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Mo Show Live with Horizon Elementary Principal Rodney Richardson

Rodney Richardson and Morris Lilienthal

The next episode of the Mo Show Live will air Wednesday, June 27th at 3:00 PM central and will feature Rodney Richardson, Principal of Horizon Elementary in the Madison City School System. Morris and Rodney will be discussing the state of elementary education, standardized testing, the need for male role models in elementary education, and more.

Rodney is passionate about education and educating young students in particular. Rodney is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and was drawn to Huntsville on a basketball scholarship at Alabama A&M University where he played from 1992 to 1996 under Coach Vann Pettaway. Rodney earned his Bachelors in Elementary Education and Masters in Education Administration while at Alabama A&M University. Rodney also earned an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in curriculum and instruction from Middle Tennessee State University.

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Firework Safety Infographic

It’s always exciting when it’s that time of year to set off a spectacular ball of exploding colors. Fireworks are undeniably beautiful to look at. But did you know that fireworks cause over 20,000 fires per year? This is why we want you to be prepared during this holiday season. Take a look at our infographic on firework safety and be sure to contact us if you have become victim to a burn injury.

 

Click on the image below to view the full infographic

Graphic of fireworks for beginning of firework safety infographic

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After an Accident, “Toughing It Out” Could Hurt Your Case

car accident damageIt is impossible to overly stress the importance of seeing a doctor after any kind of accident. From slipping on a wet floor to a car wreck, having a doctor examine your injuries is vital not only for your personal health but also from a legal standpoint.

Even after an accident, some people don’t like to go to the doctor for many reasons. Maybe they think they can “tough it out” and save some money or they might get anxiety from going to the doctor’s office. No matter the reason, it is vitally important that you go to see a doctor after any accident. Even if you were taken to the emergency room after a car accident and were released with no major injuries, it’s still a good idea to follow up with your personal doctor.

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New Law Allows Banks and Brokers to Fight Elder Abuse

New Law Allows Banks and Brokers to Fight Elder Abuse-elderely hands

Congress has recently passed the Senior Safety Act to better protect senior citizens from elder abuse and exploitation. The new law allows financial service providers such as banks and brokerage firms to disclose financial information to law enforcement if they believe it may be a result of elder abuse. The law gives financial institutions immunity from being sued to allow them to stop financial exploitation of elderly clients.

The Senior Safety Act allows employees of financial institutions to report suspicious activity dealing with elder abuse to appropriate government agencies and law enforcement without facing the possibility of being sued in court. This makes the process of stopping abuse and finding the people who perpetrate it more efficient.

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Mo Show Live with Director & Producer Tim Reischauer

Mo Show Live with Tim Reischauer-Martinson & Beason, PC

The next episode of the Mo Show Live will air Wednesday June 13th at 3:00 PM central and will feature Tim Reischauer, Director and Producer of the upcoming movie Only Easy Day. Morris and Tim will be discussing the movie’s upcoming release and the issues Veterans face, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), homelessness, access to healthcare, and more.

Only Easy Day is a story of courage, loss and salvation and features the life of Veteran Bradley Johnson, who is stuck between his dark past and hopeful future. Complicating his life is the hidden burden of PTSD which takes a toll on Bradley and his family and friends. The story resonates with Veterans and their families and is especially poignant in communities with a large military presence such as Huntsville. The movie was also shot and produced in Huntsville and the surrounding areas.

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Mo Show Live with Huntsville Committee of 100 CEO John Allen

Graphic of Morris Lilienthal and John Allen for the Mo Show Live on June 6, 2018

The next episode of the Mo Show Live will air Wednesday, June 6th at 3:00 pm Central time and will feature John Allen, C.E.O. of the Huntsville Committee of 100. Morris and John will be discussing economic development for the Huntsville Metropolitan area, high-quality public schools, cooperative local governments, the Rock the Vote campaign, the Creative Cities Initiative and more.

John Allen was tapped to lead the Committee of 100 in 2017. He is a Huntsville native and has served as BizPac Board Chair, Governance Chair and Madison Task Force Chair for the Committee. John has previously served in leadership roles for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, the Huntsville Botanical Garden, and the BIG Picture Advisory Council. He has also previously served as president of the Huntsville-Madison County Homebuilders Association. [Read more…]

New Developments in Ensuring Comfort for Dementia Patients

Many Americans are aware of the fact that advanced dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. Two-thirds of Americans, however, have not assigned someone to speak for them and represent their wishes if and when there is a day they are no longer able to speak for themselves. A new movement led by End of Life Choices New York is pressing for greater choice in whether patients with dementia want to receive assisted feeding at the end of their lives. The organization is working towards a goal of helping individuals and families find as much comfort as possible at the end of their lives.

 

In order to help people and families with dementia or with a history of dementia, End of Life Choices New York has created their own advanced directive – the Advance Directive for Receiving Oral Food and Fluids in the Event of Dementia. This document has two purposes: to allow individuals to document their wishes about when to stop assisted feeding, and to ensure appointed health-care agents can implement those wishes. The form includes two options regarding assisted feeding: all assisted feeding should be stopped, or feeding will take place based on comfort. The latter choice involves feeding the patient only when they are receptive; opening their mouth for food, or other such gestures. Individuals may choose one of the available options, but not both. The overall aim of the document is to provide comfort for patients and their families. According to Dr. Anne Kenny, “90 percent of families want comfort care at the end of life. Only ten percent would opt for longevity. […] The second-best gift you can give your family is showing them the path you want to follow so they don’t have to choose it for you.”

 

The instructions for completing the directive are outlined by Dr. Judith Schwartz, the clinical director of the End of Life Choices organization. She advises individuals to make choices regarding their end of life care well in advance, “especially if they want to avoid prolonged dying that causes undue suffering for themselves and their loved ones”, writes Jane Brody. The document must be filled out when the individual is cognitively sound, and the document must valid under state law.

 

Several health-care professionals are encouraging the use of this new document, including Dr. Timothy Quill, a professor of medicine in the Palliative Care Division of the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He says, “… if the directive leads to families and caregivers erring on the side of comfort and dignity for the patient, it’s a real step forward. It encourages them to follow the guidance of the patient’s ‘now’ self, not the past self.” This advance directive document and its background can be found here.

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Mental Illness, Involuntary Commitments, and Guns: What Does Alabama Law Say?

Mental health continues to rise as an important state and national political issue, as it’s now estimated that about 43.8 million adults in America – about 1 in 5 – experience a mental illness on an annual basis. The topic is receiving renewed and much needed attention in light of the recent shooting in a Tennessee Waffle House by a mentally ill man. In that instance, a mentally ill man used an assault rifle to kill four people in Antioch, Tennessee. The gunman had previously been arrested for trespassing near the White House and was known by law enforcement. His weapons were seized by the FBI and were later returned to his father. In turn, his father lets the mentally ill gunman have them back.

The Tennessee case raises important questions at the intersection of mental health, weapons seizure, involuntary commitment, and what families can do when they suspect a loved one may be dangerous to himself or others. Alabama reflects the national trend of moving away from institutionalized care for the mentally ill in favor of community-based or outpatient treatment. While this approach is noble and pragmatic in theory, many now question whether it serves the needs of the mentally ill and protects the community as a whole.

Mental Illness is defined under state law as “a psychiatric disorder of thought and/or mood which significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illness, as used herein, specifically excludes the primary diagnosis of epilepsy, mental retardation, substance abuse, including alcoholism, or a developmental disability.” Ala. Code 22-52-1.1. A mentally ill person may receive inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Under Alabama law, an involuntary commitment occurs after a judge orders a mentally ill person to be involuntarily placed in the custody of the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation for evaluation and treatment. In order to be involuntarily committed, the person must be mentally ill, pose a substantial risk of harm to himself or to others, be unable to make rational decisions regarding treatment, evidence of actual danger or threat through an overt act, treatment is necessary and the least restrictive means of stabilizing the ward.

Any person may attempt to have another person committed by filing a proper petition with the Probate Court in the county in which the mentally ill person is located. Ala. Code § 22-52-1.2. The Probate Judge then reviews the petition to ensure it is not “totally without merit.” Ala. Code § 22-52-2. Assuming the Judge finds merit, a hearing is set and the mentally ill person is required to receive notice. Ala. Code § 22-52-3. A guardian ad litem is appointed to protect the rights of the ward at the hearing. At the hearing, the Probate Judge may order the person committed to an inpatient or outpatient facility.

If the Probate Judge finds the person must be involuntarily committed, the Probate Judge must forward his or her final order to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, who enters it in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Previously, the Probate Judge was not required to forward the order to ALEA. This potential loophole was recently closed by the Alabama legislature. The NICS determines eligibility to purchase a firearm.

Federal law prohibits those who have been convicted of certain felonies, domestic violence, and those who have been involuntarily committed from owning a firearm. As such, the mentally ill person is prevented from purchasing a firearm. The mentally ill person may later petition the Court to reinstate their firearm rights. Ala. Code § 22-52-10.8.

While current state and federal law provide for notice to the NICS in order to prevent a mentally ill person from buying a firearm, some Alabamians believe the law does not go far enough in preventing gun violence by the mentally ill. Some states, such as Florida, have recently passed gun violence restraining order laws or ‘red flag laws’ that allow law enforcement or family members of a mentally ill person to petition the court to temporarily remove weapons from the mentally ill person. Six states have passed such a law and twenty-two other states are considering adopting one. Some states allow these orders to be made ex parte, or without the mentally ill person present.

Alabama is widely recognized for its 2nd Amendment protections and relatively innocuous gun laws. While gun laws remain polarizing as a whole, Alabama legislators may continue to find sensible mental health fixes, such as that of the 2015 law discussed above.

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Welcoming Our Awesome Summer Interns!

Martinson & Beason, PC is proud to welcome Lauren Richardson and Will Bridges as interns for the summer of 2018. Will and Lauren began on May 15th and will complete their six-week internship on June 22nd.

The firm is proud to offer this opportunity for college students to learn more about the practice of law and working in the legal environment. Each intern has expressed an interest in law and will enjoy a broad exposure to legal concepts in specialties such as personal injury, real estate, and probate. Previous Martinson & Beason attorneys now work as attorneys, financial advisors, and various other professional and business capacities.

Lauren Richardson was born and raised in Huntsville and graduated from Randolph School in 2016. She later attended the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana to pursue a major in theatre and study abroad at Harlaxton College in England. Lauren is now a rising junior in college and is transferring to the University of Alabama to study communications and attend law school.

Will Bridges is also a Huntsville native and graduated from Saint John Paul II Catholic High School. In 2016, he became an Eagle Scout and is currently enrolled at Auburn University. Will is pursuing a major in political science with a minor in agricultural business and is involved in multiple on-campus organizations. He plans on attending law school after graduating from Auburn and pursuing a career in law.

 

The firm looks forward to two more interns for the second half of summer. Malik Williams and Sincere Anderson will start on June 25th and will complete their time with the firm on August 3rd.

Join Us for Our Fifth Annual Putt Putt Party!

 

Graphic of putt-putt party invitation in Huntsville, Alabama

School is out and temperatures are rising! In celebration of the return of summer and Downtown Huntsville, Inc.’s Putt Putt Course, Martinson & Beason, P.C. is pleased to open its doors once again for the fifth annual putt putt party. Join us Thursday, June 14th from 5:00-8:00 at our office, located at 115 Northside Square, for snacks, drinks and putt putt golf. [Read more…]