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Is Bankruptcy My Only Option?

In today’s difficult economic times, many good, hard working people find themselves unable to pay all of their bills, and still provide for basic necessities, such as food, shelter and medical care.  This often results from unemployment, or the inability to keep up with mortgage payments in our collapsed real estate market. For many people, bankruptcy is an acceptable option to obtain a fresh start, by asking a federal bankruptcy court to wipe out, or eliminate, one’s debts. Bankruptcy is not for everyone. Here are a few reasons why. First, you have to qualify for filing under the bankruptcy code.  Second, you...

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THE FAIR CREDIT BILLING ACT:

A CONSUMER’S RIGHT, A CREDITOR’S OBLIGATION; Are you leaving money on the table? Many consumers are aware that they have the right to dispute a charge or an incorrect credit card bill, but few consumers take advantage of these rights or know how to do so.  Often when a creditor files a lawsuit to collect on an unpaid credit card, they will use discovery requests to confirm whether the consumer ever made a dispute to any of the charges on the account.  Creditors will often assert the absence of a dispute as proof of a consumer’s agreement with the charges. While...

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RECALL: Smucker’s Chunky Peanut Butter Salmonella Contamination

21The J.M. Smucker Company announced on November 17, 2011 that it was recalling jars of its Smucker’s Natural Chunky Peanut Butter sold in 24 states and the District of Columbia.  Product sampling revealed that certain product might be contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illnesses, and even death. The Recalled Product: Smucker’s Chunky Peanut Butter Here are the details of the recalled product: Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Chunky (not Smooth); 16 ounce jars; Sold in Washington, D.C. and in 24 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North...

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“Churning” Does Not Always Result in Butter

Most stockbrokers and investment advisers are paid based on a percentage of the value of trades of the investments in your portfolio. (This does not apply to brokers who trade “managed accounts” or who are paid based on the total assets in an account.) When stockbrokers are paid commissions, these amounts are deducted from your investments. Therefore, it follows that the more trades made by such brokers, the more they earn. Honest brokers, who function for your best interests, will make or recommend only trades which are necessary to maximize the performance of your holdings. However, when paid based on your trades,...

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Is Florida’s PIP Insurance “Full Coverage”?

  Did your auto insurance agent tell you that you have “full coverage”?  If yes, you should immediately check your policy, to make sure you have bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist coverage, for absent such insurance, you have far less than “full coverage”. What is PIP? Many Floridians are duped into believing that if they carry Personal Injury Protection insurance (more commonly known as PIP), they are fully insured.  While it is true that Florida law only requires a person to carry PIP insurance to drive a car, PIP is as far from “full coverage” as the distance between...

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Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Like the amount of rain in Florida, here is another situation in Florida that you hear about all the time.  Someone gets hit by a vehicle but that vehicle’s owner does not have insurance coverage.  So, what does that mean for you?  It means that your insurance will pay for the repair of your vehicle.  No big deal, you think?   Now, what if, in that same accident, you are injured and need to seek medical treatment, and miss work?  If you do not have Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your automobile insurance, you are out of luck when it comes to...

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Recalls of Produce Based on Concerns of Listeria Contamination Grow

By now most people have heard that cantaloupes from Colorado were recalled in September due to their contamination with the Listeria bacteria.  On Wednesday October 12, 2011, the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced that the supermarket chain Giant Eagle was recalling its name brand, Farmer’s Market Shredded Iceberg Lettuce due to potential listeria contamination.  A random FDA check of some of the lettuce bags revealed Listeria.  The lettuce was produced by River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC of Salinas, Calif.  In addition, last week True Leaf Farms in Salinas voluntarily recalled Romaine lettuce because of listeria contamination concerns...

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Your Facebook and MySpace Pages Are Not Private.

Be careful of what you say on your Facebook, MySpace and other “social media” web pages.  Even if you have strict privacy settings and believe that your comments are only for the viewing of your family and friends, you should always assume that future schools, employers and, now, defendants in lawsuits, can have access to your postings.  Courts over the past few years have repeatedly allowed defendants access to plaintiffs’ comments even though the plaintiffs believed they were “private” or “confidential.” Courts are Permitting Defendants Access to Plaintiffs’ Social Media Postings Last year, a New York judge has ruled that a woman who...

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“One Size Fits All” Does Not Apply in the Investment World

“Risk tolerance” refers to your comfort level with the level of risk associated with investments in your portfolio. Some people cringe at the thought of investing in anything which does not result in a guaranteed rate of return, no matter how modest. Others relish the thought of putting their money into cutting-edge companies which could be “The Next Big Thing,” or which could fail dramatically. Most of us are comfortable with investments whose risks fall somewhere else along that spectrum. Furthermore, the older a person gets, the more important it is to steer away from risky investments unless they are...

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Humanitarian Immigration Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes

If you have been, or are, a victim of domestic violence or another crime and are cooperating with law enforcement, you may be entitled to apply for special status to remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident.  Different provisions apply depending on the relationship between the victim and the batterer or other criminal.  These visas provide protection to cooperating victims who might otherwise be reluctant to report, or participate in the investigation of, serious crimes Options for Victims of Domestic Violence Who Are Related to Their Abuser Although enacted under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), any family member – male...

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