Actress Tried Framing her Huband by sending Ricin-laced letter to Obama.

Divorces aren’t fun, especially when there are children involved.  But some people turn into complete monsters when going through a divorce.  I have had cases where the other side has raised accusations of domestic violence, sexual abuse of the children, accusations of false imprisonment and attempts at blackmail to dismiss criminal charges based on lies.  But thankfully, I have not had the other side try to assassinate the President and blame their Husband.   According to USA Today, an actress in the middle of a divorce allegedly decided to try to end the case, the easy way.  She allegedly mixed up a toxic poison, mailed  it to the leader of the free world, then called the police and said  her husband was responsible.  Simply amazing.  Unfortunately, these types of antics, on a much smaller scale, are all too common in divorce cases.

Here is the article: USA TODAY ARTICLE

http://www.davidnowaklaw.com

Dr. Levy Lawsuit

Many of you have heard the news that a prominent John’s Hopkins gynecologist Dr. Nikita Levy is accused of serious misconduct.  He is accused of recording patients during their gynecological exams with a number of recording devices, including a pin sized camera on a pen he wore around his neck.     Apparently, Dr. Levy conducted many of his exams without a chaperone that could have helped protect the patient, Johns Hopkins, and even Dr. Levy himself.  It is a policy of Johns Hopkins to have a chaperone present during pelvic exams.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-levy-fbi-20130301,0,2900907.story 

If the reports are accurate, Dr. Levy most likely has hundreds of victims that he recorded and there is a possibility that those recordings have been downloaded to various internet websites.  These types of actions violate the patient’s privacy, protected healthcare information, and can lead to trauma, stress and apprehension of seeking certain medical treatments.

If you, or someone you care about, was a patient of Dr. Levy give me a call to discuss your legal options.  The full scope of Dr. Levy’s actions has not been fully investigated, but in time, we will have a clearer picture of the number of victims and the human cost of this Doctor’s betrayal.

I know many of my clients have already asked me if the Law Office of David D. Nowak, LLC handles medical malpractice cases.  The short answer is that I do not regularly advertise my services for medical malpractice.  For this case though, I am working with a team of attorneys investigating Dr. Levy, and my experience as a litigator will help our team determine the damages and the recovery patients may be entitled to.  We have already interviewed a number of Dr. Levy’s patients and we are looking for more people that may be victims of this doctor.  Even if you, your sister, mother, daughter, wife or friend only went to Dr. Levy once, you owe it to yourself to find out whether you have a claim.  http://www.davidnowaklaw.com

Same Sex Marriage in Maryland

Back in June 2011, I wrote about New York State approving same sex marriage.  Now, in December 2012, I write about Maryland’s approval of same sex marriage.  It is amazing how quickly some things change!

Although, same-sex couples can apply for and receive marriage licenses now, the law goes into effect on January 1, 2013, so those hoping to be married before the New Year in Maryland will have to wait just a little longer.  The Circuit Court for Baltimore City and The Circuit Court for Baltimore County are already issuing marriage licenses.  The Circuit Court for Harford County will be issuing marriage licenses soon.    I expect there will be a number of marriage celebrations at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Congratulations to the future newlyweds!  For more information about marriage and divorce, visit www.davidnowaklaw.com  and for some heart-warming stories read a recent story in the Baltimore Sun.

What do Pot, Facebook, Fantasy Football and Scooters have in Common?

Answer: NEW LAWS! It’s already October 2012!  Where has the time gone?  Well October 1, 2012 means many new laws go into effect in Maryland.  Here are a few notable changes to our laws:

  1. Marijuana: For people possessing less than 10 grams of Marijuana the maximum penalty is now 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $500.   That’s down from 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for possession.
  2. Fantasy Football:  Fantasy games such as Fantasy Football are excluded from the list of games that Marylanders are prohibited from betting, wagering and gambling on.
  3. Facebook:  Employers are prohibited from requesting employees’ or potential employees’ user names and passwords for their social medial accounts.
  4. Scooters and Mopeds:  Owners operators will have to have a registration decal on the vehicle, and operators must wear protective helmets and eye wear.
  5. Non-Functioning Traffic Lights: Drivers approaching a non-functioning traffic signal from any direction must stop and make sure it is safe to continue through the intersection.

And there are several ballot measures that citizens will be voting on this election, so if you weren’t planning on voting on any candidates, you may want to vote on the following ballot measures:

  1. Allowing same sex marriage in Maryland
  2. An expansion of Maryland’s gambling laws to include table games
  3. A vote on Maryland’s legislative redistricting and
  4. The Dream Act – whether the children of illegal of immigrants will be eligible for instate tuition at Maryland Colleges and Universities if they meet certain standards.

It was a busy year for the Maryland State Legislature and the Governor.  You can always count on the Law Office of David D. Nowak, LLC to be up-to-date on changes to the law.  For more information go to www.davidnowaklaw.com

Scary Real-Estate Deals – Telling the Buyer about Ghosts

Halloween is just a few days away and scary tales are in the air.  For many people being scared is a sought after thrill.  Whether telling ghost stories at the camp fire or buying a ticket for a haunted house amusement ride, it can be fun to be afraid.  What’s not so fun is when you drop $650,000 on a home that cannot be later resold due to a reputation for paranormal activity.  What’s worse is if you buy a home that was built on a graveyard where the developers removed the headstones, but not the bodies, like in the Poltergeist movies.  At issue is whether the seller of a home that is known to be haunted has a duty to disclose that fact to a potential buyer.

 

That very issue came up in the New York case Stambovsky v. Ackley, 169 A.D.2d 254 (NY App. Div. 1991).  In that case, a woman lived a home in a small town in New York that she had widely proclaimed was haunted.  She reported the haunting in national publications, in the local news media, and her home was a feature on the local ghost walk tour.  Everyone in the local area knew of the home.  In 1990, she sold the home for $650,000 to a man from New York City who had no idea of the notorious reputation of the home.  When he found out that the home was haunted he canceled the sale, refused to attend closing, and sued to get his $32,000 down payment back.

 

The Court in that New York case found that whether or not the house was actually haunted was not the issue, since even the reputation that a house was haunted may seriously affect its value.  Interestingly, the Court found that the law at the time did not require the seller to disclose the  haunting on the theory of “buyer beware,” which places the burden on the buyer to inspect the property to ascertain the condition of the property they are purchasing.  The court found, however, that a normal inspection would not uncover the ghosts that allegedly haunted the home, and therefore the buyer was released from the contract, and won the case.

 

So if you think your house is haunted and you’re about to put it up for sale… you should probably call a lawyer and find out what you should disclose to the buyers.  To not do so, would be a scary proposition indeed.  Law Office of David D. Nowak

Have you been denied Unemployment Benefits?

If you lose your job you may have the right to file for unemployment benefits.  Unemployment benefits are direct payments to an employee that was severed from employment usually due to no fault of their own.  The amount of benefits you receive depends on your income while you worked.  The benefit is much less than you would make if you were still working, but if you are unemployed any money coming in, is better than no money coming in.

Once you know that you have lost your job, filing for benefits is relatively easy and can be accomplished with little effort.  In fact, filing can be accomplished by going to the Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing (DLLR) Website and filing on-line.  It is advisable that you file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible after your severance date.  If possible the very next day.  Even if you think you are not eligible to receive benefits, you should file, or consult and attorney to see if you should file.

Usually, the DLLR Division of Unemployment will schedule a phone interview to confirm whether you are eligible for the benefits you applied for.  This phone call normally lasts less than ten minutes and the most applicants are approved and receive benefits.  You  will usually continue to receive benefits provided you file the periodic Webcert certifying compliance with unemployment requirements, such as applying for work regularly.  Applicants at this stage normally do not need legal representation.

If your employer challenges your right to receive unemployment benefits you may have to defend yourself during the telephone interview and later at an in-person hearing.  If this occurs you should consult a lawyer.  Your employer must allege and prove that you do not qualify for benefits.  Normally, the employer claims that the employee was terminated or severed from employment for one or more of the following:

  1. Voluntarily leaving without good cause (Labor and Employment Section 8-1001).  Also known as quitting.
  2. Termination for misconduct (Labor and Employment Section 8-1003).  This is usually violation of minor company policies, such as chronic lateness and absenteeism.
  3. Termination for gross misconduct (Labor and Employment Section 8-1002).  This is the deliberate and willful disregard of the standards of behavior that an employer rightfully expects and that shows gross indifference to the interests of the employer, or repeated violation of employment rules that prove a regular and wanton disregard of the employee’s obligations.
  4. Termination for aggravated misconduct (Labor and Employment Section 8-1002.1).  This is behavior committed with actual malice and deliberate disregard for the property, safety, or life of others that:  affects the employer, fellow employees, subcontractors, invitees of the employer, members of the public, or the ultimate consumer of the employer’s products and services.   It consists of either physical assault or property loss or damage so serious that the penalties of misconduct and gross misconduct are not sufficient.

If you are found ineligible for benefits you may appeal a negative decision from the hearing examiner and request an in-person hearing.  Conversely, the employer may also appeal the hearing examiner’s grant of benefits.  If this occurs, both parties should consult legal counsel to make sure an appeal to the Division of Lower Appeals is timely filed, and each party knows their rights.  If you did not already retain an attorney for the telephone conference now is the time to do so.  Even if you voluntarily left work you may still have a right to certain benefits, so consulting an attorney is very important at this stage.

If you are found to be liable for any of the above types of conduct the penalty may be as simple as the loss of a few weeks of benefits, or as serious as total disqualification.  Since you receive benefits for a set period of time or until you find employment, a total disqualification could mean the loss of thousands of dollars in benefits you deserve.

It is in your best interest to consult an attorney as soon as you are terminated from employment.  The attorney’s fees for a claimant / employee are fixed by law at 200% of your weekly unemployment benefit.  Simply put, to get an attorney you will pay him or her two weeks of benefits so it is relatively inexpensive and if you win, the benefits outweigh the costs.

In these dire economic times where a steady, reliable job is no longer a certainty, you need to know your rights and get the advice you need.  www.davidnowaklaw.com

Are Renewable Marriage Contracts the Future?

Lawmakers in Mexico have proposed a new concept in family law; the automatically terminating marriage contract. From the BBC  

That’s right, no serving divorce papers on the other side, no protracted custody litigation in the courthouse, no more lawyers working out the details, really no divorce at all.

The proposed law makes each new marriage a contract for a set time period selected by the couple with the minimal time period being two years.  At the end of each term, the couple will have to agree to renew their marriage contract for another term of years, or the contract terminates along with the bonds of marriage.  (Presumably they can also renegotiate the terms of the marriage at each new contract renewal).

The theory is that the couple, prior to the marriage ceremony, will sign a pre-nuptial agreement resolving all of their potential issues before the marriage contract is signed.  The lawmakers believe that individuals will enter the marriage with a much better understanding of their rights and obligations during the marriage, and in the event of a non-renewal of the contract (read: Divorce) each party knows where they stand.  Alimony, property rights, and other issues would be decided well in advance, and the parties will be saved the emotional and financial difficulties that arise during divorce litigation.

Interesting concept, is this a better option than our current ideas of marriage?

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