Public Health for Sale Part II

Direct parallels can be drawn between how the NRA and other industries influence public health. Monsanto is a behemoth in the agricultural and chemical industry. It has invested extensive sums of money into genetically modified crops. It manufactures and sells Roundup© a glyphosate-based pesticide that its genetically modified crops are designed to work in conjunction with. A scientific body of the United Nations devoted to cancer research and the classification of carcinogens, known as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), studied glyphosate and identified the chemical to be a “Probable Human Carcinogen” based on evidence linking the chemical to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Industry funded consulting firms have for years been paid tens of millions of dollars publishing articles that seek to call into doubt well established risks of products and chemical agents to workers and consumers.

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Self Driving Cars

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be stopped at a traffic light, look over to your side, and see a car with no driver, you may not have to wait much longer to find out. Although we will initially see these self-driving vehicles with a human driver behind the wheel as a “failsafe,” self-driving cars are going to be the new norm, and there will be many safety and legal questions involved that will still have to be answered.

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May is Bike to Work Month!

May is Bike to Work month, and with the Spring weather finally (hopefully) upon us, those of us in the cycling community expect to see a large uptick in the number of riders on the road.  With the increase in riders comes the unfortunate, but inevitable increase in bicycling crashes and injuries. My blog this month will be devoted to bicycling safety.

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Realistic Expectations? The Glamour and Glory in the TV series Suits

My son has been trying to get me to watch the series Suits for quite some time. I keep telling him that I don’t want to watch at night what I live every day. Over time, however, he wore me down and one night I found myself with nothing to binge watch, so I decided to give it a try. I hate to admit it, but I’m hooked now. I love the fierce Jessica Pearson and it’s so nice to see a strong woman at the helm of a big law firm. And you cannot help but love Harvey Specter. He’s good looking with a quick wit and a sharp tongue. He swoops in on trials and depositions in his $5000 suits and he always wins. Always.  The reason that I love Suits is because it is so far from the reality of being an attorney that it’s entertaining. Suits and Boston Legal and L.A. Law are all fantasy. But as I started the third season the other night it occurred to me that these legal shows are what many people watch and think is a true representation of the practice of law. I pondered whether clients who walk into my office think that even some of what they see on TV is real.

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Congress Prevents Rule Banning Arbitration From Coming Into Force

On October 24, 2017 the U.S. Senate voted 51-50 with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote to disapprove and nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule, which would have allowed consumers their day in court by banning pre-dispute arbitration clauses in certain consumer contracts involving many consumer financial products and services, and by allowing consumers to participate in class action lawsuits against banks and other financial institutions when these kinds of institutions commit fraud on a massive scale.  Republican Senators Lindsay Graham (SC) and John N. Kennedy (LA) voted against the measure and created a 50-50 tie, which was broken by the Vice President to pass the resolution.

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Another Company Settles Minimum Wage and Overtime Claims for $5 Million

On April 2, 2018, the operator of 17 Houlihan's restaurants in New Jersey and New York agreed to pay $5 million to settle the government's claims that it violated the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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Locks Law Tip Series: 2018 Taxes

Locks Law Tip Talk - 2018 Taxes

Tip 1: This year the deadline is Tuesday, April 17th, 2018, rather than the traditional April 15th date. 

Tip 2: Have you moved since last tax season? Be sure to fill out Form 8822 for change of address!

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Getting Hurt in a Foreign Country - What to Do

As the weather gets warmer and we see Spring Break and the summer on our horizon, people are starting to plan their vacations to foreign countries. But as you go ahead and plan for your good time, it's important to know what to do if you happen to get hurt on one of those vacations.

No one expects to get hurt while having fun. But if you do, it's important to take the steps necessary to be made whole for your injury. So below are some steps for various situations that you can use to protect yourself in a time of distress.

If you are hurt in a foreign country, it can be difficult to locate a healthcare professional abroad. If you need a doctor and do not know local contacts, then you should call the US embassy for whatever country you are in. If you do not know the number for the local US embassy, you can dial 1-202-501-4444 for a directory of all US embassies and consulates.

If you're in a car accident abroad, the first thing you should do is contact the local authorities so that you can have an official report of what occurred. You should document everything for insurance purposes, including taking pictures and video with your phone. Finally, you should check with your insurance policy to see if you're covered while driving your own car in a foreign country (if you have driven to Mexico or Canada, for instance). If you rented a car in another country and purchased insurance for the rental, you should contact the rental company and/or the insurance carrier immediately after the accident.

Whether you can sue another driver for damage may depend on the law in the country where the accident occurred, so it's important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able, who will be able to tell you your options depending on the law. Certain countries have very limited time frames in which to file suit, so more urgency is required than would be for a purely American claim.

An attorney can also be helpful if you received any medical care in that foreign country, as malpractice laws function differently in different countries. Also, in certain situations, foreign parties may have sufficient ties to the United States that they can be sued in American courts. Therefore, if you are hurt in a foreign country, it is vital that you, as soon as possible, contact an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the complicated steps of maintaining and asserting your rights.

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Sex, Lies and Videotape

The case began simply enough. A bar in Scranton served beer to a minor. The minor took the beer out to the parking lot and used the glass to gash out our client’s eye. Under Dram Shop law and cases, a bar is liable if it serves a minor or a drunk and that person hurts someone.

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Groundbreaking Win for Privacy Advocates in New Jersey

This morning, the Appellate Division in New Jersey affirmed the right to proceed to trial for 30 women who alleged that they had been surreptitiously videotaped in their work bathrooms: Friedman, et al. v. Martinez, et al., A-4896-15T1 (New Jersey Appellate Division, Mar. 23, 2018). The women were represented by attorneys from Locks Law Firm, Hill Wallack LLP, and the Law Offices of Franklin Solomon. The women claimed that their privacy was invaded when Defendant Teodoro Martinez, a janitor employed by Defendant CRS Facility Services, LLC, placed and maintained hidden surveillance equipment for approximately six months to a year in a women's restroom in a five-story Somerset office building owned by Defendant I&G Garden State, LLC, and managed by Defendants Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc. and LaSalle Investment Management, Inc. Defendant Planned Security Services, Inc. provided security for a tenant on that particular floor of the building. The police were able to recover about 7 hours of footage from Mr. Martinez, although the evidence suggested that there had been much more. The Appellate court, for the first time, ruled that each plaintiff did not need to assert her image appeared in the existing footage to prove that a recording device was present when they used the women's restroom. Importantly, the law in New Jersey states that the invasion of privacy cause of action is maintainable even if the victim cannot demonstrate she was ever recorded. Like other state appellate courts, the Court held that a victim of such an intrusion need not provide evidence of her captured image to prove an intrusion occurred. Most significantly for victims of invasions of privacy in the future, it is enough that the victim provide evidence supportive of a finding that a recording device was present when was in a secluded area, such as a restroom, where a reasonable expectation of privacy may be assumed. And this fact may ben shown inferentially. Any plaintiff who could assert she used the same restroom around the same time as the devices were present should not have been dismissed by way of summary judgment. Moreover, such a plaintiff need not specifically delineate the dates on which she used the infringed facility. It would suffice if a plaintiff could demonstrate she worked in the building in an area close enough to allow a factfinder to assume her occasional use of the surveilled restroom. Essentially, today's ruling means that victims of invasions of privacy do not have to produce a smoking gun to receive justice. They can present facts that would allow a judge or jury to infer that they were victims of the defendant's bad acts, same as other plaintiffs with other causes of action. For the thirty women that we represent, it means that they can finally seek accountability for the entities that they allege allowed the heinous videotaping in their work bathrooms. And we will work alongside them in their quest.

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