Powers of attorney, living wills, anatomical gift forms and durable mental health care declarations and other documentation related to one’s wishes in the event of death or incapacitation are examples of advance directives.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services. For a copy of the Act, see http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm. For questions about the Act, see http://www.ada.gov/q%26aeng02.htm
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
A 1967 law that protects persons age 40 or older in the U.S. from employment discrimination in hiring, wages, firing/layoffs and promotions. ADEA sets pension and benefits standards as they apply to older workers and has eliminated mandatory retirement in most sectors. For more information, see www.eeoc.gov/facts/age.html
Alternative Dispute Resolution
A formalized procedure for resolving disputes out of court, usually consisting of mediation, arbitration or a summary jury trial. Mediation is a proceeding where an impartial mediator assists the parties to explore resolution of the dispute. Arbitration is where an impartial arbitrator or arbitrators hear an abbreviated presentation and render a decision. Arbitration may be either binding on the parties, or non-binding, depending on the wishes of the parties. A summary jury trial is an abbreviated proceeding where a mock jury provides an advisory opinion that may assist the parties in achieving resolution.
An annual payment of income or an allowance, sometimes issued in exchange for a charitable donation or in exchange for an initial deposit of funds by an insurance or investment company. Annuities are sometimes part of an accident injury or medical malpractice claim lawsuit or are purchased as part of an
Professional, qualified appraisers determine the value of something, such as
a house, by examining the property and its original purchase price while comparing it to the value of similar homes in the same or nearby neighborhoods. Appraisals are useful in determining values for estate and insurance settlements, home equity loans, foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings.
Following a trial, a party that has lost on one or more issues can request that a higher court review the case to see if a correct determination was made. The person making such a request is the appellant; the other party is the appellee. A court with power to review a lower court judgment is an appellate court.
The individual designated by a state entity to have the authority to hire and fire employees for that entity.
An out-of-court process for resolving legal claims in which one or more arbitrators hears all evidence and renders a decision which is binding or non-binding on the parties. Binding decisions can be transposed into enforceable judgments through an action in the state courts.
A mineral fiber, used in the past for insulation and many other uses because of its strength, low cost and resistance to heat transmission and chemical reaction. The mineral fibers were discovered to cause medical injury to persons, and its use has now been severely curtailed. A wave of lawsuits filed by people who claimed injury from asbestos arose in the 1970’and have continued through
In the state of Ohio, residential care facilities and nursing homes are licensed by The Ohio Department of Health. Assisted living facilities help older adults live independently while providing supportive services in an apartment-style setting.
At Will employees are those not covered by a contract of specific terms and duration or by a collective bargaining agreement. As such, and in accordance with existing laws, employers can terminate a worker’s job at any time, for any reason, with or without notice, except for unlawful reasons based on race, sex, national origin, handicap, age and in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation. There are statutes that prohibit these types of discrimination in employment.
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Courts will generally look both at the parties’ legal rights and the motives behind their seeking assistance of the court in pursuing a lawsuit or transaction. A malicious, “bad faith” motive effectively abuses law or the power of the court and can undermine a party’s case.
Under this process, consumers and businesses in financial trouble receive help from federal bankruptcy courts in eliminating or repaying debts.
Bench trials are held before a judge only, who alone will make a determination of innocence or guilt and set the penalty. Bench trials in criminal cases occur in most states if the defendant waves the right to a jury trial. For civil trials, both parties in a dispute must waive their right to have their case tried before a jury.
The beneficiary is recipient of assets distributed after death. The beneficiary can be a person or an entity who receives assets or profits from a trust, estate, insurance policy, or other financial vehicle.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
An organization that attempts to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses. The BBA rates businesses and charitable groups’ reliability and dispenses related information.
Whether real estate, securities, insurance, or other form of broker, these professionals are typically licensed within the state where they do business and often certified by one or more industry associations which requires them to abide by a code of conduct in performing the tasks of their respective occupations.
This is a lawsuit arising between two or more business entities, such as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship. Businesses such as corporations are afforded the same status as individuals in most civil lawsuits. Most such disputes involve property, contract, corporate or securities issues.
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In civil law, the ability to contract and other powers and rights that can be exercised under civil law are referred to as civil rights. Under common law jurisdiction, human or natural rights are those rights scholars claim are inherent at birth, while civil rights are bestowed by a nation upon its citizens. These include such general constitutional rights as the right to vote and to protest peacefully, freedom of movement and right to a fair trial. The civil rights movement and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) emerged as a means to advocate equal protection for all citizens and restrict discrimination in schools and public places.
Class action lawsuits are those brought on behalf of an entire class by one or more members of the larger group. In order to proceed, a court must find that the members’ claims contain questions of fact or law that they share in common.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, a federal law, allows workers to continue participating in group health insurance plans, at the employee’s expense, after losing their group health coverage as the result of a qualifying event when the employer has 20 or more employees. Coverage can extend for up to 18 months and is also available to spouses and dependent children for up to 36 months depending on the circumstances of the qualifying event. State laws allow some workers at smaller companies to qualify for up to six months of extended coverage.
See, Business Litigation.
Most states have consumer protection statutes that prohibit fraudulent, deceptive, unfair or misleading sales tactics. The Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act is an example. Ohio also has laws dealing with door-to-door sales (The Home Solicitation Sales Act), prepaid entertainment contracts, automobile defects (the “lemon” law), telephone solicitation and condominium sales.
A contract is an agreement between two or more people to do, or not do, something that benefits one or more parties. A contract may be oral (spoken) or written. Some contracts must be written. When the contract is broken, or not performed, the party who lost the benefit of the bargain may have a legally enforceable claim for damages. This claim is often referred to as a
A business entity created by filing articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Corporations are governed by corporate tax laws and must create bylaws relevant to appointment of directors, stock issuance to shareholders and meetings and reporting requirements. Depending on tax considerations and the number of shareholders, corporations can be ‘S’ or ‘C’ type.
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A fictitious name that differs from the owner’s actual names and is said to be the name under which that person is “doing business as” (DBA). Filing the fictitious name with the county clerk is usually required for the business owner to open a business bank account in the business name.
This is money paid to a plaintiff who prevails in a civil case. There are
two types, compensatory and punitive. Punitive damages deter and punish intentional and outrageous conduct. Compensatory damages help
compensate for economic (dollar) loss and intangible loss, such as pain
and suffering, or grief.
Defamation arises when a person’s character or reputation are harmed by false statements presented as fact.
Under Social Security, disability for an adult is based on inability to work by reason of a debilitating physical or mental medical condition.
Methods and procedures used before trial to obtain disclosure of evidence or information held by the other side, or by third-party entities.
Personal injury claims may be brought against pharmaceutical companies when the drugs that they produce harm someone who has taken the drug, either as an over-the-counter drug, or by prescription through a doctor, and the manufacturer does not adequately warn the doctor who prescribed it, or the consumer who bought it, of the adverse consequences which might result.
The 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensure the constitutional right to due process by guaranteeing that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Due process may be substantive or procedural. Most constitutional rights are procedural due process, in that they guarantee that a reasonably fair procedure is afforded a party in a legal proceeding or in that party’s interaction with government. The right to privacy is an example of a substantive due process right.
Durable Power of Attorney
A person, whether or not incompetent or incapacitated, grants to another the immediate legal authority to control and oversee his financial affairs.
A reference to people who die without having made a will. The state probate court will then intervene and make a will for the estate.
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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency charged with enforcing civil rights, age and disability discrimination and equal pay laws as they relate to employment.
Also known as “condemnation,” in eminent domain a city or state can legally take over property in its boundaries, including private property, to serve the larger good of the public. The owner is compensated at fair market value for his loss and/or for damage to the remaining estate.
Relating to the employment relationship between workers and their employers, consisting of rights and obligations recognized either by contract or under the common law. Employment litigation involves suits in the areas of employment law involving hiring, wages, benefits, promotions and discharges, as well as law suits involving discrimination and unfair labor practices.
An executor is the person entrusted in a will with finalizing the deceased’s financial matters after death, caring for property and handling taxes and debts until the estate is transferred to heirs. An administrator is the person appointed by the court to determine the deceased’s heirs in the event there is no will.
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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA) involves consumers’ rights related to debt collection and the rules collection agents must follow when attempting to collect debts. The FDCPA is part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
Fair Labor Standards Act
A 1938 U.S. federal law that established a national minimum wage, prohibited “oppressive child labor” and guaranteed time and a half wages in certain jobs for overtime. The law excludes independent contractors or volunteers.
It applies to workers engaged in interstate commerce and to those who work for enterprise engaged in commerce.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Under FMLA, eligible employees receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave, benefit continuation and restoration of their original position when they return to work. Under this federal law, leave is granted to workers who can document the leave is needed due to birth or adoption of a child or their own or an immediate family member’s serious health condition.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
A federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Parents’ rights to review and request revisions of their child’s school records and authorize their release are governed by FERPA.
Federal Trade Commission
The FTC is a U.S. government agency charged with promoting protection of consumers against deceptive and unfair business practices and curbing anti-competitive business practices.
First Amendment Claims
Civil rights actions, frequently brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983, for violation of an individual’s freedoms of speech, association and exercise of religion as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution ( one of the first ten amendments, which collectively are known as the Bill of Rights).
Free and Public Education
FAPE upholds the standard that, not matter how severely disabled, every child in the U.S. is entitled to full access to education in a public school.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Access to most public records is guaranteed by FOIA, except for reasons that can include national security considerations, invasion of personal privacy, trade secrets, law enforcement records and other limited exceptions.
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Guardians are the person(s) chosen to be responsible for the care and welfare of minor children (until age 18) should both parents die. The parents through a will or trust grant permission in advance for the guardian taking on such a responsibility. Guardianships may be ordered by the probate court for adults where there is a showing the adult is incapable of making decisions for him
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Conversion Reverse mortgages, deferred payment loans and sale-leaseback are methods of home equity conversion undertaken without requiring homeowners to move.
House Mark or Product Mark
Both are special types of trademarks. A house mark identifies the company or product line whereas a product mark refers to a particular item within the product line or under the company name.
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Formal creation of a legal entity within the state of Ohio by registering its Article of Incorporation, name, statutory agent and location with the Secretary of State.
Workers in business for themselves who provide a service or trade outside of a permanent employment relationship are said to be independent contractors. Some independent contractors are paid hourly for their work; others are paid a set fee for specific projects. Examples of independent contractors would include freelancers, accountants, consultants, independent plumbers, carpenters and other tradesmen. The IRS applies strict rules for determining whether a person works as an independent contractor or a business employee.
Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
A child evaluated by educators and determined to have a learning disability under the IDEA act is given an Individualized Education Program that outlines special educational strategies and services that will be made available to them.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act governs IEPs and the special education process that guarantees a free and suitable public education to disabled children. Industrial Design Right Persons who design an industrial item such as furniture or a machine are said to hold the industrial rights to their design’s style and appearance. Industrial Property Design rights, commercial patents and trademarks are sometimes referred to as industrial property.
A form of equitable relief which seeks to prohibit a specific act or certain conduct by another party that would cause irreparable harm to the recipient. Relief may be temporary or permanent.
When an individual’s or entity’s liabilities exceed its assets. Insolvency is a requirement for filing most forms of bankruptcy.
An exception to workers compensation immunity which allows an employee to sue his employer under the claim that his employer intentionally meant him harm of the nature which caused his injury.
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Property or assets owned equally by two people. A married couple, for instance, has joint tenancy to their bank account. A caretaker or child who cares for an elderly person and pays their bills sometimes shares joint tenancy.
Jury trials involve a judge and a group of jurors chosen from a pool of approved people, called a venire. The jury listens to evidence and decides issues of fact, while the judge interprets pertinent laws and instructs the jury on what the applicable law is. Jury trials conclude with rendering of a verdict, either for plaintiff or defendant in a civil trial, or as to the guilt or innocence of the accused in a criminal trial. Trial juries are sometimes known as “petit” juries, whereas grand juries are groups of non-lawyers to decide whether sufficient evidence exists to bring criminal charges.
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A contract for exclusive use or a building or portion thereof, piece of equipment, mode of transportation, etc., consideration for which is frequently paid in periodice installments.
Written or printed defamation of a person’s character or reputation constitutes libel. It can include pictures, electronic broadcasts, film, radio and signs.
A lawsuit, case or controversy. The plaintiffs and defendants in a lawsuit are termed the litigants.
A living will is an advance directive expressing a person’s intent as to whether they will be subject to extraordinary life-support in the event they are in a terminally ill or permanently unconscious state. It grants legal authority to a person of your choosing to make the decision for you if you are unable to.
Most states specify which conditions justify removal of life support.
Limited Liability Company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLC or LLP)
The limited liability company is a business organization form that limits members’ or shareholders’ personal liability for the business’ obligations. LLCs act as a corporation in some respects and as a partnership in others as to taxes, management and distribution of profits. A limited liability partnership provides the same type of limitation of liability for partners in partnerships. Otherwise, partners are all held to each be equally liable in a partnership for the full liabilities of the partnership.
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A form of equitable relief which orders a public entity to perform an act which the law requires it to do.
A cost-saving means of settling a dispute out of court that is usually conducted by a judge, lawyer or member of a professional mediation agency.
Those who are injured by someone engaged in the medical treatment of the injured person may be liable in medical malpractice if their treatment was negligent. Negligence means that they did not meet the accepted standard of care in that particular medical field. The negligence may be on the part of a physician, a nurse, a hospital, or some other practitioner. Specialized knowledge such as that possessed by a medical expert is necessary in order to establish the breach of the medical standard of care and to prove that the breach was the cause of the injury. An adverse outcome alone is not necessarily evidence that medical malpractice exists.
In Ohio, a complaint for damages filed in municipal or county court requires an accompanying affidavit that the plaintiff has no knowledge the defendant(s)
is currently in the military. This is a protection from creditors afforded to
Any loan that is secured by funds or property (typically a home). A first mortgage is the loan used to purchase the home. For second mortgages and home equity loans, the home is used as loan collateral but the money may be used for other purposes.
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