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Does The Right To Free Speech Protect “Flipping The Bird” To Law Enforcement?

Recently, in Indiana, a man filed a lawsuit seeking court-ordered approval for him to give the middle finger to police. This story reminds me that some of the toughest types of questions a lawyer is asked, start with “Am I allowed to do…?”

Inquiries that start with this phrase usually end up in a conversation where the client is simply wanting to know how much they can get away with. On more than one occasion, folks have asked me “Can I cuss at a police officer?” or “Can I give the middle finger to police?” Without hesitation, I answer these questions the same way: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.

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The Problems With “Do-It-Yourself” Legal Work: Why You Should Think Twice Before Going it Alone

Martinson & Beason

In today’s world, almost everything is available at our fingertips with only a few clicks. You probably have seen advertisements for do-it-yourself legal help while watching television or surfing the web. These services are promoted as simple and convenient, leading people to believe that preparing a legal document is as easy as filling in blanks on standardized forms. Unfortunately, we regularly encounter DIY-gone-wrong every day.

DIY legal software programs and websites tend to provide a cookie-cutter, one-size fits all approach to preparing a legal document. This is troublesome because the law is not the same from state-to-state. Each state has their own unique laws, and such laws often times vary state-to-state. Even if the software is tailored to Alabama law, problems still arise as clauses or provisions are inadvertently added leading to unintended consequences.

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Mo Show Live: 5 Years of Team Will & March of Dimes

Martinson & Beason & March of Dimes

Tune in to the Mo Show Live Tuesday, February 13th at 8:00 PM for a reflection on 5 years for Team Will and the March of Dimes. Martinson & Beason, PC attorney Morris Lilienthal, along with his wife Shannon, started Team Will in 2013 to celebrate the life of their son, William Jackson Lilienthal, and to raise awareness and money for The March of Dimes. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality through the pillars of community, advocacy, research, education, and support (CARES).

Since its founding in 2013, Team Will has steadily grown. Last year, Team Will raised over $11,500 for the cause. Team Will was also recently featured in a WHNT News 19 story shedding light on infant mortality. Team Will appreciates your show of support through walking in the annual March for Babies walk and through financial contributions. To find out more about making a financial contribution, follow this link. This year’s walk will be Saturday, April 21, 2018, at 9:00 AM at Charger Park on the UAH campus.

Newborn babies in Alabama are at especially high risk. In fact, Alabama’s score on the premature birth report card was an F and there are over 500 infant deaths every year in our state. Alabama was one of only three states to receive an F, the other states being Mississippi and Louisiana. Shockingly, the annual yearly costs associated with premature birth in the US exceeds $26 billion dollars. [Read more…]

Mo Show Live with Rodney Smith of Raising Men Lawn Care Service

Martinson and Beason

The next episode of the Mo Show Live will feature Huntsville’s own Rodney Smith, Jr. who founded Raising Men Lawn Care Service in 2015. Morris and Rodney will be discussing Raising Men, the importance of providing youth with positive and constructive volunteer outlets, and philanthropy in general. Martinson & Beason is proud to have Raising Men as a client.

Raising Men has exploded since its founding by Rodney two years ago. There are currently eight chapters across the country, over 150 kids have joined, there are over 53,000 supporters worldwide, and they have collectively mowed over 2,000 lawns. Raising Men has been featured by local North Alabama television affiliates, NBC News, Fox News, the Today Show, Huffington Post, and more.

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Winter Weather & Traffic Offenses

Huntsville man driving recklesslyA news story reported that an Alabama State Trooper cited a vehicle for going 106 mph in a 70 mph zone when there were snow and ice on the roadway. Aside from a speeding charge, the driver of this vehicle may also be looking at a reckless driving ticket on account of the road conditions. Moral of the story: When the weather outside is frightful… take it slow, take it slow, take it slow!

The reckless driving statute in Alabama is found at Code of Alabama 32-5A-190 and states,

“Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.”

From a practical standpoint, even on a clear roadway with no obstructions, speeding in excess of 30 mph beyond the speed limit will likely result in a reckless driving charge anyway. However, in minor speeding cases, the conditions of the road and the conditions of the car are all relevant in determining whether someone is just speeding or if they are driving recklessly. [Read more…]

Former Coach Rich Rodriguez faces Suit for Defamation, Slander, Amid Other Claims

Former Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez has recently been sued for $8.5 million by his former administer assistant, Melissa Wilhelmsen. The lawsuit alleges “slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” It is the second suit filed by Ms. Wilhelmsen. The first suit alleges sexual harassment and a hostile work environment and sought $7.5 million in damages. Rodriguez now faces approximately a combined $16 million in damages.

Controversial Coaching Career

Rodriguez was fired by Arizona earlier this year without cause although speculation of his departure swirled after Ms. Wilhelmsen’s lawsuit. Kevin Sumlin, who formerly coached Texas A&M University, was hired to replace Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a native of West Virginia and has previously coached at Glenville State, Tulane, the University of West Virginia and Michigan. Rodriguez’s departure from West Virginia was not without conflict and resulted in litigation in West Virginia. Rodriguez left Michigan in 2011 with the lowest winning percentage of any coach in Michigan’s history.

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Protecting Players: Following Concussion Protocol is a Must

I was recently asked by Nick Rishwain of Experts.com to provide feedback on their recent article NFL Investigating Panthers for possible breach of concussion protocol.  I appreciate Experts.com asking me to contribute to this discussion.

Football field Huntsville AlabamaArmchair quarterbacks and experts alike have recently questioned whether the Carolina Panthers followed the NFL’s concussion protocol in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The incident is garnering extra attention as the possible concussion occurred to star quarterback Cam Newton. The incident comes amid growing attention to concussion protocol and litigation from players who are suffering long-term injury from repeated head trauma.

The play involving Cam Newton happened on second down during the fourth quarter of a close wild card game. He attempted to walk to the sideline but fell to the ground and had to be helped off the field. The Panthers brought in their backup quarterback, Derek Anderson, for third down, while Cam Newton was evaluated in the Panthers’ medical tent on the sideline. After sitting out third down, Newton returned to the field for the Panthers’ next set of downs. [Read more…]

Digital Devices and Divorce

Alabama man holding phoneThere seems to be no limit to the affect that technology and the digital age has on our lives. At the increasing pace that technology advances, it is no wonder that the legal world is changing dramatically. There is no more obvious of an example of the effect technology has on litigation than in divorces, and much of the technology is often used for nefarious purposes.

A recent article by NPR details the story of a woman who was stalked by her ex-husband through the use of a GPS tracker on her car. Alarmingly, because the car was still jointly owned and because the GPS tracker only followed public movements (despite all of this occurring after the divorce), no criminal charges could be filed. [Read more…]

What is “Divorce” Season?

Martinson & Beason

Attorney, scholars, and pundits generally refer to January as the start of divorce “season”, which culminates in March, the month with statistically the most divorce filings in the US court system, according to a study by the University of Washington.

Several factors play into the spike in divorce filings throughout the months of January, February, and March, with the primary reason being the end of the holiday season. Foremost, couples considering a divorce may elect to hold off on filing any court action until after the holidays in order to avoid stress over sharing custody of the children between Thanksgiving and Christmas and other family-related turmoil.

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Mo Show Live Welcomes Dr. William “Tom” Bogart of Maryville College

Mo Show Live Martinson & Beason

Martinson & Beason, PC attorney Morris Lilienthal welcomes Dr. William “Tom” Bogart of Maryville College to the Mo Show Live on January 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm (CST). Expected topics for discussion include Maryville College, including its quality of education and what separates it from other liberal arts colleges, as well as higher education generally. Morris is proud graduate of Maryville, having earned his Bachelor’s degree from the school in 2000.

Dr. Bogart is the 11th President of Maryville College having begun his tenure in July of 2010. Prior to his time at Maryville, Dr. Bogart served as dean of academic affairs and professor of economics at York College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bogart studies state and local taxation and economics as well as land use planning. He has written two books, The Economics of Cities and Suburbs and Don’t Call It Sprawl: Metropolitan Structure in the Twenty-First Century. [Read more…]