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21 minutes | Mar 16, 2020
Law Talk 3/14/20
Saturday, we talked about the following (only a portion of what I’d hoped to cover):1. Employee eligibility for Unemployment Compensation if the employer shuts down due to Corona Virus;2. Info for employers and employees regarding Corona virus-related changes in working conditions, such as working from home, what’s optional and what isn’t, etc.The rest of the time was used answering listener calls, including: unemployment compensation eligibility for part-time employees; tax refund intercepts when the taxpayer has unpaid obligations to the State; unemployment obligations of a school district to the tutors which it employs; a landlord-tenant issue (allegations of discrimination of the basis of the number of cars a prospective tenant wishes to park on the premises); Judicial immunity, and trees on a property line.
42 minutes | Mar 8, 2020
Law Talk: Sudden Emergency Doctrine (3/7/20)
This past Saturday, we talked about whether (or not) to use the “Sudden Emergency Doctrine” as a defense when your car rear-ends the car in front of you. We also responded to a listener email from a waitress/cashier whose employer confiscated the waitstaff tips from the Tip Jar. We also followed up on a topic we explored on a recent previous show: Court-ordered Grandparent visitation with grandchildren when the parent(s) themselves oppose it. Listener calls included a lengthy discussion about trusts, lawyer fees for same, and about “funding” a Trust once it’s created.
42 minutes | Feb 28, 2020
Law Talk: 2 Minutes on Trusts & More (2/29/20)
We responded to a listener’s previous request with “2 minutes on Trusts.” We also did a piece about a twist in the law concerning abandoned boats, or those belonging to people who have not paid what they owe for storage, etc. a listener email led to this topic of greater interest now that (meteorological) spring is already here. The rest of the time was spent dealing with listener calls. I recall one about suing a contractor for damaging a floor while installing a furnace; and one about suing a lawyer who didn’t finish his assignment.
40 minutes | Feb 14, 2020
Law Talk: Medical Marijuana in the Workplace (2/15/20)
Atty. Matthew Hallisey of Matthew Hallisey Government Relations, LLC and Attorney Stephen Lattanzio, Principal Attorney at the Connecticut Department of Labor. Steve is an expert on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace. We covered a lot of the unusual (and unexpected) issues which accompany this topic – issues which affect employers, employees, and prospective employees. With the disconnect between the Federal Government (which still considers Marijuana of all kinds to be a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance , like Heroin and PCP, for example) and the State laws permitting its usage, there are a lot of issues to watch out for. And there are now over 40,000 “qualified users” of medical weed in Connecticut alone. Listener calls included questions about farming hemp and the extent to which the State regulates that; and about medical weed and a CDL truck driving license – which can be a really big issue for a driver and his employer
42 minutes | Jan 31, 2020
Law Talk: Consumer Rights (2/1/20)
We returned to one of our most popular topics, Consumer Rights, and in particular, fraud or misconduct by new and used car dealers, repair shops, lenders, etc. Our guest was Atty. Dan Blinn of Consumer Law Group in Rocky Hill, Ct. We covered many issues “to watch out for,” and provided listeners information about what to do if any of these issues “happened” to them. Numerous listener calls include: a man bought a new car, which-- it turned out-- was really nearly a year old and only had about 2 years left on the 3 year warranty the day he drove it off the dealer’s lot; a lady had problems with a new car lease, especially because she was “over the mileage limit” on her previous lease; someone wanted to know whether it’s better to buy or to lease?
40 minutes | Jan 24, 2020
Law Talk: Bankruptcy of Student Loans (1/25/20)
This past LawTalk belonged mostly to the listeners. Among the calls we handled: A follow-up on a previous show about suing Home Improvement Contractors. We taught the caller how he can also get attorney’s fees and punitive damages if he prevails at court – and why attorneys in private practice are more interested in representing the homeowner as a result; An inquiry about the liability of stockholders in a closely-held corporation for the acts and omissions of the corporation itself; Copyrighting , and otherwise protecting, the name and songs of a band; An ugly eviction case; with the tenant causing serious damage to the unit just before he was being put out on the street (and why he tried to have the landlord arrested in the process). Advice given for both landlords and tenants. We also talked about a new decision from a very influential Bankruptcy court in New York regarding the dischargeability in Bankruptcy of Student Loans. The vast majority of people (including lawyers), believe that such debt is not dischargeable. This new decision shows that’s not necessarily the case. If the discharge in that case holds up on appeal, there will be large numbers of Bankruptcy filings by people whose student loans are eating them alive.
39 minutes | Jan 17, 2020
Law Talk: Realtor Contracts The Could Save You Thousands (1/18/20)
Our guest Atty. Elton "Bud" Harvey of the Isaac Law firm Farmington office is a true expert on real estate matters and spends significant time testifying in court as an expert witness in real estate disputes. We talked about a new law which determines who can conduct real estate closings in Connecticut; about how the particular form of contract your realtor uses for a Purchase and Sales Agreement can save (or cost) you several thousand dollars at the closing; and some other topics, such as how you can end up owning some of your neighbor’s land (or how she can end up owning some of yours…). We took lots of calls, including questions about adverse possession, out of state real estate owned by a dead parent, conveyance tax issues when selling property, and more.
40 minutes | Jan 10, 2020
Law Talk: Civil Law (1/11/20)
Our guest was atty. Patrick Tomasiewicz, owner of Fazzano & Tomasiewicz in Hartford. We spoke about the civil law regarding sexual abuse claims against both institutions and individuals (including the recent extensions of the Statute of Limitations). We also reviewed the law regarding defamation, with a focus on internet and social media defamation. Finally, we spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of Connecticut’s unique way to select Jurors in civil matters. Jury selection for a case in the Federal Court at 450 Main st. might take a couple of hours. If you take that exact same case and pick a jury in State Court at 95 Washington St (less than a mile away), it may take several days.
41 minutes | Jan 3, 2020
Law Talk: Storm Law (1/4/20)
In light of the winter season, we did a program on Storm Law, a term we used to describe the legal issues surrounding slip-and-fall personal injury cases involving ice and snow. We talked about the different requirements for claims concerning municipal (as opposed to private) sidewalks, whether you can still sue if you fell during the storm itself (usually not), and how the concept of contributory negligence affects the injured person’s ability to collect for the injury. We also warned listeners that they may be liable for a slippery town sidewalk if they own the abutting property (true in some, but not all, towns). Listener calls included a listener who wanted to know who’s liable if a city snowplow pushes snow from the roadway onto a freshly-shoveled sidewalk.
41 minutes | Jan 3, 2020
Law Talk: Family Law Special (12/14/19)
It's our annual Family Law Special. Guests were Atty. Campbell Barrett of the Hartford office of Pullman and Comley; and Atty. Debra Ruel of Ruel, Ruel, Goings and Britt – also in Hartford. We discussed alternatives to traditional litigated resolutions, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. We talked about the major change in alimony which the new tax laws have caused, effective this year, and the actual purposes of alimony (hint: it’s not to punish anyone…). Listener calls included questions about re-titling securities owned jointly with an uncooperative ex-spouse; using life insurance to guaranty that lifetime alimony payments will be made as intended, and some other stuff I don’t remember. The time flew by, as usual.
42 minutes | Dec 27, 2019
Law Talk: How To Collect a Judgment When You Win In Court (12/28/19)
We responded to a couple of listener emails which led to discussions about: Small Claims court: how to save money by using an attorney for only part of the case (“Limited Scope Representation”); and more importantly, how to collect a judgment when you’re successful in your lawsuit (hint: the Court does NOT help you collect it…); and buying (or buying an interest in) a small business: important things to watch out for; how to structure the deal to protect yourself; arranging financing; making sure you know what you’re actually buying; complying with regulatory requirements; tax issues, etc. etc.
41 minutes | Dec 6, 2019
Law Talk: How the Department of Consumer Protection Helps (12/7/19)
We were pleased to have as in-studio guests: The Hon. Michelle Seagull, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and Atty. Matthew Hallisey, managing principal at Matthew Hallisey Governmental Affairs, LLC. We discussed what the Department can do to help us consumers, and started off with Home Improvement Contractors. We never even got to the rest of our agenda (scams, medical marijuana, the state’s Lemon Law regarding motor vehicles) due to the high volume of listener calls. It was great! Been a long time since we had that amount of active listener engagement.
42 minutes | Nov 29, 2019
Law Talk: Married Into Debt? (11/30/19)
We addressed a couple of listener emails: 1. I’m a landlord and I just got a default judgment against a tenant for not paying me rent. They still won’t leave. What do I do now?2. Mom gave my sister her Power of Attorney. Sis won’t tell any of us what she’s doing with mom’s money. How can we find out what’s going on? We also rattled on in our Legal Word of the Week segment about this past week’s word: Contempt. Civil vs. Criminal; direct vs. indirect; what has to be shown before a court will hold a person in contempt; and what the court’s powers are to compel compliance with its Orders (can you spell “incarceration?"). We had a listener call from a guy who wanted to know if, when a man marries a woman who has lots of debt, he becomes liable for her debts? The answer is no, unless some court has ordered him to pay them; unless he’s guaranteed them in writing; or unless they were for household necessities for his and her household (this last one is very rare).
34 minutes | Nov 22, 2019
Law Talk: How Biomechanics Affect Personal Injury Claims (11/23/19)
A response to a listener email about what happens when one party to a divorce action dies? Answer: it depends. The Family Court is usually without jurisdiction to proceed further. If it comes to enforcing existing financial orders, the surviving spouse can sue the dead person’s Executor in civil court and attempt to collect there. We talked about a little-known law which allows Connecticut nursing homes to make a claim against the family members of residents in the convalescent home who transferred away assets in an effort to become eligible for Medicaid benefits. We discussed a recent case where a Farmington nursing home filed suit to recover some $160,000 from the resident’s son – and how the son won at court and got his attorney’s fees paid by the nursing home on top of it! Our Legal Word of the Week was actually a comparison of phrases: Car crash (or something similarly vivid) vs. motor vehicle accident (or something similarly benign). We talked about how lawyers carefully select such phrases, and how listeners (either in their own cases or as jurors) should pick up on the usage of such language. Finally: we talked about persons injured In car accidents where there is little evidence of damage to the car in which the person is riding. We discussed the increasing usage of Biomechanical engineers who testify and thus try to minimize the severity of the injuries in such cases. And we talked about the Appellate Court’s response: that only physicians are permitted to offer opinions on the effect of the impact upon a particular person (because we’re all different…). This continues to be a major, major issue in the Courts with respect to “soft tissue” injuries (whiplash, sprains, strains, etc.).
41 minutes | Nov 15, 2019
Law Talk: Legal Word of the Week (11/16/19)
Basic issues in landlord tenant law – from both the perspective of the landlord and the tenant. We provided information about how to get self-help materials specifically geared to this topic under Connecticut law – for free. We also followed up on a listener email about getting her attorney’s fees paid by the tenant in an eviction proceeding. We introduced a new feature: “Legal Word of the Week.” The goal is to de-mystify legal words listeners may encounter. This week the word was “subrogation.” The time flew by. We took a listener call from a previous caller who wanted everyone to know how his lawsuit against 2 dirtbag real estate agents ended up (he won – got damages, punitive damages, and an award of approx.. $60k in attorney’s fees). He was very proud, and I’m pleased that we were able to encourage him to persist when he called LawTalk last year to seek our thoughts.
41 minutes | Nov 1, 2019
Law Talk: Landlord-Tenant Law (11/2/19)
We talked about landlord-tenant law since so many empty nesters are downsizing and many Millennials are putting off buying a home in favor of renting, often in “hip” urban areas. We didn’t get too far into it because I took several listener calls, including the following: Worries about a neighbor’s dead tree endangering the caller’s property; whether Social Security payments are exempt from the reach of one’s creditors; how to deal with after-discovered assets when the decedent’s estate is already closed; and what to do about a discrepancy between one’s birth certificate name and the name one’s mother actually gave her as a newborn.
34 minutes | Oct 25, 2019
Law Talk: Saving On Legal Fees (10/26/19)
A follow-up email from the previous week’s program about how to save on legal fees by hiring a lawyer for only a portion of your matter (it’s known formally as “Limited Scope Representation”); Another listener email about what to do when your lawyer refuses to follow your instructions ( even though you’ve paid her a good retainer) because she considers the activities you’re pursuing to be “repugnant;” Reviewing a recent case that teaches us you cannot sue someone for “harassment” (even if their conduct really is harassment); but which also lays out a roadmap for another way to get compensation for being harassed; A Superior Court decision holding that the construction of a back yard treehouse (this was in Greenwich; it was a big mama treehouse) is covered by the Home Improvement Act. It was a platform to explain the law so that homeowners know how to protect themselves from unscrupulous contractors – and how a contractor can still get paid even if he, in good faith, failed to comply with the technical points of the Home Improvement Act. In other words, something for everyone – in the LawTalk tradition
40 minutes | Oct 18, 2019
Law Talk: Lawyer/ Client Issues (10/19/19)
Atty. Mark Dubois, former Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (he prosecuted complaints against lawyers) and currently Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, talked about a whole slew of lawyer-client issues, hoping to provide helpful info to the lay people in the audience. Topics included: how lawyers get paid (and how you as a client can save money on legal fees); the purpose of “retainers;” client confidentiality and attorney-client privilege, and related matters. Listener calls included questions about getting a Driving Under the Influence conviction pardoned
40 minutes | Oct 11, 2019
Law Talk: Contemporary Criminal Law (10/12/19)
Our guest Atty. Patrick Tomasiewicz of the Hartford law firm of Fazzano and Tomasiewicz talked about numerous aspects of contemporary criminal law that people often don’t understand fully, such as Victim’s Rights, Diversionary Programs, Plea Bargaining, Prosecutorial Discretion, and the Sexual Offender Registry. Listener calls included a man who called in to tell us how the advice we can given him on a previous show about dealing with unauthorized robo-callers and merchants turned out very well for him. Also, a woman had questions about the tax consequences of a survivor “inheriting” money from a bank account of which she was the joint owner
34 minutes | Oct 4, 2019
Law Talk: The Latest New Laws In CT (10/5/19)
Topics we visited included a discussion of some new laws which took effect in Connecticut on October 1st, and a listener email about fighting off a Mechanic’s Lien on the title to his home.
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