The West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act ensures that West Virginia workers receive all wages and fringe benefits due them for the hours they work. The Act aims to protect the rights and wages of workers, while providing a level playing field among the state businesses which must follow these rules. In brief, the Act provides: · Employees must be paid at least once every two weeks unless a special waiver is obtained by the Commissioner of Labor to pay less frequently; · Wages are paid in cash, check, money order or direct deposit;
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In what is believed to be the first, but likely not the last, verdict of its kind, a jury has found a natural gas company responsible for $2.9 million in personal injury and property damages it caused by exposing a Texas family to harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds, toxic air pollutants and diesel exhaust from its fracking operations. The factual scenario underpinning this verdict is likely familiar to many of us here in the Ohio Valley who have had a front row seat for the ever-expansive natural gas drilling effort that has been going on in our back yard over the past several years. In late 2008, Robert, Lisa and 11-year old Emily Parr started experiencing serious health problems. Lisa Parr told CNN . "My central nervous system was messed up. I couldn't hear, and my vision was messed up. My entire body would shake inside. I was vomiting white foam in the mornings." In 2009, Lisa's husband, Robert, and their daughter, Emma, also became ill, suffering a multitude of mysterious symptoms, including nosebleeds, vision problems, nausea, rashes and blood pressure issues. At the time the Parrs had little appreciation for the size and scope of drilling operations near their property. Lisa Parr dismissed her migraine headaches, nausea and dizziness as the flu. "Being that the wells were not on our property, we had no idea that what they were doing on the property around us was affecting us," Mrs. Parr said. Unfortunately, her symptoms persistently worsened, and she came to recognize that something more serious was involved. The Parrs soon learned that Aruba Petroleum placed 22 natural gas wells within a 2-mile radius of their property in Decatur, Texas, just about an hour northwest of Dallas. The closest well to the Parr's property was only 791 feet away.
I awoke this past Friday morning to a Facebook post by a former colleague from my time at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard. That sadness, however, was quickly replaced by a flood of fond memories of the gentleman who welcomed me from the minute I began my tenure at the Court and with whom I had shared countless laughs and our fair share of spirited disagreements over the law, sports, history and life in general. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his departure from the Supreme Court or my disagreements with some of his legal decisions, I will always be grateful to have known Justice Spike Maynard the man. I think the post from which I learned of his passing said it best: "As a former employee of the Court, I have been asked many times what I thought of Justice Maynard. Everyone always wanted to hear something salacious, but all I could ever say was that he was incredibly kind to me." There is no doubt in my mind that this sentiment has been echoed by many in recent days.
Despite less than desirable sanitary accommodations, sleeping on concrete floors with open windows, larger than life bugs (they're huge!), and bathing outside in a make-shift shower, I am excited to say I will be returning to Honduras with some folks from my Church this summer. Through the Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International ( www.bmdmi.org ), we will again be ministering to the medical needs of the less fortunate people in the mountains of Honduras. This year, part of the team will help with the building a church in the small village of Maraita! I will go with a different perspective than last year. I will make a better attempt at communicating with the local people on an individual, personal basis, even though I don't speak their language. I will be content with the bathroom facilities. I will offer to help in the kitchen. I will not complain if a rooster decides to crow at midnight, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. (he was really confused). I will try not to be overly concerned about a bad hair week and I will confess my blessings daily.
Mandatory arbitration clauses are mainstream and can be found buried in the fine print of virtually any consumer agreement. By virtue of buying a product or service, consumers are forced without warning to give up their right to go to court if they are harmed by the company providing the service or goods. For example, cell phone companies may obtain their customer's consent to arbitration through fine print clauses that assume consent when a cell phone is turned on and used by the consumer. Unfortunately, these tactics work in our current legal environment. No longer does a consumer even need to sign a contract to waive their constitutional right to go to court. Why is this important? In arbitration, there is no publicly accountable judge, jury, or right to an appeal. The arbitrators are not made to follow the facts or the law, and there is no public review of decisions to ensure the arbitrator got it right. Moreover, contracts typically name the arbitration firm that must be employed. That arbitration firm is typically one preferred by, if not beholden to, the company. In fact, these arbitrators have an incentive to favor the company, as they want to continue to be given repeat business by them.
When our first daughter was born my wife and I decided that she would take time off from work to stay home. My wife was a teacher, and a very good one at that. She graduated from West Liberty in 2004. While she would never brag on herself, I will. She was actually the school wide co-valedictorian and the top graduate from the education department that year. She then went on to get her Masters in reading at WVU. While she was obtaining her Masters she worked with the Kaleidoscope program in Monongalia County. She was also fortunate enough to meet a very dashing, charming and handsome law student. While my wife loves staying at home, she devoted so much time to her education and her job that she needed to do something outside of the home in order to retain her sanity. In 2011 she got the opportunity to work as a Service Coordinator with an early intervention program called West Virginia Birth to Three. I, like many, had never heard of this program, but some form of it exists in every state. The program is administered by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources along with the Bureau of Public Health and other organizations and is funded, in part, by the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
Late last week, an audio recording was released in which the owner of an NBA team is heard making a series of racist comments to his girlfriend. The owner, who I won't name simply because I don't like giving even a millisecond of additional publicity to people like him, was heard telling his girlfriend that he didn't want her bringing black people to his team's games. Seriously. This man, who makes millions upon millions of dollars each year due in large part to the work of black men (around 70% of NBA players are black), coached by a black man (Doc Rivers, a certain NBA hall-of-famer), doesn't want his girlfriend being seen in the company of black men. Wow.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has finalized a regulation for how much coal dust coal miners can be exposed to while in coal mines. Reaction was swift to come from all quarters, with leaders like West Virginia Senator John Rockefeller saying the rule did not go far enough to protect our coal miners from black lung disease. The Senator said: "While this is a big step forward, it is by no means the end of our fight to eradicate this scourge of coal miners," Rockefeller said. "And, just as important is our effort to provide healthcare and financial support to those who are already suffering. I'll do all I can to make sure these miners and their families get the benefits they need and so rightfully deserve."
Bordas & Bordas, a 16-attorney Wheeling, WV plaintiff's litigation firm is seeking an experienced legal assistant/paralegal/secretary. Salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits offered. Send email with resume to email@example.com or fax to 304.242.3936 in order to apply.
Sometime before the end of this month, our new office in Moundsville is going to be up and running. The opening of that office will be something of a homecoming for me, as life and marriage took me away from my hometown for the past 13 years or so. Last week, I was down in Moundsville with Jim, Jamie, and the rest of the Bordas & Bordas "family" that will be staffing the new office, filming some new television spots. For those who have never been involved in a professional video production, it's generally 5 or 10 minutes of action followed by 45 minutes of sitting around while the crew sets and re-sets the equipment. During one of those 45-minute breaks, I got to thinking about all of the memories I had from growing up in Moundsville. For some reason, things that I hadn't thought of for years and years quickly came to mind, each new memory adding width to the smile that I'm sure had some of my co-workers wondering what in the world I was thinking about.