Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Are Houston Residents Among the Most Stressed?

We like to think that the holiday season is filled with the laughter and conversation of family and other loved ones, relaxing evenings by the fire and the joy of children as they open that one special gift. And, fortunately, such moments do exist and make these last few days of the year a wonderful time. However, the reality is that the holidays also are counted by many as being some of the most stressful weeks of the year. Whether it’s finishing up projects at work, making sure your shopping is done, or dealing with unpleasant family circumstances that surface around this time, it is not uncommon to feel some additional stress right now.

Do you want some evidence that you are not alone? According to recent research, if you live in Houston then you are in the eighth-most stressed city in our country!

Real estate company Movoto looked at typical stress-causing factors such as poverty, commuting, health insurance coverage, and employment levels. Using these barometers, there was one zip code in Houston that set off alarms for stress levels. Check out the entire analysis to find other areas in which you can expect to find very stressed people.

One item that should not bring you excessive stress during the holidays or any time of year is legal issues. That is because the attorneys at Bertolino LLP are ready to be your advocate and resolve any problem you may be facing. Is there a custody dispute over who gets the kids on Christmas? Have you missed a lot of work due to injuries from a car accident and stretching your money is becoming more difficult every day? Are you nervous about going to your parents’ home and having that annual argument over making sure their estate is in order? We can help.

Please contact Bertolino LLP today and let us get to work for you.

And let us know – if you live in Houston, do you think you are most stressed than residents of other cities? Do you agree with the factors used by Movoto in determining stress levels?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Couple Sues After Sloppy Handwriting Alters Their Family Plans

It’s a story that has been making news headlines all over the country. Jennifer Cramblett is suing the sperm bank that gave her and her partner the wrong vials for Ms. Cramblett’s artificial insemination. Instead of receiving vials from donor 380, a blond-haired and blue-eyed man who resembles the physical characteristics of Amanda Zinkon, Ms. Cramblett’s partner, the couple received the sperm of donor 330, an African-American. Ms. Cramblett is now seeking compensation for the ongoing and growing needs of their family and hoping to prevent this same mistake from happening again.

The motives in this case have been questioned. While they found out about the mix-up five months into the pregnancy, they only now are filing a lawsuit, two years later. Why did they wait so long? Also, there are accusations that the couple is upset about not having a white child and believe they deserve money for being given a daughter with darker skin.

The two have shared that the decision to take legal action was made only after they fully realized the challenges they would be facing. They want to move their family to a town that has more racial diversity, as their small town in Ohio is almost entirely white, so that their child can be around peers who look like her. They also believe such a community will be more accepting and provide the resources they need. The couple is adamant that no matter what, the bond they have with their daughter is strong and unconditional.

While sperm bank mistakes are fortunately rare, there are other instances in which a health care provider or family agency can make an error that dramatically affects your children and other loved ones. If this has happened to you, the personal injury attorneys at Bertolino LLP are ready to help. We will listen and learn and then guide you through the steps necessary to find the justice you deserve.

Have you read about this sperm bank mishap in Ohio? What are your thoughts on the lawsuit?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drunk Driving is Wrong Regardless of Social Status

Most of us remember when the scandal broke just a few days before the 2000 presidential election revealing that Governor George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving back in 1976. Although the incident occurred almost a quarter century earlier, Bush’s entire presidential campaign team flew into damage control mode. And, as we all know, Bush went on to win the election in one of the closest and most controversial contests in our history.

One of Bush’s companions that evening has spoken out about the incident nearly forty years later. John Newcombe shared in an interview with a Melbourne radio station that he spent the evening drinking with the former president and several others at a pub near the Bush family’s vacation home. The entire recounting can be found in a recent article published by The Houston Chronicle. The main point seems to be that George W. Bush was cordial to everyone involved and the charges were left as part of his part along with the other episodes of his drinking days. And I believe he readily would admit his decisions that night were poor.

Future presidents, much like professors or electricians or dentists, have been known to enjoy a drink after a long day. Done responsibly, this should not impact our trust in their ability to do their jobs. Sometimes, though, people make the decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking and this is a mistake regardless of profession or financial status. It is never OK and should not be excused.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of another person’s poor decision to drive after drinking, you deserve to be compensated. Car accidents involving a drunk driver can result in personal and property damages, lost wages, and the psychological impact of such an event. The personal injury attorneys at Bertolino LLP will work tirelessly to make sure that you get everything you deserve. Please call us today.


Monday, October 6, 2014

You Have Legal Rights If Benched for No Good Reason

In front of a prime-time audience of millions, something happened last Monday night that sent shockwaves throughout the world of football. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was benched. Sports commentators and social media users were equally shocked by the sight of the future Hall of Famer riding the bench.

The quarterback change took place in the fourth quarter of a game against Kansas City, one in which the Chiefs went on to win by a score of 41-14. Brady’s management of the game was marked by punts and fumbles and the hand-wringing of fantasy football players across the nation. His performance offered a legitimate reason to take him off the field and give the backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, a chance to show what he could do (which, at least on this particular night, was play better than Tom Brady).

Maybe someone who lives in a state with the NFL team that had the worst record in the league last season (not to be repeated this year) should not point out the flaws of a great player who has led his team to three Super Bowl victories. But, that moment points to the broader idea that if your performance is not up to expectations, you will get pulled for someone else.

At Bertolino LLP, all of our attorneys are dedicated to working their hardest every day to take care of our clients. We know that the men of women of Texas have plenty of options when choosing counsel to represent their professional reputation or help them receive compensation following a car accident or work with family members to develop a plan that is in the best interest of the children when a marriage comes to an end. We never take for granted that our clients have entrusted us with these important tasks and work diligently to maintain the right to stay on the field.

Yes, ethical and dedicated work should be expected in any profession. Unfortunately, though, there are instances in which individuals get “benched” at their jobs for no legitimate reason. Due to discrimination based on race, sex, religion or other characteristics, people get passed over for promotions or even fired altogether. If this has happened to you, it is not right and there is legal recourse. Please call our office today and let us get to work in claiming the justice you deserve.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Good News for Kids in Texas

When it comes to the welfare of the children in our state, any good news is welcome. There is no more important task put before our communities, our elected officials and our families than caring for and protecting the youngest and most innocent among us. Therefore, while knowing that even just one child in Texas dies from abuse or neglect is tragic, it should be recognized as progress that the number of boys and girls who pass away under such horrific and often preventable circumstances is declining.

The state’s Department of Family and Protective Services has reported that 149 children died from abuse or neglect in the past fiscal year, which marks the fourth consecutive year that this number has dropped. We are still failing some of our kids and the systems in place must continue to improve, but more children are staying alive in Texas than they were a few years ago. This is a good thing and it makes the statement that Texas is focused on improving the lives of its children and families.

In some of the instances that created the drop in cases, the intervention of social services made the difference. Other times, an adult in the room demanded change because in order to save the lives of children, a dangerous relationship must be brought to an end. I see both men and women in my office who realized long ago that their marriages were not healthy and those ties needed to be severed, but it was finally acknowledging the impact that abuse or addiction was having on kids in the home that forced them to act.

If your children are being harmed, or if you are facing violence in your home, you need to leave. It can be frightening to stand up and defy the abuser, but there is help out there. At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys who first will listen as you share your individual situation and then develop a legal plan that will get you safe and moving forward.

Please contact our office today. We do not have all of the resources you need to rebuild a safer and stronger family, but we definitely are an important and helpful part of the strategy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Labor Day Reminds Us that We Must Protect the Legal Rights of All Employees

I hope that many of you were able to enjoy the recent three-day weekend that Labor Day provided. This holiday, first celebrated nationally following an act of Congress in 1894, celebrates the contributions and achievements of workers across our country.  While it more commonly seems to be appreciated as an opportunity for grilling burgers, heading out to the lake, or enjoying one more afternoon poolside before the gates are locked until next Memorial Day, the intent should not be forgotten.

Workers in a variety of professions find themselves in dangerous situations more often than you might think. There is the commercial truck driver who travels our crowded highways every day. There is the factory worker who handles machinery that, even when that person is expertly trained, can break down and cause injury. There is the electrician who climbs into tight spaces and handles wires that have malfunctioned.

And there is not only the physical harm, but other less noticeable injuries that can occur. Perhaps there is a female doctor in a medical practice who is harassed by her male peers. Or a black man who is passed over for promotions again and again for reasons that cannot be explained.

In all instances, workers need advocates who will stand up for their rights and protect them in the courtroom when needed. There are personal injury issues and worker discrimination cases and other reasons that employees need outside help when their bosses are not acting in an upright manner. I

If you find yourself in such a situation, the attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. We are experienced advocates who are dedicated to developing relationships with our clients and doing all that we can to get them what they deserve under the law. Please contact us today and let you know your story and how we can be of help to you.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Parental Rights versus Medical Expertise

When do parental rights trump the advice of medical professionals and vice versa? From the decision not to vaccinate children to refusing drug intervention for a sick child on religious grounds, we have seen multiple headlines in which the notion of who knows best and who has the legal right to make such a determination has been debated. There is now another story developing with the same questions at play and while the events are occurring overseas, the details have parents in the United States talking as well.

Five-year-old Ashya King, who is battling brain cancer, was removed from a Southampton Hospital in England by his parents recently as they were frustrated that the hospital not would allow them to seek proton beam treatment for their son. Brett and Naghmeh King took off for Spain in hopes of selling a home they have there and pursuing alternate treatments for their son. But, their faces were soon recognized by hotel employees and they were arrested.

The couple waited in a Spanish prison several days before a prosecutor in London decided to drop the charges and they were released. The Kings have been reunited with their son, but officials still will not allow the boy to leave the hospital. He remains in a hospital bed with armed guards.

The Kings insist they have done nothing wrong and simply want the opportunity to pursue a treatment that they have researched extensively and believe will benefit their son. The government in the United Kingdom counters that to remove the boy from his established medical care is harmful and constitutes neglect or even abuse on the part of the Kings.

Unfortunately, there are other instances in which medical providers not only disagree with family members on a course of treatment, but wrongfully diagnose a patient and then proceed with measures that exacerbate an illness or cause death. When this happens, patients and their families must be afforded their legal recourse and the personal injury attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help.

If you or a loved one has been affected by the consequences of a wrong diagnosis, please contact our offices today. We can help. (continued on next page)

What do you think of the situation in the United Kingdom with the King family? Is the legal system overstepping its bounds by demanding the boy stay in the hospital, or is this the right approach to take in order to protect the child’s health?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

San Antonio Police Gain National Attention for Mental Health Efforts

While other high-profile stories making the headlines this week are depicting (unfairly or not . . . that is an entirely different matter and article topic) members of our law enforcement as being disconnected from the communities they serve, it was wonderful to see our very own San Antonio police force being commended for the steps it has taken to change the way officers approach those with mental illness. With criminal courts and prison cells being crowded with offenders who are struggling with one form or another of psychiatric issues, an alternative perspective is certainly welcome.

San Antonio has developed Crisis Intervention Training, which is a required program for every member of the police force. Additionally, some officers are given more in-depth training and become specialized in the conversations and tactics that must be employed when dealing with an individual who is not mentally well. Instead of shuffling criminals who are charged with misdemeanors in and out of the criminal justice system, law enforcement is working with community groups and medical professionals to place men and women in rehab facilities or counseling centers so that the root of the problem can be addressed.

National news outlets and criminal psychologists are taking note of this progressive initiative taking place in San Antonio and it is exciting to see this great city recognized and its efforts replicated.

There is no doubt that members of the San Antonio police department have made positive changes that will benefit all members of the greater community, from taxpayers who are responsible for the costs of every inmate to citizens concerned about crime levels to individuals who need psychiatric help instead of time behind bars. As partners in creating a legal system that provides justice with compassion for the people involved, Bertolino LLP is excited to see the continued positive outcomes of this outreach by San Antonio officers and the impact it will have on other police departments across the nation.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Houston Radio Personality’s Legal Battles with His Employer Come to an End

Photo: The Houston Chronicle
You are probably going to have a disagreement with your boss every now and again. Maybe it is over allotted vacation time or the way a project is being handled or your repeated and simple request for a copy machine that doesn’t jam paper multiple times a day. In most instances, you hopefully can manage to come to a resolution that satisfies both of you. Or, you just deal with it because you are not the boss and you need your job. There are times, however, that the dispute is one of greater significance and you need to seek legal assistance to defend your reputation and livelihood.

Michael Harris, a popular radio personality who had been with Houston station KCOH for nearly four decades, sued his boss, station president Jesse Dunn, on the basis that he had been given false information as a way of investing thousands of dollars into projects for the station. Harris filed a fraud lawsuit last fall and this month Harris County judges finished the paperwork that removed any liability from Mr. Harris for debts the radio station still owes.

This story seems to have a happy ending. Michael Harris was relieved of a large financial burden that he believes was created in a crooked fashion and last month he seems to have mended fences with his employer as he revived his popular talk show. Sometimes it does not end so neatly.

The glaring example of whistleblowers from the Veterans’ Administration testifying in Congress that their jobs were threatened because they spoke out about the cover ups concerning wait times shows all of us that employees need protection from a boss that is not completely honest or ethical. If you have found yourself threatened with a job loss or being passed over for a promotion because you refuse to participate in questionable activities at work, we can help.

Bertolino LLP has attorneys who specialize in issues of workplace discrimination and wrongful termination. If we can be of service to you, please contact us today.