The National Women’s Law Center has formed the Legal Network for Gender Equity and has recruited more than 80 attorneys from 50 states to assist women and girls who are victims of sex discrimination. The Law Center has grown concerned that sex discrimination protections have weakened under the Trump Administration. More categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, may opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious or moral objections. Efforts by the EEOC to collect data from large companies about what they pay their employees by job category, race, ethnicity, and gender have been halted. And Obama-era guidance on investigating campus sexual assault has been revoked and replaced with new instructions that allow universities to require higher standards of evidence when handling complaints. The goal is to have attorneys affiliated with the network in all 50 states. The National Women’s Law Center will serve as the network’s hub to provide women and girls with legal resources and names of attorneys who are willing to take on cases.
The Veterans Administration is attempting to balance treating pain while preventing addiction because veterans are not immune to the opioid crisis. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 was enacted to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic, and the VA is trying to wean veterans off opioids, while treating pain with options other than just drugs. There is evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy, commitment therapy, and acceptance can decrease pain and improve function. Swim or occupational therapy are also options. And holistic treatments like acupuncture may help ease physical pain as well. Many wonder if medical marijuana could be another option to combat veteran pain, but as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the VA will not prescribe it for patients.
A recent study that analyzed data from the United States and England recently found a correlation between poverty and higher rates of disability and death. The study examined almost 20,000 people between ages 54 and 76. Over a 10-year period, Americans aged 54 to 64 who were in the lowest income bracket were at a 48% risk for developing a disability and a 17% risk of dying prematurely. Similar results were observed in the United Kingdom. Dr. Lena Makaroun, the study’s lead author, stated: “Seeing similar results in both countries, in both age groups, suggests that [additional] health care or [additional] financial benefits later in life may not be enough” when it comes to those who enter their later years in poor financial health. Each person in the study was evaluated based on their total assets, including real estate, retirement savings, investment accounts, and vehicles, minus their total debts. Disability status was determined based on an individual’s ability to bathe, eat, get dressed, get in and out of bed, and use the bathroom on their own. Although the study could not prove that poverty actually causes early death or disability, it suggests that the main stressors associated with… Continue Reading Disability and Death for Poorer People
Sydney Henderson will turn 100 on November 18th. Although a friend is planning a party for her, all she wants is for Wells Fargo (which holds a reverse mortgage on her condo) to stop foreclosing procedures against her for $24,000 in back taxes. When she took out a reverse mortgage in 1998, she believed she enrolled in a state program that allowed senior citizens with reverse mortgages to defer property taxes and roll them into their mortgage. Wells Fargo determined that she should have been paying the taxes all along. Sydney believes there’ll be enough equity in her condo when she dies to make the bank whole plus a profit. Her party planning friend saw the foreclosure notice in the paper and contacted an attorney. The day before the foreclosure, the attorney filed for Chapter 13 protection which temporarily stopped the proceeding. Sydney’s attorney has tried to negotiate with Wells Fargo. He has sent them letters which they acknowledge receiving but nothing else. He tried speaking to the attorney handling the case for Wells Fargo but she won’t return his calls. The bank’s spokesperson has told him as of September 1st, another company is handling all of the bank’s reverse… Continue Reading Wells Fargo Wants the Home of 99 Year Old Woman
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has launched a new online system for filing and tracking claims of workplace discrimination, effective November 1, 2017. Generally, someone who believes he or she has been discriminated against must file an EEOC charge before they can file an employment discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in federal court. The EEOC’s “Public Portal” allows users to provide and update contact information, upload documents to his or her charge file, agree to mediate the charge, check on the status of his or her charge, and receive documents and messages related to the charge from the agency. The online features also work for charges that are currently in investigation or mediation, as long as they were filed after January 1, 2016. Individuals who do not have internet access may call 1.800.669.4000 to get information about how to submit an inquiry to their local EEOC office. Depending on which state you live in, you may have to file a charge of discrimination within 180 or 300 days of the discriminatory act.
Client story: Recently, a young automotive technician working at a small, independent repair shop, got a shard of glass embedded in his wrist when he got into a car that had recently had the windshield broken. The wound became infected, and “Joe” (who was only 24 at the time) required intravenous antibiotics and surgery to remove the piece of glass. The incident left him with limited mobility, which affected his ability to work as efficiently as he had prior to the accident. While he was recuperating, he received Workers’ Compensation at 40 percent of his pay. Additionally, after working with an experienced Workers’ Comp attorney, he was awarded a settlement of $7,000 for lost mobility. Last spring, the New York State Legislature asked the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to make recommendations for revising the payments workers such as Joe receive when they are injured on the job. According to Germain Harnden, executive director of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH), the Worker’s Compensation Board took the request of the legislature as an opportunity to reduce workers’ comp expenses for business. Their recommendations will cut protective regulations and affect the amount of benefits to injured workers.… Continue Reading Business pressures Workers’ Comp to cut protections for workers injured on the job
For Americans, health insurance is a hot topic. For decades our government has been trying to put a program in place that will ensure health insurance is at least accessible to everyone. We tend to think that if everyone has health insurance, no one will have to go bankrupt as a result of medical bills. Unfortunately, this is not the case. “Take a couple who came to us interested in filing bankruptcy,” said Kevin J. Bambury, attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “They had a health insurance policy provided by the husband’s work. He was an in-store customer service representative for one of the large cellphone companies. “Unfortunately, he developed colon cancer at the young age of 48. By the time it was discovered, the cancer had already reached Stage 4,” Bambury said. “His doctors determined that the surgery he needed was not available in Buffalo and recommended he go to the Cleveland Clinic.” The client’s health insurer agreed to cover his medical expenses in Cleveland up to what they would have paid for locally for the treatment of his disease. He underwent three surgeries and chemotherapy before he was clear of the cancer. He was unable to work for two… Continue Reading Winning a battle with cancer has its price
Brian D. Knauth, lead attorney in the personal injury department at Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC, recently settled a case for $200,000 for a slip and fall injury. The client, a 62-year-old man, was not offered any money by the insurance company. “The client had lived in a rented duplex for seven months and while carrying laundry down the basement stairs, he fell and severely broke his ankle,” Knauth said. “He had been up and down the stairs multiple times since he had lived in the home, and alleged there was a defective step which caused the fall and the handrail did not extend to the bottom of the stairs so he was unable to save himself when he slipped.” The injured ankle required surgery and the client missed several months of work during his recovery and rehabilitation. The claim included his covered out-of-pocket medical expenses and lost wages, and his pain and suffering. “At first, the insurer blamed our client for the fall pointing to the minimal defect in the stairs and the fact that the client had used the stairs a number of times in the past without incident,” Knauth said. However, as we prepared to move forward with… Continue Reading Lead attorney at Freedman firm wins $200,000 settlement in slip and fall case
After 18 months of review, VA Secretary David Shulkin announced last Wednesday that he will “further explore” adding ailments to the list of conditions that are compensable under the VA’s presumption that they were caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans were hoping conditions like bladder cancer, Parkinson’s-like tremors, hypertension, and hypothyroidism would have been added to the list after the latest and final review of medical and scientific literature on Agent Orange was reported by the National Academy of Medicine. The NAM’s report found limited or suggestive evidence of association to herbicide exposure for bladder cancer and hypothyroidism. It also studied whether conditions with Parkinson’s-like symptoms should fall into the same category as Parkinson’s disease and found “no rational basis” for excluding them from the same risk category.