ERISA Claims

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

One common basis of many legal battles in federal courts is with regard to employment concern, particularly concerning ERISA, which stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA was passed into law by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974, for the purpose of making sure that the millions of Americans, upon their retirement, will be able to enjoy the deposited assets or funds in their retirement plan during the years when they were employed. This Act, however, is to benefit only those employees in companies where their employer has sponsored, on their behalf, a health insurance coverage or any other benefits, such as a pension plan.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a branch of the US Department of Labor which has been charged with the administration of ERISA, does not require employers to sponsor plans for their employees. Its main task is to make sure that the interests of ERISA-covered employees, along with their beneficiaries, are protected by the Act and informed, through the same, about all the vital information, relating to the plans sponsored on their behalf.

ERISA also sets the minimum standards on how employees would qualify for the availment of the benefits offered by the plans. These standards include: specification of the length of employment required for an employee to qualify as a participant in the plan; the number of years required before an employee can rightfully enjoy non-forfeitable interests in their pension plan; the length of time an employee is allowed to be away from his/her job without his/her benefits being affected; and the right of the employee’s spouse to the pension in the event of his/her death.

Often, however, despite an employee’s qualification into the program and eligibility in already claiming the benefits stipulated in the plan, his/her application ends up getting denied. It is important to know that pension plan providers are afforded 90 days by the law for the processing of applications; they can request for an additional 90 days if more time is needed.

Denial of claim or getting approved for a benefit, but which is lesser than the amount stipulated in the plan policy, entitles the employee to file a written appeal with the plan provider, usually within 60 days after the application has been denied.

The Hankey Law Office believes that while any individual can choose to personally take care of all legal concerns regarding pension benefits and all other types of claims, having a highly-competent lawyer to assist you is still a much wiser move. Pension plan providers apply legal articles whether in approving or denying claims. It is only right to deal with them in legal ways too.

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Joint Managing Conservatorship or the Joint Legal and Physical Custody

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Divorce | 0 comments

Various factors are considered by courts in determining divorce-related issues, which include child custody, child support, visitation rights, spousal support or alimony, and division of property and assets. Many of these factors differ from one state to another except for one (when the issue concerns a child): that every decision should be made in the best interest of the child.

While what may be considered to be within the scope of “in the best interest of the child” can be contested, the following are deemed as necessary for inclusion:

  • the child’s gender and age
  • the amount of involvement each parent has in activities participated in by the child
  • the parents’ level of relationship with the child
  •  the health risks and safety of the environment where each parent lives (this means one parent’s wish to win custodianship can be affected if his or her home is located in an environment that can have negative effects to the child’s health and safety)
  • the lifestyle, stability, and health of each parent as these can affect a child’s academic performance

Before the close of the nineteenth century child custody was a right enjoyed by fathers. This was due to the Property Law and inheritance issues that were in effect and observed that time. The perception of the courts regarding who was more capable of providing children’s needs, however, changed during the start of the twentieth century, resulting to the transfer of custodial right to mothers who were naturally better caretakers of young children. This belief served as the basis for “The Tender Years Doctrine” which was observed up to the 1970s.

Today, however, neither father nor mother has the sole right to custodianship. So long as the court finds both parents fit to care for their child, then the child will not be denied the love and care of both parents. This explains the joint legal and physical custody that courts now award to both parents. As posted in the website of The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, in a joint legal and physical custody, also called joint managing conservatorship, both parents are given equal time with their child, as well as equal rights in making decisions for their child’s well-being. Under this joint custody ruling, the child may reside with one parent at a location that is easily accessible to the other parent, or the child may move from one parent’s residence to another.

Many spouses have already been granted joint custody or joint managing conservatorship due to the help of skilled child custody attorneys. Joint custody, however, can have a much greater chance of working well only if the divorced parents have no feeling of animosity against each other.

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Defective Products

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Defective Products | 0 comments

A lot of the products which people purchase are heavily examined to be safe to be used in the public. Sometimes, on the other hand, a merchandise, whether as an effect of an error in the generation process or proper inspection before its release, may pose considerable hazards to the safety and health of those who use it. Identified as product defects, these problems can have a large impact on an individual’s life.

According to the Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. website, defective goods come in all shapes and sizes. However, no matter whether it’s dangerous prescription merchandises to vehicles whose security gear is badly designed, products that are flawed pose significant difficulties for people who make use of them. Most of the time, they may result in severe injuries or medical conditions, leaving the individual unable to help themselves financially and possibly needing costly medical care. In these circumstances, compensation for the damages due to the product that is faulty may be accessible.

Kinds of Defects

Product defects may be categorized into three basic groups, even though different flaws which might occur’s range is incredibly wide. The following is a fundamental description of the various types of product flaws:

  • Design defects when the underlying layout of a commodity is fundamentally dangerous, these occur
  • Manufacturing defects when the creation of a product renders these dangerous, it occur
  • Marketing flaws these occur when labeling or the advertising of an item fails to alert consumers of known risks associated with the product

One of these sorts of product defects possesses the capability to result in serious injuries for individuals who use products that are faulty. Luckily, defective product injury victims may have the right to seek compensation for his or her harms.

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Mesothelioma Patients and the Possible Ways of Prolonging their Lives

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Injuries | 0 comments

On Christmas day of 2009, George, a former US military man, who first served in the Air Force and then worked in Charleston’s Navy Shipyards, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare, yet deadly type of cancer. Having received the news on what should have been a festive occasion was tragic enough as no one in the family (not even this military personnel, himself) thought that his constant exposure to asbestos during his active duty would result to the development of this irreversible and incurable cancer after many decades.

The worst events, however, were still to come.

On March 16, 2011, exactly 16 months after George was diagnosed with mesothelioma, he finally gave up his fight against the deadly cancer. While still grieving over his loss, though, it was his wife’s turn to be diagnosed with the same type of cancer. Pauline (his wife) discovered in August of 2011 that she too had mesothelioma; the cancer gave her only until November of that same year.

It is sad to note that the only way Pauline got exposed to asbestos was by washing George’s clothes after he got home from work. Obviously, asbestos’ sharp, microscopic fibers attached themselves onto his clothes (and probably hair and other parts of the body), a possibility that may have exposed their three children to the toxic mineral as well.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer. Despite its very long latency period, about 20 – 40 years before showing symptoms, it can very quickly spread to other parts of the body. Upon discovery of its symptoms, this cancer would already have developed into an advanced stage (usually stage 3 or 4), rendering it already irreversible and incurable; patients’ survival rate after diagnosis is usually only up to two years.

Continuous research by mesothelioma specialists, however, has allowed them to discover some ways that would delay spreading of the cancer and extend patients’ survival rates. Forms of treatment include: combination of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) or “heated chemotherapy,” and cytoreductive surgery; herbal and homeopathic medicine; surgical resection or segmentectomy; use of immunotherapy drug; consumption of antioxidants, such as melatonin which is found in red tart cherries; or, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or mesothelioma radiation.

While some patients have lived three or five years longer, a certain few have continuously beaten the illness for more than 10 years. Surviving longer, though, is affected by the patient’s overall health, age, gender, stage of the cancer, the location or the organ affected, the type of mesothelioma that has developed (epithelial, sarcomatoid or the mixed type of the illness), and the stage of the cancer when treatment began.

Not all patients are strong enough to undergo treatment though, and while some risk surgery, saying they have nothing to lose since they’ll die anyway, never make it too. Those who are able to survive, on the other hand, due to chemotherapy, intake of drug or herbal medicine, etc., rely on these treatments continuously, depleting them of their financial resources after some time.

The website of the Williams Kherkher Law Firm explains the importance of consulting with a medical professional as soon as possible once the symptoms of mesothelioma are felt or if the person knows that his or her work exposed him or her to asbestos.

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A Little More Light on Tardive Dyskinesia and Risperdal

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Injuries, Lawyers | 0 comments

Involuntary movement is the best way to describe what is tardive dyskinesia. It is frequently if somewhat carelessly included in the list of possible side effects of some drugs, typically in neuroleptic (also known as antipsychotic) drugs. However, it is important to understand that these involuntary movements can have serious effects. The most common symptoms manifestations of tardive dyskinesia are:

  • Excessive eye blinking
  • Grimacing
  • Lip puckering
  • Lip smacking
  • Lip pursing
  • Tongue movements

One can imagine how disconcerting it is to be in conversation with a person with tardive dyskinesia, even when you understand what it is. There are also instances when the rapid, involuntary muscle spasms can make it impossible for a patient to walk.

It would be accurate to say that tardive dyskinesia is a common side effect of typical antipsychotics, and that the condition is both devastating and incurable. It would also be accurate to say that atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal have improved on this by delaying its onset. However, Risperdal side effects lawyers know that it still causes tardive dyskinesia in patients with high doses over a long period, which is contrary to what the drug manufacturer initially claimed.

Recent lawsuits based on disputing this claim have come down on the side of the plaintiffs, and it is now widely known that tardive dyskinesia is a possible side effect. However, there is no significant emphasis on how bad it can get for the patient, or on what it means. As far as the regular patient is concerned, it is “involuntary movement.” What most people do not realize is that tardive dyskinesia is a symptom of advanced neurological damage. Once it becomes noticeable, it means there is no reversing the damage.

If you or an immediate family member manifests tardive dyskinesia from using Risperdal, you are too late to prevent permanent damage. However, you may still be able to get compensation. Consult with experienced Risperdal side effects lawyers in your area to find out more about your legal options.

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Williams is Named Chairman of the Houston Bar Foundation

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Lawyers | 0 comments

One of the top personal injury lawyers in the country was named pro bono chairman of the Houston Bar Foundation. John Eddie Williams Jr. is known best for his success in several landmark cases, including the case against Chevron for the negligent death of two of its workers and against the tobacco industry, both of which resulted in significant awards to his clients.

However, he is also a noted philanthropist, which makes him the ideal person to chair the Houston Bar Foundation for 2014. It is the pro bono division of the Houston Bar Association, which funds free legal assistance and representation through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. For people who cannot afford to pay a lawyer, this is an important resource for them, and the foundation helps many veterans as well.

When asked about the work done at the Houston Bar Foundation, Williams says they have regular clinics to grant access to people who need a lawyer. He explains that “indigent people need health care, but people need legal help, too. Whether it’s putting together a will, dealing with landlord-tenant issues. And, of course, veterans have all kinds of problems getting benefits.”

Among the public services that Williams oversees include:

  • Dispute Resolution Center
  • Domestic Violence Services
  • Elder Law Services
  • Fee Dispute Committee
  • Houston Lawyer Referral Service
  • Houston Volunteer Lawyers
  • Saturday Legal Advice Clinics
  • The People’s Law School
  • Veterans Legal Initiative

The position is for one year, so Williams is nearing the end of his term. His main goal was to raise as much as he could so that they could help as many people as possible while continuing to build the endowment, which he calls a “rainy day” fund. Williams represent lawyers who care about people who have legal needs, and do what they can by donating their time and money. The Harvest Party, which is the biggest fundraising activity of the foundation, was held at River Oaks Country Club. Almost 1,000 lawyers attended the event, which brought in about $670,000 for the endowment.

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Legal Issues Facing Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Possible Passing

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Probate | 0 comments

The people of this world sang her off in the February of 2012 with “I Will Always Love You”, following the tragic loss of Whitney Houston as she passed away due to accidental drowning in a bathtub with heart failures and drug use as contributing factors. How eerie are the circumstances now that her only daughter and sole heir, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was put into a medically induced coma on the 31st of January 2015 after being found in a way almost identical to her mother’s death.

It is a trying time for the Houston and Brown family, as the Queen of Pop had divorced her R&B singer husband, Bobby Brown, in 2007 but she still retained custody of the girl. The divorce had nullified Mr Brown’s claim to the fortune that Houston left behind but even the 21-year-old heiress cannot come into full acquisition of her fortune until she is 30. There are current disputes that are surfacing in the event that Bobbi Brown does pass as she is the only heir to the departed singer’s fortune.

Nick Gordon, an unofficial ward of Whitney, has been living with them since he was 12 – and only recently did it come to light that he and Bobbi were in a relationship and even claimed to be married, to many negative views from the public and the Browns and Houstons alike. Lawyers have claimed that the pair has never been married but should the marriage be considered legitimate, Gordon stands to inherit Houston’s fortune.

Further inspection of Whitney Houston claims that if she has no child to survive her, her next heir is to be her own mother, Emily “Cissy” Houston and her son, leaving the elder Houston to possibly claim nearly $20 million in inheritance. The contents of this will are, however, subject to litigation should the Browns claim for a case. Probate litigation, following the definition found on the website of Peck Ritchey, LLC, involves the contesting of wills and further deliberation as to who will inherit the estate of the late famed singer.

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Chapter 11: Business Bankruptcy

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Business | 0 comments

When a business firm becomes insolvent, but would not want to cease operations, one legal means it can employ to save itself from overwhelming debts and regain control of its finances is Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

Insolvency puts any business firm’s existence at risk, but business owners should know that while they are legally bound to pay their creditors, the law can also save and protect them from being harassed by creditors and loan collectors, as well as allow them to design a scheme that will make settlement of debts more affordable. And, as stated above, one way is by seeking protection from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Majority of business firms shy away from Chapter 11, as much as possible, because it is complex, time-consuming, risky and very expensive; however, it is also the only bankruptcy chapter that will allow firms, with loan amounts exceeding the limit set in Chapter 13, to restructure their debt payment and continue operations at the same time.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy, also known as business bankruptcy, may be filed by limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships. Both small businesses and giant corporations can be eligible to seek protection from it.

This reorganization type of bankruptcy requires firms to design a payment plan, which the court will then approve. There are even instances when the court would reduce the firm’s liabilities, such as through the discharge of unsecured debts, to make payment easier and profitability, achieved faster.

Chapter 11 can also be considered a liquidation bankruptcy since the debtor or company can choose to sell some of its assets and properties, instead, to be able to pay its creditors. A debtor, however, who has already filed chapter 11 in the last 6 months or 180 days, wherein this application resulted in a dismissal or the debtor either failed to comply with the court’s mandates or failed to appear in court, is prohibited from filing another case.

It is necessary that businesses intending to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy understand everything about this chapter, in particular, and about bankruptcy, in general. The website of Ryan Ruehle, with the address, can provide debtors with the vital information that they need to know.

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Important Considerations when Installing New Commercial Roofing

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Roofs | 0 comments

Cost is always an important factor when deciding on purchasing anything, but it should not always be the deciding one. Instead, one should consider value for money, and that includes long-term consequences. This is true when making decision in commercial roofing and whether or not to shell out extra money for a professional roof contractor such as Black Slate Roofing, LLC. Here are some reasons why you should.


Reputable roof material manufacturers and contractors will give you a warranty on the product and the work. Of the two, the latter is more important because it indicates the contractor’s confidence in the way it was installed. Try to get an extended warranty as defects in the installation may come out some time after.


Roofing is much more than just the cover; the component that will drive up your cost will be the amount of insulation you need depending on the location, purpose and design of the building. Adequate insulation will drive down long-term costs of heating and cooling, but excessive amounts will only increase your upfront costs. A roofing contractor will be able to give you a breakdown of why X amount of insulation is recommended to help you decide.


When an existing roof is to be replaced, a roofing contractor will be able to identify points of weaknesses in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) of the existing structure during roof replacement. Business owners will be able to upgrade them at the same time as roof replacement if desired, saving on some costs in the process.

Building Repairs

When a roof is replaced in older buildings, the roofing contractor will be able to bring the building back to top condition by recommending replacement or repair of roof deck installations such as metal decks, perimeter wood blocking, roof drains, and skylights.
When the roof requires major repairs or replacement, the costs can be prohibitive, but the outlay is necessary for the continued good condition of the whole building. As a building owner, you need to consider it a long-term investment, and resolve not to cut corners so that you will not have to spend much more money making additional repairs later on.

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Chemical Peel: Types of Treatment

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Hair and Beauty | 0 comments

In 2012, more than 13 million minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures (a total of 14.6 million if surgical procedures were added) were performed in the US, as shown in the statistical data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). While Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) has always been the top procedure for the past years (6.1 million performed in 2012), Chemical peel had 1.1 million procedures, making it the third most sought cosmetic treatment by Americans.

Chemical peel, otherwise called derma peeling or chemexfoliation, is one of the many form of cosmetic treatments; it is specifically intended to improve the appearance and texture of the outer layers of the skin that has been damaged through exposure to the sun, or which has become wrinkled, scarred, spotted, or unevenly toned due to aging. Specifically, the procedure aims to treat the skin from scars, scaly patches, irregular skin pigmentation, liver spots, freckles, wrinkles, acne and/or acne scars; it cannot be the solution, though, to deep scars and sagging skin, or the means to change the size of pores, or remove broken capillaries.

Chemical peel treatments involve the use of chemical solutions, like alphahydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid and phenol. Each solution, according to an article on the website of Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, is adjusted by the licensed cosmetic doctor to meet the patient’s specific needs.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons lists three types of chemical peel procedures, which include:

  • Light chemical peel – recommended for those with fine wrinkling, acne, dry skin or uneven skin pigment. This treatment usually takes 1 to 7 days healing time. Around 3 – 5 treatments (each spaced between 2 – 5 weeks) may be required until desired result is achieved. This type of peel targets the epidermis, that is, the skin’s outer layer. The mildest chemicals combined and used in this procedure are alphahydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids (maleic acid, salicylic acid and glycolic acid)
  • Medium chemical peel – is for those who have uneven skin color, deeper wrinkles and acne scars, but wants visibly fresher and smoother skin. After the procedure, skin will turn red and become swollen; swelling of eyelids may also occur plus the formation blisters. During the healing period, which can be between 7 -14 days, taking an antiviral medication and total avoidance of the sun are required. Medium peels treat both the epidermis and the dermis (the upper part of the skin’s middle layer). Trichloroacetic acid, which may be used with glycolic acid, is used in this procedure.
  • Deep chemical peel – recommended for those with deeper facial wrinkles, blotchy skin areas, pre-cancerous growths on skin, scars and skin damaged by the sun. Treated area/s will need to be bandaged and healing time takes up to 21 days. An antiviral medication will need to be taken by the patient for 10 to 14 days and exposure to sun should be totally avoided for about 3 to 6 months.

This procedure may require an 8-week pretreatment, during which retinoic acid cream or gel may be used to thin out the surface layer of the skin. Actual treatment involves the use of phenol, a very strong chemical solution, to be able to penetrate the skin’s lower dermal layer; anesthesia and a sedative (to put patient to sleep) are also used in the treatment, which should be in a surgical setting. Deep peel may take as long as three weeks to heal, but its results are truly remarkable.

Before getting a chemical peel treatment, it is very necessary that the patient makes sure that: the person who will perform the procedure is a licensed doctor or plastic surgeon, who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery; that the surgical facility has been previously accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized in the state or nationally, or Medicare-certified; and, that he/she knows what needs to be expected before, during and after the procedure.

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