Law Before You Leap

Civil Litigation
Litigation means representing clients in lawsuits. I’ve litigated in the areas of contested Probate Estates, contracts, defamation, mechanics liens, Orders of Protection, personal injury, replevin of property (that means recovery of property), Title VII discrimination, and foreclosure.

Defamation law covers slander (false verbal statements) and libel (written false statements).   Defamation law is a very “picky” area of law – it has some quirks that many people are not aware of – for examples: the statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit based on personal injury is generally 2 years, but in defamation, which is an injury to a person’s reputation, usually the statute of limitation of only one year. In some situations, the time to file a defamtion lawsuit is limited to six months. If you sue someone for defamation, you must state with particularity the actual statements that you alleged were made.  So, if someone libels you on Facebook, call me within one year and you might have a legal case.

Mechanics Liens
Another super picky area of law.  In mechanics liens cases, you've either dotted all your “i”s and crossed all you “t”s or you didn’t.  Some mechanics liens must be filed within 90 days of the last date work was performed for the customer and some are 60 days.  There are also particular time requirements for bringing a lawsuit related to these liens.  Remember this, even if you “messed up” in not filing your lien within the times required by law, you still may be able to recover from the party who owes you money by bringing a lawsuit based on other legal causes of action, most commonly, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud.

Personal Injury
If you are injured in an automobile accident or any other place where your injury was caused by someone else, you need to consult me right away.  Do not wait until two weeks before the statute of limitation runs (generally, two years).  It’s best to start the legal process early in the injury so your lawyer can instruct you on how to properly manage your case.  Millions of people every year get nothing for their injuries because the insurance companies out-smarted them.  While you should never claim to be injured when you are not, you should always make sure you promptly get a medical checkup, or, if necessary, go to the Emergency Room after an accident because it is possible to not realize you are seriously injured until days or weeks after the accident.  By that time, you may have settled for little money, made a “damning” statement to the insurance company in a phone interview that hurt your case, or failed to get proper medical treatment that would tie your injury to the auto accident or injurious event. These missteps can greatly impact the cash value of your case. A word of advice, consult an attorney before you make any statement the the insurance company. The insurance company is not your friend and they can and will use your own words against you to avoid paying your claim.

Probate & Contested Probate Estate
If someone dies and leaves a will, the will must be filed in the county of the decedent's residence at the time of death.  If there is no will, then the person is considered to have died intestate (i.e., died without "testifying" about what to do with his/her property).  An Executor usually administers the estate of a person who leaves a will. A representative administers the estate of someone who dies intestate.  The process and procedure for completing all the legal requirement s of the deceased person's estate is called probate.  Probates must be filed in court.  I will probate your loved one’s estate and make sure all the legal requirements are met.

You’ve probably heard it said that weddings and funerals bring out the best and the worst in people.  I’ve found this to be true.  I have represented families where the sibling left in charge of a parent’s estate has lovingly and fairly divided up the estate just as mom or dad would have wanted.  On the other hand in some other families, when mom and dad died, I have been amazed at how greedy some family members can be.  I litigated against siblings who abused their duties as the Executors of the Estate by taking unfair portions of their parent’s' estates.  If you have a situation where the Executor is “double-dipping”, I can help you force the Executor to account for how the Estate is managed and what happened to the money and the "family jewels".

Title VII Discrimination
If some discriminates against you based on one or more of the following, then you might have a case: race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and national origin.  Once a  lady called me to tell me she had just been fired  and that her employer discriminated against he.  I asked, "Are you African American?" She said, "No."  I queried, "Are you over 40?"  Again, answer “No.”  I tried again, “Are you dark skinned?” “No.” I asked, “Are you gay?” “No.” Are you from a foreign country? “No.” No was her favorite answer. I asked, “"Where is the discrimination case?"” She said, “My boss told me not to curse on the job.  I cursed and he fired me.” I replied, well then you were not discriminated against. She retorted, “But other people cursed and they didn't’ get fired.” I responded, “You disobeyed a direct supervisory order and you were fired. “ There is no case.’ She retorted  “F____You B____,”  and hung up. Amazing - she had no idea why she was fired?

If some discriminates against you based on one or more of the following, then you might have a case: race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and national origin.  Once a  lady called me to tell me she had just been fired  and that her employer discriminated against he.