Law and Daily Life: April 2011 Archives
Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

April 2011 Archives

Prop. 8 Judge Vaughn Walker's Gay Partner Raised

ProtectMarriage, proponents and defenders of California's same-sex marriage ban, have filed a motion requesting that the District Court set aside the ruling that found the law unconstitutional.

The reason? The group claims that Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself because he is a gay man who has been in a relationship for 10 years.

Obama Releases Birth Certificate: What's the Law?

The Obama birth certificate is officially out, with the President caving to detractors who have continually asserted that he was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii, making him ineligible for office.

If you're wondering why it even matters whether he was born in the U.S. or abroad given that his mother was a U.S. citizen, it has to do with one little constitutional clause and a whole lot of common law interpretation.

Will Online Poker Players Lose their Money?

The online poker shutdown last week involving PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker has devastated players across the country for a variety of reasons.

But since the sites have been taken offline, players are mostly concerned about winnings stored in online poker accounts.

Where is it and can they have it back?

FindLaw.com's Tips for Safe and Smart Summer Travel

Despite gas prices marching toward the $5 mark, the travel industry is predicting that Americans appear ready to travel again this summer.

Whether you intend to brave the gas pump sticker shock and take a road trip or head abroad, it's important to plan ahead.

Many travelers don't realize that traveling today is often complicated by numerous rules, regulations and laws, according to a press release from FindLaw.com, the Internet's top source for free legal information.

Quran-Burning Pastor Terry Jones to Appeal

Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones, known for inciting riots in Afghanistan after burning the Muslim holy book last month, has found a new cause: free speech.

In response to being jailed after a jury decided that his planned protest at Dearborn, Michigan's Islamic Center of America would breach the peace, Jones has vowed to appeal.

Oddly enough, he may win.

Is Barking at Police Dogs Protected Free Speech?

An Ohio man charged with teasing a police dog by barking at it had his constitutional right to free speech violated, his attorney says.

Ryan J. Stephens, 25, of Mason, was charged April 3 with a misdemeanor under a city law prohibiting teasing a police dog.

His attorney, Jim Hardin, said Stephens was not striking the animal named Timber or the police car, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Friday.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

Security deposits are part of rental life, but that doesn't mean that they aren't the bane of every renter's existence.

It's rare that a tenant doesn't have security deposit landlord issues, with delays and too many deductions.

If you're currently having (or want to prepare for) security deposit problems, this is what you need to know about landlord disputes over security deposits.

Wine for Mommy? Fight Brews in Mommy Wine Market

In recent years, vineyards have been marketing wines towards specific demographics with hopes to sell more wine.

Well, they've officially set their sights on the "mommy market," and they're not being very nice about it.

Makers of "MommyJuice" have filed suit in a San Francisco court requesting that a judge declare that their wine does not violate the trademark of another mommy wine, "Mommy's Time Out."

Should You Purchase Renters' Insurance?

Whether you're a former homeowner turned renter or looking for that first apartment, renters' insurance is probably the last thing on your mind.

While some landlords require it of all tenants, most don't.

So why should you purchase renters' insurance and what does it even cover?

Stay Off Woman's Facebook, Judge Orders

Though Facebook provides a wealth of information for debt collectors, one Florida collections firm has found out that use of the social network isn't without regulation.

As part of a lawsuit by a woman who alleges that creditors contacted her and her family over Facebook, a local judge has ordered the collections firm to stay off of the plaintiff's Facebook.

Retired and Working Again: Social Security Rules

One of the pitfalls of the current economic climate is that people who have retired are looking to return to work.

Unfortunately, choosing to return to the workforce isn't as easy as it sounds. Besides the fact that it's difficult for older, more-experienced workers to retain jobs, many of them have to consider the intersection of work and Social Security retirement benefits.

Annoyed at Credit Card Minimum Charges? Too Bad

Do you love going to that cute little diner for lunch but absolutely hate having to pay cash? There are drawbacks to carrying a lot of bills. Maybe you don't want to get mugged. Or, maybe you're just busy and can't make pit stops at the ATM before going out for a meal or a snack.

You might wonder if it's legal for stores to impose a credit card minimum charge before they'll swipe your plastic.

It seems some consumers think that it's against the law. Except, those consumers are wrong. It's perfectly legal to impose a minimum charge. 

Well, most of the time at least.

Belly Dancing Ends NYC Woman's Disability Claim

Facebook is a known problem when it comes to divorce, but personal blogs aren't any better.

Dorothy McGurk has learned this the hard way. The belly dancing blogger is in hot water after her ex-husband discovered that she isn't actually disabled--a claim that netted her $850 a month and the house during their divorce.

Georgia Approves Arizona-Like Immigration Law

On the heels of the 9th Circuit's decision to uphold the preliminary injunction limiting enforcement of Arizona's S.B. 1070 immigration law, the state of Georgia has jumped into the immigration game.

The state legislature passed its very own Arizona-like law late last Thursday, citing the failure of the federal government to prevent illegal immigration.

What are Grandparents' Rights to Visitation?

With changing familial structures that involve divorce and remarriage, some family relationships and roles fall to the wayside. 

Grandparents are often victims of these changes, with their visitation rights commonly terminated upon a relationship's demise.

Because of the bond between grandparent and grandchild, it's important to understand just what constitutes grandparents' visitation rights.

Feds Charge PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker Sites

Online gambling has taken another hit today with federal authorities arresting the founders of the three largest U.S. online poker companies--PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker.

The eleven arrestees are accused of side-stepping federal law by creating an elaborate scheme to trick banks into processing bets and payments.

Mortgage Problems? Turn Your House into Billboard

Would you like to live in a billboard? Or have a billboard live with you?

If you're one of 100 lucky homeowners, this could become your reality.

Taking advertising to a new level, mobile ad network Adzookie has begun handing homeowners a monthly mortgage payment in exchange for turning their home into a house billboard.

Florida to Ban Saggy Pants in School?

Fed up with exposed underwear, schools across the nation have banned students from wearing saggy pants--a fashion trend that is thought to have started in jail.

Following in Arkansas' footsteps, the Florida House of Representatives is now considering a mandatory statewide saggy pants ban, and the NAACP isn't happy about it.

Chicago Public School Bans Bag Lunches

Jamie Oliver may have set his sights on Los Angeles, but Principal Elsa Carmona has picked up the Food Revolution slack at Chicago's Little Village Academy.

Brown bag lunches are a thing of the past for the school's parents and students. Carmona has banned them from campus.

Arizona SB 1070: Court Refused to Lift Injunction

In a decision that declares that there are likely to be no circumstances under which the challenged portions of Arizona's S.B. 1070 are to be found valid under the Supremacy Clause, the 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court's injunction prohibiting enforcement of the controversial immigration law.

The court's refusal to lift the injunction is a big win for S.B. 1070's opponents, not only pinning Arizona's hopes on a fickle Supreme Court, but signaling to other states that similar laws will face tough challenges.

Sex Offenders Banned from Beaches, County Parks

As stories hit of newly-released sex offenders finding new victims, cities and states across the country are legislating the movement of sex offenders to keep them away from vulnerable children.

In the latest of these ordinances, Orange County sex offenders will no longer be permitted in public parks, beaches, harbors and zoos without prior approval.

If they fail to obey the new ordinance after May 5th, they will face a $500 fine or six months in jail.

Top 3 Tips for Last Minute Tax Filers

With over 4 million monthly visitors, we here at FindLaw.com know that last minute tax filing is an American tradition. Nay, a rite of passage.

Even though the U.S. Government pushed back Tax Day to April 18th, you might still find yourself on the wrong side of procrastination this year. Don't worry. With a wealth of information on taxes and last minute filing, we here at FindLaw have got your back.

In fact, if you've decided that 2010 is your year to procrastinate, here are our top 3 tips for making your tax (and refund) day painless.

Can I Get Unemployment While Traveling Abroad?

If you recently finished school or are newly unemployed, you might be thinking about taking your unwanted free time to travel abroad.

And if you were also recently fired through no fault of your own, you're probably also wondering if it's possible to collect unemployment while traveling.

Unfortunately for those grand plans, unemployment benefits are probably not in your future. At least not legally, that is.

Teacher Mocks Student's Hairstyle on Facebook

Lucinda Williams is not happy.

After outfitting her 7-year-old daughter with Jolly Rancher hair, she sent her off to Chicago's Overton Elementary for its scheduled picture day.

Unfortunately, the girl's computer teacher was amused by the look, taking a photo to share with her Facebook friends.

They made fun of the girl, and the teacher is now being sued.

Can I be Fired for Being Not Being Sexy Enough?

We've all heard stories about women being fired for being fat or not pretty enough.

These stories have moved beyond Hooters and have now hit Atlantic City's Resorts Casino Hotel, which is being sued for firing 15 middle-aged cocktail waitresses after they were deemed not sexy enough to pull off skimpy new uniforms.

Wondering whether you can legally be fired for being fat or unsexy? Unfortunately, it depends.

Most Americans Oppose Walking Away from Mortgages

Even though some are reporting that the housing market is slowly improving, many homeowners are still finding themselves in financially difficult situations and are facing foreclosure.

In response, some homeowners are walking away from mortgage payments altogether, refusing to pay. But, according to a survey conducted by FindLaw.com, the majority of Americans don't approve of this tactic.

Has My Boss Created Hostile Work Environment?

"Hostile work environment" is an often misused term.

There's a tendency to use it to describe a situation in which a supervisor simply dislikes an employee and decides to make her miserable until she quits.

However, the concept of a hostile work environment falls under the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, and any state employment discrimination laws.

So, unless the alleged at-work harassment is based on race, color, religion, sex, national original, age (40+), disability, or some state-protected characteristic, a hostile work environment most likely doesn't legally exist.

How Can I Lower my Child Support Payment?

With half of all marriages ending in divorce, the child support payment has become a staple of American life.

Unfortunately, the recession may be calling into question your ability to pay yours.

If this is the case, you're probably wondering how to lower child support payments to meet your recession-time income. Well, here's how.

Temporary Layoffs: Entitled to Unemployment?

A handful of auto plants have closed in Japan, waiting to be repaired from tsunami damage.

Because the U.S. auto industry is so tied to Japanese production plants, the electronic part shortage is expected to cause Toyota, Nissan and even General Motors to temporarily close about a dozen U.S. auto plants.

Employees are expected to be temporarily laid off until the Japanese auto plant closures are reversed. Even though they may be rehired in a few months, the employees could be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Could You Now Qualify as a Disabled Employee?

New EEOC guidelines have been released revising the definition of what constitutes a disability under the ADA.

The guidelines, ordered by the ADA Amendments Act, significantly expand what counts as a disability for discrimination purposes.

With these changes, you may now be a legally disabled employee.