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Can you sue a eVape company?

The e-cigarette, and vaporizer industry, has caught storm. In the past few years, the amount of interest in the industry has burgeoned and significantly increased. Unfortunately, the industry is highly unregulated – which means the lack of regulations makes it impossible to actually govern the industry to a large extent. As a result of the lack of regulations, many companies are doing things – that would otherwise get them sued.

Recently, someone asked me a question – about whether an electronic cigarette company can actually be sued or not. In 2015, a group of vapers filed a class action lawsuit for false advertising against a US company which makes liquids for e-cigs.

Five pawns, a high-end e-liquid producer, – is claimed to have violated rules, when it comes to falsely advertising about flavoring chemicals in the liquid. The chemicals they are alleged to have used, are common chemicals – but it’s alleged that five pawns lied to consumers about using the chemicals.

Five pawns, is marketed as a luxury brand – so it’s not a pushover. It claims it makes hand-made liquids. The company has now landed in hot water, as of 2015, due to tests which showed it contained acetyl propionyl, which is nearly identical to a chemical called diacetyl – which is linked to lung disease.

Consumers allege that five pawns claimed to have eliminated all diacetyl from it’s product – but many liquids still contained it.

Since the vaping market is unregulated in the USA, there are no laws about having to disclose ingredients, or warn about potential harm from e-liquids.  What’s interesting is that in this case — five pawns is not being sued for necessarily using harmful ingredients — it’s being sued for falsely advertising.

It looks like using FTC rules, is one mechanism through which you can sue an e-cig company, as is the case with this lawsuit filed in 2015. With colorful names like ANML, Trollie Tuesday, or even Apple Snap, (which you can see on this eliquid website) – it’s easy to see why lawyers and consumers are being careful – and suing when necessary – in order to prevent harm from deceptive advertising practices!

I-601 Waiver Application

Immigration attorneys charge for their time and expertise when completing immigration paperwork for their clients. This article explores what the I-601 waiver form is, how it works and what must be included with the application. Your Los Angeles immigration attorney will advocate on your behalf, but you must understand what is required of you as you file the paperwork. Read further to ensure you understand the purpose this paperwork that is required by the federal government.

#1: What Is The I-601 Waiver Application?

I must fill out an I-601 when you are inadmissible to the country, filing for a visa, filing for an extension or filing for a change in your status. This is the standard form that must be submitted with all citizenship evidence, and your attorney understands how to fill out the paperwork properly. The federal government is not interested in you filling out the form to the best of your ability. A hearing or ruling on your status could take many more months than normal if your attorney does not fill out the form for you.

#2: Contact Your Attorney Immediately

You must contact your attorney any time you are require to fill out a new version of the I-601. You may fill out this form several times while you are living in America, and you cannot leave out the form at any time. You will be far behind the curve if you are not using the form, and all your applications will be returned without the I-601.

#3: What Does The I-601 Do?

The I-601 tells the government what your status should change to. The federal government will not check on your status through the files they already have. You are telling the government what the change to your status should be, and you must list your status change properly. You need an attorney who understands the system to fill out your paperwork, and you need your attorney to submit the paperwork on your behalf.

#4: Why You Need An Attorney

You need an attorney to fill out your form on your behalf. You cannot be sure exactly what the form must say, and you should not allow your inexperience to jeopardize your immigration status. The government will use anything it can against you, and you may be forced out of the country if your forms are not filled out properly. The attorney knows exactly what to say, and the forms will be submitted in a timely manner after their completion. Your attorney will complete each form properly, and your attorney understands the nature of each filing. There is a slow progression that goes from emergency immigrant status to full citizenship, and your forms must reflect that progression.

#5: What Supporting Evidence Does Your Attorney Provide?

Your attorney is capable of providing supporting evidence with your forms. Each form must show why you are requesting a status change, the documents that help with your status change and any other forms that must be submitted. The I-601 is just one of many forms, and your attorney will include the other forms that must be used. You may not be aware of all the forms that must be used, but your attorney will complete the portfolio of paperwork on your behalf.

#6: What Does Your Immigration Law Firm Charge For?

Your attorney must charge for their time while working on your case. Charges are included for completing your paperwork, filing the paperwork, defending the paperwork and phone conversations. Your attorney is swamped by paperwork that must be completed for all their clients, and every client must pay for the attorney’s time.

Your lawyer may be required to meet with a judge to complete your paperwork, and your lawyer must charge for time spent outside the office. You are not paying for the completion of one form, but you are paying for the expertise of your attorney. Your attorney will help you avoid problems inherent in immigration filings, and each step in the immigration process requires representation. You pay a single fee to have your paperwork filled out, and you pay extra fees for more services.

#7: You Are Paying For An Understanding Of The System

The attorney who fills out your paperwork knows when the paperwork must be submitted. There are cases in which people are not able to file their paperwork at the right time, and an attorney would have prevented late filings. Attorneys know when papers must be sent in to your local office, and your attorney likely knows someone in the immigration office. Your filings will get through the system much faster, and you will never be caught off-guard when your papers are late.

Working with an attorney on your I-601 waiver application is the only way to ensure you are filing your immigration papers properly. Your attorney charges for their time on your case, and you will pay a different rate than every other client. Your case is unique, and your attorney charges for every part of the process that must be completed. Your family cannot stay in America without a proper immigration case file, and an attorney will charge you fair prices for each piece of paperwork, phone call and hearing.

Contact your attorney for assistance with your immigration papers today. You will pay a small fee to have your paperwork completed, but there are other fees involved that you must consider when your paperwork goes to the INS.

Can My Lawyer Settle My Case Without My Consent?

When a settlement offer is made on a claim, the attorney must present the offer to the client and provide advice on whether the settlement is acceptable. At that time, the client can make the decision to accept the settlement or request further negotiations. An attorney cannot accept a settlement offer without consent of their client.

In most states, the Bar Association prevents attorneys from accepting any type of settlement without written consent from their client. When an offer is made, and the client accepts, the attorney will prepare an acceptance document that allows the attorney to accept the offer. At that time, the attorney will contact the insurance company and begin to finalize the case.

Determining Whether The Settlement Offer Is Fair

When the insurance company makes an offer to settle a case, the attorney will contact you with that offer. They will also provide you with their legal opinion as to whether the offer is good. In most cases, first offers are very low and often forget to include key elements of the initial request for compensation. It is not unusual for your attorney to recommend that you negotiate for a better offer.

However, if you decide at that time that the offer is good enough, your attorney must comply with your wishes. Just like settling the case without your consent, an attorney cannot continue a case if you wish to settle. Always remember that your attorney works for you, you make all of the final decisions.

If you decide at that time to continue negotiations, the attorney will document your refusal and begin to construct a counteroffer to the insurance provider. This will continue until such a time that you are satisfied with the settlement offer.

If you cannot come to an agreement about the settlement offer, your attorney may recommend that you take the case to trial. Presenting your case in front of a jury of your peers can lead to much higher settlement offers. It is not unusual for insurance providers to wait until the day of the trial to make a fair offer to keep the case from going before the court. These insurance companies know that juries often award much higher settlements than what was originally asked for, so they try to avoid trials at all costs.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Rules For Excepting Settlements Without Client Consent?

There is only one exception to this rule and it is hardly ever used. If, for some reason a client disappears during the negotiation process, the attorney has the right to accept a settlement offer to cover all the legal expenses. Any additional monies left over from the settlement are placed into an escrow account for the Plaintiff until such a time that they can be found.

Otherwise, there is never an exception to the rule that prevents attorneys from accepting a settlement offer without the consent of their client.

What To Do If Your Attorney Has Accepted An Offer Without Your Consent

If you have had an attorney accept an offer that you did not approve, there is still hope for you to get the right settlement for your losses.

An attorney or their firm cannot cash the settlement check until you have endorsed the back of the document. All settlement checks are issued in the name of the injured party and their attorney or law firm. You can simply refuse to endorse the check and officially decline the offer. This will force the attorney back into negotiations with the insurance company until a fair settlement is reached.

If the check has somehow already been cashed, you need to report the attorney immediately to the local Bar Association. This attorney is in violation of their professional standards and may be charged with legal malpractice. Your local Bar Association can assist you on what steps need to be taken to recover from this type of event.

About the author

This guest blog post was written by Aaron Jacobs, an attorney that works with Zogby Legal. Aaron is a San Diego personal injury lawyer, who helps victims get justice.

Can A Health Care Insurer Be Repaid From A Personal Injury Settlement?

If your health insurance company covered any of the medical costs associated with the injury you received as the result of a personal injury, they will make a claim for reimbursement. If you have Medicare or Medicaid, these insurers will also seek reimbursement from your final settlement.

While this can severely reduce the amount that the injured party receives as a settlement, most people unknowingly agree to these terms when they sign for a health insurance policy. Health insurance companies will always include language in their health insurance policies that state they have the “right to reimbursement” or to “subrogation” when a personal injury case is the reason for medical care.

The “Make Whole” Doctrine

At this point, most injury victims are in full panic about their settlement. It does not seem fair that they have suffered so much and were subjected to so many financial losses that the medical care provider is going to recover a large portion of their settlement. After all, isn’t that what your health insurance premiums cover?

There is a little bit of protection for injured parties when it comes to addressing this type of situation. It is known as the Make Whole Doctrine. When a person receives a settlement, it is under the pretenses that the payment they receive will “make them whole” for all of their losses. Even though this is a common law, and not an official statute, most judges will abide by this doctrine.

This means that the insurance company may only be able to regain a portion of their payments to ensure that the injured party receives a fair share of the settlement.

Your Attorney Is A Great Negotiator

Your attorney will also work aggressively to reduce any medical liens that are against your case. They will use the Make Whole Doctrine as their basis, and may use other tactics as well to show why the insurer must accept less than the actual amount they desire. Most attorneys can easily make this happen. Insurance companies are often eager to receive any type of reimbursement rather than watch the case be converted to an Interpleader scenario.

An Interpleader occurs when the attorney deposits the settlement amount into a court-held account and asks the judge to decide on the amounts that the insurance provider will be paid from the settlement. None of the parties want this to happen. For insurance companies, this almost guarantees extensive legal costs and a very low payout from the judge. For the attorney, the case must be placed into a pending status until the court decides the amounts to be paid. For the injured party, they must wait additional time for their case to settle.

Because filing an Interpleading is so much trouble for all parties involved, most insurance companies are willing to reduce their bill to avoid this situation.

Review The Records With Your Riverside Car Accident Attorney before Final Agreement

Since you must be prepared to repay some of your medical bills from your case, you should at least make sure that all the information is accurate. Many times your health insurer will try to include all of your medical care during the injury period, even if your medical visit was for a different reason. It is very important to track and non-injury medical care that you have had since your injury date and provide this information to your attorney. This ensures that the insurance provider only charges you for actual medical bills related to the accident.

How soon after a personal injury settlement is made is money received and distributed?

For an individual who has experienced injury due to negligence on the road, in the workplace or elsewhere, it can feel like a long road to get from filing the personal injury lawsuit to receive the settlement award. This is why “how long will it take to receive the money?” is one of the most common questions asked by plaintiffs to their personal injury attorney.

In this post, learn what to expect after the settlement is awarded and what each party’s responsibility is for completing the claim.

Using a Damages Formula
Every plaintiff that files a personal injury lawsuit will work with their attorney to come up with what feels like a fair settlement award. This amount of money may include any or all of the following:

– Reimbursement for medical expenses paid out of pocket.
– Damage to property and possessions.
– Compensation for lost earnings (past, present and future).
– Compensation for future medical expenses (including physical and mental health care).
– Compensation for lost time due to pursuing the settlement itself.
– “Pain and suffering” compensation.

It goes without saying that the number the plaintiff and their attorney come up with for a fair settlement award may not be met with agreement by the defendant and their attorney. So there may be some negotiation involved. As well, if the case goes to trial, the judge and/or jury may raise or lower the amount of the asked-for settlement based on their own assessment of the strength of the plaintiff’s case.

What Happens After the Settlement is Awarded
For plaintiffs who are going through the personal injury lawsuit process for the very first time, it is natural to assume that once the settlement has been awarded, the money will come very quickly.

Sometimes this is the case, but not always. Unless the case is settled out of court (i.e. without going to trial) where both parties agree to a settlement amount to avoid going through the trial process, the defendant will have the option to appeal the judge and/or jury’s settlement decision after the case is tried. If the defendant appeals, this could delay receive the settlement for quite some time – months or even years.

If the Defendant Accepts the Settlement Without Appeal
If the defendant accepts liability and the settlement award without an appeal, the process is simpler and more speedy.

In this case, here is what to expect:

– The settlement is awarded and the defendant agrees. No appeals are filed.
– The court will order completion of settlement papers, allowing 30-60 days for this.
– The plaintiff must sign a document called the Release, prepared by the defense attorney to outline the precise terms of the settlement.
– The plaintiff and their attorney may accept the Release as-is or ask for changes.
– Once the Release is in its final form, the plaintiff must sign it, have it notarized and then return it to the court.
– The plaintiff’s attorney will then receive the settlement check from the defendant or the defendant’s insurer. (Here, if the defendant does not have insurance and/or personal funds to cover the settlement award, collection can become much more complicated.)
– The plaintiff’s attorney will first pay (if any) the liens for medical or government expenses.
– The plaintiff’s attorney will then collect their share of the settlement, which may included the contingency fee and/or trial expenses.
– Finally, the plaintiff will receive their share of the settlement.

This whole process can take a few months at best and several years at worst. This is part of the reason it is so important to carefully calculate the amount of the settlement award requested to cover both known and future unknown expenses related to the personal injury claim, and also to select a skilled attorney with expertise in personal injury matters.

By having a complete understanding of the factors that can impact a final receipt of the agreed-upon settlement award funds, the plaintiff and their personal injury attorney can make choices based on the urgency of receiving the settlement funds so that there are the fewest delays in closing the case successfully.

About the author

This guest blog post was written by Marc Albert, a Long Island Personal Injury attorney. To learn more, visit his website.

Word Processors on iPad for Lawyers: Word Compatibility Shootout (Part II – Pleadings)

This is a follow up to the post I did a couple weeks ago about the Microsoft Word compatible word processing apps for the iPad. In that post, we compared how the different iPad apps handled some basic Word formatting that a lawyer would use in notes, correspondence, memoranda and the like. In this post, we’ll see how the different iPad apps handle pleading specific formatting.

Once again, our four major contenders are:

My methodology for this test was the same as the first test. First, I created a basic pleading on my desktop using Microsoft Word 2003. I made sure to include the major types of formatting one might find in a pleading: line numbering, caption, case citations, a text box, a footer and footnotes.

Click on the image for a larger view of the original file.

Once I had an original, I imported it into four iPad word processing programs. Within each app, I made a change to the document to ensure that the file was being saved anew by the app. I then exported the file from the iPad back to Word on my desktop. I created a pdf of the resulting output for use in this post.

A quick note about WYSIWYG performance. The iPad version of the file and the ultimate output often bore no resemblance to one another. While the ultimate output from a couple of the iPad apps was very good, you wouldn’t know it from looking at the iPad screen. In other words, the iPad, while having Word compatibility, does not provide a WYSIWYG experience. To highlight this, I captured a screen shot of the iPad screen of each app as I was editing the. Those images are also pasted below.

QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite (iTunes link). QuickOffice did a great job. All formatting elements in the final product appear to be intact. Footnote preserved (even though not visible while editing on iPad). No WYSIWYG on the iPad. No line numbering, no text box, lost the footnote.

QuickOffice final output

QuickOffice on iPad

Pages (iTunes Link). Far from great. Caption has been moved around a bit and a bunch of extra space has crept in beneath the caption. The pleading now takes up a page and a half rather than one page like the original (only first page below). Footnote was also lost. Pages is closest to WYSIWYG on the iPad. Line numbers and text box made are showing up, but some formatting and spacing problems have already crept in distorting it from the original.

Pages final output

Pages on iPad

Documents to Go Premium (iTunes Link). About tied with QuickOffice. Caption, line numbering, case formatting, footnote, text box all appear intact in the final product. Terrible WYSIWYG performance (no line numbering, butchered caption, no text box), but gets top marks for final output.

DTG final output

DTG on iPad

Office2 HD (iTunes link). Sadly, Office 2 HD turned in dead last. Lots of formatting changes, caption is a wreck, line numbering lost, line formatting lost, pleading pushed onto a second page. Oy. Far from WYSIWYG performance on the iPad.

Office 2 HD final output

Office 2 HD on iPad

Verdict. As before, the ultimate output from Documents to Go Premium and QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite are best. Both of these apps preserved line numbering, the caption box, case citation form and the footnote. Sadly, the output from Office 2 HD and Pages isn’t even a close second. Interestingly, the app that provided the best WYSIWYG experience on the iPad was Pages by handling the line numbering successfully.

I have all of these apps on my iPad for testing purposes, but QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite (iTunes link) is the one that I use when I need Word compatible functionality. Even though the final output is on par with Documents to Go Premium (iTunes Link), I find the file management capabilities of QuickOffice to be superior (or at least easier for my brain to understand). That said, I am still muddling around in these apps a bit. I do most of my iPad writing in SimpleNote, so I haven’t had the experience with the full  featured word processing apps on the iPad to learn all their respective quirks yet.

Next in this series I think we are going to tackle contract drafting. I think the most notable formatting element there is use of outline numbering of various styles (each with differing indentation) and automatic cross references. Let me know in the comments if there is something you’d like to make sure I address.

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This Time for Real: The iPad as a Legal Pad for Attorneys

If you have been wanting to use your iPad as a legal pad, go and install Penultimate right now (here’s an iTunes link to get you on your way). In a nutshell, this app turns the iPad into a very functional notetaking app. No fancy OCR or conversion of handwriting to text here. Just straight notes organized into notebooks. Notes you take are easily exported to pdf as an entire notebook or a page at a time.

Below is a sample of a short note I took using Penultimate. I found that I could write almost at full speed – I think my handwriting was only slowed from using my finger rather than a stylus.

Note from Penultimate

I’ve also attached the pdf export of my note to this post so you can see the actual export from the program. The app uses the familiar interface from the iWork suite for opening a new note and paging through existing notebooks. Instead of “My Documents” at the top of the screen, you see “My Notebooks.” Penultimate has a multiple undo feature, an eraser and a command to erase the entire page.

I love the real pen and paper feel of the app. The app uses earthy brown tones and has a natural or recycled paper feel to it – like a Moleskine. I found my handwriting to be just as legible (or illegible) as when using paper. I especially like how the app renders handwriting as though put down with a nice pen full of ink. No jagged curves, just smooth writing. You can select either grid, lined or plain paper. Though I would prefer not to carry around a stylus, I think a stylus is truly necessary to be able to write full speed.  I did not have a stylus available during my testing of this app – but I have a Pogo Sketch on order now.

I only have a few qualms about the program. First (and this isn’t Penultimate’s fault), the pages are sorta small. Consider the notes you take on a legal pad in a typical meeting. You should probably double or even triple your page count. Even though the iPad device is very close to the size of a legal pad, the writing surface is about 2 inches slimmer and 3 inches shorter.

Second (again, not a Penultimate problem), when you rest your palm on the iPad while you write at the top of the page, your palm “smudges” will sometimes register rather than the tip of your finger or stylus. So, you have to hover slightly when writing at the top of the page (especially in portrait mode).

I’d also like the ability to move pages around. Currently configured, this is exactly like a Moleskine notebook. Short of pulling pages out, you can’t move them around in the notebook. Of course, this is easily solved inside a pdf editor. Perhaps some page management will be available in a future version.

Finally, I might like to change ink colors sometime. This is a small nit, as I don’t use it when taking notes in a client meeting very often, but I can see where the option might be useful.

Those of you who caught my post this morning about Note Taker will note that I hastily declared the absence of functional note taking apps on the iPad. Shame on me. Penultimate was released over the weekend and has quickly climbed to the top of the charts in the Productivity section of the App Store. While I’m excited to see what Note Taker will look like on the iPad, I’m convinced that Penultimate is the ultimate note taking tool on the iPad right now. Get it while they have $2.99 introductory pricing in the App Store.

PDF export from Penultimate.

Tablet Legal Named to ABA Journal Blawg 100

Vote for Tablet Legal!

I was happy to learn that the editors of the ABA Journal selected Tablet Legal from among the 3,000 or so law blogs they track for inclusion in the ABA Journal Blawg 100. This list will be featured in the December issue of the ABA Journal. Looking at the other blogs comprising the top 100, this is impressive company to keep and I’m flattered to have Tablet Legal included even before its first anniversary.

You can register and vote for your favorites among the Blawg 100 – more on that below. Even if you don’t vote, be sure to check out all the amazingly great content being generated by these writers. I see that some of my favorite blawgs made the ABA list including Law Law Land, That’s What She Said, First One @ One First, Techdirt and the inspiration for Tablet Legal, Jeff Richardson over at iPhoneJD.

To vote for your favorite, you need to register at abajournal.com. If you haven’t registered previously, the process is relatively painless and free. You can vote for up to 12 of your favorites among the Blawg 100 and Tablet Legal (in the legal tech category) would be honored to get your vote.

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments at Tablet Legal and thanks to the editors at the ABA Journal for including my little hobby in the Blawg 100.

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