Oct 21, 2014
Most state laws refer to child custody decisions as being in the “best interests of the child” but this may be interpreted differently in each situation. As mentioned on the website of Beauchamp Law Office, P.C., each case is unique. In Arizona, family courts take into consideration many factors to determine where the child’s best chance of a balanced life lies.
The court considers the preferences of the parents as well as the child, and evaluates the relationship between child and parent as well as siblings (if any) and significant others such as grandparents. It will also look into the current educational and community situation of the child to determine if it would be healthier for the child to maintain the status quo or to allow the child to be placed in a new situation. Another important factor would be the age, mental state, and physical health of the child.
An Arizona family court judge is just as likely to award sole custody as well as joint custody depending on the circumstances, and to award sole custody regardless of the parent’s gender if it is in the best interest of the child. Historically, family courts tended to favor awarding physical custody to the mother for very young children when the parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, but this is not supposed to be the case any longer. The court will also decide on a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent.
The parents are encouraged propose a jointly-prepared parenting plan subject to the court’s approval. This includes a custodial schedule, plans for education, religion, and health as well as plans for vacations and holidays. Unless there is a case of domestic violence or false allegations of such, or the judge discerns a level of coercion or duress in the custody agreement, such parenting plans are considered favorably as long as it conforms to the law. It would be advisable to have family law attorneys draft such agreements in accordance to the parents’ wishes to ensure that it is a legally binding and fair agreement.
Feb 11, 2014
After noticing bruising on their grandmother, two North Texas women decided to hide a camera in her room at a nursing facility. Camera footage revealed that their grandmother’s primary caretaker was verbally and physically abusive. Instead of helping the resident out of her bed gently, the caretaker would yank the 98-year-old woman up by her arm. Daily dressing and undressing proved to be a constant battle between the resident and the caretaker. The caretaker didn’t display gentleness while changing the resident’s clothes and was seen slapping and taunting her multiple times.
Despite their compelling video evidence, the family couldn’t do much to take the nurse’s certification away. Apparently this is one of many instances where nursing home residents suffer at the hand of unpunished facility employees. A study of reported incidents shows that abuse occurs regularly in one third of all United States nursing homes. According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, bed sores, fractures, dehydration, malnutrition, theft, gangrene, septic shock, infection, are all common ailments that neglected nursing home residents suffer from. A reprehensible practice called “double diapering” has landed some nursing home facilities on probation. Attendants will put two diapers on a resident so that they don’t have to take the resident to that bathroom as often.
A report indicates that the amount of nursing homes that have been cited for violations has increased yearly since 1996. Some people credit stringent rules for citing as the reason for this rise in violations. Facilities are legally required to report incidents, sometimes trivial in nature, as abuse. However, many incidents of abuse in nursing facilities are much more serious in nature. Since elderly residents require heightened supervision and care, a mistake like switching medications or not meeting dietary needs can have grave consequences.
Oct 16, 2013
It is an unfortunate fact that when children are a factor in divorce, child support issues become a bone of contention, especially if the divorce is dissentious. As it is with child custody, the concern of the courts is to look out for the best interests of children of divorce, and to protect their rights to financial maintenance by their parents.
The laws governing child support in Texas is embodied in Title 5 Subtitle B Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code. In it, the laws are very specific on what the courts may and may not order based on the circumstances. It is possible that both parents will be assigned a certain amount of child support in cases when neither parent has physical conservatorship (which is what they call custody in Texas). In most cases, however, the parent who is the physical conservator is the one who will receive child support payments from the non-conservator parent.
There are many possible scenarios described under Chapter 154, but perhaps what would be an important point to know is that the failure of one parent to pay regularly court-ordered child support may be considered a quasi-criminal offense under Texas Penal Code §25.05 if that parent does so even if he or she has the financial capability to make payments. The penalty for this (considered contempt of court) can be as much as 180 days imprisonment each time the case is brought before the Texas Child Support Division as well as $500 in fines. According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC, the non-paying parent may also risk losing state-issued licenses including professional, driver’s, business and recreational.
If you live in Texas and have been having difficulty in getting your spouse to pay child support regularly even though there is a financial capacity for it, consult with a lawyer in the area about your legal options. Your child or children should not have to suffer from your spouse’s refusal to fulfill legal and familial obligations.
May 16, 2013
If you have ever watched an episode of the tv show ER, you will know that it is a scene of much drama and tension. But while the award winning show focused primarily on the lives and personalities of the medical personnel, the stars of the show in a real emergency room are the patients, with the medical personnel acting as supporting characters. In real life, however, the stars of the drama don’t always come out triumphant in the end, and in some cases it is due to preventable emergency room errors.
It is a fact that the medical personnel in an emergency room need to be on their toes and to make quick literally life-or-death decisions for their patients. In most cases this can save a person’s life, but when in some instances because of carelessness or negligence, errors are made that can adversely affect a patient’s life, sometimes permanently. For example, a patient dies of a ruptured appendix an hour after a busy ER doctor sends her home with a prescription for antacid for her belly ache. This is a case of emergency room error that may land the ER doctor in court for medical malpractice.
Some of the most common human errors that occur in a hospital emergency room include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Delayed treatment
- Medication or dosage error
- Failure to diagnose
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Incorrect treatment method
This happens more often than it should, notwithstanding the effects of stress and time-constraints often prevailing in an emergency room. Patients have a right to a standard of care from medical practitioners, and there is no excuse for sloppy work. If you or someone you know suffered injury or death due to emergency room errors, you have a right to pursue compensation from the person or entity responsible for the medical mistake in question.
May 9, 2013
In response to the increasing trend of food products that have caffeine added into them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding an investigation into the effects of caffeine, especially on children and adolescents.
The announcement comes alongside the release of a new gum from Wrigley that features caffeine as an additive. One piece of the gum has the caffeine content of half a cup of coffee. After discussions with the administration, Wrigley today announced that it will cease selling the caffeinated gum pending the results of the FDA investigation.
The concern is that these caffeinated food products are often marketed to children, who should not have stimulants in their diet. Too much caffeine can cause an increased heart rate or arrhythmia.
Officials at the FDA applaud Wrigley for taking interest in public health. Not much is yet known about the effects of prolonged caffeine exposure in children, so the administration is hoping other producers of caffeinated foods will make similar decisions as it moves towards enacting appropriate regulations.
May 6, 2013
Raytheon Company, the largest employer in El Segundo, is moving its corporate headquarters to McKinney, Texas. The move comes as a part of reorganization efforts that have become the norm for defense contractors in response to the United States’ reduced defense budget.
A spokesman for the company says that the move will help the company be closer to its customers and streamline its efforts.
Between 6,000 and 7,000 people work at the El Segundo office, where the company makes RADAR sensors for heavy craft such as satellites, fighter jets, and ships.
It is becoming increasingly common for large corporations to move their operations from California to other parts of the United States. In this case, real estate in Texas is much cheaper and the laws are much friendlier to the operation of a business.
May 3, 2013
If you slip and fall in front of your neighbor’s house because of some oil he spilled on the sidewalk, is he liable? Yes, he is.
Premises liability can be a complex issue, but not in the above situation. Under premise liability law, your neighbor is responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of his house clear and safe for the public. Your neighbor must have known the oil was potentially dangerous to the public, failed to clean up the oil (easily done with a piece of newspaper) or provide some type of warning about it to you or any passersby. If you sustained serious injury in your slip and fall, you can claim for compensation from your neighbor (or his insurance company) based on premise liability laws.
Premise liability statutes differ from state to state, but there are some general definitions that you should be aware of. This will help you identify when a premise liability claim can be made, and to ensure that you are never on the wrong end of a personal injury claim.
First of all, premise liability accrues to the person who is in possession of a physical property such as a lot, building, house, apartment, or establishment. A person is said to possess the premises when that person occupies and/or controls it. For example, a homeowner occupies a house and has control over what happens within and around the house. If a person rents an apartment but does not live in it, he or she is still said to be in control of it while the lease holds. A person does not necessarily have to own the premises to be in possession.
The second consideration in premises liability law is the nature of the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant in terms of the plaintiff’s presence on the premises at the time of the incident. There are three types of relationships under premises liability: invitee, licensee and trespasser. The first two categories of people may be considered to have a “legitimate” presence on the premises, and to whom the possessor owes a reasonable duty of care, which if absent and results in injury renders the possessor liable. For example, if Joe invites Linda to his house and a rotting tree branch in the backyard falls on her head, Joe may be liable for Linda’s injuries.
The third category of person may be considered an “illegitimate” presence on the premises, or one who has no right to be there in the first place. For example, if Nathan who lives behind Joe’s property decides to take a shortcut to his house by going through Joe’s backyard without Joe’s knowledge or invitation, and that same branch fell on his head, Joe might not be held liable for Nathan’s injuries.
May 2, 2013
The home-like care which the elderly, physically or mentally disabled young adults, and victims of accidents who need rehabilitative therapy receive in a nursing home ought to be enough guarantee that they shall be kept safe and in good health. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Nursing or convalescent homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities (SNF), offer medical care to elderly residents; they also aim at helping out their residents in daily activities, which include toileting, showering, and dressing. Residents, usually 70 years and older, can enjoy a safe, nurturing environment in these facilities, as well as continuous nursing care.
While many nursing homes live up to the standards expected of them, many others fail to provide the necessary standard of care to their residents. Worse, elder abuse is an all to common problem in these facilities, including mental, physical, and even financial abuse. Threatening, insulting, humiliating, and mistreating a patient emotionally or verbally, as well as refusal to help a patient eat or get out of bed, are some of the most common abuses residents suffer from.
Physical abuse of nursing home residents residents includes forceful medicine and food intake, sexual assault, beating, refusal or negligence of the staff to feed, clothe or assist an elder in personal hygiene concerns, as well as the staff’s failure to keep patients from safety and health risks. Financial abuse, on the other hand, consists in the staff stealing from patients, forcing patients to make unnecessary payments, and coercing patients to include their caretakers in the patient’s will.
The common causes of staff abuse in many nursing facilities are insufficient training, stressful working conditions, and not having enough registered nurses and nurse’s aides, resulting in staff burnout and loss of compassion for patients. Additionally, poor screening procedures can expose residents to dangerous or abusive caretakers.
May 1, 2013
Charges of boating under the influence (BUI) are based on the Revised Code of Washington (RWC) Title 79A Section 60.040: “Operation of [recreational] vessel in a reckless manner, etc. Any person found operating a recreational vessel while under the influence of alcohol or any drug, whether legal or illegal, is violating this subsection of the RWC and may be charged with a misdemeanor.”
BUI is established much in the same way as driving under the influence. A person operating a boat or similar vessel in a reckless manner may be called upon to stop by an authorized person, and if there is probable cause such as the smell of liquor on the breath, may be ordered to undergo a field sobriety test if possible. The detaining officer may also request the boat operator to take a breath or blood test. A person may be charged with BUI if results show:
- .08 or higher alcohol content as determined in a breath or blood test
- Affected by alcohol or drug or combination of both while operating a vessel
The penalties for BUI are detailed under Title 9 Section 92 subsection 30 of the RCW which states that a person convicted for BUI shall be incarcerated in the county jail for no more than 90 days or fined a maximum of $1,000, or both, as mandated by the court. The defendant may also be liable for any injuries or damages that resulted from the offense , and may be made to pay restitution by the court.
There are no statutes specifying additional penalties for repeat offenders of BUI, unlike DUI which escalates into a felony with succeeding convictions. Moreover, there is no accompanying suspension of license as boat operators are not required to have one. However, a conviction for BUI should be avoided as it is still a criminal offense. A BUI lawyer should be consulted in the event of a BUI charge.
Apr 30, 2013
An explosion went off at toymaker Mattel, Inc.’s El Segundo design center this morning.
The bang was heard at around 7:00 am and the city’s police and fire departments were alerted and responded to the scene. The Los Angeles County Sheriff Office’s bomb squad was also called in.
The blast did not seem to injure anyone and seems to have originated from a homemade explosive housed in a plastic bottle. Authorities evacuated the building during their investigation, which turned up the plastic debris. Employees were able to come in to work shortly thereafter.
The investigation is being handled as a crime. Due to recent events, homemade explosives should be taken seriously. Police encourage anyone with information about this bombing to contact Detective Eric Atkinson at (310) 524-2216.