Surviving an Active Shooter Event

Would you know what to do if a gunman barged into your place of employment and started shooting?

This nearly 6 minute graphic video, made by the city of Houston, tells people how to survive if a gunman enters their office and starts shooting.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the city hopes that the video can help people prepare people for the worst.

Run, Hide, Fight:  Surviving an Active Shooter Event depicts a fictional shooting incident in a crowded office building.

The video advises people to “always try to escape or evacuate…even when others insist on staying.”  And if you can’t run, the video advises people to hide.   “Turn off the lights and if possible, lock doors, silence the ringer and vibration mode on your cell phone,” the clip further states.

As a last resort, victims are told to fight back.  “Act with aggression, improvise weapons, disarm him and commit to taking the shooter down no matter what.”

Couple Accused of Abusing 80 Year Old Woman

As reported by WMUR:

A pair of Ossipee residents were arrested and accused of abusing an 80-year-old woman Monday.

Darin Brown, 43, and his wife, Sharon Giordano, 38, were accused of hiding Brown’s mother and abusing her.

The victim had been reported missing from Massachusetts. On Monday morning, police searched Brown’s Ossipee home and found his mother. Authorities said the woman showed signs of abuse and neglect, and was immediately hospitalized.

Read More on the WMUR website.

RSA 161-F:46 requires any person that has a reason to believe that an elderly incapacitated adult has been subjected to physical abuse, neglect, or exploitation or is living in hazardous conditions to notify the Department of Health and Human Services or their local law enforcement agency.

Any person (other than the alleged perpetrator) who makes a report of an alleged incident of abuse, neglect or exploitation in good faith shall have immunity from any criminal or civil liability.

To make a report, contact the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at 1-800-949-0470. Calls are confidential.  If it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
 
 
by Patrick Doheny

 

 

Beware of Smishing!

Smishing is when a scam artist pretends to be a lottery business on your cell phone.   They say you are a winner and ask for your bank information. The calls are computerized and are just calling numbers at random, which is how they get your cellphone number. Watch this video by the Better Business Bureau for more information.

 

 

If you have been “SMISHED” or otherwise scammed, the Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can refer you to an attorney who may be able to assist you with sorting out the financial mess created by the scam artists. Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Campus Debit Cards May Carry Hidden Fees

According to a report by the United States Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)  many banks are taking advantage of students who need campus debit cards to access their financial aid.  They may appear to be an easy low-cost solution to handling finances while in school, but many of these cards carry excessive hidden fees.

“Campus debit cards are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Rich Williams, one of the co-authors of the USPIRG report, said in a recent press release,  “Students think they can access their dollars freely, but instead their aid is being eaten up in fees.”

Although campus debit cards are not required to access a student’s financial aid, many banks market their product directly on colleges’ financial aid websites, often creating the perception of being the only option.

Debit cards have received less federal oversight. And, according to a study, by the United States Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, an advocacy organization, nearly 900 colleges and universities have card relationships with banks or other financial institutions, some of which manage student aid disbursements by turning student IDs into debit cards. Some schools save money by outsourcing administrative costs. Others receive payments from the banks.

Read the entire article by Jeff Ousley at Veteransunited.com

 

 

Veterans and the ADA: A Guide for Employers

Each year, thousands of military personnel stationed around the world leave active duty and return to jobs they held before entering the service, or begin the search for new jobs. Recent veterans report high rates of service-connected disabilities (i.e., disabilities that were incurred in, or aggravated during, military service).[1] About twenty-five percent of recent veterans report having a service-connected disability, as compared to about thirteen percent of all veterans.[2] Common injuries incurred by these veterans include missing limbs, burns, spinal cord injuries, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries, and other impairments.

There are several federal laws that provide important protections for veterans with disabilities who are looking for jobs or are already in the workplace. Two of those laws — Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) – protect veterans from employment discrimination. Title I of the ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prohibits private and state and local government employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability.[3] USERRA has requirements for reemploying veterans with and without service-connected disabilities and is enforced by the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL).

This guide describes how the ADA applies to recruiting, hiring, and accommodating veterans with disabilities, and briefly explains how protections for veterans with disabilities differ under USERRA and the ADA. The guide also provides information on laws and regulations that employers may find helpful if they want to make recruiting and hiring veterans with disabilities a priority.

Read the entire guide from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Are you a veteran who feels your employer is not complying with the ADA?  The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to a competent  attorney experienced with handling ADA issues in employment law.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Social Security Disability Process Can Be Daunting

The purpose of Social Security Disability benefits is to provide aid to those people who are unable to work due to a medical condition.  Unfortunately, many disabled people who meet the requirements are often turned down the first time they apply.  In fact, 65% of all initial claims for disability benefits are denied.

While there is an appeals process, it is very time-consuming, sometimes taking years to resolve.  Enlisting the assistance of an attorney at the beginning of the process can cut down on the amount of time spent waiting for a decision.

Even if an attorney is not retained during the initial phase,  seeking legal counsel during the appeals process  may decrease the overall amount of time it will take to obtain a decision and start receiving benefits.  In addition to the use of a lawyer, a basic knowledge of the disability determination process may also help shorten the wait.

Disability Process

An applicant’s file is reviewed by the Disability Determination Service in the applicant’s state. This group is composed of doctors and disability specialists who evaluate the application and then contact the applicant’s doctors to determine:

–        Status of the applicant’s medical condition

–        Date of onset of medical condition

–        Limitations resulting from medical condition

–        Results of medical tests

–        Treatment received

This group will review several other factors, including the severity of the medical condition, whether the applicant is currently working, and whether the applicant can perform any other type of employment.

In order to manage the system’s backlog, Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are granted for some terminal diseases that qualify from a list of 165 medical conditions (includes many types of cancer).   This system is meant to promptly provide a determination for benefits to obviously disabled applicants; however, even these applicants have been known to wait up to six months for benefits.

After the Social Security Administration has reviewed the application, they will issue a letter explaining whether an applicant has been found eligible for benefits or not. If benefits are denied, the decision can be appealed but it must be requested in writing within 60 days after the initial letter is received.

There are three levels of appeal for denied disability claims:

1.      Hearing by an administrative law judge

2.      Review by Appeals Council

3.      Federal court review

An applicant must begin with the hearing before moving to the next stages. If a hearing is granted, the applicant is allowed to attend, review the file used to make the decision and provide additional information. The administrative law judge may question the applicant and any witnesses the applicant chooses to bring along. After the hearing, the applicant will receive a letter and copy of the judge’s decision.

If another denial is issued, the applicant can appeal by requesting a review by the Social Security’s Appeals Council.  The council will review the information, but may deny the appeal without a hearing if it agrees with the administrative law judge’s determination.

The last step requires the applicant to file a lawsuit in federal district court.

In 2009, the initial determination took an average of four months. If appeals were required, they could take several years. Having the counsel of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney as early in the process as possible greatly increases the chance of receiving an accurate, timely decision, by helping to create an effective initial application and gathering the evidence needed for a successful appeal if needed.

The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can refer you to a competent attorney who specifically handles Social Security Disability claims and appeals.  Call 603-229-0002 or request and online referral.

 

 

NH Housing Mortgages Not Just for First Time Buyers

PRESS RELEASE – Bedford, NH  (June 19, 2012)

For the first time in its 35 years of mortgage lending, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority will offer affordable mortgage loans and downpayment assistance to all income qualified homebuyers throughout the state – not just first-time buyers.

Since 1976, New Hampshire Housing has provided nearly 39,000 mortgage loans to low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Approximately 90 percent of those loans have been to first-time buyers who were able to take advantage of the many benefits of the agency’s programs, such as homebuyer education, cash assistance for downpayment and closing costs, and low downpayment requirements.

Now, with the launch of the agency’s newly revamped loan programs, those same benefits are available to current homeowners who wish to purchase a new home. The revised program structures will also benefit New Hampshire Housing’s lending partners and real estate professionals through more streamlined application, underwriting and closing processes.

Read entire press release at NewHampshire.com

Purchasing a home? The Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association  can help with a referral to a qualified real estate attorney to review your Purchase and Sales agreement and any other assistance you may need throughout the process.  Having an attorney to guide you can prevent issues that might crop up years later.  Call LRS at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

 

Many Landlords Don’t Understand the Legal System

Under New Hampshire law, landlords must have “good cause” to evict a tenant.  The expiration of the lease does not meet that standard according to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  A bill to change that was tabled in the Senate last month.

Debbie Fuente, president of New Hampshire Property Owners Association, contends there should be an easier way to end the relationship between a landlord and tenant. She supported House Bill 1263, which would have added the expiration of a lease to the list of legal reasons property owners could terminate a tenancy.

Passed in 1985, RSA 540:2 sets out those legal grounds, including failure to pay rent, substantial damage, behavior that adversely affects health or safety and failure to comply with a “material term of the lease.” Someone also can be evicted if he or she refuses to pay higher rent or for “other good cause,” including “any legitimate business or economic reason.”

Otherwise, when a lease ends, the tenant can stay on under existing law.

Fuente said changing the law makes “common sense.” She blames a 2005 ruling by the Supreme Court for making it too difficult for landlords.

Read the entire story by Shawne K. Wickham for the Union Leader.

As pointed out in this article, many landlords don’t understand the legal process well enough to succeed in an eviction.  The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to an attorney who specifically represents landlords.  Don’t let your case get tossed because of a technical error.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Is Your Dog a Blacklisted Breed?

A pet owner is responsible for his/her dog’s behavior, regardless of whether or not the animal was provoked.  That’s usually where home owner’s or renter’s insurance comes in to play.  These policies typically cover the liability of the pet owner in the event of a dog bite or attack on the owner’s premises.

These standard policies cover most dogs. However, your pooch’s breed may be blacklisted by some home insurers. Many insurers classify Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Presa Canarios, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies as potentially dangerous.

Each year, almost 5 million Americans are bitten or attacked by dogs. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims paid in 2010, totaling $412 million; the average claim was $26,166. Dog bites are the No. 5 reason for visits to the emergency room, and more than half of these bites occur on the dog owner’s property.

Given those statistics, it should come as no surprise that homeowner’s and renter’s insurance companies are as vigilant about dog bite claims as a watchdog that’s guarding a house.

To find out what you can do if your dog doesn’t qualify under your home owner’s or renter’s insurance, read the rest of the story by Michele C. Hollow at insurancequotes.com.

If your pet is accused of biting or attacking someone, the Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to an attorney experienced with dog bite defense cases.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

 

 

 

It’s Getting Harder to Hide Money from Your Spouse

Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal writes about the different ways that electronic discovery is assisting spouses and their divorce attorneys with finding hidden marital assets.

To get an idea of just how widespread financial mischief is, consider a couple of surveys. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of U.S. adults who combined assets with a spouse or partner say they have been deceptive about money, and 58% of these adults say they hid cash from their partner or spouse.

The numbers also confirm that technology is playing a growing role in uncovering that double-dealing. In 2010, 81% of the members in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said they had seen an increase over the past five years in the use of evidence from social-networking sites. This year, 92% said that over the past three years, they have seen an increase in the number of cases using evidence taken from smartphones.

Part of the reason electronic discovery is booming is that more people are using technology to hide assets in the first place. They set up covert business deals using text messages or social networks, for instance, or figure out ways to create cash hoards online.

Read the entire story.

If you are considering divorce, the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can help by connecting you with a competent family law attorney who will work to protect your rights, while helping you navigate this often confusing experience.  Call LRS today at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.