This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Dec. 12 – 16

December 16, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. The bench clearing Xavier/UC basketball brawl, the Supreme Court revists AZ’s controversial immigration laws, bipartisan efforts on workers’ comp reform has constituents confused and a complete cellphone banin cars- these were some of the topics gracing legal headlines. So that’s the lineup for this week’s blog. Once again, thanks for reading. We welcome your opinions and discussion!

1. Criminal charges are a possibility concerning the Xavier/UC brawl, prosecutors say. The bench clearing fight that has aired repeatedly on ESPN this week drew multiple lengthy suspensions, but that might not be the end of it.

2. Supreme Court set to hear challenge to Arizona’s immigration law. The state’s controversial immigration law has prompted other states to mirror its policies. The law has been under fire since the beginning. This will be one of the court’s most high profile cases in years.

3. Bipartisan efforts on workers’ comp reform has many confused in Washington. Last week, Republicans approved workers’ comp legislation lauded by federal labor organizations, while Democrats pushed a bill that would sharpen the stipulations of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.

4. NTSB pushes to ban all types of cellphones in the car, including hands-free and bluetooth devices. Safety vs. Convenience are pitted against one another in this debate. People are all for safety, but what if there’s an emergency and you need to make or take a call? And what’s to say car stereos, food and other passengers aren’t a distraction as well?

Thanks for reading. We appreciate any and all discussion! Have a great weekend.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Oct. 31 – Nov. 4

November 4, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. The Wall Street protests rage on across the country, and it’s not only the average Joe that’s confused. Legal experts are also grappling with how to sustain this unprecedented act of First Amendment expression. Bisphenol-A is a chemical compound that has found an unexpected path into human tissues- through your retail receipts. Lastly, a $10 million medical malpractice suit was recently settled, which brings us to the question of Damage Caps. Should they exist? Once again, thanks for reading and we welcome your opinions and discussion!

1. Legal experts grapple with how to sustain this unprecedented act of 1st Amendment expression. A firefighter and police sweep of Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of Occupy Wall Street, highlighted once again the uneven application of rules pertaining to both the park and the overall protest.

2. There’s more than one reason to check your receipts. Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, is a chemical compound that most commonly finds its way into human tissues through diet. However, recent research has shown that the chemical is finding an unexpected route into the human system- through the handling of receipts.

3. A little girl underwent an amputation of 3 limbs. Today, a $10 million settlement has been reached. One year ago, a 2-year-old girl was rushed to the emergency room. The doctors diagnosed her with a Strep-A infection, a type of flesh-eating bacteria. The doctors managed to save her life, but while she was on life support, the lack of oxygen to her system resulted in the amputation of three of her limbs. Her life will never be the same.

Thank you for reading! See you back next week. Have a great Friday.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Oct. 24 – 28

October 28, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. Conflicting messages from automakers, a hero who has been denied workers’ compensation, cell phones are not going to kill us, and another wrongful death lawsuit involving police- just some of the topics gracing legal headlines this week. We’ve got them for you here. Thanks for reading! As always, we appreciate your opinions.

1. Automakers discourage texting and driving, but still sell distracting gadgets for automobiles. Automakers seem to be sending mixed messages to their consumers. On one hand, many have launched initiatives aimed at combating texting and driving. Yet these same companies sell gadgets that actually encourage distraction while in the car.

2. A hero of the Joplin tornado miraculously survives, but is denied workers’ compensation. Mark Lindquist risked his life trying to save three developmentally challenged adults in the Joplin tornado. He suffered horrific injuries with medical expenses surpassing $2.5 million. He can’t afford these on a social worker salary.

3. Breathe a sigh of relief- cell phones may not actually increase the risk of brain cancer. A recent study which involved 350,000 mobile subscribers, and is also the largest study to date, found that mobile phones do not increase the risk of cancer. The study coincides with other recent studies that have drawn similar conclusions.

4. Another police department faces a wrongful death lawsuit for the fatal shooting of a woman. The family of a woman fatally shot to death by a San Leandro police officer claims the woman was not trying to run the officer over in her stolen car, like police said. Prior to the shooting, the police and the car in question had been involved in a chase.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Oct. 17 – 21

October 21, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. The wrongly accused Honeybee Killer, a man gravely injured by powerlines, racial profiling, and fruit snacks- just some of the topics gracing legal headlines this week. We’ve got them for you here. Thanks for reading! As always, we appreciate your opinions.

1. Police officer wrongly charged with being the “Honeybee Killer” files lawsuit. Lynwood police officer Brian, the man wrongly charged as being the “Honeybee Killer,” is taking his accusers to court. He’s asking the judge to hold the county liable for their actions.

2. Alabama jury awards $1.5 million to a man injured after being shocked by a low power line. The man was paving an Alabama highway when the vehicle he was operating struck low hanging power lines, sending 7,600 volts of electricity through his body. The man now lives in constant pain and has limited use of his right arm.

3. Are General Mills fruit snacks actually healthy? Nope, but that’s what its ads lead you to believe. Advertisements for General Mills fruit snacks lead consumers to believe that they are healthy snacks. However, the fruit snacks actually don’t contain any significant amount of real fruit.

4. ACLU files suit over allegations of racial profiling after 55 Latino students were illegally detained & interrogated. The lawsuit alleges that latino students at Hoover High School were rounded up at lunch in late September and detained for one hour as Los Angeles and Glendale police officers intimidated and frisked the students.

Have a great weekend, thanks for reading. See you next Friday!

October 14, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories touch on legal news on both local and national levels. Hazardous baby cribs, a strike at the Honeywell plant in Kansas City, a new kind of police surveillance and an interesting new take on domestic violence laws in Topeka- these were the topics gracing the legal headlines we shared with you this week. Thanks for reading!

1. Drop-side cribs sold at JC Penney have been recalled due to suffocation hazards. The “drop-side” rail of this crib often becomes detached or unexpectedly falls down. When this happens, it creates a space that an infant can easily roll into and become trapped, which can lead to suffocation. If you have purchased a crib at JC Penney recently, please take caution.

2. Kansas City’s Honeywell plant workers go on strike. Plant workers went on strike Monday after rejecting a contract offer on Sunday. This action, which has been called an “unfair labor practices” strike, affects 840 members of Machinists Local Lodge 778. Union and company officials are currently engaged in talks to resolve.

3. A new surveillance tool for police poses legal issues. The fatal shooting of a man by a police officer late last month was caught on tape by a police surveillance device that was attached to the officer’s chest. Seems reasonable, but legal experts say there are legal issues involved in this type of video. What’s the problem?

4. Topeka has voted to nix the city’s laws against domestic violence. The capital city in Kansas recently voted to decriminalize domestic violence in an attempt to procure more state funds to prosecute offenders. This is an interesting tactic. How do you see this working out? Here’s how they see it in Topeka.

This week’s logal resources you might have missed: Oct. 3 – 7

October 7, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories touch on legal news on both local and national levels. A $2 million settlement from Arch Coal, Inc., more voter ID laws and medical negligence claims limitations were some of the topics gracing legal headlines this week. We welcome your opinions and discussion!

1. Study predicts voting laws will change will change political landscape. As the nation prepares for the 2012 presidential election, a recent study sais that more than 5 million voters could be affected by changes to state voting laws. The NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice’s report predict this will change the political landscape of the election.

2. New malpractice and hunting laws take effect in North Carolina. A slew of new laws are taking effect in North Carolina, including laws that limit the amount of damages victims of medical negligence can claim in a lawsuit. Additionally, ATV riders can go ahead and loosen those helmets. And last but not least, immigration is in the mix too.

3. Arch Coal, Inc. agrees to pay $2 million to settle pollution lawsuit. The company arrived at this number settling a 2010 lawsuit over selenium pollution in six West Virginia coal mines. Additionally, the company will install treatment and monitoring equipment.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Sept. 26 – 30

September 30, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories touch on legal news on both local and national levels. Deadly cantaloupe, wrongful birth lawsuits, the Dead Red law in Kansas, and BP execs (we’re not finished with them yet) were some of the topics gracing legal headlines this week. We welcome your opinions and discussion!

1. Cantaloupe death toll continues to rise. On Monday the death toll from a contaminated crop of cantaloup was at eight people. As of Thursday, the CDC has reported at least 16 deaths from the listeria traced to Colorado fruits and expects it will continue to rise. Until this is resolved, do not eat cantaloupe  if you do not know where it came from.

2. Wrongful birth malpractice lawsuit results in a $4.5 million settlement. A Florida recently awarded $4.5 million to the parents of a baby born with no arms and only one leg. The couple alleged that it was medical negligence that prevented from them learning of the debilitation early enough to terminate the pregnancy.

3. The color red generally means stop, unless you’re on a bike in Kansas.  The Dead Red law in Kansas allows bicycles and motorcycles to continue through a red light if the light does not turn green in a “reasonable” amount of time. This wording is vague- what is reasonable? Will cyclists and bikers obey a “reasonable” amount of time?

4. Lawsuits filed against top English BP executives have been dismissed in favor of an English forum. Waves of litigation spilled in (no pun intended here) after the Deepwater Horizon incident in April 2010. However, these suits primarily involving English execs at an English corporation will not go forward in US courts. An English forum will be more appropriate for litigation.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Sept. 19 – 23

September 23, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories touch on legal news on both local and national levels. Office chatter via social media, Kansas Voter ID laws and small business: read on, share your thoughts and opinions. We welcome the discussion!

This week’s legal news stories:

1. Social media emerges as a battleground for protected speech at work. With online reputations being as important as they are these days, it’s easy to see why businesses don’t want employees complaining about their day-to-day troubles brought on by their jobs and the workplace in the online environment. But employees are doing it, and employers are getting in trouble for attempting to regulate it. Would you take the office chatter online?

2. Do new voter ID laws actually work to suppress fraud?  Or just Democrats? There have been 221 incidents of voter fraud in Kansas since 1997. Thirty of the these cases were tried and seven fraudulent voters were convicted. Furthermore, Kris Kobach says this is not a “Republican conspiracy,” because two-thirds of Kansas Democrats are in support of his voter ID bill. Are you in support of this legislation?

3. The American Invents Act of 2011- does it shut out small businesses? Most agree the change in patent legislation was necessary and will actually spur innovation in the United States by streamlining the old system and better aligning US policies with those of the rest of the world. However, entrepreneurs, small businesses and small-scale inventors worry that this new system will give larger corporations a leg up.

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Sept. 12 – 16

September 16, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories touch on legal news on both local and national levels. Human trafficking laws that fall flat in Kansas, courtroom dogs, pharmaceutical law: read on, share your thoughts and opinions. We welcome the discussion!

This week’s legal news stories:

1. Kansas falls short in combatting human trafficking. Kansas laws aimed at combatting human trafficking fall short comparable to the laws in Missouri, says a national anti-trafficking organization. What’s the deal?

2. More bullying cases have parents turning to courts.  The number of bullying-related lawsuits is on the rise nationwide. The number of lawsuits are increasing for a number of reasons, one being awareness. People are aware about the seriousness of these situations in a way they didn’t used to be, and feel the need to report it.

3. US courtroom dog spark legal debate. Dogs have played a comforting role in the courtroom for more than 20 years, mostly for children. However, their presence is being protested of late. A New York lawyer recently appealed his client’s conviction on the grounds that the courtroom dog affected the opposing testimony.

4. A legal doctrine that worries pharma defense lawyers. A new legal doctrine allows prosecutors to go after executives, holding them accountable for violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Here’s the catch- the executives can still be prosecuted even if they weren’t aware of violations.

That’s what we have for you this week, be sure to check back next Friday!

This week’s legal resources you might have missed: Sept. 5 – 9

September 9, 2011

At Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC. we enjoy keeping up with the latest legal news and sharing it with you. We firmly believe that is important to keep up with industry happenings because it is just one more way that we can help you. This week’s stories are all across the board- Proposition 8, Walmart and AT&T to name a few.

This week’s legal news stories:

1. Indiana lawmakers say $5 million is not enough for the damage caused by the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. The August 13th storm that led to the collapse of the main stage left seven dead and more than 40 injured. The state can dole out $5 million, but many think this is inadequate.

2. The California high court listens to key legal dispute over Proposition 8.  Voters approve Proposition 8, or same sex marriage law, but state officials still refuse to back the legislation. The key question at hand is if that state continues to not intervene, can private groups and individuals defend these citizen initiatives?

3. Legal responses to 9/11 terrorist attacks are still in flux. Ten years after the worst attack on American soil, the trauma suffered still haunts us, especially as images of the burning towers splash across television screens as the 10th anniversary approaches. The attacks resulted in a dilemma for the American legal system- security or liberty?

4. Walmart has a guide to come out of of lawsuits on the winning end, even when it technically lost. Six years ago, Walmart agreed to stop renting DVDs online and Blockbuster planned to take the movie rental industry by storm. Today, Blockbuster is bankrupt and Walmart owns the fastest growing movie download site, Vudu. How did that happen?

5. Proposed At&T and T-Mobile merger is both legal and political.  At&T must prove that it would not create an anti-competitive market in a merger with T-Mobile. The actual market needs to be defined, and a benefit to consumers needs to be proven.


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