Wednesday, March 09, 2011
A recent ruling found that the government changes to health care requiring every US citizen to be covered is unconstitutional.  After challenges to the new system by 26 of the 50 states, the judge decided that universal health care exceeds the reach of the government.  However, because the health care system is still law, states must continue to follow it until the case has made its way through the legal system, next making its way to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and likely making its way to the Supreme Court. 

The health care law requires that all Americans purchase health care or face penalties.  Believing this unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson threw out the entire health care law, but lawyers are continuing to fight the case. 

Although the existing mandate does not go into effect until 2014, other aspects of the health care reform law, which has about 450 components, are currently being implemented, including small business tax credits, federal grants, and consumer protection measures.

To date, two judges have ruled the health care reform was legal, while two others have found that it was unconstitutional. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 5:36:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [13]  | 
 Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A recent development in the WikiLeaks case puts the focus on government lawyers, who were asked to defend their tactics in their criminal investigation of WikiLeaks, which published secret US government documents on the internet.   Three individuals under investigation – Birgitta Jonsdottir, Rop Gonggrijp and Jacob Appelbaum – are being represented by organizations such as the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and are defending their rights against government questioning.  The government is requesting information regarding the individuals’ Twitter accounts. 

According to the ACLU’s Aden Fine, “What’s at stake here is the ability to use the internet freely and privately, without the government looking over their shoulder.”

The primary individuals involved in the government’s case, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist who has been accused of leaking the documents, are not involved in this hearing.

Regarding the main case against the website, lawyers representing Julian Assange believe that the US Justice Department does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder or regulate the internet in any way.  Because Assange is a resident of Australia, he cannot be tried for treason in the United States.

Although Hillary Clinton has recently stated the importance of internet freedom, she also defended the government’s actions in the WikiLeaks case.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 6:35:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, January 05, 2011
The growth of bankruptcy decreased in 2010, a good sign for 2011 and the economy. Bankruptcy professionals are optimistic about 2011.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011 4:56:04 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Monday, December 13, 2010

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the world’s largest watch maker, Omega, which claimed recently that the warehouse club Costco was reselling Swatch watches, a division of Omega, at reduced prices without the consent of the Swiss watchmaker.  This, according to the Supreme Court, is a violation of U.S. copyright laws.

Due to the absence of justice Kagen, who worked with the case prior to becoming a justice, the ruling was tied at 4-4, a ruling that favors Omega, whom the court ruled retained the rights to its watches, even when imported to the United States. Because there was a tie and no subsequent ruling, the previous ruling in a similar case stands, which is bad news for Costco.

In its defense, Costco attorneys asked that the Supreme Court extend a 1998 case that sold products made in a country back to the United States, determining whether copyright laws could be attributed to items imported from overseas.  

Without justice Kagen, this is the first of twenty cases that has resulted in a tie. 

Monday, December 13, 2010 8:25:47 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  | 
 Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recently, rare national class action status was granted against Conseco Life Insurance on the grounds that the insurance company had a breach of contract with seven policy holders.   The policy holders will be represented by the Gilbert firm of Washington, D.C. and the Millstein & Associates firm of San Francisco.  The case was first filed in 2008 and was approved by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on October 6.

According to Millstein, one of the lawyers representing the policyholders, “In many cases, when plaintiffs attempt to bring national class actions on consumer claims, defendants are able to defeat the class actions by arguing that there are significant variations among consumers or among the legal standards applicable in different states, but in our case the court found that Conseco treated all policyholders essentially the same way across the country and that there are no significant variations in state contract law."

Stephen Weisbrod, whose firm partners with the Gilbert law firm in Washington, D.C. and has experience as an insurance lawyer, said, "many other 'vanishing premium' life insurance cases have failed."

The claim states that Conseco was breaching approximately 10,000 “Lifetrend” insurance policies, and that they had contractual violations regarding improper charges and deductions.  Despite Conseco’s claim that the plaintiffs hadn’t analyzed state laws regarding the claims, in accordance with the court order.  This claim, however, was denied.

According to the judge, “"Contrary to Conseco's representations, several courts have recognized that the law relating to the element of breach does not vary greatly from state to state."  Because the claims are similar in multiple states, the case received national class action suit status.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:29:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  | 
 Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy filed within the United States. This type of bankruptcy may be claimed by both businesses and individuals. A business will typically want to file a Chapter 7 when their business is failing, debt has massively accrued and there is no longer any foreseeable way of being able to pay off their outstanding creditors without liquidating assets. If this should be the case, it is wise for business owners to hire on a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to help see them through the legal process.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can represent both businesses and individual clients who find themselves in financial straits. A chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer will walk you through the filing process for this type of bankruptcy which is often referred to as a “straight bankruptcy”. A Chapter 7 filing requires liquidation proceedings of all non-exempt personal holdings. The assets are sold and converted to cash in order to pay creditors. The debtor in turn receives a discharge of their debt once the case is settled, allowing him a brand new fresh start, free of debt. A chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can help handle your case and answer any questions you might have about the process.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 2:58:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |