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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
On April 21 Boston, Massachusetts hosted the 2014 Boston Marathon, a year removed from the tragedy of last year's senseless bombing. The Boston Marathon, which is the oldest continually run marathon in the world, is held every year on Patriots' Day, which helps to commemorate the bravery and strength of the first Patriots who stood up to King George at Lexington and Concord in 1775. The bravery, strength and resilience of those directly affected by the bombings last year help to remind me that the qualities possessed by those first Patriots are alive and well today throughout our great country. Americans don't run from danger. When those bombs went off in the crowds last year many of the participants in the race ran toward the sounds of the explosions to see what they could do to help the wounded.
In March of this year, due to some new hiring and the need to shuffle office staff in our Wheeling office I, together with Attorney Jay Stoneking, Marilyn Bell and Attorney Jason Causey were recently transferred to our St. Clairsville office located at 106 East Main Street. As a lifelong resident of Wheeling, West Virginia, I have always perceived St. Clairsville, with old Route 40 running through the middle of it, as a sleepy little town with very little going on. I suppose that is mainly due to the fact that Interstate 70 runs parallel to old Route 40 in this area and the Ohio Valley Mall attracts most shoppers away from the downtown area. I expected the streets to be quiet and the stores and restaurants to be empty of people.
I grew up baptized and raised as a Catholic. I attended Catholic Schools and went to Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent but now that I am older, it all has a much deeper meaning to me and I attribute that to understanding the Holy Spirit. If you want to find out what I am talking about, go see the new movie Son of God to find your Spirit. If you've seen the Passion of Christ you'll know exactly what I mean.
What if I told you that preventable medical errors were the third-leading cause of death in America -- behind only heart disease and cancer? That sobering statistic comes directly from a recent study published by the Journal of Patient Safety , which concludes that "the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year ." Take a moment to allow that statistic to sink in while noting that the study is not discussing just the number of deaths, or the number of deaths from medical errors that could not have been avoided. The study is talking only about preventable medical errors. Said another way, preventable medical errors account for "roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year."