The latest unemployment figures show that jobless claims have increased in SEVEN of the last EIGHT weeks. In the past month alone, almost 62,000 jobs have been LOST. That follows April's 42,000 job losses. Over 100,000 jobs lost in the past 60 days. The stock market, responding to this news as well as shaky situations in Europe, recorded it's worst day today (5/31) in almost two years. In addition to these new numbers, the government is now revising their 'previous' estimates from January, February, and March, which were a bit more optimistic than the numbers actually indicated. They've also revised their GNP estimate to show a more realistic softening. Times are tough. Although they are trying their best to put a positive spin on it, the actual numbers are quite discouraging. If the recent economic downturn has put you into a difficult financial situation, contact us for possible legal remedies to your problems. Your initial consultation is free. Call (731) 423-1888 today.
(5/29/12) After multiple reported shock incidents and a child burning her hand and leg, He Shan Lide is recalling 33,000 LED Clip-On Desk Lamps sold exclusively at Lowe’s stores nationwide from May 2011 to December 2011. The power cord for the lamp can detach where it meets the clamp, exposing energized wires, and posing an electric shock risk. This recall involves pink and blue plastic LED desk lamps with a flexible metal neck approximately 12” long and a clamp at the base. Model numbers F3044-AC-01 (pink) or F3044-AC-02 (blue). Consumers should send the plug to He Shan Lide, 4570 Eucalyptus Ave, Suite C, Chino, CA 91710 along with their name and address to receive a full refund, including the cost of postage. Product makers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use. If and when products are sold to the public and hazards are evident which cause bodily harm or worse, the manufacturers can be held responsible for damages. Our law firm assists consumers who are injured by faulty products and will work with you to seek restitution for your damages. If you feel you have been injured by a product due to manufacturing negligence, contact us for a review of your potential case. The law offices of T. Verner Smith: (731) 423-1888.
Congratulations to the USJ Bruins baseball team for winning the Tennessee 2-A State Championship! The Bruins beat the Harding Lions yesterday 7-2 in Murfreesboro to claim the Championship trophy. The Bruins' resilience was evident as they had lost to the same team by 10 runs earlier in the day. Their never-say-die attitude paid off and they're coming home with the 2012 State Championship. Congrats!
Rock Springs Dairy outside of Wildersville has issued a RECALL NOTICE for their whole cream-line milk in glass quart & half gallon bottles with expiration dates of May 25th to June 1st. Specifically UPC codes 5342500301 and 5342500302. These were sold in 17 West Tennessee stores, markets, farmers markets etc. The recall is due to a pasteurization problem. Do NOT drink, and return to store for a full refund.
Under Tennessee Code Annotated 50-6-204and cases decided under that statute, you are entitled to receive medical care for your lifetime. In fact, you are supposed to receive any and all medical care, within reason, that is required to bring you to a point of maximum medical improvement and keep you at that point.
If you are injured, notify your employer immediately and preferably in writing. Tennessee law requires you to give notice within thirty (30) days of the date you are injured, although strict adherence to this deadline may be waived under certain circumstances.
Most employers post a form notice in the workplace that lists the name and contact information for the company representative you are to notify in the event of a work injury.
Normally your employer will fill out a Form C-20 to report your accident. You should ask your employer to designate a panel
of physicians from which you can choose to receive medical care. In most instances, the employer will offer a panel of doctors and put that offer in writing through a Department of Labor in the form of an Agreement Between Employer/Employee Choice of Physician Form (Form C-42).
Once you have a panel of physicians from your employer, you are free to select one of these doctors and contact the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. If your employer fails or refuses to provide you with medical care, the Department of Labor is empowered to order your employer to provide medical care through the filing of a Request for Assistance.
You should know that, although the Department of Labor through its workers compensation specialists are authorized to assist you in obtaining medical care, they should not give your legal advice and are prohibited from doing so. In fact, most specialists are not licensed attorneys and don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge of legal principles, laws and procedures beyond the rules and regulations of the Department of Labor.
You should also know that, just because your employer designates a panel of doctors, you select a doctor from that panel
and you get medical treatment from the panel doctor, you are not necessarily bound by the opinion(s) and plan of treatment recommended by the company doctor.
While you may not be able to force your employer to pay for the services of a doctor of your choosing, you are free to see any doctor you like. If you can prove by the greater weight of the medical evidence that you have a problem or condition that is not being addressed or properly treated by the company doctor, a judge hearing your case or the Department of Labor has the ability to order your employer to provide medical care to address the problem or pay for the services already rendered.
If you need help obtaining medical care when you have been injured on the job, contact our office today. You’ll be glad you did.
About a month after H.B. Fuller announced they had bought Forbo Adhesives for $394 million, they are starting to trim what they see as 'fat' and another West Tennessee factory is going to close as a result. Jackson's Forbo plant is one of six facilities that Fuller has decided to close. Others are located in Pointe-Claire, Quebec; Morris, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Eugene, Ore; and Dallas, TX. Forbo Adhesives produced $580 million in revenue last year. The company says it will consolidate their adhesive operations within facilities in Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, California, Georgia, and Washington. Jackson workers will have the union option to take positions at those plants if available. The Jackson facility will close within the next year. If recent closings and layoffs have placed you or someone you know in a difficult financial situation, there may be legal remedies for your problems. Contact us for a free consultation at the law offices of T. Verner Smith at (731) 423-1888.
Unemployment rates decreased from 8.3 to 8.2...but while they are trumpeting that 120,000 new jobs were created, what they are NOT saying is how much of that .1% drop is attributed to people NOT getting jobs, and instead falling 'out' of the labor market. Details from the Department of Labor (click on the graphic to enlarge) show that we have reached an all time high of almost 89 MILLION people who are not categorized in the 'labor force' any longer. Who does this consist of? The definition is: 'people 16 and over who are not classified as members of the labor force: housewives, students, retired workers, seasonal workers, AND THOSE WHO NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND HAVE QUIT LOOKING FOR WORK OR ARE UNABLE TO FIND WORK." Those are the 'employable ghosts' who are dropping off of the 'unemployment' radar and into the darkness of the 'not in labor force' classification. When THOSE numbers increase, the 'unemployment rate' is affected in a positive way ~ as they are no longer a part of the equation. Don't be fooled by the alleged good news of unemployment rate drops...until you are up to speed on what exactly determines those numbers. If you, or someone you know has been affected by the bad economy and are in need of debt resolution help. Contact us for a free consultation about your potential legal remedies. First consultation is free. Call 423-1888.
When you are injured on the job, you could be entitled to cash benefits. You could be entitled to 1) temporary total disability benefits, 2) temporary partial disability benefits, 3) permanent partial disability benefits or 4) permanent total disability benefits.
You are paid temporary total disability benefits when the greater weight of the medical evidence establishes that you are totally unable to work and you have not returned to work or the doctor has not placed you at maximum medical improvement (your condition is as good or bad as it is ever going to be). Temporary total disability benefits should be paid to you based on 2/3rd's of
your average weekly wage for the 52 week period preceding the date of your injury. These benefits are paid from the date that the doctor takes you off work until you either: a) return to work or b) reach maximum medical improvement.
You are paid temporary partial disability benefits when the doctor places restrictions on your activity such that you are able to return to work before you have reached maximum medical improvement but you are unable to perform your normal job and are receiving a lesser wage. Temporary partial disability benefits should be paid to you in an amount equal to 2/3rd's of the difference between your average weekly wage before the date of injury and your average weekly wage after you return to work under the doctor's restrictions. This would be paid to you until the restrictions were lifted or you reached maximum medical improvement.
You may be entitled to an award of permanent partial disability benefits if you have permanent restrictions or permanent anatomical disability that limit your ability to work. An award of permanent total disability would be appropriate where an injury has left you with permanent injury or restrictions that prevent you from ever returning to work, based on your age, education, vocational training and certain other factors.
Whether you are entitled to temporary total, temporary partial, permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits, your weekly rate of compensation is based on your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks (1 year) preceding the date of your injury.
When a worker is injured on the job, he or she should carefully check the amount of wages that he/she has received during the 52 weeks preceding the date of the accident. If an employer purposefully or negligently includes the wages of a week when you were off work and made less than normal wages for a given week, that 'lesser' week's wages could drive the amount of the average weekly wage down and, consequently, the amount of your weekly workers comp rate.
If the worker did not work for an entire week and earned no wages, he or she should make sure that the employer did not include a $0.00 figure in the averaging calculations. Further, the wages from any week that is clearly not a normal work week in terms of hours worked and wages earned should not be included in the average weekly wage calculations.
Let me give you an example. Let's say that "Joe" is injured on 1/1/2012. He earned $46,512 during the 52 weeks before 1/1/2012. Further, a review of his payroll records indicate that he did not work and was not paid for a 2 week plant wide layoff in July of 2011 and was then off for a personal illness for one week in September, 2011. His average weekly wage should then be $46,512 divided by 49 weeks worked (52 minus the three weeks he did not work and was not paid) equals $949.22. 2/3rd's of $949.22 (.6667 x $949.22) equals $632.84. In this example, the worker should insist on being paid weekly benefits of $632.84
Always make sure that you are being paid the correct amount of weekly benefits when you are injured on the job. If you have any questions about the amount you are being paid under a workers compensation claim, please call the office and let us make sure that you are being paid properly. As always, the call and the initial consultation will be free of charge. If you need representation, remember that you will not be charged a fee unless you get a great settlement. Count on it.
Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, specifically 11 U.S. Code Sec. 528 (a)(8) student loans are not dischargeable under a Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13 bankruptcy proceeding. However, if you can establish that you would be under a financial hardship if the student loan was not discharged, it is possible to get what is called a hardship discharge.
What financial situations qualify for a ‘hardship discharge’ has been defined or set forth by case law in many bankruptcy court decisions across the nation. However, the main case that is cited as authority by these courts is a thirty-year old U.S. Court of
Appeals decision, Brunner v. New York Higher Education Services Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (2d Cir. 1987) and requires a debtor to prove:
(1) That the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a minimal standard of living for the debtor and dependents if forced to pay off student loans;
(2) that additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; and
(3) that the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans
Proving the points set forth in the Bruner decision listed above might seem simple at first glance. However, hundreds of
bankruptcy litigants have tried and failed to pass the three prong Bruner test. A closer look at each of the prongs of the test reveals that you must:
First convince the court that you can’t maintain a ‘minimal standard of living’and pay back your student loans at the same time. Just what is a minimal standard of living is subject to interpretation. Some courts have defined a ‘minimal standard of living’ as the federal poverty level. There are statistics that indicate that in urban areas a person whose income is below 150% of poverty level requires government subsidies (section 8 housing, Medicaid) to take care of the most basic needs of human existence. Further, due to income-based deferment programs in place with regard to most student loans, the courts often times consider the debtor to be able to make payments and maintain that ‘minimal standard of living’.
Second, you are required to prove that your financial circumstances are going to remain the same for the life of your student loan.
This can prove difficult as no one can predict their economic future with 100% certainty whether good, bad or ugly.
Third, under ‘good faith efforts to repay loans’, the court in the Brunner case looked at the debtor’s attempts to increase income and proof of unnecessary expenses by the Debtor when income might have allowed the Debtor to make payments on the
student loan. If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy and wondering if you could get a hardship discharge, you or your attorney should take a look at recent bankruptcy cases for examples of expenses that have been considered less important or subordinate to that all-important student loan payment. For example, you might find out that courts have determined that debtors should make do with a five year old prescription for eyeglasses and that life insurance has been considered a luxury item.
The presumption at this point should be that obtaining a ‘hardship discharge’ in bankruptcy is the exception rather than the rule. However, aggressive research and lawyering may help. Be sure to retain the services of a competent consumer bankruptcy attorney to assist you in making your decision to go forward.
In a video published on our website Verner discussed whether someone who files bankruptcy will have their name published in the paper.
The question of the week was: “This may sound like something I shouldn’t be concerned with....but I am. If I file bankruptcy, will my name be in the paper?”
The simple answer is – yes, it is very likely that your name will appear in the paper, assuming your local paper takes the time to search the records and publish that record. Also, most newspapers have a website that publishes information mirroring their paper and the fact of your filing bankruptcy might be published on their website. The filing of a bankruptcy petition is a matter of public record. The public, including the newspapers, have free access to all court records unless a judge issues an order that a particular record or file is to be sealed, meaning the public cannot access the record. It is very rare that judges seal records in bankruptcy court except to protect confidential information such as a date of birth or a social security number to prevent identity theft. If you are concerned about the possibility of your name being published on a website or your name being published in your local paper, take a look at the list of West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee newspapers below.
This list gives the web address and contact information for all the newspapers in West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee. Go to their website and determine whether they maintain a data base for bankruptcy filings or some type of search box that will search public websites for bankruptcy filings. You could also call the local papers that cover your area and simply ask if they publish bankruptcy filings on their website or in their paper edition. If you want advice on filing bankruptcy and the consequences of filing bankruptcy, I would be glad to talk to you. I offer a free consultation and you will not be charged a fee unless I am able to help you. Phone (731) 423-1888 or (615) 371-6136.
Here is the list of newspapers that cover the jurisdiction for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division --- click the link to go to the website and/or get contact information for your local newspaper:
Covington CovingtonLeader(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Dresden Dresden Enterprise(A) (C) (W)
Dyersburg State Gazette(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Huntingdon Carroll County News-Leader(A) (C) (W)
Jackson Jackson Sun (A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Linden Buffalo River Review(A) (C) (F) (W)
Martin Weakley County Press(A) (C) (F) (W)
Milan Mirror-Exchange(A) (C) (F) (W)
Paris Paris Post-Intelligencer(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Savannah Savannah Courier(A) (C) (F) (W)
Selmer Independent Appeal(A) (C) (F) (W)
Tiptonville Lake County Banner(A) (C) (W)
Union City The Messenger On-Line(A) (C) (F) (W)
Here is the list of newspapers that cover the jurisdiction for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville and Columbia Divisions --- click the link to go to the website and/or get contact information for your local newspaper:
Ashland City Ashland City Times(A) (C) (F) (W)
Clarksville Leafchronicle.com(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Dickson DicksonHerald(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Fairview Fairview Observer(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Franklin Review Appeal(A) (C) (W)
Franklin Williamson Herald(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Lewisburg Marshall County Tribune(A) (C) (W)
Murfreesboro Daily News Journal(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Post(A) (C) (F) (W)
Murfreesboro Rutherford Reader(A) (C) (W)
Nashville City Paper(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville La Campana(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville Mundo Hispano(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville Nashville Business Journal(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville Nashville Scene(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville Tennessean(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Nashville Tennessee Tribune(A) (C) (F) (T) (W)
Springfield Robertson Co. Times(A) (C) (F) (W)
If you need help handling your creditors and want to explore you options both inside and OUTSIDE of filing bankruptcy, call the office today at (731) 423-1888 or (615) 371-6136. In a free consultation, we will help you determine the effects that filing bankruptcy will have on your individual financial situation and help you come up with a plan of action to help “get your life back!”