Win FREE Tickets to Signature Chefs of Huntsville Event

Morris Lilienthal FamilyIf you love good food, and are all about supporting a good cause, then Martinson & Beason, PC has an offer you won’t be able to resist. We are giving away a pair of tickets to the March of Dimes 2014 Signature Chefs of Huntsville Event on October 27th. The event will take place at the beautiful Westin Huntsville Hotel and starts at 6 p.m.

Professional chefs from the Huntsville, Alabama area will be there, cooking up their best dishes — and you’ll get to sample all of them. These chefs are from some of our favorite Huntsville restaurants, including Sage Grill and Nick’s Ristorante. You’ll also have an opportunity to participate in the live auction and silent auction, all proceeds of which go to March of Dimes.

All you have to do is fill in your name and e-mail address (using the form below) to enter to win these tickets. The event is for community members who are 21 and up. We will randomly select a winner and notify him or her by email on the October 22nd.

[Read more…]

What the Jury Doesn’t Know Won’t Help You

M&B7If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law & Order, you know that trials can range from the mundane to the dramatic. You also know that the lawyers are not always allowed to offer into evidence all of the information they have. This is because the law provides “rules of evidence”stating what information may and may not be used in court.

Just like in criminal trials, certain evidence is not allowed to be presented before a jury in civil trials. Is this fair? It depends on which party you ask.

If you have filed a personal injury suit, it’s important for you to know what a jury may never hear about your case—and why. We’ve outlined five of the most important pieces of information below that won’t make it into the jurors’ notes.

[Read more…]

Stay Safe: Get Recall Alerts

recall alertsIt seems that you can’t turn on the news these days without seeing another story about a vehicle defect and recall.

General Motors alone has recalled hundreds of thousands of vehicles this past year. The company’s delayed and mishandled recall of vehicles with defective ignition switches resulted in the deaths of 13 people (and the injuries of who knows how many others), leading to sanctions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most recently, GM has recalled nearly 200,000 Saturn Vue SUVs over a fire risk.

Chrysler also issued a recall to fix an ignition switch defect in their Town & Country minivans, Dodge Grand Caravans, Dodge Journey crossovers, Jeep Commanders, and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. [Read more…]

Chrysler Recalls More than Half a Million Minivans

Chrysler recallWith all of the recalls that have happened in the past several years, it makes one wonder if it’s safe to drive anymore!

We hope that the rash of recalls is due to increased caution on the part of automakers and not a systemic problem in quality control. But whatever the cause, recalls are important: they alert the public that the vehicle they are driving is potentially very dangerous.

The latest recall is from Chrysler. The company is expanding a previous recall to add Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravans from the 2008 and 2009 model years.

Nearly 696,000 vehicles are affected. [Read more…]

Good Samaritan Run Over after Finding Child in Hot Car

kids in car“A good deed never goes unpunished.”

Unfortunately, this very cynical adage seems to apply in a recent, appalling situation in Colorado.

Shannon Dominguez and her boyfriend, Alan Mason, were sitting in their car in the parking lot of a Dollar Tree when they noticed a four-year-old child sitting in a car alone. The windows were rolled up, and the sun was beating down on the car. It was a hot day.

Perhaps remembering news on the recent rash of deaths of children left in hot cars, the couple decided to call 911.

The mother of the child, Kristina Riddell, came out of the store to overhear Dominguez on the phone with police. She then became enraged, threatening the couple. [Read more…]

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Estate Planning Mistakes

estate planningPhilip Seymour Hoffman, an incredibly talented actor, unfortunately died of a drug overdose early this year. He is survived by his three children and their mother (his girlfriend).

As with many other celebrities, such as James Gandolfini and Heath Ledger, his passing prompted media scrutiny into his estate plan—which unearthed several critical mistakes.

So what can you learn from the estate of Philip Seymour Hoffman? While you may not have millions like the late actor, there are several lessons that you can take away: [Read more…]

Tips for Traveling with Someone with Dementia

older gentlemanAs the summer winds down, don’t forgo traveling another year because your loved one has dementia. If your parent or loved one has dementia, this doesn’t mean that he or she can no longer travel with the rest of the family.

However, it does mean that your travels will require a little extra thought and planning. At Martinson & Beason, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of tips for traveling with someone with dementia from the Alzheimer’s Association and Rittenhouse Senior Living.

Deciding to Travel

When deciding whether or not to embark on a short trip or long vacation, consider the needs of your loved one. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may still enjoy travel. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, travel may prove to be too confusing and overwhelming for the person.

If you’ve weighed the costs and benefits of travel and determined that you are going to travel, it’s now time to start planning. [Read more…]

Space, Beer, and Movies in Huntsville, AL

beerOther cities have a biergarten, but none are quite like Huntsville’s!

Stein & Dine is the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s weekly tribute to Huntsville’s German aerospace engineering roots.

Sitting in the shade of the 363-foot Saturn V rocket replica of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Apollo Courtyard, you can enjoy the very best selection of food, beer, and wine.

The event includes fantastic German cheeses, salami, bratwurst, potato salad, Jagerschnitzel, and—of course—beer. The beer list includes both draft and bottled beers, among them Erdinger, Paulaner’s Hefe-Weizen, Octoberfest Marzen, Salvator Double Bock, and Ayinger Brau Weisse. In addition to German beer and wine, the event will feature local craft beer.

Stein & Dine is completely free to attend, with food and beverages available for purchase. Your purchases will help support a number of worthy causes: each week, 10 percent of the proceeds of the event will go to a local charity. [Read more…]

How to Find the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Motorcycle helmet | Accident Lawyer | Huntsville, ALAt Martinson & Beason, P.C., we strongly recommend that you wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. A helmet can’t prevent a motorcycle crash, but it can save your life if a crash ever happens. It can also make a ride more enjoyable, cutting down on wind and protecting your face from flying insects and debris.

However, you can’t wear just any helmet when riding a motorcycle. Different helmets are designed for certain activities. Just like you wouldn’t wear a construction hard hat when playing football, you shouldn’t wear a helmet not designed for motorcycle use during your ride. [Read more…]

Army May Cut Active Duty Force from 570,000 to 420,000


The Department of the Army has released its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Army 2020 Force Structure Realignment (SPEA).  The Army completed a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) in 2013.  Since that time, Department of Defense (DoD) fiscal guidance has continued to change and the initial projected cuts from 570,000 Soldiers to 490,000 are looking far more grim.  The Army is now studying the possible effects of nearly doubling those cuts to an Army end strength of 420,000 Active Duty Soldiers in order to operate on a significantly reduced budget.

While the Army will attempt to reduce its force size through normal attrition (i.e. retirements, voluntary separations, and reduced accessions) thousands of Army enlisted Soldiers and Officers will face involuntary separation.  Nearly all Army installations will witness additional reductions to their force numbers.  The current SPEA, however, specifically identifies installations that could experience reductions of 1,000 or more Soldiers and Army civilians.  The Army report can be found at

According to Defense Department officials nearly 3,000 officers are expected to be laid off.  Among those to receive pink slips are Army leaders currently serving in Afghanistan.  In the coming months, enlisted Soldiers and Officers, alike, will face possible separation due to budget cuts.  Unfortunately, this means many Soldiers who have good service records, and who are fully qualified for continued service, will have to leave active duty because of severe budget cuts.

Because even high performing Soldiers are at risk of being eliminated, it is important that Soldiers ensure that their Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) is up to date and presents the best possible snapshot of that Soldier’s career.  Every Soldier needs to check that their DA photo is current and that their Officer Record Brief or Enlisted Record Brief accurately reflects their assignment record, service data, security data, education (both civilian and military), awards and commendations, personal data, and foreign language skills, if any.

Depending on the type of separation, a Soldier may be entitled to Separation Pay.  However, if a Soldier is being separated for misconduct, poor performance, and/or derogatory information contained in their OMPF that Soldier may see their career end with no chance of separation or retirement pay.

If you are served with notice of possible administrative separation under Army Regulation (AR) 635-200 or AR 600-8-24 it is important to speak with an attorney immediately.  Soldiers facing involuntary separation are entitled to free representation by an appointed Judge Advocate serving in the Trial Defense Services of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  Considering the seriousness of early separation and how it may affect your future employability and retirement prospects, you may also choose to hire a private, civilian attorney with prior military experience to represent you at a separation board hearing.


*Caleb Smith (Licensed only in PA)