Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Meet the Government Watcher in Your Computer.

If you were awake yesterday, then you heard that the Washington branch of the Politburo, aka the House of Representatives agreed with their comrades in the Senate to block the fair, American made rules that protected your internet privacy.

When asked why they, the party of closet pedophiles, infidelity and corruption, would vote to end this important protection, the GOP/New Russia lemmings said "Oh pish posh, big advertisers and search engines are watching all the time. This is no change."

That partially true lie-answer masks the reality that search engines don't follow you if you don't use them. On the other hand, Congress placed your right to not be watched on a platter and handed it to the Internet providers.

This is a HUGE change. Unlike a search engine or website, the provider has to know where you visit online, everywhere, always, because you have to ask them to take you there. When you type in a website address or click on a link, you tell your provider where you want to go, no matter how awful or innocent it is.

By ending your privacy yesterday, it was as if Congress bugged your car or hired your Uber driver to report  back to some government agency your every trip. The ISPs have all your web surfing information and, ironically and comically, all of Congress's. Every one of those bone-heads is now subject to a hack on an ISP that will reveal just how awful and perverted many of them are. 

What used to be their little secrets, hidden by using a fake name, will now be flayed open. And that is what they thought they wanted for you. But they use the internet too. I bet they didn't even think about that risk. In addition the ISPs now can interfere with your internet banking, legal research,  searches about your medical symptoms, and see your emails to your girlfriend you hide from your wife? Tinder? Ashley Madison? All your searches will be available to the feds, all the time, for all of us.

"Her emails" are nothing. The Golden Age of Wikileaks is on us now. Though as I write, I think it may be wise to simply stop using the web. Period. 

And make no mistake, the providers who can now spy on you freely, AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile, Spectrum, Comcast; they absolutely will. Why? Because in exchange for this new ability to get into your business, those providers promised Congress they would always hand over the information to any government agency without a court order.

"You want what officer? Sure, here you go." 

Apple fought in court to protect your privacy. Microsoft too. What's-App and others also refuse to give up your privacy. But they aren't regulated utilities. AT&T? Verizon? A different story. They'll serve you up like a nicely broiled salmon.

Another bonus from Congress to their new phone and cable company spies is that a pending merger in telecommunications or cable, or both, will now move forward unfettered by the federal government. The new behemoths will essentially become State internet. Oh yeah. This is America getting great alright.

If you voted for these guys, who are like trash-bag searching identity thieves, then you are getting what you deserved.

If you thought losing your health insurance was okay when you elected these wise-guys, then how about revealing your internet history, and everything you look at from here on out? Will your embarrassing or potentially illegal interests or affairs be laid bare at the worst possible time? It is now entirely possible. 

It takes a crisis to make people see the truth. Maybe you see it now. This is a crisis with a savage effect. Demand that congress immediately make a law, not a regulation, denying ISPs the ability to track your life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cops Kill Dog For Getting Off the Couch. Federal Court Says That's Cool.

So you have some dogs. They love you, you love them. They spend most of their days curled up on your couch, dreaming about when you might spend some time with them. What a life.

But if a cop, in uniform or otherwise, bangs your door down, or shows up, gun drawn, screaming "Warrant, get the fuck down!" and your dog understandably notes this fearful intrusion and dares bark, or take a stance to protect its home, the cop can kill the dog. It's just a dog. Property, right?

Let's see, who can cops kill at will, in their own homes or on the street? Dogs, black men, submissive girls, handcuffed naked guys, drunk or mentally ill women and men, children. Well that covers it. Killing without cost or repercussion. Quite the work if you can stomach it.

What the holy hell were these robed wrecks thinking? In this boneheaded, civil right-stealing decision, captioned Brown v. Battle Creek Michigan Police , the borks on the panel said the officer's "safety," not his life, his safety, was more important than the dog owner's innocent canine family members. Yes, members. Plural. Because in this dank, disturbing case, the trigger-happy jackbooted dipshits with badges killed TWO dogs. Their crime? Being dogs. AOL Article here.

The owner of the house told the police there were dogs inside. The cops saw the "beware of dogs" sign at the house. THE COPS SAW THE DOGS INSIDE BARKING AND JUMPING AROUND WHILE THEY GATHERED ON THE PORCH GETTING READY TO TEAR DOWN THE DOOR.

Even before they got to the house, these ninja-jammy clad idiots had actually been briefed about the dogs. If justice really did prevail in Michigan, then the killers would have brought meat with tranquilizers, a tranquilizer gun, animal control officers, or just waited. But nooo,

"Gotta go gets me some drugs and bad guys! Boo-Ya motherfucker!"

If they had reason to bust the door down, they had time to wait for a better moment.


This decision is another jagged nail in the decimated body of American civil rights. It is the epitome of anti-populace-slanted laws. With this opinion the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals continued the creeping and insidious judicial destruction of freedom from police overreach and violence toward American citizens - and their loved ones.

May the judges' dogs never meet a cowardly, stupid cop.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Brutal Bad Cops Have to Pay

I don't think I can sit idly by complaining and ranting on Twitter about bad cops savagely violating the civil and human rights of plainly innocent people. 

This constant flow of police abuse roils my gut and makes me sick with bile and pent up anger.

No more tweets. It is time for action.

These malicious abusers have to be stopped. If an un-arrested, un-tried, un-convicted citizen dies or is injured at the hands of police, then the law should PRESUME the police committed a crime, with only narrow and strictly construed defenses allowed.

Awful, vicious abusers of state power, with ex post facto planted guns and drugs, backed by false reports, protected by their willfully lying coworkers and clueless employers, who quote internal policies as if they were actually law, will have to pay and pay dearly.

Just look at this sickening body cam video of a vicious, power-mad cop brutally assaulting a guy just hanging out on his mom's porch.

After getting beat down for being black, the cop charged the victim with assaulting an officer. The assault victim was charged! He definitely got his face in the way of the cop's fist.

This is just so wrong.

The district prosecutor, Howard Neumann (Alfred E. Neumann's brother?) said a cop can do whatever he wants!? He couldn't see a crime by the cop. Are you kidding? Where can I get some of these beat, taser, and kill people and then get paid leave rules?

The full story is here, at the Washington Post.

What rulebook applies to cops? Not the one the rest of us, who are supposed to be presumed innocent, get. That is clear. And it has to change.

This finally makes me mad enough to sue someone. Hard. And repeatedly.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Boss Steals From His Employees to Line His Own Pockets.

Imagine two restaurants. Right next to each other. On the same block.

Both serve food and alcohol. Both employ cooks, wait staff and dishwashers.

There is equal foot traffic and signage, and neither restaurant is any worse in any outward way than the other.

But one of their owners seems to be making a lot more money.

The other is keeping the lights on, paying the bills, and making a living. But he isn't flashing big stacks. What gives?

One of them isn't paying his employees even minimum wage. He isn't paying payroll taxes, Social Security contributions, unemployment insurance or workers compensation. He's stealing wages from his employees. Current wages, future benefits, and by failing to pay into the employees' funds, the safety of Social Security.

If someone working for the wage thief gets fired or laid off, and they apply for unemployment insurance, they'll find they were never recorded as employed. They will discover their boss never paid unemployment insurance taxes.

     "Sorry, no unemployment benefits for you."

Or pray for good fortune if an employee slices open a finger, or slips down some stairs. No workers compensation for that one. The boss never bothered paying those premiums, either. Better hope no infection sets in.

It happens. All. The. Time. Here is a real life example, a case my clients brought to recover unpaid wages: Hamilton v. Buck's 24-Hour Diner, LP

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Make More Money – Today.

“A penny saved is a penny earned” said Ben Franklin. Today, $100 a month saved is $1,200 earned over the course of a year.

You can shave your monthly bills by asking for reductions. It is easy and you can do it immediately.  

For example, my office phone bill arrived on Monday. I have three lines and an internet connection.

When I first got this service, it was $176.00 a month. Over the past few years it has slowly crept up. The bill showed that the charge for July was $236.00!

I thought advances in technology were supposed to make communications less expensive, not more.

After breathing deeply for a moment, I emailed my phone company’s sales office. I told them I was shocked by the bill and was inclined to shift to an internet phone system that might cost me only $100.00 a month. I also said that I’d consider staying with them if they reduced my monthly charge to $150.00.

Within a day a phone service representative called to tell me that VOIP systems are finicky, and that he could help me out. He could reduce my monthly rate to $159.99 per month for all the same features and internet speed. Sold.

A similar savings appeared a month ago. I have had satellite TV service at home for years. But the same set of channels, as many as half being shopping and infomercial bandwidth-wasters, had doubled from $39 a month to $79 a month —with no corresponding increase in value.   

I called the satellite company to tell them that cable service would be cheaper and that I would like to cancel. All of a sudden, my long history with them and my (secretly) built up loyalty points got me to $47.00 per month. Amazing what a call can achieve.  

Finally, my online legal research bill had recently crept up with services that I did not need or use. A call to that provider got that monthly bill reduced by nearly $80.00 per month.

Let’s see, I just saved $76 per month on phones, $32 per month on TV, and $80.00 per month on fee based research. I am suddenly pocketing $188.00 more every month. And all it took was an idea, an email and three phone calls.

Look at your bills. Ask your providers to do better. If they balk, get a new provider, or at least threaten. They’ll move to your demand, and you’ll be richer for the effort—today.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Class actions in FLSA cases can go forward with estimated damages

In a 6-2 decision the high Court affirmed a class certification and award to a group of underpaid Tyson Foods employees. In Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo the plaintiff employees claimed they weren't properly paid for time spent donning and doffing their protective chicken-butchering gear. There was a large class of employees, some with different levels of gear. The plaintiffs had to estimate the time spent dressing. The Supreme Court said that an estimate of the time spent in a common process was sufficient to support an FLSA collective/class action. This case, along with the 6-3 decision for the plaintiffs (and plaintiffs in class and collective actions everywhere) in Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, the Supreme Court answered 2 of 3 pending class action blockbusters in a manner that says class actions are not dead and gone. Not. At. All.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Family and Medical Leave Act claims

Everything seems to come in cycles. One period is up, the next down. It works that way with employment law claims, too, it seems.

For a couple of years in the mid-2000s, I represented several clients in family and pregnancy leave related claims. These are cases that arise under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. That law makes employers with more than 50 employees provide the barest amount of leave (up to 12 weeks per year) available to sick employees, pregnant employees, or employees with sick or pregnant family members. Of course the leave is unpaid. But at least the employee is entitled to return to the exact job they had.

Back then employers were regularly denying leave, demoting people, firing them, and failing to return them to their previous positions. But litigation taught some lessons and it's been quiet on that front for several years. No more.

I have just filed and settled two FMLA claims. The middle managers out there are not being trained or they are just ignoring the law. They are violating these twenty five year old statutory rights that the employees don't seem to know they have.

Just a short reminder is in order.

Common employer violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act:

● They “point” you for missing a day or more for health reasons and call it a “no fault” system.

● They write you up or punish you for taking off too much time to care for a sick child, parent, or yourself.

● When you come back from a medical or pregnancy related leave, they put you in a different job, with lower pay and undesirable working conditions.

● After you tell them you need time off because you are sick, they don’t bother to ask you why, or tell you about your right to have leave to heal.

Not all employers have to follow all the laws in place to protect families from unfair treatment. But if your employer has more than 50 employees in a 75 mile radius, or is a small part of a much bigger company, then you may have more rights than you thought.       

If you have been mistreated, punished, or even fired, for taking medical or family-related leave, then please contact me for more information. You may have rights to reinstatement, back pay, other money damages and attorney’s fees.

Call or e-mail me now, because there are time limits on claims like these. or 513-705-4104.