own business when another vehicle hits them, causes damage and possibly injuries, then flees the scene. What do you do? Who will pay for the damage?

Can an Employer Discriminate Based on Criminal History?

When dealing with an arrest or a criminal conviction, a lot of things may be on your mind. Being able to find a job may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it can be a serious problem. Many employers will not even consider someone with an arrest, let alone a conviction. But is it legal for an employer to discriminate based on one's criminal background?

Could a Doctor Be So Negligent That it is Considered Murder?

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when the loss could have been avoided. Often in cases of medical malpractice, those who are left behind after a loved one's passing wonder why the doctor is not going to jail for murder. Is it possible for one to charge a doctor with murder when their treatment of a patient was so poor as to result in death?

Is it Legal to Raise Wild Animals or Keep Them as Pets?

Anyone who has grown up near a park, nature preserve, or in a rural setting probably came across a wild animal that he or she wished to adopt. Whether it was a baby duckling, a squirrel, a raccoon, or even a bear cub, there are laws affecting raising wild animals.

What is Affirmative Action and Why Was it Created?

Most people have seen the effects of affirmative action in one place or another. For example, most job and school applications now ask a person's racial and ethnic background, gender, and veteran status. But what is affirmative action really, and why was it created?

Where Can I Carry a Gun on a College Campus?

Over the last decade, stories of shootings on college campuses have dotted the headlines. This has led many to call for legalizing the carrying of guns on campuses. Of course, this has also created a serious backlash against guns on campuses, leading many to ask if this is the answer or just a way to contribute to the problem. So where is it legal to carry a gun on a college campus?

How Much Can You Legally Get Away With Saying to a Cop?

Admit it, you have probably thought about it. What can you legally say to a cop and get away with it? Maybe an officer pulled you over on the wrong day, maybe you distrust cops, or maybe you just like living on the edge. Whatever your reasoning, you might be surprised to find out that getting a little mouthy is not technically an automatic one way trip to jail.

Can Bad Food Be a Violation of the Eighth Amendment Prohibition of Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

For those who have never been to prison, considerations of prison food are probably not high on the list of concerns about prison conditions. But, many a prisoner has suffered through daily rations of “nutriloaf” and probably has a very different take on the matter.

When Does the Geneva Convention Apply?

Often an argument raised by inmates or others who feel they have been wronged but are not sure what rights to call upon, the Geneva Conventions are frequently misidentified as the source of a variety of “rights” one does not have. The Geneva Conventions are actually a series of agreements, not a single document, and among the most misapplied by legal novices. So when do the Geneva Conventions really apply?

Are Sexual Harassment Investigations Confidential?

An all too common occurrence in the modern workplace is the sexual harassment. This can take many forms, like unwelcome sexual or romantic advances, sexual blackmail, offensive touching, discussions of intimate activities that make others uncomfortable, etc. While there are a number of laws to protect those who complain of such activities, what of those who are accused, particularly if the sexual harassment claim is determined to be unfounded or used as a means of embarrassment or retaliation?

Do Inmates Have Rights? If So, What Are They?

Obviously, going to jail or prison involves having one's rights curtailed. But, that does not mean inmates in the United States are without basic human rights. Even the most hardened criminal has basic rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you or someone you know may be facing incarceration, you should know your rights, or what your friend or loved one's rights are or will be while behind bars.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

Incarceration of any kind is designed to be an unpleasant experience. But, the policies, rights, and daily life of an inmate can be very different between these two types of institutions. So, what is the difference between jail and prison.

Is it Legal to Download Torrents

Most people understand that piracy of copyrighted works is illegal. But, many do not understand what piracy is or whether their role in the act of downloading pirated materials is a crime. Immense amount of data are downloaded everyday using file sharing programs called “torrent clients.” That means that millions of Americans are using torrents to share files, often containing pirated materials, which may leave you wondering, “Is it legal to download torrents?”

I Was Given Bad Advice About Fitness or Nutrition, What Can I Do?

I recently spoke to a friend, who is a personal trainer, about diet and exercise. Her advice, while well-intentioned, was wildly off-base from a scientific standpoint. This got me to wondering, what if I had taken her advice to heart and suffered a loss? Would the consequences of choices I made about diet and exercise be mine alone or would she have some liability for her inaccurate assertions?

Are There Any Foods That Are Illegal To Eat in the United States?

Over the last few years, the American palate has broadened considerably with flavors from every corner of the globe popping up everywhere. But some foods that are considered common fare or rare delicacies in other countries are actually banned in the United States. This could be because of safety concerns, issues over the treatment of animals, environmental impact, or a number of other considerations. Whatever the case, these foods are banned in the USA:

How Do You Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect?

Child abuse and neglect are ugly realities. Turning a blind eye to the act can doom a child to serious injury, emotional trauma, or even death. Children are the victims least able to stand up for themselves since they depend entirely upon their parents for food, care, and legal status. So what do you do if you suspect child abuse or neglect? How can you report it and protect a child in danger?

How Does a Minor Get Emancipated from His or Her Parents?

It is an unfortunate reality of our modern age that there are times when a minor would be better off being able to conduct their own affairs free from the control of their parents. When this is the case, the minor is able, in some instances, to seek what is known as “Emancipation.”

Is It Legal to Hitchhike?

For many years, people have relied upon the kindness of strangers to get where they needed to go by hitchhiking. Hitchhiking is the practice of soliciting rides in road vehicles, usually from strangers. It dates back to the time of the Great Depression, but concerns over safety for both passenger and driver have led to the implementation of a number of laws pertaining to hitchhiking. So, is it legal to hitchhike?

What is Plagiarism?

Perplexing and scary, the concept of plagiarism has long been the bane of students everywhere. Whether something is plagiarized and what that means has long been a matter of some uncertainty, however. So what exactly is plagiarism and is it against the law?

What is a Ponzi Scheme

After the recent economic downturn, the news was filled with stories about various Ponzi schemes. Bernie Madoff became notorious for defrauding millions of dollars from high-profile investors through such a scheme. So what is a Ponzi scheme and why is it illegal?

Is the Bitcoin Legal?

Bitcoin is a form of electronic currency that functions without being backed by any governmental authority. Bitcoin is often called a “cryptocurrency” because it is decentralized and uses a complicated system of cryptography to prevent double-spending. This form of currency has become a matter of great public interest as authorities debate whether it is legal and, if so, how they can regulate its use in illegal transactions and monitor it for tax purposes.

Why Can't I Use My Phone on a Flight?

For years, frequent commuters have complained about the inability to use their electronic devices on planes. Several years ago, the restrictions relaxed somewhat, allowing the use of approved electronic devices while at cruising altitude, and a recent rule change will allow the use of electronic devices, even during takeoff and landing, in the near future. But, why were these things banned in the first place? Why can one still not make a phone call from their cell phone during a flight?

Legal Advertising in America

While billboards and television ads with lawyers faces and slogans may be commonplace today, just a few years ago such advertising was not permitted for attorneys. Over the last two decades, restrictions on lawyer advertising have relaxed somewhat, allowing the proliferation of ads we see today. Still, these advertisements are not without restriction.

Do You Have a Right to Privacy?

Frequently, we hear people refer to a right to privacy, and many surveys even show that most Americans even believe that it is a specific right under the Constitution (though they cannot agree as to which amendment it is). In reality, there is no amendment that specifically protects privacy, though it has been recognized in several U.S. Supreme Court cases.

What Are America's Child Labor Laws?

It is often a coming of age event: getting that first job, usually to pay for something irresponsible like a sports car or a video game. But how old does one have to be to start working? How many hours can they work every day and week? Who gets to control the money (i.e., the child or the parents)?

What is the Difference Between Short- and Long-Term Disability Coverage?

Insurance is often a very complicated topic for many to understand. Riddled with unique jargon, overlapping and sometimes contradictory concepts, and inconsistent interpretations, it can be quite confusing to the average person. One example of where this confusion may arise is in the distinction between short- and long term-disability coverage.

When to Negotiate and When to Litigate

One of the most challenging decisions parties often face in a legal proceeding is knowing when to negotiate and when to litigate. Should they slug it out until the bitter end to get that huge judgment they think they will win, or should they be trying to resolve the dispute, avoid expense, and work things out? Or, are they coming to the table too soon? Is it going to be seen as a sign of weakness?

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Whenever someone dies it is normal for the survivors to want to find an explanation and a person to blame. Unfortunately, in some cases, nobody is to blame, and it was just that person's time. But, in other cases, when the death could have been avoided and someone else was in a position to prevent it, a wrongful death may have occurred.

Who is Responsible When a Child Breaks the Law?

All too often stories appear on the news of children in trouble with the law. Some bring guns or knives to school, others are shoplifting or stealing cars, and of course, there are always the ones who get into fights. Often, public outcry demands that something be done against the parents as well as the child. So, who is responsible when a child breaks the law?

Can I Get Breathalyzed On My Boat?

Most of us are familiar with the concept of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), but how do these translate to boating? Is it illegal to boat while drunk? If one is cited for boating under the influence, will that affect their driving license? Can you be given a breathalyzer on your boat?

What is a Liquor License and Why is it Such a Big Deal?

A liquor license is, as the name implies, a license for the service of alcohol. But, many have referred to the procurement of a liquor license in almost reverent terms, as though it is a rare prize. So what is a liquor license and why is it such a big deal to have one?

Is Body Paint Considered Clothing

Many have wondered whether body paint is sufficient covering to be considered clothing such that a person could not be arrested for public nudity. This question becomes popular particularly around holidays like Halloween, but has often come up with relation to art projects, political protests, and even sporting events. As with so many things in the law, the answer is unsatisfactorily vague.

What are the Laws About Bounty Hunters?

In the United States, bounty hunters are sometimes employed to chase down those who miss their hearings or trials in criminal cases.

Can I Get Alimony After My Divorce is Final?

Sometimes, after a divorce has been finalized and a court has issued its final judgment or decree declaring the marriage severed, one of the spouses finds that they need spousal support. Perhaps the divorce was entered into too hastily or while the spouse was under duress, perhaps the circumstances have changed for the spouse. Whatever the case, in some instances it is necessary to re-open the question of alimony after the divorce has been finalized.

How Legal Are Payday Loans?

Over the last few years, establishments known for their payday loan services have popped up on seemingly every street corner. With promises of helping the cash strapped get by until payday, these businesses seem imminently helpful. That is, until one reads the fine print and notices that they may be paying interest equivalent to an APR (annual percentage rate) of several hundred percent!

I Won My Lawsuit, Now How Do I Collect?

So, you have won your lawsuit, but the other side has not simply cut you a check. What do you do? How can you go about collecting your judgment? These are a few tips to help you with the collections process:

How Do I Get the Other Side to Pay My Attorney Fees if I Win a Lawsuit?

It is one of the most common questions attorneys receive: how does one sue to get back their attorney fees in a lawsuit? Whether a family law case, a contract dispute, or a tort action, many believe they are entitled to recover their attorney fees from the other party if they win. But, is it that simple?

What Protection is There for Whistleblowers?

If you have seen something at work that must change, but your employer is unwilling to do anything about it, what can you do? Will you be protected or can your employer immediately terminate you? How much will you jeopardize your job by doing the right thing?

What is the Difference Between Adoption and Guardianship?

When accepting responsibility for the welfare of a child, there are many difficult questions to consider. But one that often confuses people is the difference between adoption and guardianship. Does one have to adopt a child in order to act like a parent and be responsible for the child, or is there a simpler way?

How Binding and Mandatory is Arbitration?

The phrase “mandatory binding arbitration” sounds very final, but what does it really mean? How binding is an arbitration proceeding? Can one appeal an improper ruling? Can one avoid arbitration all together?

Where is Same-Sex Marriage Legal in the United States?

For years, gay and lesbian couples have fought for the right to have their relationships legally recognized like heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, as with most civil rights movements, the march towards equal rights for those of different sexual orientations has been a long and difficult one. Nevertheless, several states have recently taken to recognizing same-sex marriages over the last few years, opening the door to a new era of equality for these individuals.

Sports Injury Laws

Whenever one engages in sports, there is always an inherent risk of injury. Most athletes accept this risk as part of the game. Most injuries are accidental and relatively minor, like sprains, twists, and the occasional bone break. But what happens if an injury occurs as a result of a deliberate hit or someone acts so recklessly that injury is almost certain to occur?

What Can a Legal Aid Clinic Do for Me?

Many in legal trouble have needed the aid of an attorney but did not have the resources to pay for one. Some have heard of legal aid organizations but may wonder what services these organizations can provide and how useful they really are.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Any car accident can be scary, embarrassing, and financially draining. But, those sensations can be greatly enhanced when the accident involves only one vehicle. Obviously, factors like road conditions, hidden obstacles, and weather conditions can adversely affect one's ability to control a vehicle and can result in an accident. So who will be liable?

What is a Flag of Convenience?

When registering a vessel for international travel, one must choose a nation under the flag of which that vessel will sail. The term “flag of convenience” refers to registering a ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners.

The Dangers of Knock-Off Products

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to stealing someone's product design it may be the basis for both civil and criminal liability.

Food Fraud and Commonly Mislabeled Foods

Food fraud is the deliberate mislabeling of food products for financial gain with the intent of deceiving the consumer regarding what is actually in the package. The United States Pharmacopeial Convection (USP) reports that these acts of fraud have increased by 60 percent over the last year alone.

How Effective Is Mediation in Child Custody Disputes?

Disputes over child custody can be among the most heated. After all, the stakes are incredibly high when the issue of being able to see your own children is on the line. As a result, it may seem like the prospect of ever reaching an agreement with your child's other parent is highly unlikely, but mediation can often lead to surprisingly positive results.

Who Is More Likely to Get Custody: a Mother or a Father?

The question of which parent is more likely to get custody is an ever evolving one. Once, there was a policy of ensuring that the mother always received custody, called the “tender years” doctrine, which assumed that young children needed to be with their mothers in their early, developmental years. But more recently, courts and lawmakers have realized that the mother is not always in the best position to provide a safe and healthy environment for children.

Who Determines How Much Visitation a Parent Gets?

Many people are confused by the process of determining child custody and visitation. It can be a stressful time, so confusion is only natural. But, many ask who gets to determine how much visitation a parent gets? Is it the court? The parent with custody? The parent seeking visitation? The child? A government agency?

Anti-Bullying Laws in America

Millions of Americans experienced bullying at some point as a child. I personally experienced bullying between 5th and 8th grade when I went through a phase where I stopped growing up as much as out for a few years. Psychologically, I saw myself as a short, fat kid for years after, well into college when I was actually 6'3” tall and well built. The effects of bullying can be damaging and long lasting.

Why are Steroids Illegal in the United States?

Many professional athletes over the last two decades have been subjected to humiliation and ridicule after it was revealed that they used steroids to gain a competitive edge. From the Olympics to cycling to professional baseball, it seems no high level sport is safe from the use of such banned substances, a practice often called “doping.” But why are steroids illegal?

Top 5 Things to Consider Adding to an Estate Plan

For most, estate planning is not an enjoyable experience. For many it is a recognition of their own mortality. For others, it is simply an exercise in annoyance and frustration as one tries to navigate the complicated twists and turns of tax laws, healthcare regulations, trust laws, etc. To make things simpler, the following is a list of the top 5 things you should consider adding to your estate plan.

Why Should I Have to Pay a Retainer Fee?

When hiring an attorney, a potential client is often asked to pay an upfront fee called a “retainer” in order to hire the client. Many clients wonder why they should have to pay such a fee, particularly when they are sometimes non-refundable and they have not yet received any benefit from hiring the attorney. What happens if the case settles shortly after paying the retainer fee and before the attorney has done much work?

What Are Consumer Rights?

The phrase “consumer rights” is thrown around rather freely these days. But what are consumer rights? Are they written down somewhere? Where do they come from? What are the rights?

How to Get Divorced Without an Attorney

Filing for divorce does not have to be a hostile event. If you and your spouse have simply drifted apart and decided it is time to move on, there is no reason that a divorce needs to be a contentious battle full of expensive legal fees. In fact, it is possible to get a divorce on your own without an attorney.

What Happens if I Am Not Read My Rights?

We have all seen police shows where, immediately upon arrest, a police officer begins telling the suspect “you have the right to remain silent...” The list of rights the officer is about to recite are known as Miranda Rights. So what happens if the officer does not read you your Miranda Rights at the time of arrest?

What Kinds of Defenses Can I Use in a Criminal Case?

It is well known that in American law, in order to convict someone of a crime, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is only one side of the equation. The defendant also has an opportunity to present evidence to support a defense. So what kinds of defenses can one raise in a criminal case?

What is an Alibi and How Does it Work?

You may have heard of someone using an alibi to avoid criminal liability, either in real life or on a television show or movie. But what is an alibi? How does it work? What are the legal consequences fo claiming an alibi?

How Do You Get Out of Jail After an Arrest?

Getting arrested is an incredibly stressful, confusing experience, both for the person under arrest and their friends and loved ones. And, once taken to jail, there is probably just one thing on everyone's mind: getting that person back out of jail. So, how is that done?

What Should I Ask Before Hiring an Attorney?

Most people do not hire attorneys everyday. This may leave them at a bit of a disadvantage in knowing what they should find out from an attorney before hiring them. Before hiring a lawyer, you should get information about these aspects of the attorney-client relationship:

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in injury or death. Fortunately, these cases are fairly rare, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating. Some people wonder what kinds of treatments might lead to medical malpractice. These are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.

What Are a Father's Child Custody Rights

Historically, one often thinks of a bygone era where child custody was always seen as a woman's right. But, times have changed and a more enlightened world has realized that a mother as the sole custodial parent is not always the best solution. Thus, what are a father's custody rights today?

Can I File a Lawsuit Without a Lawyer

Often, people may have viable bases for lawsuits but fear that they are not allowed to file their claim without a lawyer. As a result, concerns over paying attorney fees may keep some from following through with their claims, meaning that the legal wrong may go unaddressed and the person who was wronged may go uncompensated. But, it is possible to file a lawsuit without a lawyer. This article will tell you how.

What is an Attorney-Client Privilege

Whenever someone hires an attorney, an attorney-client relationship is formed, and a privilege is created. But what is the attorney-client privilege? What makes the relationship between a lawyer and a client different from other professional relationships?

What Are the Common Types of Attorney Fee Arrangements

One of the biggest concerns of people in need of the assistance of an attorney is how much it will cost. The type of fee arrangement that is available to a client will often have a lot to do with the type of legal issues you are bringing to your attorney. There are several common types of attorney fees and fee arrangements:

What is Medical Malpractice

When one visits a doctor, they usually expect to get better. But in a few cases, mistakes are made, and the patient ends up with a misdiagnosis, an improperly performed procedure, or a mistake with medication. These errors can result in not getting better, new injuries, or even death. This could be medical malpractice.

What is Mediation?

Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In mediation, a neutral third party called a “mediator” tries to facilitate negotiations between two or more adverse parties.

What to Do if You Suspect Securities Fraud

After the recent financial problems of the first part of the 21st century, it is natural for investors to be wary of those who handle their financial investments. So what should you do if you notice something questionable in your account statements or trade confirmations?

What is the Statute of Frauds?

When dealing with a contract dispute, particularly in the case of an oral contract, one may hear the term “statute of frauds” used. This does not refer to the commission of an actual fraud, but rather, whether the contract had to be in writing or not. So what is the statute of frauds and when does it apply?

Laws Regarding Graffiti and Art

Graffiti is an unusual topic in the art world. Several artists have become iconic for their graffiti art works, like Keith Haring and Banksy. But how does the law deal with the debate between free expression, art, and the crime of defacing others' properties?

Indian Gaming Laws

Many states have small casinos associated with a Native American tribe. This often leads one to wonder why casinos are legal when associated with an Indian Tribe, but not under other circumstances. Which laws apply to these Indian casinos, as they are often called, and how are they regulated?

Who is Responsible When I Trip on the Sidewalk

Have you ever been walking along a sidewalk or walkway and taken a fall? Maybe a step was uneven or there was ice on the ground, or a root had broken through the concrete. Whatever the case, it is possible to seriously injure yourself, even through no fault of your own, just walking down the sidewalk. But, who should be responsible for those injuries?

Stuck With Unaffordable Student Loans, Now What?

Every year, millions of students are convinced to take on student loans with promises of huge salaries upon graduation, but often the reality is a bit different and these same students are left with an enormous debt and little or no means of repayment. Indeed, these debts can last for decades.

What Are the Different Types of Assault?

The term assault is used with relation to any number of different crimes and civil offenses, often incorrectly. So, what is assault, actually? And what are the different types of assault?

What Benefits are Employees Entitled to After Termination?

Leaving a job, whether intentionally, by being fired, or through circumstances beyond your control (such as layoffs), is almost always tinged with at least a little (and often a lot) of stress. One of the biggest concerns faced by many in this position is what sorts of benefits they are entitled to? Will their insurance continue? Are they guaranteed a severance? What happens if they cannot immediately find a job?

Facts About Shoplifting

In many stores today we see the signs warning about being on camera and advising that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Despite these measure, every year billions of dollars worth of products are stolen from retailers. So what is shoplifting, how is it different than other types of theft, what are the possible consequences, and what impact does it have on society?

Creating a Prenuptial Agreement

Getting married can be exciting, but it can also lead to a loss of good sense. It is easy to become wrapped up in the excitement of love and a wedding and to forget about what exactly could be at stake should things go wrong. It may not be terribly romantic, but it could be very wise to think through both the good and the bad of a marriage.

What is International Law?

Many have asked the question “what is international law?” It is an understandable question given the way that it is thrown around as though it is an easily identifiable thing. However, “international law” is largely a misnomer, given that it primarily refers to a body of treaty agreements and their resulting rules, regulations, and practices, and not the codification of laws passed down by a centralized government or legislative body.

Understanding E-Discovery

Few changes to the rules of procedure have been as groundbreaking as those pertaining to discovery of electronically stored media, or e-discovery. Although e-discovery has been slow to make much impact on some areas of legal practice, its effects on litigation are beginning to spread to even the most simple of cases, requiring more and more people to form at least a basic understanding of what it is, how it works, and what their obligations could be in a lawsuit.

Video Games and the Law

Like virtually every other activity Americans engage in on a daily basis, even video games are subject to the restrictions and protections of the law. This is also an area of increasing interest as hundreds of new companies come into the video game market every year by developing the wildly popular game apps played on mobile phones and tablet devices.

The Fallout of Arthur Andersen and Enron on the Legal Landscape of American Accounting

It may have been a decade ago, but the fallout of the accounting scandals of the late 1990's and early 2000's continue to resonate through both of the accounting and legal professions. The largely self-regulated accounting profession has enacted numerous changes that continue to evolve in response to the scandals and pressure from government agencies and the public.

Different Types of Bankruptcies in America and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act

The recent economic downturn put many in a difficult financial position, unable to repay all of their obligations. This has been true for not just individuals, but businesses and cities, as well. When this occurs, the law provides a mechanism for getting out of control debts back under control, either by restructuring debt or wiping out certain types of obligations. This is bankruptcy.

US Divorce Law and Statistics

It is an unfortunate reality of our modern culture that divorce is common and widespread. If you are going through a divorce, much of the terminology and general process of divorce can be confusing and intimidating. Understanding the fundamental concepts of the American divorce system can help you in navigating through the process of divorce or legal separation.

Squatters Issues Highlighted by Conviction of Former NBA Player Chris Gatling

Squatting is the act of taking over custody and possession of someone else's real estate without permission. It can often be difficult to oust squatters, and in many jurisdictions, if the squatter does things in a certain fashion, they may even be able to take away ownership of the property through a process called adverse possession.

Which Countries Score the Worst for Women's Rights?

While American women are generally treated with little distinction from men under American law, it has not always been so. Indeed, it is still not this way in many parts of the world. A recent survey of countries ranked the legal standing of women in various nations and compiled a list of the nations with the most legal distinctions between the rights of men versus those of women.

Fan Given Another Bite at the Hot Dog in Lawsuit Against Kansas City Royals

A fan who got hit in the eye by a hot dog thrown by the Kansas City Royals mascot in 2009 could get another chance to convince a jury that the Royals owe him for his injuries. The case went before the Missouri Supreme Court on September 11.

Puerto Rican Island Residents Sue US Government for Human Rights Violations

After decades of live fire exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, the US government ceased to fire on the island in 2003. Nevertheless, the legacy of those training exercises linger on, and now a group of residents have filed a lawsuit against the US government claiming human rights violations.

Not Every Case is Made the Same; New Jersey Dispute Settled for One Dollar

Most lawsuits settle rather than going all the way to judgment. In fact, the vast majority (often estimated around 90%) of all cases will settle before a trial, and a substantial number of those remaining cases will settle before the verdict is returned.

When Law Enforcement Cannot Solve It, Private Recovery Agency Tracks Stolen Art

What happens when famous pieces of art are stolen and law enforcement leads run dry? Private recovery agencies are called upon to bring back these multimillion dollar masterpieces, often taking years to track the work, earning staggering fees, and blurring the line between legal and illegal activities.

Untested Nature of Carbon Capture May Present Loophole for Coal and Electric Industry

The Obama administration has been cracking down on environmental regulations, particularly with regard to global warming. Faced with this increased pressure, the coal and electric industries are applying a new legal strategy they believe will allow them to take advantage of a loophole and prevent most EPA enforcement measures.

Social Review Sites Fight Back Against Law Firms Posting Fake Reviews

Attorney advertising is a fairly new phenomenon in many jurisdictions. Rules of various state bar associations have eased over the last two decades to allow more and more freedom for attorneys wishing to advertise their services just like any other profession. However, the rise of new technology has presented a new twist and new source of liability for attorneys wishing to advertise online.

Detroit's Casino Tax Dollars Become Issue in City's Bankruptcy

Detroit was one of the most heavily hit cities during the recent economic downturn. Although it has started to rebound, based in large part upon federal subsidies provided by the Obama Administration which many credit with saving the American auto industry, the city continues to deal with financial woes as it struggles through the larges Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Zimmerman Court Woes Continue: Amid Divorce, George Cannot Be Found for Service

In any civil action, including divorces, both parties must have notice of the case. This is accomplished through service of process. While this can take many forms, some form of service must occur or the case cannot move forward and a judgment either will not be entered against that party or could be easily vacated.

The Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce

Ending a marriage is never a simple process. However, it can be simpler in some situations when the spouses are able to remain civil and agree between themselves how to divide the marital assets, deal with custody and support issues, and handle any other matters. Also known as an uncontested divorce, it may be hard for divorcing couples to accomplish in many instances, but the benefits can be great under the right circumstances.

African American Women Disproportionately At Risk For Death by Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can happen anywhere and is not bound by race, religion, or socio-economic status. But, recent studies show that African American women are at three times the risk of experiencing a lethal domestic violence event than any other racial groups in America. Indeed, domestic violence murders are among the leading causes of death of black women ages 15 to 35.

Native American Woman Nominated to Federal Bench

On September 19, President Barack Obama announced that Diane J. Humetewa was a nominee for the US District Court for Arizona. The nomination was made in response to widespread requests for representation on the federal bench of Native American interests.

Amid Product Liability Suit, Johnson & Johnson Announces Another Recall

Johnson & Johnson, well known pharmaceutical company, announced a recall for its anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal Consta. The recall was due to concerns that the drug may not be sterile. The Risperdal recall is just the latest of dozens of recalls by Johnson & Johnson in recent years, costing the Brunswick, N.J.-based company hundreds of millions of dollars, and damaging its reputation in the medical community and among patients.

Is It Illegal to Own a Machine Gun? Not if You Are a Business Entity

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly known as the “ATF”) is responsible for regulating guns in the United States. A current loophole allows individuals to obtain weapons such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns through corporations, trusts or other legal entities.

CAT Scan Costs Doctor $2.85 Million in Malpractice Suit

A jury in Myrtle Beach, SC has awarded what is expected to be one of the state’s largest judgments in a medical malpractice lawsuit against an orthopedic surgeon whose actions left his patient a paraplegic.

Veterans Suffering from Unexpected Source of Injuries: Overmedication

A battlefield is a dangerous place, and tens of thousands of US military veterans have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries suffered on the battlefield. Naturally, many seek treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals. But, CBS News reports that some veterans are dying of accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers at a much higher rate than the general population.

How to Write Off Expenses for Meals and Entertainment on Your Corporate Taxes

One of the most common questions often asked of corporate attorneys by small business owners who are just setting up their first company is how to write off expenses. Usually, two of the most important expenses these people want to write off are meals and entertainment expenses.

Bizarre American Sex Crimes Laws

Every state is responsible for passing laws regarding local standards for moral conduct. As a result, each state has enacted its own laws regarding sex crimes. Most are common to every jurisdiction, such as laws prohibiting rape, sexual contact with minors, and public exposure. But some laws are so unique and so inexplicable that they are worth review.

Proving Lead Poisoning Cases

The heyday of lead poisoning cases may be past, but they still pop up from time to time. Often, lead paint is discovered in older homes when renovations are underway. The effects of lead poisoning are often slow to develop and require difficult proofs.

A Novel Approach to Mortgage Crisis: Take Underwater Homes Through Eminent Domain

Richmond, California has developed a unique solution to the problem with homes that are underwater after the mortgage crisis. It is using the government's authority to take title to property through eminent domain to reduce the underwater mortgage debt in the city.

A History of American Gaming Laws

Gambling is restricted in America, though its popularity is increasing. Laws regarding gambling are important not only for those involved with gaming operations, like casinos, bingo, or poker tournaments, but also for the average person who wants to know whether he can legally start a betting pool among his friends or at his office, has an idea for a new business model involving some form of chance, or if he can legally participate in an online poker tournament.

The Basics of American Franchising

Perhaps you have seen an advertisement at a restaurant suggesting that you can open your own franchise and make a lot of money. Or, have you seen an advertisement on TV or the Internet talking about franchising opportunities? Or has someone approached you about buying into a multilevel marketing franchise? Whatever the situation, an understanding of what franchising is and its legal ramifications can be important for a successful business.

How do You Know Who is at Fault in a Car Accident

Determining the responsible party for a car accident can sometimes be tricky. There is often a difference between who actually caused an accident and who legally is at fault. Understanding who is at fault will have ramifications on whose insurance will be required to pay for damage to vehicles and properties, and which driver might be held liable for personal injuries.

How to Fight Drug Possession Charges

Every year, thousands of people are arrested on drug possession charges. Many of these charges relate to very small amounts of controlled substances in a person's car or on their person. These cases are an enormous percentage of the criminal court dockets of every state, leading to almost routine behavior of drug possession defendants and sentencing. But, it is possible to fight these types of charges and obtain a more favorable outcome.

Truth in Advertising and Marketing and Other FTC Regulations

When consumers see or hear an advertisement on the Internet, radio, in print, on a billboard, on television, or anywhere else, federal law says that the ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.

Considerations in a Legal Malpractice Case

We all understand that when someone wrongs us, we can contact an attorney to obtain assistance in filing a lawsuit to obtain relief. But what do you do when your attorney is the one who has wronged you? How do you obtain relief when your attorney drops the ball and commits malpractice?

Washington Shipyard Shooting Stirs Debate Over Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms

On Monday, September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis opened fire in the Washington Naval Shipyard, killing 12 naval and civilian personnel before he was ultimately killed himself by law enforcement. However, much to the surprise of the general public, the weapon that Alexis used to kill 12 innocent people was legal, since when he purchased it, Alexis had no record of either a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

Secret Court Ruling Explains Government's Legal Justification for Warrantless Collection of Phone Data

Since the revelation by former government contractor, Edward Snowden, that the federal government had been spying on US citizens for years, the opinions of both the public and a number of elected officials have shown strong disapproval for this conduct.

Debate Over Corporate Funding of Contraception May Go to US Supreme Court

A provision of the Affordable Care Act (also frequently referred to as “Obamacare”) requries that corporations of 50 or more employees must issue FDA-approved contraceptives as part of their health plan. However, a legal advocacy group has announced that it will ask the US Supreme Court to take up a Michigan manufacturing company’s challenge to the requirement.

Immoral But Not Always Illegal: Price Gouging After Natural Disaster

The recent floods in Colorado have brought a problem to the forefront: post-disaster price gouging. While 35 states have made this a crime, there are still 15, Colorado included, where this is merely considered capitalism.

Did You Know Your Fantasy Football League Might be Illegal?

Millions of Americans engage in creating fantasy football teams. It can be a fun way to add an extra layer of enjoyment to the season and, for some, to add an extra investment in the fan's favorite players and teams. While most fans only worry about who they will start on their fantasy team on Sunday, if their league has an entry fee or awards prizes, they may be engaging in illegal activity.

Families Behind Revlon and Hudson Media Fight Bitter Legal Battle Over Enormous Inheritance

Samantha Perelman is a 23-year-old student at Columbia University, working on a masters of business administration and as a summer production assistant on the set of the HBO show “Girls.” Impressive credentials, to be sure, but more impressive is the legal battle in which she finds herself: she is fighting with her uncle for a share in an estimated $700 million inheritance.

Nudity and Public Decency Laws in America

In recent years, incidences of public nudity have increased. In some instances, this is innocent fun, like ritual moonings in Orange County, California, and worldwide naked bike riding events.

What Do Lawyers Look For When Evaluating Contracts?

Corporate attorneys are frequently asked to assess various contracts that their clients bring to them. Generally, clients only want to know whether it is a “good” contract, or if it “covers everything.” But, this is only a small fraction of what an attorney should analyze. So, what do lawyers look for when evaluating contracts?

What to Do When an Auto Dealer Defrauds You

Two Orlando, Florida car dealers recently made headlines when they were caught in a scheme to defraud customers. When you buy and sell cars at a dealership, you expect things to go smoothly; expect the dealer to follow the law. But if the dealer defrauds you, what are your options?

And You Thought Your Legal Fees Were High...Banks' Legal Fees Top $103 Billion After Housing Bubble Burst

If you have ever complained about your legal fees, or been reluctant to hire an attorney because you did not think you could afford it, just be glad you are not one of the six largest US Banks recovering from the collapse of the housing market and resulting financial crisis. Bloomberg reports that together, they have amassed a whopping $103 billion in legal costs since the beginning of the Great Recession.

Case of Baby Veronica Is a Primer on Not Just Adoption Law, but Native American Affairs

So-Called Baby Veronica is now four years old, and has already been the subject of a case that has traveled all the way to the US Supreme Court and back down through several state courts. The case is a twisting tangle of different legal principles intermingled with social policies, making for a great primer on both adoption laws and Native American affairs.

What are the Laws Regarding Paparazzi

Many will long remember the death of Princess Diana in 1997. She passed away as a result of a fatal car crash during a high-speed paparazzi chase. This led to a number of laws in both England and America relating to the paparazzi.

Can Texting While Driving Lead to a Murder Charge

On February 20, 2011, a teenage driver was sending a text message when he accidentally swerved across the middle line and killed the driver of a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. The incident was clearly an accident, but was the teen's action of composing text messages while driving so wanton and reckless that it could amount to criminal homicide?

Hiring Children of Foreign Officials May Expose Bank to Bribery Charges

America's largest banking institution is facing charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for a practice of hiring the children of foreign officials. The case will test how broadly the federal law can be applied to practices as common as hiring an influential person's children in order to gain a small advantage in negotiations.

Absurd Animal Cases in Homeowners Associations

In my former legal practice, I found that few cases were more prone to absurd happenings, bizarre government policies, or overly expensive litigation than pet cases.

When Businesses Commit Crimes, How Are They Handled and Who is Held Responsible

We are all familiar with the idea of individuals committing crimes and facing the consequences of those actions. But, what happens if a corporation commits a crime? Who is responsible?

Crowdfunding, Crowdinvesting, Kickstarter, and the JOBS Act

In 2012, the US federal government passed a bill called the JOBS act. Among its provisions was one allowing for small investments in exchange for equity in that company or project without having to go through the SEC or qualify as an investor. What is the difference between crowdinvesting and crowdfunding, what is Kickstarter, and how does it all work from a legal standpoint?

Understanding Informed Consent

Anyone who has ever been to a doctor has probably seen a form relating to informed consent. But what is informed consent? What happens if you are asked to consent to something that you do not understand and are later injured?

When is it Okay Not to Pay Rent

Leases are tricky things. They are a combination of contract laws, agreements between the parties, and laws and regulations that relate to landlords and tenants, housing standards, zoning, safety, etc. As a result, although a lease agreement may say you have to pay rent always and under every circumstance, there are plenty of times when one of these other laws may intervene.

When Cops Accidentally Shoot Someone, What is the Consequence?

On a Saturday night in September, 2013, an emotionally disturbed man ran through Times Square in New York City mimicking the action of firing a gun at police. Believing in the heat of the moment that they may actually be under fire, the officers responded with actual bullets, hitting two innocent bystanders. Just a few months earlier, nine bystanders were hit by police bullets during a shootout with a disgruntled man who shot a former coworker in the financial district.

Shake App Puts Legally Binding Document Creation in the Palm of Your Hand

Have you ever been out of the office or away from home, meet someone, strike up a conversation, and realize you want to do business with that person? Maybe you even had the feeling after leaving that if you could have given them a contract right then and there you would have closed the deal. Well now you can, with a new smartphone and tablet application called Shake.

Encrypted Email Service Begins Appeal of Surveillance Order in Wake of Revelation of Government Surveillance

Lavabit, a company that offers encrypted email services to its customers, has formally appealed the secret surveillance order that led it to close its business last month, but the case was immediately placed under seal in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

When Public Services Fail How Do You Get Relief?

We have all heard the saying that you cannot fight city hall. But, what do you do when a public service like electricity, water, sewage, or trash pick up breaks down and nobody does anything to fix it? Who do you pursue and how?

Jurisdiction Issues Raised in Child Sex Trafficking Case

In September, 2013, a man from Missouri was charged with child sex trafficking in the case of a developmentally delayed girl from Massachusetts who disappeared a few days before week and was later found safe in Rhode Island. Cases such as these raise a number of questions, including which state has jurisdiction, which laws apply, and what can be done.

Why is Pornography Legal and Prostitution is Not

It seems like the headlines are constantly filled with new stories of politicians quite literally caught with their pants down in scandals with prostitutes. This often raises the question of why we do not treat prostitution in the same was as pornography. Why is sex for money okay in one setting and not another?

Lessons on International and Constitutional Law Found in Current Syria Debate

Whether you believe the current administration's handling of the dispute in Syria has been well handled or not, and whether you are for or against intervention, the back and forth process provides interesting insights into the processes of both international and constitutional law.

What Sort of Malpractice Insurance Does a Law Firm Need

Most businesses need a plan for dealing with unexpected situations. Usually, that plan includes insurance policies. But law firms and lawyers face unique circumstances most other professions never face. So what sorts of insurance should law firms obtain to best manage their risks?

Merger of American Airlines and US Airways After Bankruptcy May Face Anti-Trust Law Issues

A bankruptcy judge in New York has endorsed a plan to merge American Airlines and US Airways. That approval, however, is contingent upon the outcome of an anti-trust lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice which asserts that such a merger would deprive the marketplace of choice and competition.

Why is Physician Assisted Suicide Illegal

Those with sick and elderly loved ones forced to live out the end of their lives in pain have often wondered why physician assisted suicide is illegal and what laws prevent it. The answer is a mix of politics, historic legal precedent, and the black letter of the law.

New York City Driver's Accident Demonstrates Difference Between Criminal and Civil Liabilities

On September 12, 2013, a New York City driver reportedly hit the accelerator instead of the brake as he pulled into a parking space. The result: he ran over 5 teenagers standing on the sidewalk. Fortunately, none of the teens was seriously injured. But, to the shock of many, officials announced they did not intend to press charges in what they considered a purely accidental incident.

George Zimmerman: Domestic Violence Raises Questions About Use of Violence and Florida Stand Your Ground Law

On September 9, 2013, George Zimmerman, infamous after his slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and subsequent acquittal, made headlines again over a domestic violence dispute. Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman's wife, told a 911 operator that her husband George "was going to shoot" her and her father at their Florida home. So, would she have had the right to shoot George Zimmerman had he threatened violence?

Intoxication Can Be Illegal in Circumstances Other than DUI

We all know the dangers of intoxication or drug use before getting behind the wheel of a car, but when else can intoxication be against the law? It might surprise you to know that there are ways to commit DUI without even being in a car. In fact, there are many laws affecting intoxication and being aware of some of the more unusual ones could be the difference between a fun night out and a legal nightmare.

Dyson Sues Samsung to Protect its Intellectual Property Rights

British manufacturer Dyson, famous for their revolutionary vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, has instituted legal action against electronics giant Samsung, citing patent infringements.

Can Store Uniforms Constitute Religious Discrimination?

A former Abercrombie & Fitch employee has won a major discrimination case against the popular clothing company. Umme-Hani Khan, a 19 year old Muslim woman obtained the assistance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Approved for Financing at the Dealer Then Denied a Few Days Later; What Happens Now

It is a horrifying situation. You buy a car, motorcycle, or RV by financing it at the dealership. You sign the paperwork and drive it home with the dealer's blessings only to discover a few days later that the financing has suddenly and unexpectedly been denied. Now the dealer wants its vehicle back and you are left holding the bag, maybe even out a down payment or other fees as well as the cost of any aftermarket additions to your vehicle. What do you do?

Hit and Run Accidents and the Consequences

For those who have either been injured by a hit and run driver, or those who have lost a loved one, it is clear that hit and run accidents can turn an already unpleasant event into a truly horrible one. For those who caused the accident then fled the scene, usually in a panic, the consequences can be severe.

Understanding Building Codes

Building codes establish standards for the construction of buildings and other structures. Virtually every structure in a modern building is subject to at least one, and usually several different building codes.

How to Get Paid for Construction Delay Claims

The single most common cause of construction litigation for non-private, residential projects is delay. Delays may cascade from one contractor or trade to another, causing a domino effect that can lead to a very expensive conclusion. After all, time is money, and delays on commercial projects can mean thousands or even millions in lost revenues to the property owner.

Protecting Trade Secrets: How to Draft a Nondisclosure Agreement

Many companies have developed their own unique means of doing what they do, making their product, or handling their information. If your way of doing things is better than your competition's, they may naturally want to find out how you are doing it. So, protecting your competitive advantage – your trade secrets – can be critical to growing your business. And, one of the best ways to do that is through the use of the nondisclosure agreement.

Overview of US Import and Export Laws and Procedures

In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, understanding US customs laws is very important. In fact, this knowledge is key before you begin trying to import/export products, or they may be subject to delays or even seizure.

Where is Marijuana Legalized, Decriminalized, or Still Criminal?

Much has been made over the last few years about a push to legalize marijuana. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making it the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 19 more states, and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, for a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia with public medical marijuana programs.

Effects of Bad Credit and Legal Considerations

Negative credit can have many far reaching consequences. Although you may not realize it, the health of your credit history will determine whether or not you are suitable for all sorts of things, including basic needs like renting an apartment or getting a job.

What Happens to Property if There is No Will?

If you have lost a loved one, there are many things on your mind, not the least of which may be what to do with the belongings that have been left behind. Sadly, family can become very attached to different items that may bear a sentimental value to them, or feel entitled to a portion of the estate's value. These problems can be greatly magnified in situations where there is no will.

Common Construction Injuries

Construction work can be very dangerous. Heavy equipment, heights, dangerous obstacles all around: construction work presents unique hazards most other occupations do not. As a result, injuries on construction sites are all too frequent an occurrence.

Which States Are Likely to Issue Gun Permits and Which Are Not

Gun laws are largely a matter of state law. Although certain federal laws regulate some guns, like automatic weapons, states are generally able to control the issuance of concealed weapons permits.

Laws Regarding Carrying Knives

Many have questions regarding whether it is legal to carry a knife (or a particular type of knife) in their location. There is a good reason: laws vary widely from state-to-state and from municipality to municipality. As a general rule, most states will allow the carrying of small utility knives, but even then they can only be carried in certain places. Following is a quick primer on common knife carrying laws.

New Jersey Child Visitation Laws

Children are often the most difficult factor to sort out when a relationship ends. There is very little stronger than a parent's love for their child, making visitation issues very emotional and volatile.

What to Do if You Are in a Bus Accident

Whenever you step onto a bus, whether a city bus, a tour bus, a shuttle, a school bus, etc., you are entrusting your safety to the bus driver and the owner of the bus. For some reason, we feel safe and secure on a bus; so much so that many buses do not have or require seat belts. But even when in a bus, accidents do happen.

Little Known Facts About Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents, though not necessarily more common than other motor vehicle accidents, can be more shocking and devastating. But, they can also be caused by some unique circumstances. A number of studies and surveys have discovered some interesting facts and statistics about motorcycle accidents:

Legal Considerations in Train and Railroad Accidents

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, approximately 3,000 train accidents occur each year in the United States, and nearly 1,000 people die each year as a result. Railroad accidents may be in the form of a collision with another train, a car or bus, or even a derailment or fire.

Illinois Industrial Accidents

In Illinois, employers have a duty to their employees to provide a safe work environment that protects them for injury on the job. This is even more true where industrial equipment or manufacturing machines are in use. But, industrial workplaces like factories, energy plants and warehouses have a higher than average rate of injury and death for their workers.

What is a Mass Tort and Why Does It Matter to Me?

A tort is a civil (as opposed to a criminal) wrong committed by a person or company that results in some sort of harm to another, whether physical injury, emotional distress, or financial loss or property damage. The person or entity that commits the tort is called a “tortfeasor,” and is legally responsible for the harm their wrong causes to the victim(s).

Sex Offenders and Predators

Sadly, the news is constantly filled with reports of various sex crimes, like rape, teachers having sex with underage students, and child pornography rings. Another frequent story is that of the sex offender or predator who offends again and hurts somebody. But what is the truth behind sex offenders and predators? Which crimes will result in registration? How can you find out about sex offenders near you? Just how big of a threat do these people pose?

How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged

In our modern digital age, even having a mug shot, let alone a conviction, can create difficult and embarrassing circumstances. Employers may be unwilling to hire, potential romantic partners may be hesitant to even meet, and landlords may not be willing to rent to you. So what can you do about getting a conviction expunged from your record?

What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

Both DUI and DWI have made their way into our common speech, but often we forget exactly what they mean. Moreover, there is often confusion over the distinction between a DUI or a DWI that can be enhanced by the variations between differing jurisdictions.

How to Know if a Car Accident Case is Worth Anything

Virtually any civil lawsuit has one thing in common: damages. That is the injury, financial harm, or damage to property for which one is entitled to recover money from the other party. Personal injury claims related with helping drivers and passengers receive compensation for injuries they suffer in auto accidents are no exception. However, several factors can affect the amount of compensation received and the time it takes to receive it.

Who is Liable for Animal Bites by Wild Animals?

In virtually every jurisdiction, the owner of an animal will be responsible if it injures someone, whether that animal is a pet, a service animal, or on display, such as at a zoo or exhibition. But, people get injured by wild animals, too. When a wild animal attacks someone, who is responsible for the injuries? The injured person? The property owner where the attack occurred? The government?

Combatting Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized use of someone's credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. State and federal laws both come into play with relation to credit card fraud, as may your agreements with your credit or debit card issuer.

What Are the Different Schedules of Drugs

In criminal prosecutions, one often hears various drugs referred to by different schedules. But what are the schedules, which drugs are on them, and what do they mean?

Detecting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

It may seem unthinkable that anyone would want to injure a defenseless elderly person, but it happens everyday. Nursing home abuse takes many forms, but all of it can be damaging, whether emotionally, physically, or financially. Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse and contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer if you know or suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected is critical in protecting both your loved one and others who may not have family or those as attentive as you.

Burn Injuries and Brain Damage

Statistics show that there are 450,000 emergency room visits due to burn injuries every year in the United States. After emergency treatment, 10% of those injuries (or some 45,000 people) will be admitted to long-term care or treatment at burn centers. Unfortunately, about 3,500 of these burn victims will not survive.

What to Do if Your Child is Injured at Birth

It is a nightmare scenario nobody wishes to face: what should be one of the happiest moments of their life becomes one of the most tragic when their newborn experiences injuries during birth. These injuries can be permanently debilitating or even result in death. But, very often, birth injuries are also preventable and unnecessary, resulting from improper medical care.

My Ex Is Moving Away With The Children, What Can I Do?

You are divorced, or were never married, but have children with your ex. You share custody or, at the very least have visitation rights. But now your ex tells you s/he is moving someplace with the kids that would make seeing your children as regularly as you would like much more difficult.

Suggestions for Those About to Take Part in a Deposition

The purpose of a discovery deposition is for an attorney or a party in a case to find out as much as they can about the facts of a law suit. If you are a party to the case, you will likely have a good idea of what to expect, ideally through the advice of your attorney. But, if you are either unrepresented or not a party to a case, this guide should help you understand how to behave, what is at stake, and what your obligations are.

How do I say “No” to the Police?

You have been stopped, either in a car, in a public place, or walking down the street, and an officer asks you to do something you do not think you should have to do. This would probably be a request to search your person or vehicle. So, when an officer asks you to empty your pockets, allow a search of your car, or for some other consent to search, how do you say “no” without bringing on more suspicion and a possible arrest?

How to Get an Annulment

For those who have only been married for a short time, the question of whether an annulment is available versus a divorce is a common question. When things sour so quickly, there is often a desire not to share what would otherwise be marital assets or even acknowledge the marriage was real. But, is it available in your case and how is it different than a divorce?

Habitually Absent, Tardy, or Sick? How to Deal with Employees Who Are Not Coming to Work

Do you have a trouble employee that can never seem to make it to work when they are supposed to? Either they are always late or they are not there at all? How should you go about disciplining this employee, particularly if you have let it slide in the past? Is there any risk to firing someone for claiming too much sick time (even if they are entitled to those days under the terms of their employment)?

Dealing with Nuisance Neighbors

We have all had the situation at some point: a neighbor that cares for nobody but themselves. Stereo blasting late at night, dogs barking or attacking others, construction that causes damage to our property...the list goes on. So what do you do in those instances when reasoning with the neighbor just is not working?

How to Get Your Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the organization responsible for paying disability benefits to American adults and children deemed to suffer from long-term disability. The law states that disabilities must be the result of a medical condition that has prevented, or will prevent, you from working for a year or that will ultimately end in death.

What are Medicare and Medicaid and How Does One Qualify?

Many of us have heard of Medicare and Medicaid, but never really understood what they were. Who is eligible for this coverage? What does it cover? Does it cost anything?

Fighting Misappropriation of Name or Likeness

Americans have a non-explicit right (often called a “penumbra right”) to privacy. We find its origins in things like the right against self-incrimination, the right against illegal search and seizure, etc. In the modern era, the general nature of a right of privacy is the right of a person to be free from unwarranted publicity or the unwarranted appropriation or exploitation of that person's image, voice, or likeness.

What is Money Laundering and Why is It Illegal

A common topic on spy shows and mobster movies, money laundering may be an unclear concept for many. What is it? Is it illegal? If so, why? What are the elements of this crime?

How to Register a Trademark

You own a business and have come up with a great new logo or phrase you want to use that will be synonymous with your company's place in the market. What do you do to protect it from others who might try to borrow from your company's reputation or good will in the market?

How to Fight an Eviction

Getting behind on rent and receiving an eviction notice can be a traumatic experience. While every state is different, most share certain characteristics, and it is important to know how evictions work in order to know what you should do.

Understanding Eminent Domain

Eminent domain, or the process by which the government takes property from private owners, can be a confusing process for many. The most common use of eminent domain is to obtain title to property used for roads and other public facilities. But, this is changing. Cases have held that eminent domain can also be used for the purpose of economic development. So how does eminent domain work?

What is HIPAA and What Does it Mean to Me?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of statutes designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the US health care system. Much of it pertains to privacy issues related to your health records and what doctors and insurance companies can share with one another and with others. This is, to many, the most important part of HIPAA and creates a number of new rights for patients and new obligations for those in the medical profession.

Protect Your Assets From Judgment

If you have already been sued, it is probably too late to do anything to protect your assets. But, if you are a planner and looking to protect your assets before you have a problem, this article is for you.

Coping After Aviation Accidents

Traveling by air is still one of the safest forms of transportation. Although airplane crashes are extremely rare, they do still happen ocasionally. When a major airline disaster occurs, the federal government provides support services to the families of victims and to survivors.

Education Rights for Children with Special Needs

One of the most difficult situations for parents with special needs children can be ensuring that those children get the education to which they are entitled. Some children experience difficulties in school, ranging from problems with concentration, learning, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. Others have more serious problems, including physical or psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, or learning disorders.

Tips for Negotiating and Mediating

At some point, we all have a negotiation. In the legal setting, this often occurs when negotiating during a mediation, but you probably also have negotiations in many other settings, as well, like when buying a car, interviewing for a job, or working out the terms of a home loan. Since negotiating is a necessary skill for everyone's life, it is a good idea to understand a few tips to give you the advantage for getting what you want.

How Appeals Work

So, something has gone wrong in your trial and now you need to take an appeal. Or maybe the other side was unhappy with the outcome and they are taking the appeal, leaving you to make a response. An understanding of the appeal process and what it really means to take an appeal can be crucial to your success at this point in your legal dispute.

Fair Use of Copyrighted Works

For those who have ever engaged in creative pursuits, the term “fair use” is often greeted with equal measures of delight and disdain. Fair use is an important part of copyright law that provides some flexibility for how copyrighted works can be used by others. In essence, fair use ensures that there are some kinds of uses that do not require someone to obtain permission or pay licensing fees to use certain works in certain ways.

What Owners Should Know About Homeowner Association Collections

If you live in a homeowners association, condominium, co-op, or other community association, you are probably already familiar with the concept of paying assessments, dues, service fees, or whatever your association may call them. But what happens if you get behind in paying your assessments? Can you stop paying these fees if you think your association is not treating you fairly?

When is it False Advertising or Just Puffing?

We have all seen commercials making claims that our common sense told us simply cannot be true. For example, miracle weight loss supplements or exercise equipment. And yet, somehow these commercials make it to television and are not immediately removed as part of a lawsuit. How is that? What is the difference between false advertising and simply inflating the truth about your product (a practice called “puffing”)?

Federal, State, or Local: Who has Jurisdiction?

We often discuss jurisdiction, or hear it used in TV crime shows, but what does “jurisdiction” mean? For that matter, when is something a federal, state, or local matter and who can enforce which laws? How is this determined?

Failing to Disclose Environmental Defects in Property Sales

Have you purchased a piece of land only to discover after the sale that there was pollution on the property? Are you thinking of selling a house and wondering how much you need to disclose? Understanding the laws related to environmental disclosures can mean the difference between a costly lawsuit and a smooth transaction.

Tips for New Jersey Prenuptial Agreements

Listen, getting married can be a very exciting time filled with love and excited anticipation of a future with your loved one. But, it does not mean that you should throw all reason to the wind. If you or your soon-to-be-spouse have either a large number of assets or a number of debts, and you live in New Jersey, it may be wise to consider in advance what you will do about those assets/liabilities just in case anything should happen, and these tips will help you do that.

What Are Our First Amendment Rights?

Considered by many to be the most important rights established by the United States Constitution, the First Amendment rights cover some of the most fundamental freedoms Americans enjoy. They include free speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly. These rights are fiercely protected but also not without limitation.

What to do After a Bike Accident

The other day I saw a bicyclist get hit by a woman in a large SUV as she inched into traffic. The driver of the SUV was not aware that she had hit anyone at first, and continued rolling forward, crushing the front fork of the bike while the rider scrambled away. It was not until he began screaming at her that she realized what she had done.

What is a Class Action?

We have probably all received one of those notices in the mail advising us that we are part of a class action lawsuit. Maybe it requires some sort of registration or maybe you do not have to do anything. A few months or years later you receive a small check and never hear anything else about it. What was that? Did you do the right thing? Could you have gotten more money? It is really not as scary or complicated as it might seem.

Legal Considerations for Child Pornography Cases

Few sex crimes bring more negative connotations to mind than those related to child pornography. In our computer age where information, images, and videos can be rapidly and easily accessed, this has become a growing area of concern. Although search engines have become better at filtering out inappropriate materials, it is still possible to occasionally come into contact with these matters, either intentionally or not.

Dealing with Drug Charges

By far, one of the most common class of crimes to pass through the American legal system is the drug case. Whether possession or distribution, drug cases have gotten a lot of attention from both the media and legislators since the 1980's and the beginning of the “War on Drugs.” However, these laws are changing for some substances, like marijuana, so it is important to get a basic understanding of the state of the law related to controlled substances.

What to do After a Boating Accident

If you or someone you know has been in a boating accident, you understand how scary the whole event can be. Not only is someone injured, a boat may be damaged, and there may have been a very real fear of drowning as part of the accident. This can lead to long-term anguish and other injuries. Moreover, since it is not the familiar scenario of a car accident, who is responsible? Who do you report the accident to, if anyone? Is there insurance coverage? Who is liable?

Arbitration Versus Mediation

Many have heard the term “alternative dispute resolution” associated with both arbitration and mediation, but may not have understood the difference. Indeed, many use the terms interchangeably even though they are very different procedures.

Fighting Credit Card Debts in Arizona

Are you an Arizona resident that has fallen behind on credit card debt? Is the credit card company harassing you with phone calls, letters, or worse, filed a lawsuit against you? If you find yourself in this situation, you have several options, and some are better than others. So what are your options?

Liability of Employer for Acts of Employees Under Illinois Law

If you are injured in Illinois by someone while they are working for someone else, who is liable? For example, if you are in a car accident with a delivery truck, is the driver liable or the delivery company? This is the concept of “Respondeat Superior” and can have very serious consequences for your personal injury case.

Legal Considerations for Website Terms of Service

If you run a website, you may already be familiar with the concept of website's terms of service (“TOS”). If you are just starting out with your own site, you may not be familiar with these and need to get a handle on what is involved. In either case, terms of service can help to protect the owners of a website from liability to those who use the site or others, and should be an essential part of any website you own or design.

Common Questions About Mesothelioma

If you have been exposed to asbestos and been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to know if you have a case against someone for your injuries, and if so, what the process for making that claim will be.

Understanding and Avoiding Construction Liens

A construction (or "mechanic’s") lien gives builders, contractors, and suppliers legal recourse to get paid for their work as well as any materials or supplies purchased for a project. This recourse is in the form of a right to interfere with your ability to convey clear title to your real property and/or to foreclose the construction lien to take title to that property.

Legal Concerns When Registering Domain Names

As the world becomes increasingly connected to the Internet, concerns from the real world are spilling over into the Web. For example, what are the legal concerns when registering a domain name? Can one violate a trademark or copyright with a domain name? If so, what kinds of remedies and protections exist?

Considerations for Victims in Prosecuting Rape

It is a difficult topic to discuss or even think about, but rape is a real part of every civilization. Although improvements have been made in the legal system, prosecution of a rapist can still be a drawn out and painful process, and often the victims of rape have no idea what to expect. This article will discuss what rape is and what a victim should expect from the prosecution of the crime.

Combating Computer Crime

Computer crime is one of the fastest-growing types of illegal activity, both in the U.S. and abroad. Indeed, much of the computer crime Americans face is from foreign sources, making regulation of these activities by police authorities exceedingly difficult. While the Internet links people together like never before, it also provides endless opportunity to criminals seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities and trusting nature of others.

Biting Back After a Dog Bites You

It is a common topic on the local news, and every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals. More often than not, these animals are dogs. Obviously, dog bites can lead to a number of expenses, including tests for rabies, medical treatment for injuries, etc. As a result, victims of dog bites often have claims for damages against the owners of the animals, the owners of property where the dog bite happened, and sometimes others.

Victimized by the Law: Weird Examples of Penalties Against Crime Victims

As many judges are fond of saying, ours are courts of law, not courts of justice. “Justice” is an often subjective term that fails to take into consideration the best practices for society at large. Laws are generally intended to create the best outcome for all people in all situations. But, what happens when the best intentions go awry?

Punitive Damages Under Illinois Law

Usually, when one is injured they are entitled to usual compensatory damages, or money intended to return the person to the position they would have been in had the injury not occurred. But in a few instances, someone's conduct can be so bad that the law has determined that simply paying someone back is not enough; that they should actually be punished for their conduct.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

In general, domestic violence restraining order laws establish who can file for an order, under what circumstances, what protection or relief a person can get from such an order, and how the order will be enforced by the authorities.

What is the Economic Loss Doctrine and How Does it Apply to My Case?

If you have been involved in a product liability dispute (or some other types of cases), your attorney may have mentioned that your claim is subject to the “economic loss doctrine” or the “economic loss rule.” That could leave you asking what that is and when it applies.

Legal Considerations in Arson Cases

Arson is the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Some states also include other places and things in the scope of items that can be burned and constitute arson, such as cars, businesses, churches, etc. In any event, arson is usually considered a second degree felony and is very serious.

Legal Consequences of Child Abuse

Child abuse is never acceptable. Of course, what constitutes child support and what is discipline may sometimes be a gray zone. While the government stays out of our personal relationships in most instances, when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence there can be serious legal consequences. Thus, it is important to know what type of behavior is considered abusive and against the law, and the legal consequences those accused of abuse may face.

What is the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?

Often we use terms like separation and divorce almost interchangeably, but in many jurisdictions these terms can have very different legal significance. Indeed, there are even differences between separation and legal separation. When going to court, it is often important to use very precise terms to describe a situation in order to make sure your rights are protected, so it is important to understand the distinction between these three terms.

How to Establish Paternity in Child Support and Custody Disputes

When a married couple has a child, most jurisdictions presume that the husband is the father of the child (even if he is not). When an unmarried couple has a child, on the other hand, it is usually necessary to establish paternity as soon as possible after the baby is born. This protects the mother, the baby, and the father, by establishing everyone's rights with regard to one another, such as visitation, support, and inheritance.

Common Questions About Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that helps some people who cannot pay their bills get a fresh financial start by temporarily, or permanently, preventing creditors from collecting debts from you. Bankruptcy is generally considered the debt management tool of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far-reaching. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, making it difficult to acquire credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job.

Dealing with Mold

Nobody likes finding mold in their homes or businesses, but it is more common than you might expect. Unfortunately, a mold problem can be more than just annoying, it can be financially devastating to a property owner who must make expensive measures to eradicate the mold and to prevent its return.

Understanding New Jersey Adoption Process

Are you a New Jersey resident considering adoption? Or are you involved in a dispute trying to prevent someone else from adopting your child? In either case, it is important to understand the process of adoption and its legal ramifications.

What are the Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors?

In most states, crimes are classified in one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Sometimes, there are also a third class of crimes called petty crimes or violations, and are usually punished by a fine with no jail time (these often include traffic infractions). Understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor can be critical in understanding charges against a person, terms of plea agreements, and potential punishments.

Prostitution in the United States

Prostitution is one of those legal issues that creates an intense debate and will likely remain an issue in America for years to come.

What is RICO?

RICO stands for the “Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” Act. It was a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed in the United States in 1970 with the goal of financially crippling the Mafia. However, it has evolved to have a variety of applications today against many organizations aside from the Mafia.

Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile crimes are the fastest growing area of criminal activity in America. Juvenile crimes are considered those crimes committed by people who are under the age of eighteen. Juvenile offenders, or “juvenile delinquents,” as they are sometimes referred to, are usually handled differently than adult offenders, but an increasing trend toward harsher sentencing may erode this distinction in the near future.

Understanding American Extradition Laws

Extradition refers to the transfer of an accused criminal by one state or nation to another. The recent Snowden case has brought this issue to the forefront again, as the American government has expressed its desire to regain jurisdiction over Edward Snowden for leaking top-secret information about American intelligence gathering efforts.

What to do if You Have Been Food Poisoned

Food poisoning is in the news again, and it seems to be an increasingly common occurrence as more and more of us eat meals prepared by others on a regular basis. So what should you do if you have become ill after eating contaminated food? The answer will depend on the particular circumstances of your illness.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket

You have been pulled over but you are not sure why. You do not think you did anything wrong, but you get a ticket anyway. How do you fight it?

What Are the Different Types of Criminal Homicide?

Homicide is the taking of a human life. Every state in the US has its own unique classifications of homicide, but these classifications generally fall into three general categories. Those general categories are murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.

Understanding Bad Faith Claims Against Insurance Companies

Insurance bad faith, also known as “insurance fraud" is the term used to describe the mistreatment of consumers and businesses by insurance carriers. It usually applies to situations in which an insurance company refuses to pay out a settlement pursuant to the terms of its insurance contract with the person or entity they claim to insure.

Important Factors Affecting Immigration

U.S. immigration law is very complex, and can be very confusing. In order to understand the process, you need to understand the factors related to the law and policies of immigration.

What to do if You Have Been Fired for Whistleblowing

A "whistleblower" is someone who reports a violation of the law by his or her employer. The violation may be against the reporting employee, as with sexual harassment claims, or may be a general violation like illegally polluting, securities violations, etc. While the law is supposed to protect people for doing the right thing, often whistleblowers are fired after reporting the inappropriate situation. So what should you do if you have been fired after blowing the whistle?

Do Grandparents and Other Family Members Have Visitation Rights

The concept of grandparent visitation rights is a fairly new one. Historically, only parents could ask for visitation rights, but now states allow a variety of different family members to ask for visitation of related children. Below is a brief state-by-state summary of grandparent visitation rights as of the date of publication of this article. Should you have a question regarding visitation rights, you should contact a local family law attorney.

Understanding the Different Types of Theft

Have you ever heard someone talk about larceny and wondered why they called a theft by that name? What about robbery? How about fraud or embezzlement? What's really the difference between all these different types of theft? It can be an important question if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges or have been the victim of a crime. Following is a description of eight (8) different types of theft and what their respective elements include.

How to Deal with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is usually defined by Courts and employers using the definition of sexual harassment contained in the guidelines of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This language has also formed the basis for most state laws prohibiting sexual harassment. The guidelines define sexual harassment as:

What Kinds of Debts are Discharged in Bankruptcy?

When we talk about discharging debts in bankruptcy, we are usually referring to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Typically, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a restructuring of debt rather than a discharge, or forgiveness of debt. For that reason, for most people the main goal of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge / wipe out their debts. For example, while there are many other types of debt that Chapter 7 will discharge, credit card debt is one of the most commonly discharged debts.

Why Is It Important to Have a Will?

It is important that each person have a will that directs their family members and loved ones on how they want their final wishes to be carried out (i.e., burial, cremation, etc.), as well as how they want their estate to be divided after their death.

My Car is a Lemon: Now What?

Buying a car is usually an exciting experience. But, when your new car does not function properly, it can be a frustrating experience. When a car dealer sells you a lemon, how can you get to the “lemonade” of a properly functioning car and possibly even receiving a cash settlement?

What are Fiduciary Duties?

We often hear that someone owes us a fiduciary duty, whether in a business setting, certain transactions, or even a condo/co-op or homeowners association. But what is a fiduciary duty, how does a fiduciary relationship arise, and what are its implications?

Is a Bicyclist a Driver or a Pedestrian?

Have you ever seen a bike rider in the street blocking traffic and wondered whether that was even legal? Or maybe a bicyclist caused you to have a car accident by riding recklessly in traffic and you are wondering whether they will be considered a car or a pedestrian for purposes of attributing fault? Unfortunately, the answer can be complicated and depend on where you are.

How Are Damages Established in a Tort Claim?

The goal of damages in tort actions is to make the injured person “whole” through the award of money to compensate for injuries caused by the accident or incident.

What to Expect During an Independent Medical Examination

When a plaintiff in a personal injury case puts an aspect of his or her physical or mental health at issue, such as by claiming disability from an injury or claiming emotional distress, the defendant will most likely and to obtain medical or psychiatric evidence to challenge those claims.expect?

What Can You Do When Someone Commits Perjury?

Anyone who has ever had to rely on the testimony of others, whether in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding, has probably felt the cold knife of panic and disgust slice through their gut as someone testified in a manner they considered untruthful. Of course, many people can have many different interpretations of the same event, including some that seem wildly different than your recollection, simply because they had a different perspective.

Factors Affecting Child Custody and Visitation

When determining which parent should have primary custody, whether custody should be shared, and how much visitation each parent should have, courts must look at a number of factors. Of course, these factors vary from state to state, but the overall question is generally the same: “What is in the best interests of the child?" Answering the questions below will give you insight into the specific questions courts may ask to determine which parent (or both) should be granted custody.

My Employer Didn't Pay Me, Now What?

Employment law can be confusing and it can be difficult to learn what your rights are and what you are entitled to. When an employer does not pay for something (whether regular wages, overtime, tip splitting, reimbursements, or something else) it can be very frightening and confusing. Is the employer right? Should I even bother fighting? This is a list of ten workplace violations that employees should be aware of and for which legal help may be available:

Who is Protected from Employment Discrimination?

The quick answer is everyone is protected from employment discrimination. But, more specifically, who are the protected classes? Which businesses are subject to employment discrimination standards? What constitutes discrimination?

What to do if Injured on Someone Else's Property

Have you, or someone you know, been injured while visiting someone else’s home or place of business? Such injuries can occur as a result of wet floors, uneven steps, falling objects, defective elevators, defective parking lots and sidewalks, poorly lit staircases, inadequate security, dog bites, or some other dangerous conditions on the premises. If this sounds like you, you may have a basis for a lawsuit against the property owners.

What to do When a Defective Part Caused Your Car Accident

Have you or someone you know been involved in a car accident? Was the accident caused or made worse by a defective part? We expect our cars to keep us and our families safe, but with a system of hundreds of moving parts, it is not uncommon for something to fail, often with dangerous results. Indeed, each year, millions of cars are recalled because of manufacturing defects or defective parts that can cause fatal car crashes.

Cruise Ship Claims

A vacation aboard a cruise ship can be a memorable experience, an affordable, all-inclusive vacation option, and a great way to see exotic ports of call. But, what happens when something goes wrong and your memories end up being of sickness, injury, inadequate medical care, fire, being stranded, crime, or even the wrongful death of a loved one?

Understanding the Differences Between Corporations, LLC's, and Partnerships

Congratulations on your decision to start a new business. The question you may be asking, though, is what kind of business you should form? What is the difference between a corporation, an LLC, and a partnership? Why form one and not another?

The Elements and Differences Between Assault and Battery

How often do we hear the compound term “assault and battery” thrown around in courtroom television dramas or the nightly news? Were you aware that assault and battery are actually two different things? That they can have both civil and criminal implications? So what exactly is the difference between them, and why is this distinction important?

What is a Copyright and How Do I Get One?

The U.S. Copyright Office describes copyright as “a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” covering both published and unpublished works.

What is Discovery in a Civil Case?

Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party investigates the facts of a case, through the rules of civil procedure, by obtaining evidence from the opposing party and others by means of discovery devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents and things, requests for admissions, and depositions.

The Process for Filing an Arizona Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be a complicated process with many technical requirements and provisions. Understanding the basic steps for a bankruptcy in Arizona will help you know how to prepare and what to look out for as you move forward.

Factors Affecting Alimony in New Jersey

In New Jersey a spouse may obtain alimony from their former spouse. Alimony is designed to keep a spouse in a living condition comparable to that which they experienced while married.

What To Do If You Are in a Car Accident in Illinois

At some point in our lives most of us will be involved in some sort of car accident. Most of these may be small fender benders, but some can be very serious or even fatal. Many people do not know what to do when they are in a car accident, and Illinois law has several specific requirements of which you should be aware.

An Overview of Medical Malpractice in Illinois

If you, or someone you know, have/has suffered an injury during medical treatment, you or they may have a claim for medical malpractice. Illinois malpractice law dictates a number of requirements for bringing these types of claims as a lawsuit, including how much time an injured patient has to file that lawsuit.

The Basics of Workers' Compensation in Illinois: An Overview

Illinois workers' compensation laws allow employees who are injured in the course of their work on a job to seek payment from their employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier for their injuries. If you believe you have a workers' compensation claim, you should try to gain a basic understanding of laws dealing with workers' compensation in Illinois.

Emotional Distress Under Illinois Law

Often, when involved in an accident or after sustaining an injury, one can suffer more than just physical pain. Many individuals will also suffer emotional harm from the experience. Under Illinois law, it is possible to obtain money damages as compensation for emotional harm (also called emotional distress). This money is paid by the person or company who caused the injury or, in most cases, by that person’s or company's insurance provider.

Top Mistakes Made in Foreclosures

Mortgage foreclosure is the process by which the bank takes your home for not paying your loan. It can be a long, difficult, and confusing process for many homeowners, and if you are facing a foreclosure you should contact a local, qualified attorney for advice on how to respond. In the meantime, here are 10 common mistakes people make during a mortgage foreclosure:

What is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

When preparing to file for bankruptcy, there are often many things on your mind. How will this affect my credit? Will I be able to pay for this? What will I lose? What will I gain? But one question that many people do not even know to ask is “what is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?” The answer can have profound repercussions on your case.

Saying No to Police Searches

One very often used tool in the law enforcement tool box is the power to intimidate citizens into voluntarily giving up their rights, usually without even realizing they are doing it.

Defamation: What it is and How to Deal with It

Defamation is when someone tells one or more persons an untruth about you, and that untruth harms your reputation. Defamation is the general term, while slander and libel refer to particular types of defamation. Libel is a written defamation, and slander is verbal. There are three key factors to consider when deciding whether a defamatory statement should be taken to court.

Dealing with Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an unfortunate reality, and many are surprised to find just how prevalent it is.

What to do if You Get Stopped for a DUI or DWI

This is a step-by-step guide as to what you should do if you get pulled over for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWI (Driving While Impaired). This is not a substitute for using common sense and avoiding behavior that might put you in jeopardy of being stopped for a DUI or a DWI. It is also not a substitute for getting assistance from a qualified, competent attorney. When in doubt, contact your lawyer.

What to do after a Personal Injury

The moments following an accident or other injury are confusing and overwhelming. You may not know what to do or where to turn if you or a loved one has been injured due to someone's negligence or wrongdoing.

10 Important Questions for Your Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents rarely come with any forewarning, leaving most victims unprepared and unsure of how to proceed. When you or someone you know is injured, you will have a lot of uncertainty and need to make a lot of decisions very quickly. You should always seek immediate medical attention for any injuries and also seek the assistance of qualified, experienced legal representation. But, how do you know who the best attorney is for your case?

Ensuring Your Children Receive the Child Support They Deserve in New Jersey

When one parent acts as the primary guardian for a child, the other parent is generally required to contribute to the financial needs of that child. Generally, in New Jersey, the amount of child support one parent pays another is based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These Guidelines are found in Appendix IX of the New Jersey Court Rules.

What is Negligence?

One can only bring a lawsuit for negligence if they can establish all four of the required elements. If any one of the elements is missing, then there is no negligence from a legal standpoint, and a lawsuit cannot be sustained. Of course, there are often defenses and other technicalities involved with proving such a case, so it is always best to contact a qualified, licensed attorney to help answer your questions and guide you through the process of analyzing your claim or defense to negligence.

What To Do When You've Decided It's Time To Get A Divorce?

The decision to end a marriage can be a very complicated one. Emotionally it may be painful, a relief, or a complicated mixture of both sensations. Practically, many things need to take place before the process can be finished and you can begin to move on with your life. So where do you start and who can you turn to for information? How do you know what steps are right for your situation? What other things do you need to consider that you may not even know about?

When Should You Accept a Plea Bargain in your Criminal Case?

Let's face it, being arrested can be a terrifying, stressful, confusing experience. From that point forward, things can move fast, get very complicated, and it may be very hard to know what to do or who to turn to.

Probation Violations: What to Expect

If you or a loved one was given probation, the judge who handled your initial case probably described what your probationary period would consist of. He or she probably set forth certain rules that you were supposed to follow, such as meeting with a probation officer on a regular schedule, abstaining from drugs and alcohol and following all laws.

Remedies Against Breach of Contract

When two parties make a contract and one breaches it, there are generally two types of remedies that are available to the non-breaching party: equitable remedies and legal remedies. Each type has several subtypes of remedies that may be available.

Employees Habitual Absence from Work? How do Employers Deal with It ?

Absenteeism is a common vocabulary faced by almost all employers. Continued absenteeism can be damaging to an organisation, as there is potential loss of efficiency and effectiveness as well as a fall in customer service and not to forget a strain on the absent employee’s co-workers. Absenteeism not only impacts on production levels; it impacts on other staff.

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