Grandparent Child Custody Allowed in Recent Court Decision

A recent court decision outside of Florida could have future implications for Florida child custody laws. The Supreme Court of South Dakota recently ruled that laws on the books in that state that allow grandparents to gain custody of grandchildren are constitutional.

Riverside family law attorneys noted that a lower South Dakota court had previously ruled the laws unconstitutional, because they allowed courts to award child custody to non-parents without first making a determination that the parents were unfit.

The rationale used by the South Dakota Supreme Court in upholding the laws was that the laws require judges to give special consideration to fit parents. The presumption is always that it is best for a child to be in the custody and care of a fit parent.

In other words, the first court said the laws were unconstitutional because they did not protect parents enough. But the Supreme Court decided the laws did have enough protections for fit parents.

The case will go back to the trial court for a new custody determination.

Advocates of the laws were pleased, because there are cases where children would be better off in the custody of grandparents than in the custody of unfit parents, or in foster care.

The child in the underlying case was a girl who had grandparents that sought custody after her parents broke up. The grandparents claimed the parents were unfit because of mental health issues and substance abuse problems.

South Dakota state law requires that a non-parent seeking custody must be a primary caretaker or parental figure for the child or have some other significant relationship with the child. They also say a parent’s presumed right to custody can be overcome only with proof of abandonment, neglect or other extraordinary circumstances.

The South Dakota Supreme Court looked at U.S. Supreme Court decisions and decided that the South Dakota laws had protections for fit parents, and did not require a finding that a parent was unfit before making a custody decision.

New Child Sex Abuse Charges Filed for Ex-Soccer Coach

A Washington County, Maryland, district judge has raised the bond of a man accused of new sexual criminal charges to $2 million from $725,000. The 45-year-old ex-soccer coach is already facing child pornography charges as a result of an April police raid of his Greentree Terrace home.

Maryland State Police and state prosecutors allege that a computer that was seized in the April raid has yielded additional evidence of child sexual abuse. Among the newly reported findings are 1,600 child pornography files and more than 130 hidden-camera videos of one particular female minor. The consequences of sex crimes are heavy. If you are wrongfully convicted, don’t delay speaking to a trusted Boynton Beach criminal attorney today.

Representation of Intellectual Property and Technology

Intellectual Property and Technology

Representation of Steven Spielberg, Michael Crichton, Anne-Marie Martin, Universal City Studios, Inc., Warner Bros., and Amblin’ Entertainment, Inc. as co-counsel in a copyright infringement suit. A screenwriter claimed the 1996 blockbuster film “Twister” was based on his screenplay “Catch the Wind” and sought damages in excess of $150 million. After a three-week trial and only two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict which fully exonerated each of our clients.

Representation of Sands, Taylor & Woods against The Quaker Oats Co. in the remand hearing on damages related to Quaker’s infringement of Sands, Taylor’s “Thirst-Aid” trademark in its Gatorade advertising. The remand proceeding resulted in an award to Sands, Taylor of $20.6 million, reportedly the largest damages award in history in a trademark infringement case.

Representation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersh defending libel claims brought by former Prime Minister of India, Moraiji Desai, based on allegations that Hersh’s book The Price of Power: Kissinger – The Nixon White House linked Desai to the CIA. The Seventh Circuit affirmed our jury verdict for Hersh.

Representation of McDonald’s Corporation by Gillick Wicht to challenge Quality Inn’s proposal to open budget motels under the name “McSleep Inns” and to challenge Arche Technologies, Inc.’s use of a “Golden Arch” trademark on computers. Victories in both cases further extended McDonald’s family of “Mc” marks beyond the field of food products and restaurants.

Elder Abuse and Brutality

A new study released in October of 2010 by the American Association for Justice named eldercare abuse as a humanitarian crisis. The study delved into patient reports and complaints of elder abuse including a Florida resident who was a significantly notable victim of nursing home abuse. The report of his abuse included numerous incidents of injuries suffered in multiple falls, severe weight loss, pressure sores, a number of infections, problematic dehydration, and starvation which eventually led to his death.

Advocates fighting for the rights of the elderly place a portion of the blame on the way that the nursing home system is run. Many nursing homes operate much like an apartment building, but instead of individual single or multiple bedroom units, the “bed capacity” is what is rented. A large portion of the generated income is “guaranteed by the federal government” and paid for through programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Private businesses like schools usually have a higher faculty to student ratio than public schools, but the opposite tends to be true in of for-profit nursing homes. In fact, the American Association for Justice report found that “for-profit nursing homes have an average 32 percent fewer nurses and 47 percent higher deficiencies.” The cost-cutting has led to an increase in neglected or abused senior citizens. Critics of the system describe the problem as a “cost versus utility” societal issue. The level of care that the elderly require brings about a cost to the system and taxpayers that is higher than the amount of production that they can provide to society. The mentality, they say, has led to the significant instances of abuse and neglect.

If you’re seeking out help with elderly abuse or need Detroit police brutality legal help, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney today.

How Safe are Seatbelts?

We all know that seat belts save lives. We read stories about people suffering serious, even fatal injuries that could have been prevented by seat belt use. Students in schools across the nation watch demonstrations about how seat belts protect people. Even though we know the facts and Louisiana state law requires vehicle occupants to be belted in for their own safety, some people are not heeding the message.

According to 7 KPLC, in the first 11 months of last year, Louisiana State Troopers wrote 6,632 seat belt tickets in the Troop D area alone. In December 2010, eight car accidents resulted in nine deaths. In these collisions, five of the vehicle occupants were not buckled up. Could these deaths have been avoided with the use of seat belts? While no one can say for sure, it has been proven time and time again that seatbelts undoubtedly save lives.

Seat belts protect people in a number of ways. First, they keep people from being thrown out of a vehicle in a collision, where several fatal injuries often occur. Also, seat belts spread the force of impact across a wide portion of the body, decreasing the risk of injury to any one area. Further, they give the body a chance to slow down more, reducing the risk of injury, while protecting the brain and spinal cord.

No one would go as far as to say that a person who is unrestrained will automatically suffer serious or catastrophic injuries in a crash or that people who buckle up are invulnerable. However, facts clearly indicate that seat belts significantly increase your chances of surviving a serious accident.

To illustrate this fact, Louisiana state police are traveling across the state with a rollover simulator. The device consists of a truck cab that spins on a motorized arm, simulating a rollover at 30 miles per hour. The hope is that people will watch the demonstration, believe it, and choose to buckle up in the future. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the ins and outs of these issues.

Seat Backs in Cars Not Strong Enough to Prevent Brain Injuries in Accidents

New mothers are always told that the back seat of the car is the safest place for their children as they grow from newborns to toddlers and into adulthood, but some mothers are learning that the piece of advice may not always be true. Children and other passengers riding in the back seats of vehicles are being seriously injured in even minor car accidents when the people sitting in the front seat are propelled into the back. What is causing them to shoot into the back of the car with enough force to cause life-threatening injuries or even death?

Front seats are collapsing as a result of force applied to the vehicle upon impact with another vehicle in a car accident. Some blame the federal government for having low seat back strength requirements and argue that many of the manufactured seating systems are defective and unreasonably dangerous as a result. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 207, that sets the standard strength requirements for seat backs, was enacted in 1968 and has not been updated since.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that they are “considering” an update but have not yet done so. A number of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers for allegedly defectively designed seating systems.

This tragic collision reminds us that each driver is responsible for following the rules of the road. We have a right to expect all motorists to pay attention to other drivers around them and act in accordance with traffic laws. Failure to obey even one rule, as illustrated in the funeral procession accident, can lead to injury and even death. Fortunately, Akron car accident lawyers can help with any case.

Retention and Fees

At the direction of our client, a Louisiana criminal lawyer Accident Cause Analysis will arrange for one of the following two retention methods:
1. We can work from a retainer amount and once that amount is depleted, work is stopped until a new retainer amount with further instructions is received. This practice assists our clients in keeping informed of case progress and the account; or
2. We can enter into a formal contract, either open-ended or for a maximum number of hours, with payment of our invoices in full within 30 days of receipt of same.
We are happy to set up either method at our client’s request.

The Accident Cause Analysis fee structure is based upon differentiation of the levels of service provided to the client. The rates are as follows:
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Professional Consultant Services
Professional Support Services
Technical & Laboratory Support Services
Administrative Services $180.00 U.S. per hour
$135.00 U.S. per hour
$100.00 U.S. per hour
$ 50.00 U.S. per hour
Charges are levied according to the above for actual hours worked. Incurred expenses and disbursements are recovered at cost. A detailed invoice is forwarded to the client for each month in which significant work has been performed, including the hours worked and the related disbursements. Statements of account are issued indicating the outstanding balance of each account.

All Charges to clients located in Canada will be subject to the Goods and Services Tax.

Question as to whether pool alarms lower premises liability

A new law in Tennessee that requires pool owners there to install new alarms poses an interesting Melville personal injury question for those of us in Florida. The pool alarm is supposed to warn owners of the entrance of very young swimmers into the water. Though the idea behind the law is positive, homeowners and pool installers question whether the effort will prevent children from drowning.

The new mandatory law took effect in January and requires owners of new pools, hot tubs and non-portable spas to include alarms. The pool alarms activate when an object that is 15 pounds or heavier goes into the water. The price of the alarms are between $250 to $275. One pool seller and installer believed that the cost of the alarm would not be a deterrent to purchasers of new pools. The alarms were on the shelves of many swimming pool businesses before the new mandatory pool alarm law took effect but the alarms were not top sellers.

One pool shop owner questions how much of a difference the alarms will make. The pool shop owner believes that the alarms will give pool owners a false sense of security and does not support their use. Another swimming pool business owner says the alarm is positive in that it increases safety awareness but questions the effectiveness of the law because it has many exemptions. For example, one exemption is that blow-up pools are not subject to the mandatory requirement. The swimming pool business owner believes the law should be universal in order to be effective.

Even state legislators that voted on the law disagree on how effective the law will be. One State Representative said he believed the law was a knee-jerk reaction to an isolated situation and one State Senator said that he voted for the law because it promoted safety despite his concerns about cost.

 

 

Man fights hospital to keep insurance settlement

A Georgia-based hospital is attempting to take a portion of the money a Fort Gordon soldier received from a car accident settlement.
MCG Health Inc. is seeking $18,000, or one-third of the $50,000 the soldier received from the other driver’s insurance company as a result of the crash.
The soldier is fighting the case in the Georgia Supreme Court.
The hospital claims it wants the money to pay the man’s bill. The hospital could submit the claim to TRICARE, which is the military’s insurance program, and still receive its refund, while allowing the soldier to still keep the $50,000 he received from Owners Insurance Co.
However, according to sources, if MCG Health goes through the option of the military insurance program, it will only receive 40 percent of the soldier’s bill.
So far, the hospital has already lost its case at both the Richmond County and Georgia Court of Appeals, but it is now at the Supreme Court level and adamant about getting its money through the soldier.
Sources claim that if the money is taken from the soldier, he won’t really be losing it, as his own car insurance should reimburse him through its “underinsured-motorist provision.”
As of now no decision has been made, and according to sources, no hints have been made in which favor the justices may decide.
In this case, the decision comes down to whom should be paying the hospital, not who should be paying the victim of the motor vehicle accident. Car crashes, which happen all the time, can be very tricky, especially when it comes to settlements. If an insurance company wants to make a deal after an accident, it’s advisable to speak with an East Meadow car accident attorney first.

Head Injuries In Youth Football Leagues

In professional football, head injuries have been getting increased attention as of late. However, it is not only professional football players that are vulnerable to these injuries. Brain injuries are also a major issue for young football players.

Scientists are discovering that young athletes could face serious health risks from head injuries suffered while playing football. With these discoveries, people have become increasingly concerned about the consequences of head injuries in youth football.

These concerns were underlined by a tragic case in Kansas City, which occurred in October. A high school football player suffered a head injury during a game. He had experienced a similar injury earlier that month. He collapsed after the injury, and died the next day.

In reaction to this tragedy, the writer Kevin Blackistone stated, in an article for Fanhouse, that it may be time for youth sports leagues to take stricter stances on head injuries. Some suggestions he gave included increasing the amount of time a student athlete is required to sit out after suffering a head injury.

The solutions suggested by the article demonstrate how serious of an issue head injuries have become in youth sports. We all want young athletes to be as safe as possible. Kids should not have to face life changing consequences because of their participation in sports. Thus, as the awareness of the consequences of head injuries has increased, a natural question has arisen: are youth sports leagues doing everything they can to prevent these injuries?

Consequently, one hopes that all youth football leagues are carefully considering the issue of youth head injuries, and taking whatever measures are necessary to keep kids safe.