Fisher-Price Announces Recall of 4.7 Million Infant Sleepers

In April, 2019, retail giant Fisher-Price announced that it is recalling all models of its infant sleeper marketed under the product name "Rock 'n Play." Company officials say that the product, first introduced in 2009, has been linked to more than 30 infant fatalities and more than 700 injuries to children under the age of six months. The company warned consumers to immediately discontinue use of the product and said customers could contact the company for a "refund or voucher." The American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization of nearly 70,000 doctors, has called for the removal of the product from store shelves nationwide.

What Does No Refusal Weekend Mean in Texas?

In Texas, often at holidays or times when police know that there will a greater volume of traffic on the roads or more likelihood of people drinking and driving, counties within the state will institute what's known as a “no refusal” program. You may or may not have heard of such an operation and may wonder what it is. The “No Refusal” program relates to the implied consent laws in Texas, which deal with your rights and obligations related to blood alcohol testing after an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Mediation

Family LawAs I am sitting here today in Mediation it got me to thinking about what a large role it plays in the domestic or family law litigation. About 30 years ago the legislature passed a law encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution methods in family law cases. One of those methods is Mediation. Most divorces are referred to mediation and the overwhelming majority of them are settled in mediation. Lots of people have heard of Arbitration such as a forced arbitration clause in a credit card dispute or with Ezekiel Elliot’s ongoing dispute with the NFL.

Arbitration is when the parties present their case to an arbitrator who decides the evidence and renders a decision much the same as a judge. However, Mediation is different because the mediator DOES NOT render a decision. Instead the mediator simply assists the parties find areas of agreement or “common ground.” If the parties are able reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties reached agreement. If the parties do not reach agreement the mediator files something with the court that the parties did not reach agreement. The mediator cannot be subpoenaed to testify.

One of the great things about mediation is that it is confidential. Rather than airing your laundry for the whole world to see in a courtroom you meet privately with your attorney and a mediator and resolve your dispute. Another great thing is you can resolve your case much quicker. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram last week there are over 60,000 divorce or child cases filed each year in Tarrant County. What ends up happening is they sit on a court’s docket often times for a year as there simply are not enough hours in the day to hear them all.

Perhaps my favorite thing about mediation is that it allows the parties to craft their own solution. A judge is pretty limited in what they can do. They must strictly follow the guidelines in the Family Code. The parties are not bound as tightly. They can decide what is most important to them. They can decide how to craft their solution. I try and most attorneys and judges I know try very hard to do a good job. But no matter how hard we try we will never know your life and your situation as well as you do. I liken mediation versus litigation as the difference between having someone give you a blue Toyota Camry (litigation) or giving you $20,000 and telling you to pick out the car that works best for your needs (mediation). Unless you happen to want a blue Toyota Camry the second option will work better for you.

When hiring an attorney make certain they are familiar with and make mediation a regular part of their practice. I can promise you, you will be happier with the result.

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I’ve Fallen, but I CAN Get Up: Why You Should Immediately Report All Work Injuries

If you have any doubts or concerns, reach out to the Workers’ Compensation department at Bailey & Galyen. We can answer your questions anonymously and give you information on the workers’ comp claim process. Never downplay your injury as ‘no big deal.’ At a minimum, make a record of the incident, even if no injury results from it.

DISCOURAGING DISENGAGEMENT IV: Domestic Partners, Disasters, Distance, and Doing It Yourself

Today, in Part IV, I look at four topics that may impact your plan: Domestic Partners, Disasters, Distance, and Doing it Yourself. As I approach “Old Lawyer” status, I become more and more convinced that couples should either be married or not married. While I will not discuss the moral, ethical, religious, or psychological aspects of marriage, the legal challenges of domestic ”arrangements“ are numerous.

The Ugly Truth Behind the Sunny Financial Outlook in a New Social Security Report

The 2019 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds was released on April 22, 2019. The 2019 Trustees Report notes that social security is funded through at least 2035, one year longer than last year’s estimate. One concern, though, is the fact that next year, the social security system’s total cost is projected to exceed its total income (including interest) for the first time since 1982.

Understanding IRS Penalties

April 15 is the deadline to file your 2018 federal income tax returns or request an extension to file. As that date rapidly approaches, you might be asking, “What can the IRS do to me if I do not file my return or request an extension?” Or “What happens if I do file but don’t have the money to pay the tax due?”