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ADA Compliance in the 21st Century: Four Companies Settle Suits

Recently, McDonald’s, Kmart, Grubhub and Empire Today settled lawsuits brought against them for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. A similar suit against Ace Hardware remains. The claims were brought in federal court in Illinois, and allege that the companies’ websites and apps are not accessible to the blind. The plaintiffs were represented by The Dann Law Firm and were dismissed between October 11th and October 30th.

The Blind are Active Smartphone Users through Accessibility Features 

Smartphones have become nearly

ubiquitous in today’s office environment. Considering most people engage visually with their smartphone, many people are surprised to learn that the blind are also active smartphone users through accessibility technology. For instance, blind iPhone users use VoiceOver, which reads out the text on apps and websites. However, some companies have not kept pace, as the lawsuit contends.

Common examples of accommodations include wheelchair ramps and braille signs. However, the current suits contend that in order for the disabled to engage in today’s tech-heavy world, accommodations should be made for websites and apps as well. This includes apps like Grubhub, which delivers food to customers in their homes. This could be a helpful tool for a disabled person.

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Martinson & Beason, P.C. named 2017 Finalist for BBB Torch Award

            Martinson & Beason, PC is pleased to announce its selection as a Finalist for the 2017 Better Business Bureau of North Alabama Torch Awards for Ethics, which honors businesses and non-profits in the North Alabama area who demonstrate “the highest standards of business practices to create trust” among employees, customers, and community members. The Torch Awards were started in 1998 to build marketplace trust in the community. This year marks the 20th Torch Awards.

Martinson & Beason, PC competed in the Small Business category, which recognizes businesses with 1-25 employees. In order to receive a nomination, businesses must have existed for three years, must have at least a B rating from the BBB, must have honored their financial obligations, and cannot have received the Torch Award in the last three years.

Upon receiving a nomination, nominees complete a rigorous application process. Applicants are then evaluated by a panel of independent judges selected by the BBB. The components of the application consist of a position statement, customer/vendor relationships, business ethics in action, employee relationships, commitment to integrity, “what it means”, legal actions, and final comments.

This year’s application featured the firm’s work with the March of Dimes, the Cap and Gown Project, the Huntsville-Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program, leadership in the Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association, environmental causes including the Land Trust and Tennessee Riverkeeper, the Great Diaper Drive, as well as the employee-led MB Cares volunteer group.

For 80 years, M&B has been committed to servant leadership both inside and outside the office.  The firm aims to apply fairness, loyalty, and truthfulness to the practice of law and remain dedicated to preserving and defending the rights of our clients.

Martinson & Beason, PC proudly shares the BBB’s vision to support “an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other” and would like to thank its clients, community partners and employees who made the selection as a Finalist possible.

 

Alabama Senate Election – What Does the Law Say?

As the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant United States Senate seat heats up, and pundits suggest a variety of far-fetched scenarios, some Alabamians may be asking themselves “what does the law actually say?” After all, our elections must adhere to state and federal law if we value a fair electoral process. Others may be asking themselves how we reached this point in the special election. Regardless of your political persuasions, the process must play out by the letter of the law. This article will take a deeper dive into just what that law says.

Background: How We Got to Now

As Alabama voters are aware, a vacancy was created when President Donald Trump appointed then-Senator Sessions as Attorney General. Then-Governor Robert Bentley appointed Luther Strange to fill that vacancy on February 9, 2017. The appointment quickly came under scrutiny, as critics pointed to Strange’s ongoing investigation into Governor Bentley’s office. Strange’s appointment was temporary until a special election could be held, pursuant to Ala. Code § 36-9-7. Governor Bentley originally scheduled that special election for the regular election cycle in 2018; however, Governor Kay Ivey rescheduled that election for 2017. The Primary was held August 15 and the runoff September 26. The general election is scheduled for December 12.

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Exploding Gas Tank Leads to Another Lawsuit for Chrysler

Fiat-Chrysler is facing a hefty lawsuit in Georgia stemming from the death of a thirty-two year old woman who was incinerated after the gas tank in her 1996 Jeep Cherokee exploded after a collision. The woman was hit from behind while waiting to make a left turn. Upon impact, her trailer hitch was jammed into her vehicle’s gas tank allowing gas to seep out.

Huntsville Product Liability

The lawsuit alleges that Chrysler has known for a number of years that a gas tank positioned behind the rear axle posed a risk of explosion and that Chrysler failed to do anything to correct the problem. In the subject vehicles, the gas tank hangs below the rear bumper, which can be perilous in rear-end collisions. The exploding gas tanks have caused some to refer to the defective vehicles as this generation’s Ford Pinto.

Another Georgia case – in which the jury awarded $150 million against Chrysler – is currently pending before the Georgia Supreme Court. That verdict, however, was reduced to $40 million. In that case, a 4-year old boy died in a vehicle fire after his Jeep vehicle was hit from behind. The Plaintiff’s lawyers called the vehicle indefensible. The verdict consisted of $30 million for wrongful death and $10 million for pain and suffering. Alabama’s wrongful death statute is peculiar in that it only allows punitive damages and not compensatory damages.

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Morris Lilienthal Named Mid-South Super Lawyers Rising Star for 5th Year in a Row

Super Lawyer Morris Lilienthal Martinson & Beason, P.C.

Martinson & Beason, P.C. is pleased to announce that Morris Lilienthal has been selected as a Rising Star for the Mid-South Super Lawyers. This year marks the fifth straight selection for Morris as a Rising Star Super Lawyer, having first been selected in 2013. The award goes to attorneys who have a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their area of practice. Because of its objectivity and per evaluations, Super Lawyers is a trusted public resource.

“My passion is helping others in their time of need put the pieces of their life back together.” Lilienthal said. “We have such a great team of experienced and compassionate professionals that are dedicated to delivering the best possible result for our clients.”

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Heavy Fines in Store for Uninsured Alabama Drivers

Uninsured motorists in Alabama will be subject to steep fines for failing to carry the minimum mandatory liability insurance starting Wednesday, November 1st. The new law is intended to drive down the prevalence of uninsured motorists on the road. According to the Insurance Institute, Alabama has the sixth-highest rate of uninsured motorists with 18.4% of Alabama drivers being uninsured. That rate means there are over six-hundred thousand Alabama drivers without auto insurance.Heavy FinesAlabama has required auto liability insurance for years but enforcement has remained a lingering problem. Uninsured drivers raise insurance premiums for everyone and can wreak financial ruin in an accident.

Under the new law, an uninsured motorist will face a fine of $200 for the first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $400 for the third and subsequent offenses. If you don’t pay the fine, your license will be suspended for ninety days, and will then be subject to reinstatement fees. Policy-makers believe the new law will increase the rate of insured motorists, which will lower insurance premiums for everyone in the state.

In Alabama, every motorist is required to have, at a minimum, 25/50/25 coverage – $25,000 for death/injury to one person, $50,000 for death/injury to multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage. While these figures may seem sufficient on their face, it’s important to remember that medical bills stemming from an accident often easily exceed $100,000.

So what happens if you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist? You likely are covered by your own auto policy. Under Alabama law, every insurance policy sold must include uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This is protection when the at-fault driver has no insurance or an insufficient amount of insurance. Claiming under your UM/UIM policy will not effect your premiums.

While the minimum UM/UIM coverage is often enough to cover small wrecks with few injuries, it is not enough when injuries are severe. UM/UIM coverage is surprisingly affordable. To fully protect yourself and your loved ones, the Insurance Information Institute recommends purchasing $100,000 in UM/UIM per person.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, it’s important to review your rights as soon as possible with an experienced personal injury attorney. If the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, you may a legal remedy in UM/UIM coverage. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From the Football Field to the Courtroom

How College Football Prepared These Lawyers for Their Legal Careers

View Live: www.TheMoShow.Live

November 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

 

Before they traded shoulder pads for suits, Alabama attorneys Bernard Nomberg, Morris Lilienthal, Kermit Kendrick, Steve Ford, and Joel Caldwell spent their days on the gridiron. Join these five former collegiate football players for a discussion on lessons they learned from their playing days — and how these lessons are still applicable today. The show will air November 29th at 10:00 AM (CST) on Facebook Live.

 

Bernard Nomberg

Bernard Nomberg is a partner with Nomberg Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama. He has practiced civil litigation since 1995 and specializes in workers’ compensation, social security, and personal injury. Bernard is a 1990 graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he played quarterback for the Commodores. Bernard has been selected as a Super Lawyer since 2013 and received Avvo’s Client Choice Award in 2012 and 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Morris Lilienthal

Morris Lilienthal is a shareholder with Martinson & Beason, P.C. in Huntsville Alabama, where he practices in the personal injury arena. From 1996 through 1999, Morris played Offensive Tackle at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee.  Morris also excelled in the classroom, having double majored in biology and political science, and having been named to the Dean’s List and the Maryville All-Academic Team every year.

 

 

 

 

Kermit Kendrick

Kermit Kendrick is a partner with Burr Forman in Birmingham, Alabama. His practice areas include consumer finance litigation & compliance, insurance, and transportation. As a defensive back at the University of Alabama, Kermit learned the important values of hard work, preparation, perseverance, teamwork, and courage. He was a four year starter, and was named as an All-American in 1988. After college, Kermit graduated from the University of Alabama Law School.

 

 

 

 

Steve Ford

Steve FordSteve Ford is a partner with Lewis, Smyth, & Ford in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He practices in the areas of workers’ compensation and mediation. His playing days were spent at the University of Alabama from 1971-1974 where he played defensive half back for legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant. He has been licensed to practice for over 39 years. He is also a 1978 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Caldwell

Joel CaldwellJoel Caldwell is an attorney with Copeland, Franco, Screws & Gill, P.A., in Montgomery, Alabama. His practice areas include civil litigation, estate litigation, insurance coverage litigation, and personal injury. Joel was a four year letterman at Vanderbilt University where he started as a Cornerback and Safety. He has been named as a Pro Bono Exemplar and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney.

 

 

 

 

These five men, who hail from every corner of Alabama, represent some of the best and brightest legal practitioners and thought leaders of our state. While they practice in diverse areas of the law, they share a commitment to integrity and ethics learned on the football field. After the show airs live, it will be available on YouTube and other social media outlets.

 

Accident Involving a Huntsville Pedestrian Versus Truck Settles

Our client was leaving a restaurant at Bridge Street Town Center in Huntsville, Alabama when he was struck by a pickup truck.  As our client was leaving the restaurant he proceeded across a marked crosswalk when he was struck by this pickup.  The driver of the pickup truck admitted to being on his cell phone at the time he struck our client.  As such, he admitted to being a distracted driver.

As a result of this impact, our client was taken from the scene by paramedics to Huntsville Hospital.  He suffered severe neck, back and knees injuries due to this impact.  To treat his injures, he underwent numerous rounds of physical therapy, cervical and lumbar injections, a cervical disc replacement surgery as well as arthroscopic knee surgery.

A lawsuit was filed in Madison County Circuit Court on behalf of our client.  In the complaint we alleged that our client had the right of way because he was in a marked cross-walk and the defendant driver was negligent for failing to keep a proper lookout and yield the right of way to our client.  After the complaint was filed and initial written discovery was filed we proceeded to take the deposition of the defendant driver, his wife, and our client’s treating physicians.  As a part of the lawsuit, we made claims for past lost wages, out of pocket expense, past medical expenses, future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering and mental anguish.

During the course of the litigation it was discovered the at-fault driver not only had liability insurance with Alfa, but he also had an excess or umbrella policy.  For the excess policy to come into play, the plaintiff must first exhaust the underlying liability policy.  Following two of the plaintiff’s doctors’ depositions, mediation was setup.  Mediation is a process whereby both the plaintiff and defendant select a neutral third party, often a retired Judge or a well experienced attorney, to act a mediator to help the parties see if they can agree to a settlement in the case.  Despite both parties working hard towards a resolution at mediation, we were not able to resolve the case.  Following mediation, we proceeded to take another doctor’s deposition to relate our client’s ongoing headaches to the accident.  Then following this additional testimony, we were able to reach a very favorable resolution to our client’s case.

Fall is in the Air… It’s Time to Pay Property Taxes

If you are a homeowner in Alabama, you likely received a letter in the mail notifying you that it is time to pay your property taxes. In Alabama, property taxes are due October 1st and are delinquent if not paid by December 31st.

If you don’t pay your taxes by the end of the year, your property could be subject to late penalties or a tax sale which occurs every spring. To avoid these problems, make sure you pay taxes on time and claim all exemptions available to you. Property taxes can be paid in person at the courthouse, by mail to the County Tax Assessor’s office, or you may ask your mortgage company to mail your property taxes for you.

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Tips for Being a Defensive Driver

Defensive driving is the practice of anticipating the dangers associated with driving, watching out for mistakes of other drivers and consciously looking for ways to avoid accidents. By becoming a defensive driver, you can learn to anticipate and react when another driver makes a mistake behind the wheel. Take a look at our infographic to learn more and contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Martinson & Beason if you or a family member have been involved in a car accident.

Click on the image below to view the full infographic

Tips for Being a Defensive Driver

Click to view the full infographic

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