It is not uncommon for a person to receive notice that a default judgment has been entered against them in a lawsuit, even though the person may have not ever known of the existence of the lawsuit. Although this may happen for a number of reasons, the first thing a person in this situation should do is contact an experienced lawsuit or litigation attorney to determine whether the default judgment can be set aside. The law provides for the setting aside of a default judgment under certain circumstances. For example, if a person can show he was never served with the lawsuit or that his failure to respond to the lawsuit was the result of “excusable neglect” then the court may set aside the judgment and allow the litigation to start over.
There are other things a court will consider in determining whether to set aside a default judgment, and an experienced lawsuit or litigation attorney can help you understand what those things are and whether they apply in your case. If you have any qustions about judgments call us at (480) 833-1113 and we will advise you about your best course of action.
Making sure your business complies with federal and state acts can protect your company from legal problems. Even the most careful employer can fail to fulfill their legally required obligations to care for their employees simply because they do not understand the complex federal and state regulations.
Making sure your company meets the employment laws and regulations can protect your company from a possible lawsuit and ensure your employees receive the protections granted by law. For instance, COBRA and HIPPA require employers to follow certain guidelines when offering employees health insurance. Under the Employment Polygraph Protection Act, an employer cannot require an employee to submit to a lie detector test, even if the employee volunteers.
Complying with federal and state law is important. At Rowley Chapman & Barney, we can assist employers with implementing the proper policies to ensure regulatory compliance.
Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced employment law attorneys.
Attorney Profile: Janet Spears, Employment Law
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is launching a new loan modification program. The program is something quite different from HAMP and HARP. What is does is make the mortgage servicers in charge of providing relief to struggling homeowners rather than requiring the homeowner to chase down and make contact with their mortgage company.
The details about this program are just coming out. The program will start July 1, 2013 and end in August, 2015. It is open to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent on their mortgages. A homeowner will not be required to submit proof of a financial hardship or go through exhaustive and extensive underwriting procedures to qualify for new modifications.
The details of this program are still unfolding… Call us if you find you are chasing your lender for a loan modification, we can help!
Attorney Profile: Janet Spears, Loan Modification or Short Sale Attorney
SB 1127 – New Changes in Arizona Family Law Statutes – Child Custody Is Now Legal Decision-Making #SB1127ChildCustody
As of January 1, 2013, Arizona’s laws regarding family law cases were modified under Senate Bill 1127. Many of the changes are inconsequential, but there are several changes worth noting. Being aware of the proper terminology is critical in presenting arguments to the Court or in making a final agreement.
With the start of a new year, many people begin thinking of resolutions related to personal fitness and weight control. “This year I will lose X number of pounds,” is a common goal. However, many may testify that it is easier to never to gain extra weight in the first place.
In legal matters, it is also easier to avoid legal difficulties than to have to fight a lawsuit after the fact. One example of this is in a company’s employment practices. Many companies have out-of-date non-compete agreements with their employees which may not be enforceable in court. An employer may discover only when it is too late that its non-compete agreement does not provide the protection intended. Non-compete agreements must be narrowly-tailored and limited in time and geographic scope, or a court will not enforce them. If you have not had your employment policies and non-compete agreements reviewed recently, you may save your business a lot of risk and trouble by having them reviewed and revised by an experienced employment and business law attorney. Call me today at (480) 833-1113 to make an appointment to have your non-compete agreements reviewed before you need to enforce them.
Under Arizona law, police officers are vested with authority to immediately seize illegal drugs, including marijuana. Pursuant to A.R.S. §13-3413(C), seized drugs are then “summarily forfeited” which means that they are never returned to the owner and are destroyed without any kind of due process hearing. The fact that the owner of the drugs is never charged in criminal court is meaningless and does not stop the summary forfeiture process.
Several months ago, Valerie Okun drove into Arizona near Yuma. Ms. Okun’s medical marijuana was discovered during a routine search at a Border Patrol checkpoint. At that time, Ms. Okun was authorized to possess marijuana under California’s Medical Marijuana Program. According to Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”), Ms. Okun was a “Visiting Qualifying Patient” and, therefore, could also possess marijuana in Arizona. See. A.R.S. §§ 36-2801(17) and 36-2804.03.
Not only was Ms. Okun’s medical marijuana seized upon its discovery, but Ms. Okun was also charged in Arizona state court for possession of controlled substances. Once Ms. Okun provided proof that she was a Visiting Qualifying Patient, her criminal charges were subsequently dismissed.
After her criminal charges had been dismissed, Ms. Okun asked the judge to order the return of her property (the medical marijuana). The prosecutor did not oppose this request and the judge issued the order. The Yuma County Sheriff, however, was not so cooperative and had to be specifically ordered to return the seized marijuana or be held in contempt of the Superior Court. That contempt order was appealed by the State.
On January 10, 2013, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that an allowable amount of marijuana under the AMMA is NOT contraband and is, therefore, NOT subject to the summary forfeiture provisions of A.R.S. §13-3413(C). See, State v. Okun, 2013 WL 119672 (App. 2013).
So, while the cops may (out of nothing but good old fashioned habit) still seize your medical marijuana, if it is a qualifying amount under A.R.S. §36-2801(1), criminal charges should never be filed or, in the alternative, quickly dismissed. Your legally obtained property should then be immediately returned. If it is not, I am a criminal defense attorney and I can help you get it back, please give me a call at (480) 833-2341.
New Court Mandated Training for All Persons Serving as a Personal Representative, Guardian or Conservator #EstatePlanningAttorney
Notice: Pursuant to Rule 27.1(A) of the Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure, effective September 1, 2012, all non-licensed persons requesting to serve in any court appointed fiduciary capacity must receive training from the Arizona Supreme Court prior to appointment.
A non-licensed fiduciary includes a person serving as a guardian, conservator, or personal representative of a decedent’s estate. Although there are some listed exemptions to the rule, this training must be completed prior to the court issuing valid letters authorizing such person to serve as guardian, conservator and or personal representative.
Under Rule 27.1(A), there are 5 independent training sessions, each lasting approximately 30-45 minutes. Fortunately, this training may be accomplished online at home through the Supreme Court’s website. Furthermore, only those sessions that are relevant to the fiduciary capacity to which you will be serving are necessary to complete.
The training itself is pretty basic, outlining the general duties and responsibilities of the fiduciary role and is very user friendly. The actual content is presented in layman’s terms rather than hard to understand legalize and for most should be fairly easy to understand. At the end of each of the 5 training sessions, the nominated fiduciary will be given a Certificate of Completion, which will need to be signed and dated and then filed with the Court.
Although, fairly simple and not too intrusive on a loved one attempting to act on someone’s behalf as guardian, conservator or personal representative, this new rule may delay letters being issued, while the training is completed.
There are many fiduciary roles, which are not governed by Rule 27.1, where a person may appoint a loved one to serve in a fiduciary capacity, for example; serving as a Trustee under a revocable or irrevocable trust, serving as an agent under a financial or medical power of attorney, etc.
For many, the private nature of a revocable living trust based estate plan and its administration during a disability or death has become even more evident in light of Rule 27.1, as no court involvement is required.
If you have questions regarding trust based estate planning, wills, probate administration, trust administration or any other legal issues, please do not hesitate to call our estate planning attorneys at (480) 833-1113.
Pope Benedict XVI announced recently that he will be resigning his position as the leader of the Catholic Church. While a Pope’s resignation is not common, it is common for leaders of businesses to resign their positions, either because of age, a sale of the business, a forced resignation by others with an interest in the business, or any number of other reasons. When these situations arise, it is imperative that the business follow the legal and corporate requirements for the changes to be effective and enforceable. If you need help in these or other corporate matters, you will be well-served by seeking the assistance of an experienced business law attorney. Call us at (480) 833-1113 and one of our experienced business lawyers will help you with whatever transition you are facing.
Are you expecting a tax refund this year? You need to read this first! Under the bankruptcy code, if you file for bankruptcy before you receive your 2012 income tax refund, the trustee has the right to take the entire refund and use it to pay your creditors. This includes both your state and federal tax refunds. Call me at (480) 833-1113 to see how to protect your refunds.
Attorney Profile: Janet Spears, Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney