Archive for March, 2011
Sunday, March 27th, 2011
With the recent stretch of warm weather we have had and the melting piles of snow around New Hampshire, the legion of bikers who live and visit New Hampshire are tuning up their bikes for the first ride of the season. Even experienced bikers are wise to remember the first five thing bikers can do to stay safe on New Hampshire Roads.
1.) Assume Drivers Can’t See You: Ride assuming that you and your motorcycle are totally invisible to motorists. That means you must never assume that drivers can see you. The odds are, they can’t so believe it yourself and always have an “out” for dangerous traffic situations. Motorcycle Safety depends on you.
2.) Maintain Safe Spacing: Leave plenty of space in front and back and to the sides from all other vehicles. Be an island. Stay away from traffic as much as possible. This gives you more visibility and more time to react to situations.
3.) Anticipate Trouble: Anticipate trouble situations and know what to do when you see them. Analyze what vehicles are doing and try to predict the outcome. Then make sure you’re ready to avoid a bad traffic situation.
4.) Beware of Oncoming Left Turners: Beware of oncoming motorists turning left in front of you at intersections. This is one of the leading causes of death of motorcycle riders. Slow down before you enter an intersection. Stay visible. Don’t travel too close to cars in front of you. Position your bike so it can be seen by the left hand turner. Eye contact is not enough.
5.) Ride Your Own Ride: Don’t try to keep up with your friends who may be more experienced. Know your personal limits. Ride your own ride
The attorneys at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey have years of experience with these types of cases and a track record of getting results. Contact us at 800-240-1988 or online for a free consultation.
Friday, March 25th, 2011
Thousands of New Hampshire residents and visitors enjoy boating each season on our lakes and ponds. There are several leading causes of boating accidents, including alcohol.
New Hampshire law prohibits a person from operating a boat under the influence of intoxicants. Boating and excessive drinking is a serious crime and the laws are strictly enforced. The legal limit of the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% and if arrested for a higher BAC, harsh penalties may be imposed on the operator, based on the severity of the offense as well as the previous number of similar convictions. If convicted of operation or attempted operation of a boat while intoxicated, you may not operate a boat on New Hampshire waters for a period of one year from the date of a conviction. If you get convicted of “drunk boating” while transporting a person under the age of 16, you cannot drive a boat on New Hampshire waters again until you complete a 7-day program at the state operated multiple DWI offender program or an equivalent 7-day residential intervention program. Any conviction for driving a boat while intoxicated becomes part of your DMV record and your license to drive a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked as if you had been driving a car.
You need to remember that Marine Patrol can go onto your boat at any time for a safety check and regularly does so. They don’t need probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. If you do get charged with boating under the influence, it is critically important to find an experienced attorney because there are serious consequences – both your right to operate a boat and operate a motor vehicle are at stake.
Contact us at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey because we have experience with operating boats and defending alcohol-related charges and are available to assist you.
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
New Hampshire waters offer some of the best boating opportunities in the region for power boating, water skiing, fishing and sailing. And it’s almost “Ice-Out” on the Big Lake. “Ice-Out” on Lake Winnipesaukee occurs when the ice that has covered the Lake melts enough to allow the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship to navigate between Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. Ice-Out is greatly anticipated by residents and visitors since it is the traditional start of the spring season and many Islanders regain water access to their cottages. The date has been observed and recorded for over 120 years. The setting of the exact date and time is non-scientific and is now determined by an observer in a small plane from Emerson Aviation that flies over the lake several times a day. When the pilot makes the Ice-Out call it is considered official. While most years Ice Out does not occur until Mid to late April, last year, Ice Out arrived on March 24th.
So, this means boating season is right around the corner. Boating on the beautiful lakes and ponds in New Hampshire on a bright summer day with family and friends is about as good as it gets. In order to protect yourself and your loved ones you should: (1) register your boat; (2) obtain your boater education card which you must have to operate a boat with an engine bigger than 25 hp; (3) make sure you always have a good marine map and follow the boating rules; and (4) obtain marine insurance to cover injury to you and others, as well as damage to your boat.
Unfortunately, boating accidents can occur due to the negligence or recklessness of another boater. The leading causes of boating accidents are:
We hope you have a great boating season but if you have been injured through the fault of someone else’s negligence, you need to contact an experienced personal injury firm like Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. to set up a free consultation. Please call 1-800-240-1988 or contact us online.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
A decision by the United States Supreme Court in January opened the door to a broader interpretation of the anti-discrimination laws. In the case before the Court, a female employee filed a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and then three weeks later the company fired Mr. Thompson, who was her fiancé. The company lawyers argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not allow third parties to bring claims of retaliation but only the individual who themselves lodged the discrimination complaint. However, the Supreme Court of the United States in an 8-0 decision said that Mr. Thompson was protected by Title VII.
Thompson was not an accidental victim of the retaliation but, in effect, was collateral damage to the employer’s unlawful act. By terminating him they were retaliating against the female who had filed the charge and that was an unlawful act of punishment against her, although it was indirect. Mr. Thompson was in the “zone of interest” to be protected by Title VII and thus has standing to sue.
When does an office romance qualify as a close relationship? What if the couple had only been dating for a week or two? These are the issues left for future cases and future employers. It is a warning to employers to consider whether the person they are firing has a relationship to the complaining party such that it would be considered retaliation.
Douglas, Leonard & Garvey represents employees in discrimination and retaliation cases but we know that each case turns on its own unique and individual facts.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
In a recent case the employer hired a woman named Holms but a month later she announced she was pregnant. It was not long before the President of the company made it plain that he was very unhappy about having to find someone to fill in when Ms. Holms went out on leave to have her baby. She used the company computer to e-mail her attorney to ask about whether her treatment had created a hostile work environment, what her rights were, and what her options were.
The trial judge sided with the employer because of a policy that prohibited the use of company e-mail for personal matters and giving the employer the right to inspect “all files and messages at any time.” A court in California upheld a verdict for the company concluding that the female employee’s e-mails were not protected by attorney/client privilege because she had used a system that was open to inspection and monitoring by third parties as opposed to having sent an e-mail from her home to her lawyer.
On the other hand, the New Jersey Supreme Court has held that an employer cannot read an employee’s e-mails to her lawyer. Thus, this area of the law will depend on the judge and location of the court deciding the question. So, employees need to think twice before they use an employer’s computer to contact their lawyer—it may or may not be discoverable.
Monday, March 14th, 2011
The attorney who was sued represented the husband in a divorce where the question turned on the value of a multi-million dollar tile business owned by the husband. The wife later uncovered evidence that the husband’s business had a value of over $15,000,000, which was double the number that he claimed it was worth during the divorce. The wife sued her husband’s attorney claiming that he assisted in misrepresenting the value of the husband’s business. The Appellate Court concluded the attorney and husband were not protected for purposes of the wife’s fraud action.
The court ruled that the wife had standing to sue the attorney for his conduct on behalf of the husband in essentially defrauding the wife and the court. There has long been a crime and fraud exception to the attorney/client privilege and this case is an example of it.
If you feel you have been defrauded in a divorce case, contact an attorney who can handle that particular type of litigation. Douglas, Leonard & Garvey has been involved in several divorce cases where the issue of nondisclosure or inadequate disclosure of assets has been involved.
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Spring is in the air. After a winter like the one we’ve been suffering through this year, it feels like it can’t come soon enough. However, as one recent news story makes clear, spring can bring its own unique brand of weather-related havoc. The early spring roller coaster of snow and sleet followed by warm weather followed by more snow or sleet means that accumulated snow melts and re-freezes, and additional precipitation can make that virgin ice as slippery as greased Teflon.
Melting snow and ice also leads to the risk of an accident like the one detailed by WMUR at the following link: http://www.wmur.com/news/27065785/detail.html. In that accident, a trucking company had allowed a layer of snow on a trailer to melt and re-freeze, creating a coating of heavy ice on top of the trailer. A chuck of ice broke free and flew into the windshield of a car following on the highway, seriously injuring the driver. While this accident may seem like a freak occurrence, it is not at all uncommon to see drivers who do no more than clear a view slit in their windshields and then drive away. Smaller chunks of ice and snow that fly from these vehicles may not be enough to punch through a windshield like the one in the story link, but they can be enough to create a serious vision obstruction or distraction to following drivers. New Hampshire law requires you to clean the snow from your vehicle before driving it. Failing to do so can put you at serious risk of liability if snow or ice blowing off your vehicle causes an accident.
Melting snow during the day, followed by freezing temps at night is also the recipe for black ice. Black ice, often with a thin layer of moisture on top, is the slipperiest type of surface you are likely to drive or walk on. It is most likely to form on bridges, and at the edges of the road where fewer cars’ tires come into contact with the road. You should use extra caution when driving immediately after the temperature has dropped from above freezing to a few degrees below freezing, and take special care when crossing bridges or coming near to the edges of the pavement under those conditions.
Just because spring is almost here does not mean that the weather cannot ruin your day with a winter weather-style hazard. Until the temps stay well above freezing, keep your snow tires on, your vehicles clean of snow and ice, and be extra careful driving at night.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
This year’s winter conditions have meant many people have been able to participate in a variety of winter activities, including snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is a lot of fun and with it comes a certain level of responsibility. This means abiding by certain rules to avoid injuring yourself or others. So far this year there have been many reports of snowmobilers suffering serious personal injuries, including fatalities, from snowmobile accidents.
Guess what is the most common cause of snowmobile accidents? According to the New Hampshire Fish & Game, riders need to stay on designated trails and keep their speeds down. In two recent accidents, witnesses claim the drivers were operating at a speed greater than necessary to safely operate the snowmobiles. One driver was killed while the other driver was left unconscious.
These snowmobile accidents remind us of the serious consequences from personal injuries. Even less serious accidents than a fatality can have a long-term impact on accident victims and their families. So, remember, while you are enjoying yourself in whatever winter activity you are doing, please be safe and responsible.
If you are the victim of an accident or personal injury, please contact us if you need an experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyer.
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
In an early posting, we covered the potential dangers of posting personal information on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. That earlier blog primarily concerned the risks presented by an employer or prospective employer reading your postings and leading to the loss of a job, or the dangers of someone on the other side of a lawsuit finding information on your Facebook page that might be used against you in your case. While these are still important reasons to be cautious in what you post online, there are other, equally significant reasons to use your best judgment when communicating online, even if you are not involved in a lawsuit, and are absolutely sure that your employer has no interest in your Facebook or Myspace page.
Online bullying and stalking is one reason to be careful who you communicate with online, and how much information you share. An online stalking case from Oklahoma recently hit the news. A link to the story can be found here: http://www.newson6.com/Global/story.asp?S=14078889. The case involved a woman named Elexis Hennigh, who made the mistake of “friending” a man she barely knew, by the name of Travis Taylor. Mr. Taylor allegedly became obsessed with Ms. Hennigh, and began sending her melodramatic messages asking for a date, and refusing to take “no” for an answer. Ms. Hennigh documented her communications with Mr. Taylor in her own online blog, which can be viewed here: (WARNING – Graphic and Violent Language) http://elexishennigh.blogspot.com/?zx=cdb3a7d3eab9bf8e. When Ms. Hennigh finally made her lack of interest in Mr. Taylor’s romantic advances clear to him, he threatened her with extremely graphic violence. Mr. Taylor was arrested, and Ms. Hennigh now has to live with both the fear of Mr. Taylor acting out on his threats, and the embarrassment of her poor judgment being made very public. While her case is an extreme example of carelessness with online communications, it highlights the potential risks. What seemed innocent enough at the beginning became a very serious and scary situation in a short period of time.
Another risk of sharing information online is identity theft. Douglas, Leonard and Garvey was recently involved in a case where a client’s information, posted on Facebook, was used to create a very convincing “clone” Facebook page by a third party. The “clone” site was so convincing (including a picture of our client) that the client’s friends began communicating and sharing information with the “clone” site. It is not hard to imagine how the use of a “clone” Facebook page could be used to the detriment of the person being cloned, and potentially the detriment of that person’s friends and family who were duped by the convincing fake.
The moral of the story is simple – if you wouldn’t share the information with a random stranger walking down the street, you probably should not post it online. In addition, you should really think twice, or three times, about “friending” people you have never met in person. The cases involving Ms. Hennigh and our client show just a few of the dangers presented by the online virtual world that the new generation of social networking sites has created.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Recently, a New Hampshire woman was killed when she lost control of her car on a slippery road and hit a head-on into a school bus traveling in the opposite direction. As New Hampshire drivers, and especially this winter, we have all experienced the horrendous road conditions. Difficult road conditions require extra attention in order to maintain control of our vehicles and avoid auto accidents.
This fatal accident is a reminder of the serious consequences of auto accidents. In this auto accident, a 25 year old woman died at the scene of the accident. However, even less serious accidents can have a long-term impact on victims and their families. This disruption includes missed time from work, pressure from lost wages, multiple appointments for doctors and physical therapy and dealing with insurance adjustors trying to give you the least amount of compensation for your injuries.
If you are the victim in an auto accident, your focus needs to be on getting better. This means following your doctor’s instructions. We hope you stay safe this winter but please contact us if you need an experienced auto accident lawyer. We will handle the insurance company so you can concentrate on your recovery.