As the weather warms and people are taking more road trips and otherwise on the highways, I share a quick article with some tips in
the event you are involved in an incident and sustain personal injury. Click here for the article and contact me if I can be of assistance. And do feel free to share this blog post with others. Best wishes.
Recently the North Carolina Supreme Court decided a case challenging the constitutionality and overall legality of the State of North Carolina repealing the teacher tenure system. In NCAE v. The State of North Carolina the Court held the State could not unilaterally break its promise to the hundreds of North Carolina teachers who were hired and worked toward earning tenure. (Read more about the decision here and here). Tenure afforded teachers certain rights regarding adverse employment action and provided a certain layer of protection and job security (relatively speaking). A Republican-led legislature believed tenure made it more difficult to terminate or shed substandard teachers and thus passed the law repealing teacher tenure. There is much debate as to whether this belief was true.
The NC Supreme Court was not having the State’s attempt to change the rules in the middle of the proverbial game and held teachers who had earned tenure as of July 2013, when the teacher tenure repeal law was signed, would remain tenured. But teachers hired after the law passed will not have the protection and benefits conferred by tenure status. All teachers hired after July 2013 are now given contracts of one, two, or four years. Schools now have greater freedom to decide not to renew teacher contracts and teachers can appeal non-renewal decisions to their local school board.
The principle of law that served as the basis for the Court’s decision was that of vesting which relates to benefits and contract law. Teachers who had fulfilled the requirements to obtain tenure were vested and had a contractual and legal right to retain tenure even after passage of the tenure repeal law. While the Court decision relates to the special case of teachers seeking to maintain tenure the principle of “keep your promises” applies to virtually every contract. If you are a party to a contract and have been harmed by another party’s breach of the contract you should consult a legal professional to discuss your situation and assess your rights and options.
The Federal Trade Commission maintains a list of individuals and debt collectors whose conduct has been so bad that they are permanently prohibited from engaging in debt collection activity. One must imagine that the persons and companies on the list really went off the proverbial rails. The FTC also maintains a list of its enforcement actions in federal courts across the United States. Note not every enforcement action resulted in a permanent ban.
I frequently get phone calls from consumers who are contacted by a person claiming the consumer owes money on a debt, usually related to an old payday loan or personal loan. The caller threatens to have the consumer served and/or arrested if payment is not made within a very, very short window of time. There may be threats of garnishment of wages or seizure of property or other collection activity most of which the caller is either not authorized to take or does not intend to take. Threatening to take action which one cannot or does not intend to take can constitute a violation of the law. The scenario presented in this paragraph is just a more common one but by no means the only example of rogue debt collection.
If you are contacted by a potential debt collector you should demand the collector identify itself by name, mailing address, and phone number. If you get a name you should check the FTC blacklist to see if they are listed. If so, contact the FTC and an experienced debt collection defense attorney immediately. Needless to say, you should neither commit to nor make any payment to the potential debt collector.
For the past two weeks I have received at least one call per day from consumers who purchased used vehicles that experienced mechanical or other problems after the purchase. Sometimes the problems occurred within one week while
others occurred a bit later and the issues varied in nature, severity, and frequency. In practically every case the consumer had either no warranty (really tough to help on these…) or a vehicle service contract (tough to help on these; click here to read why). No warranty means “as is” which means the seller is agreeing to accept the vehicle in whatever condition it is in at the time of delivery. Further, “as is” means that any future issues with the vehicle are the responsibility of the buyer—sorry. Continue reading
The first day of Spring has now passed and the temperatures are trending upward despite a few cold days here and there. With the break in weather comes the need and desire to travel just a bit more. Be it by road, air, train, or other conveyance at some point you will be faced with making choices about what to eat. Fast food is the most ubiquitous of the food genres and is often the lightest on the wallet/purse. Now let’s think about what to eat…
Lifehacker has a really great article here about picking healthier fast food. Happy and safe travels to you and eat/drink well. Salud!
Trial preparation is one of those times when a lawyer has to review the entire file and organize the documents, theories, arguments, and other materials for presentation in court. Whether the trial is before a jury or a judge there is a need for evidence and documentation and corroboration. All this provides a few quick tips:
Keep your documentation: Many times I have had to decline representation because the potential client lacks documentation for us to review or assess the prospects for the case. Misplaced or destroyed documents have sunk and saved many people.
Take pictures when appropriate: This applies to physical injury, damage to vehicles, accident scenes, and many other things in which a picture is worth a thousand words…and sometimes hundreds of dollars (or more).
Make notes: Writing notes, keeping a diary, or otherwise documenting your recollection of events, places, other things relevant to your case could be immensely helpful. Whether you use your smartphone, the cloud, or a more traditional pen-and-paper approach you should make notes and keep them in a safe place.
Make recordings when appropriate: some key evidence in cases involves audio or video recording. Today’s smartphones that allow video and audio recording are a huge tool. Memories fade, sometimes intentionally.
Know when to seek help: Not every issue or situation requires the assistance of a lawyer but making the call for assistance is often the best call you will make. Click here for some help in deciding if you would benefit from legal counsel.
Good day, friend. I have been away for a while but I have been a bit busy as of late. Since we last spoke I:
- Participated in the NC Bar Association 4ALL event on Friday, March 4th
- Celebrated the 42nd birthday of my brother, Michael
- Participated in an African-American Male Career Fair at NC A&T State University on Friday, March 11th
- Have assisted in the settlement of a serious personal injury case
- Have assisted in the settlement of a vehicle lease case shortly after the lawsuit was filed
- Have been so busy that, for the first time in about 10 years, I did not complete a NCAA March Madness basketball bracket (Go Heels!)
To name a few things………..
Currently I am preparing for what looks to be a three-day jury trial in Mecklenburg County Superior Court for a used vehicle case. Trial could begin on Monday…we will see.
I hope all is well with you and yours. The warm weather recently was a real treat but it looks like some coldness and dampness is upon us for a bit. I hear the warm-up takes place by middle of next week. Hopefully things will be back to very warm in time for Easter weekend.
I will check back in with you in the near future. Best wishes to you and yours and thanks for your support until we chat again.
For those who may not have the time or money to meet with a lawyer, an event is coming which could be a real help. On Friday, March 4th the North Carolina Bar Association will have its annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day. From 7 am to 7 pm you can dial one of the following numbers for a free brief consultation with a lawyer:
Attorneys are available to help answer questions about:
Family Law /Child Issues
Attorneys are available for 3-5 minute consultations. If you need more significant legal assistance, please contact the Lawyer Referral Service. Through the Lawyer Referral Service you can make a 30 minute appointment to speak with an attorney for a $50 fee. The Lawyer Referral Service may be reached at 1800-662-7660.
If you have a legal question or issue you have been putting off now is the time to take care of business. Too often the wait costs you more than you can afford.
I will be putting in an afternoon shift at the Greensboro call center for the 4ALL Statewide Service Day and look forward to helping as many people as possible. The day is lengthy yet rewarding for all the attorneys and legal staff who organize and facilitate the event. Best wishes to you in getting some free legal consultation….if you need it!
Almost daily I receive phone calls from potential clients who have purchased used vehicles….
without having them inspected by a mechanic AND….
without having done due diligence before deciding to make the purchase AND….
without having obtained a warranty from the dealer (and, no, a vehicle service contract or “extended warranty” may not count)….
Yikes! Too often in these situations I have no options for the potential client and he/she is out of a bunch of money and left with a big headache. Click here for a flow chart regarding options if you have problems with a used vehicle and if the chart suggests you may have some options contact me so we can discuss your situation.
In the wake of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia there have been many articles and commentaries about him and his legacy to American jurisprudence. One area in which Justice Scalia led the charge (unfortunately) was the enforcement of mandatory arbitration clauses that rob consumers of their right to trial by jury or otherwise pursue claims in civil court. In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (2011) and American Express v. Italian Colors (2013), Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinions which favored the big company and it’s arbitration clause over the little consumer and his/her constitutional rights.
For more on Justice Scalia’s enforcement of arbitration clauses, read this article which references remarks from one of Justice Scalia’s colleagues and one of his closest friends, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A review of Justice Scalia’s opinions and perspectives is not a denigration of his name but a recollection of his legacy and a lesson for the future. His untimely absence from the Supreme Court provides an opportunity to sway the balance of the Court for years to come.