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Whistleblower Claims Supporting the Government?

I used to be really interested in whistleblower claims against governments: I thought it was fascinating that a few individual citizens could upend entire political contexts by revealing sensitive information. I felt like it was the closest a person can get to a spy or thriller movie, on the run from the government with a flash drive in hand.

However, I realized a little while ago that these situations are pretty rare. More common, however, is a similar situation: whistleblower claims against private companies for fraud committed against the government. As the website for the law firm ChasenBoscolo explains, there is a new and expanding opportunity in the legal world for lawyers to represent people with claims that their private employer was committing abuse or defrauding the government in a contract or deal.

I already knew there were a lot of public-private partnerships wherein private contractors will work to fulfill a public need, being paid in the deal by taxpayers’ dollars. However, there is a lot of room for fraud or abuse. If you see something worthy to blow the whistle on and expose, you will likely need legal representation. Firms like ChasenBoscolo have experience in representing those with whistleblower claims against private companies defrauding the government.

Some of the methods that private companies employ are complex, others are simple. No matter what, taxpayers (i.e. every single American) loses by having their government be defrauded.

One of the most common methods used by private companies is to simply cut corners. Contracts or deals with private-public partnerships are often saddled with onerous regulations or rules meant to protect consumers or prevent defective products or infrastructure. By cutting corners, private companies will not comply with requirements — lying or covering up inadequate compliance.

Another method used by private companies to abuse government dollars is to inflate costs in the operating budgets for a project or product. To explain: because the private company is often the actor in a deal charged with executing or manufacturing something, the government will get a bill upon completion for its costs.

The federal government of the United States is a reliable financier, and will almost certainly pay for the costs of a product or project, even if it goes over-budget. As a result, private companies can overestimate or simply lie about the cost of their partnership’s products or projects. Whistleblowers can see the lying or cover-up through financial documents or expressions by people in charge of the project. They can then respond by exposing this fraud and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and appropriately.

Another simple way that governments can be defrauded by private companies is simply avoiding taxes. This is self-explanatory: sometimes, private companies do not pay the correct amount of taxes by either falsely reporting expenditures or incorrectly stating revenue. This can be remedied, however, by whistleblowers. Most commonly, however, the fraud is discovered by an audit or another agency more directly associated with taxation.

Wrongful Death Cases Can Provide Justice When the Justice System Can’t...

Acts of violence happen all around us. We accept that because we have to. But most of us try to get by with the assumption that when a violent act happens, particularly when it leads to someone’s death, the justice system will step in to make sure the person responsible gets the appropriate punishment.

That is how the justice system is supposed to work, but it only succeeds sometimes. There are many reasons why someone who has directly caused the wrongful death of another might not receive the appropriate punishment from the justice system. To begin with, American justice is built upon the assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, meaning there has to be a lot of conclusive evidence put forward to prove that person is guilty. Things can go wrong in a trial. The prosecutor can get the legal strategy wrong. The jury can be swayed by an emotional appeal. The evidence may just not be there to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the person accused of committing the crime really committed the crime.

The horror of not just losing a loved one but also seeing justice fail to hold the right people accountable is almost unthinkable. Thankfully, there is another way to get justice: a wrongful death suit. As Glover Law Firm points out, this civil case is distinct from the criminal case. Regardless of the results of the criminal case, the civil wrongful death case can go forward and may find more success. A famous example of this is OJ Simpson being found not guilty in the criminal trial, but being forced to pay $25 million in damages after being found “liable” in the civil trial.

There are several major benefits to pursuing a wrongful death civil case. Perhaps most importantly for the family of the lost loved one, a civil case has a lower standard of evidence. Where there is no room for doubt in a criminal case, a civil case just has to prove it is more likely to be true than not. Many wrongful deaths from violence can be proved to this standard, even when they can’t be proven in a criminal court. Further, while a civil case cannot lead to imprisonment, it can lead to significant financial penalties against the accused, and those penalties all go to the grieving family.

This kind of justice isn’t completely ideal in some ways. Ideally, of course, the family would see the person whose violent behavior took their loved one convicted first in criminal court and then in civil court. That is justice working perfectly. However, we have to remember that there are avenues to pursue if justice seems waylaid in the criminal court. There’s still a lot a family can do to get some sense of justice and closure after their tragic loss.

I hope this information is useful to those who are going to through that nightmare we all hope never occurs to us. Knowing your legal options can help make sure you aren’t forced to feel cheated out of justice while experiencing such a serious loss.

My friend’s story

Let me tell you a story. My friend is crashing on my couch indefinitely because she lost her job after she was unable to come in anymore. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much of a story on the face of it, but it’s a little more sinister than that.

She couldn’t come into work anymore because she’d become sick. She became sick because of the fumes in her office. And only her office.

This is what happened. My friend worked for a local business, which will remain anonymous for now because, as I’ll explain in a bit, she’s considering a lawsuit. She had her own office, and next to her office there was construction going on. The build her boss had moved the business into was only about three-quarters complete, and beyond her wall, there was work still going on. I don’t exactly know what they were doing, only that it was pretty loud, and far far worse, that it smelled.

My friend complained to her boss, but this boss of hers had only bought just enough space for the company office, and there was nowhere else to put her. She asked to switch with someone else, no one was interested. She asked if she could use the conference room, but no, that’s where they were going to have clients, and they couldn’t put clients in the loud, smelly office in the back. So, he told her, she’d just have to deal with it. Hopefully, they’d finish the work soon.
The work went on, she went back to her office like a champ and worked through the first week. She worked halfway through the second week, complained again, received an assurance her boss would look into it (though there’s no evidence he ever did), and then she went back to work again.

By then, she was starting to get headaches. By the third week, her eyes started getting blurry while she was in the room. Finally, she asked to go home early, get to her place, threw up, and passed out. When she woke up, she went to the emergency room and was there for a couple of days. They said she’d been poisoned by something. They ran tests, and it looks like it was the stuff from the other office.

Now, here’s the worst part. When she told her boss, he told her that it must have been something else that caused her problem. He accused her of all sorts of things, from embellishing to doing drugs, and said that since she didn’t pass out at work, she wasn’t entitled to workman’s comp. Then, he said if she couldn’t come in soon, he has to find a replacement.

Which brings us to now, and my friend living on my couch. She’s in contact with a lawyer about all of this, and it looks like she has a solid case. The last I heard, someone else in the office started feeling sick as well. I just hope she can sue this boss of hers for all he’s worth. Someone like that doesn’t deserve to have a business.

No Financial Gain can Undo or Erase a Family’s Traumatic Loss and Experience...

A wrongful death claim is the lawsuit that may be filed by the family members of a person who dies as a result of someone else’s negligent act or wrongdoing. Its main purpose is to seek compensation for the losses or damages suffered, and to be suffered, by the family of the deceased, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost companionship and lost (future) wages.

Damages can be classified under three categories: economic, non-economic and punitive. States, however, differ when it comes to the specific items found in each category.

Economic damages does not only include all the expenses incurred by the family as a result of the death of their loved one but, also all the financial contributions that the deceased would have been able to give to his/her family had he/she not died. The damages covered under this category include: cost of medical treatment and funeral service; financial value of all the goods and services that the deceased would have provided for his/her family; loss of the victim’s wages and other earnings; loss of possible inheritance; and, loss of possible medical coverage for family members, and the deceased’s pension plan and other benefits.

Non-economic damages are the non-material losses that the family of the deceased would suffer, such as: the family’s loss of love and companionship from the deceased; loss of care, guidance, protection and nurturing from the deceased; a spouse’s loss of consortium with his/her deceased spouse; and, the family’s suffering, pain and mental anguish.

The third category, punitive damages, actually serves as punishment to make the party at fault realize his/her wrong act as well as to deter him/her from committing the same mistake. While some states award compensatory damages with punitive damages, many others do not even make available these damages in wrongful death lawsuits. This absence, however, is usually off-set by the awarding of treble damages (or triple damages) which increases the amount of actual damages to three times; awarding of treble damages is made at the discretion of the court, which bases its judgment on legally acceptable reasons.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), negligent acts that cause wrongful death can be committed by anyone. It can be a manufacturer who produces a low quality construction ladder that causes a worker to suffer a fatal fall; a car driven by a distracted driver who hits and kills a pedestrian; a doctor who prescribes a drug that increases the risk of heart attack, and so forth.

According to the law firm Williams Kherkher, if an accident claims the life of a loved one, families are suddenly faced with traumatic changes in their lives. They are forced to cope with their loved one’s passing and come to terms with their loss, while at the same time they may wish for some way to seek justice against the party whose negligent behavior caused the accident. Families searching for some sense of closure may choose to pursue legal action against the negligent party to help them better deal with their loss.

A wrongful death lawyer understands the extreme difficulty of you seeking legal assistance while deep in mourning for your loss. However, he/she also understands the importance of filing a case quickly in order to help your family seek the assistance you need to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income, as well as compensation for loss of companionship.

Along this same line of thought, the firm Amerio Law believes that no financial gain can undo or erase a family’s traumatic loss and experience. However, legal action can certainly help relieve financial burdens and hopefully help the affected family obtain the justice and closure it deserves.

 

U.S. Laws on the use of Cellular Phone while Driving...

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC), 2015 may has been the deadliest driving year for Americans since 2008 due to the rise in motor vehicle deaths. About 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, while 4.4 million were seriously injured (road fatality in 2014 was 32,675).

This dramatic increase in the number of cars on the road is attributed to gas prices going down. With more cars on the road, incidences of alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, people failing to buckle up, and instances of distracted driving also increased.

Distracted driving refers to any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. The introduction of cell phones and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, have further worsened distractions behind the wheel. Though these are clear threats to road safety, these, nonetheless make cell phone use appear more fun and exciting. Many drivers today, especially teens and young adult drivers, not only read, send and/or reply to texts while driving; they now also send emails, snap selfies, conduct video chats, shoot videos, and use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat; some even watch YouTube videos while driving, practically believing that they can drive and do anything else safely.

Below is the cellular phone use and texting while driving laws in the U.S. (from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx):

Hand-held Cell Phone Use Ban: 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

  • All Cell Phone ban: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit any cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Text Messaging ban: 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Despite the bans on texting and cellphone use while driving, so many drivers refuse to be dissuaded from texting and using their cell phone while behind the wheel. A distraction while driving at fast speed, even a momentary one, may cause a driver to:

  • Drift out of the proper lane and into the path of an oncoming car traveling in the opposite direction
  • Fail to signal lane changes or turns
  • Change lanes without checking blind spots
  • Turn the wrong way onto a one way street
  • Enter a highway ramp in the wrong direction
  • Disregard a traffic signal
  • Fail to notice a bicyclist or pedestrian on or near the road

Deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are simply unacceptable. Most car accidents are preventable with responsible, diligent, and focused driving. By doing away with reckless, dangerous, and negligent driving behaviors, lives can be saved and injuries prevented. One way to accomplish this is by holding irresponsible drivers accountable for their actions and making them compensate those that they hurt in a car accident.