Archive for June, 2015

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Whistleblower Suits against Bankrupt Businesses

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Sometimes, the organization against which a whistleblower brings a claim is in financial trouble by the time the lawsuit is filed. In some cases, bankruptcy proceedings against the company that has been accused of wrongdoing may have already begun. One whistleblower case that is currently in the works involves Altegrity Inc., a parent company, and its bankrupt subsidiary, US Investigations Services (USIS).

Altegrity is the parent company of other businesses besides US Investigations Services. While US Investigations Services is being liquidated through the bankruptcy process, Altegrity plans to keep all of its other businesses in operation. To protect Altegrity’s ability to do this, attorneys for the company have tried to shield the company, its assets, and its leaders against exposure to liability resulting from a whistleblower lawsuit that has been brought against US Investigations Services.

In his whistleblower lawsuit, a former US Investigations Services Employee, Blake Percival, claims that the company was paid tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for work that it never completed, or that it was completed in a substandard fashion. Percival says that US Investigations Services encouraged its employees to essentially dump unfinished security investigations, and to rush through other investigations and mark them as completed as soon as possible in order to obtain maximum compensation. Percival has asked the bankruptcy court judge to refuse to allow US Investigations Services and Altegrity to declare bankruptcy to dodge responsibility for the damage that they have caused. The federal government has announced that it may also seek damages for violations of federal law, and attorneys for the federal government have also asked the bankruptcy court to deny immunity to Altegrity.

Security investigations are an important type of federal government work, and the failure of United States Investigations Services to perform its work properly resulted in several notable errors. For example, it approved Edward Snowden for work at the National Security Agency. It also approved Aaron Alexis for a federal position. Alexis went on to kill twelve people during a shooting at the Washington Naval Yard. The company also exposed multiple thousands of files that contained information belonging to Department of Homeland Security employees during a recent cyber-attack. United States Information Services experienced financial difficulties after the government contracts that had been sustaining it were not renewed, and the company eventually went bankrupt.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Providing Comprehensive Support for Mississippi Whistleblowers

When a whistleblower pursues a claim against a company that is in dire financial straits, they need a strong legal team behind them. The Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can provide the comprehensive support that you need as you pursue your claim. We understand that you are likely to have many questions and concerns as your case progresses, and we are here to provide you with information and guidance every step of the way. If you have questions about whistleblower lawsuits, please call the knowledgeable and dedicated Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Share Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Many motorcycle riders are enthusiastic about almost everything about riding motorcycles. However, there is one thing that even the most enthusiastic riders are likely to agree can ruin a good ride, if not end it entirely. That one thing is when the drivers of other vehicles fail to yield. When motorists do not yield to motorcycle riders, it is not just upsetting. The failure to yield can be dangerous, and even deadly.

Motorcycle riders are responsible for doing what they can in order to make themselves more visible. Things like using headlights all of the time and wearing highly visible clothing make motorcycle riders easier to see. However, simply seeing motorcycle riders on the road is not enough. Motorists who share the road with motorcycles must always be aware of their surroundings, and they must yield to oncoming motorcycles just as they would yield to other oncoming vehicles.

In addition to yielding to oncoming motorcycles, there are a few other things that motorists can do to improve their awareness of motorcycles on the road. For example, looking twice in each direction before entering an intersection is a good way to make sure that you don’t miss an approaching motorcycle, or any other vehicle, for that matter. Also, checking your mirrors when changing lanes and when using on ramps and off ramps can help you avoid entering the path of a motorcycle. Using turn signals lets other drivers, including motorcycle riders, know where you are going so that they can anticipate and react to your movements.

Another important thing that you can do to share the road more safely with motorcycles is to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and any motorcycles that you see. Many motorcycles are designed in such a way that the driver can slow down by downshifting through the gears, applying the brakes only when it is almost time to stop. For this reason, motorcycles may appear to stop suddenly or slow down rapidly. The minimum safe distance between your car and a motorcycle is twice the distance that you would leave between your vehicle and any other vehicle. When you are stopped in traffic or sitting at a traffic light, it is also important to leave additional space between your vehicle and any motorcycles that are in front of you. Motorcycle riders sometimes need extra space and time to navigate intersections, especially if the pavement is uneven or wet.

Barrett Law PLLC: Top Quality Representation for Mississippi Accident Victims  

Motorists and motorcyclists can share the road safely, if they work together to follow the rules of the road and pay close attention to what they, and others around them, are doing. The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help people who have been injured and families who have lost loved ones in Mississippi automobile accidents. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please call our office today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Explore the Connection between Accidents and Insurance Rates

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Did you know that your car insurance premium does not automatically increase every single time that you have an accident? Somewhere along the way, many of us have adopted the notion that any car accident, no matter how minor, will cause our insurance rates to go up. This is simply not true, and while some accidents do cause rate increases, others have no effect on rates whatsoever. It is important that drivers understand this, because some accidents go unreported as a result of this faulty assumption.

Every insurer that offers coverage for automobiles calculates its rates in a slightly different way. When you make a claim, your insurer will consider a few relevant factors in addition to the circumstances surrounding the current accident, in deciding whether to raise your insurance rate. These factors include whether the accident was your fault, the number of claims that you have made in the past, your driving record, and the payout amounts of previous claims that you have filed.

To add to the confusion, some insurers offer “accident forgiveness,” which can reduce the likelihood of an accident affecting your insurance rates. While the exact definition of accident forgiveness varies from insurer to insurer, the general concept is that if the laws of your state permit and you meet certain other criteria, your first at-fault accident will not affect your insurance rates. Of course, as you might imagine, restrictions and exclusions do apply, so be sure that you read and understand your policy.

One major factor that will weigh heavily on whether or not an accident will affect your insurance premium is if you were violating the law at the time of the accident. Speeding, failing to obey red lights and stop signs, and driving under the influence of alcohol are common traffic violations that can lead to car accidents, but they are not the only ones. The accidents that are caused by drivers violating these and other traffic laws often cause large amounts of damage and injury. A driver who is at fault in an accident that occurred while they were violating one or more traffic laws can expect a large increase in their insurance rate if their insurer does not drop them altogether.

Barrett Law PLLC: Superior Representation for Mississippi Car Accident Victims

Drivers need to know that filing an insurance claim after a car accident will not automatically increase their insurance premiums. Please do not let a concern over car insurance rates prevent you from obtaining compensation for the injuries and damages that you have suffered as a result of a car accident. Also, be sure to get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can, so that you can get the care that you need and create a record of your injuries. If you were hurt in a Mississippi accident, the Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help you. Call our office today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Describe the SEC Whistleblower Program

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

In 2010, when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act became law, there was a great deal of conjecture regarding its future. Would the bounty program succeed? How would the SEC support the program? These and the many other questions that people were asking could only really be answered by the passage of time.

The SEC whistleblower program has now been in effect for over four years. Over fifty million dollars in bounties has been awarded to whistleblowers so far. The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower has already received thousands of tips from whistleblowers in the United States and at least sixty foreign countries. Additional tips continue to come in, and there is no reason to expect that this will stop any time soon. As long as there are companies that are refusing to correct improper conduct, whistleblower will have a reason to come forward and expose their actions.

While the SEC acknowledges its role in supporting and encouraging whistleblowers, people within the SEC are quick to point out that the program would not be nearly as successful as it is without the whistleblowers. These individuals have enabled the SEC to find and stop ongoing fraud, and even to prevent imminent fraud. The SEC whistleblower program has also resulted in an increase of self-reporting from companies. This is likely due to the fact that  companies are now aware of just how willing people are to come forward after witnessing improper conduct if it is not corrected.

The SEC has proven to be a steadfast advocate for whistleblowers, assigning the highest priority to cases of alleged wrongdoing which allege not only improper conduct, but also, retaliation towards individuals who could expose the wrongdoing. It has also extended its advocacy and protection to people who have experienced retaliation after reporting possible violations internally, without having even taken their concerns up to the SEC. It is expected that the SEC whistleblower program will enjoy continued success, especially as more cases are pursued and the public consciousness of how whistleblowers are protected increases.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Providing Strong Advocacy for Mississippi Whistleblowers

The SEC whistleblower program continues to enjoy success, as more and more individuals feel confident that they can report wrongdoing that the companies that they work for have been alerted to and have refused to correct of their own accord. Reporting improper conduct under the SEC whistleblower program does not guarantee that a whistleblower will receive a bounty, but even without a guarantee of payment, people are continuing to come forward, perhaps because of the support and advocacy that whistleblowers receive from the SEC. If you would like to pursue a whistleblower claim, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC know how to provide you with the support you need.  Our attorneys are experienced at handling whistleblower lawsuits, and they can help you pursue your claim.  Call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Talk about Child Safety Seats

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Some Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and nineteen, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization which is dedicated to preventing injuries to children. Sometimes, the problem is that the child was not buckled into a child safety seat while they were riding in the vehicle. In cases where the child was riding in a child safety seat, the injury or death was often caused by misuse of the child safety seat that the child was buckled into at the time of the accident.

It is estimated that in the United States, child safety seats are used incorrectly over seventy percent of the time. This includes failing to use restraints for child passengers, as riding without a restraint greatly increases the risk of automobile accident injuries and death for children. Even when parents do use safety seats and seat belts, there is plenty of room for error. From children being placed in the wrong type of restraint for their size and age, to incorrectly securing the restraint in the vehicle or the child in the restraint, there are, unfortunately, many ways to incorrectly use restraints and safety seats for children. Notwithstanding, if parents and caregivers educate themselves about how to properly choose and use child safety seats, they can make riding in the car a lot safer for the little ones in their lives.

Each state has its own laws regarding child safety seats. Mississippi has a primary booster seat law. The law requires all children under the age of seven to ride in a child restraint that is designed to hold children of their age and size. State laws like the one in Mississippi provide a good basic framework for keeping children safe in the car. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a great resource for parents and caregivers who want to learn more about choosing and using child safety seats. Some of the recommendations that are made by the AAP go above and beyond what most state laws require, such as suggesting that all children under two years of age ride in a rear facing car seat. The AAP website also offers answers to common questions about installing car seats, and tips for using them properly.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Those Who Have Been Injured In Mississippi Automobile Accidents  

Child safety seats and booster seats can save lives, when they are used correctly. Parents can increase the chance that they and their children will arrive at their destination safely buckling themselves and their children into the appropriate restraints for every car trip. Unfortunately, even if they are using the correct child safety seat or booster seat, children can still get badly injured or even killed in an automobile accident. If your child was hurt or killed in a Mississippi car crash, the experienced and dedicated Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC are here to help you. Please call us today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys Say Claim Help Centers Have Closed

Friday, June 19th, 2015

The BP oil spill settlement program has made the transition from helping Gulf Coast residents file claims for damages related to the spill to processing the claims that have been filed. As part of that transition, all remaining claimant help centers in Mississippi and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast have closed. The program is now directing all of its resources towards getting the claims resolved in a timely fashion. That is a good thing, because many new claims were filed recently in anticipation of the filing deadline.

Claimants who wanted to participate in the settlement were supposed to file their claims before midnight on June 8, 2015. Claimant help centers were a valuable resource for those who needed help filing claims, and many claims were filed with the assistance of help center staff. Between the time that claims began to be filed as part of the 2012 settlement and mid-April of this year, approximately three hundred and twenty thousand claims have been filed, and five billion dollars’ worth of compensation has already been paid out. As the June eighth filing deadline approached, thousands more claims were filed, with some claimants waiting until the evening of the very last day to file their paperwork. BP officials estimate that by the time all of the claims have been processed, the company will have paid out over ten billion dollars to resolve the claims associated with the spill.

Overall, the claims that have been submitted allege that a wide variety of damages have been caused to both individuals and businesses by the BP oil spill. For example, recreational fishing boat operators experienced a sharp drop in business after the spill, and while business is beginning to pick back up again, it is still not where it had been before the spill. Many business owners who filed claims are concerned that they may not be able to recover, or that they won’t recover much because they were unable to estimate with a great deal of certainty just how much business each of them had lost. Business owners aren’t the only people who filed claims for economic damages related to the oil spill. Some individuals filed claims that were based on being unable to catch fish to eat, stating that fish and shellfish from local waters had been a major part of their food supply prior to the oil spill.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Those Who Have Been Affected by the BP Oil Spill

The Mississippi BP Oil Spill Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have been following all of the latest developments related to BP oil spill litigation as they happen. We are dedicated to helping our Gulf Coast clients resolve their BP oil spill claims. If you have filed a claim that is related to the BP oil spill, we are here to help you.  Call the knowledgeable and experienced BP oil spill attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Wrongful Death Actions

Monday, June 8th, 2015

If someone in your family died in a car accident that was caused by the negligent actions of another person, you may be experiencing many feelings right now. For example, sadness is a natural reaction to the loss of a close friend or family member. Anger is also a common feeling that many people experience when someone that they love dies, especially when their death is sudden and unanticipated. Confusion is another common feeling for people who are experiencing a loss. Altogether, mixed emotions are normal during the grieving process, and it can be some time before those who have suffered a loss are able to work through their feelings surrounding the loss and take any actions that they are able to take to move forward in their own lives.

If you have experienced a loss because of the negligence of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death action against the party whose negligence caused your loved one to die. A wrongful death action can serve the dual purpose of holding a negligent person responsible for the devastation that they have caused and providing compensation to the family of the deceased. In Mississippi, the persons who can file a wrongful death claim on the behalf of someone who has died include their full-blooded and half-blooded family members, and their statutory beneficiaries.

When a family member or group of family members brings a wrongful death action, their claim can address a few different types of damages. For example, funeral expenses and any expenses associated with the decedent’s medical care are often sought in wrongful death cases, as are damages related to the pain and suffering that the decedent experienced. A wrongful death action can also ask for an award of the money that the deceased would likely have gone on to earn had he or she had the chance to fulfill an average life expectancy.  Damages for the loss of companionship of the deceased may also be pursued as part of a wrongful death lawsuit in Mississippi. There is even the possibility of an award of punitive damages, if it can be proven that the defendant was grossly negligence or engaged in willful misconduct.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Superior Legal Representation for Families of Mississippi Accident Victims

When an automobile accident that is caused by negligence results in the death of one or more people, the family of the deceased may be able to bring a wrongful death action on their behalf. If a negligent driver has caused a loss in your family, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC want to help you get through this difficult time in your life. You are experiencing a tragic loss because of another person’s actions, and you deserve to have only the best in legal representation. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping you. Call Barrett Law PLLC today, at 1 (800) 707-9577, to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys Discuss Homeowners Association Whistleblower Case

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Approximately ten years ago, Wanda Murray and others exposed a scheme that was designed to defraud and take control over multiple homeowners’ associations. According to Murray, she was intimidated and harassed by the people who were involved in the fraudulent activity. Other individuals within her group of condominium owners were also targeted for harassment after they became aware of the improper conduct of those involved in the scheme.

Intimidation is at the heart of this whistleblower case, where some individuals were singled out for public mistreatment as examples of what could happen to any others who dared to speak out. Homeowners’ association meetings were essentially controlled by those involved in the scheme, and armed individuals attended meetings to send a clear message of intimidation. Homeowners who wished to speak out on important issues like the repair of construction defects that were present in their homes did not dare to do so under those circumstances. Construction defect repair and other issues were addressed however the controlling group decided they would be handled. Money from construction defect settlements was stolen by at least one company that was owned by an individual within the controlling group. Badly needed repair work was not done on many of the affected properties and improperly or partially done at others. As a result, homes in the developments that were targeted by the scheme lost value, causing economic damage to the homeowners which totaled in the millions of dollars.

The homeowners’ association control scheme was quite involved, with one of the defendants recruiting straw buyers to purchase properties in condominium developments. He then got those individuals onto the homeowners’ association boards by rigging the elections. With people hand-picked by this defendant in powerful decision making positions, his company secured profitable construction defect repair contracts that were worth over seven million dollars, and then performed minimal work under those contracts. The actual work that was performed was valued at about a million and a half dollars. Subcontractors were also defrauded as part of the scheme. When the scheme was brought down, some homeowners had already lost money. Others just barely escaped from sustaining losses of their own because authorities had been informed of the scheme and stepped in just in time.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Representing Whistleblowers throughout Mississippi

It can be difficult to come forward and expose improper corporate conduct, especially if you have been harassed or intimidated. However, it is important that wrongdoing be exposed so that further fraud does not occur, and so that those who have already been affected can be compensated for their losses. If you would like to learn more about whistleblower lawsuits, the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC can help you.  Our attorneys understand the whistleblower claims process and we can provide you with the information that you are looking for. To learn more, call our office, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys Discuss Accidents Caused by Drivers Taking Selfie

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

If you use social media, then you know what “selfies” are. In fact, when you check in on your social media accounts, you probably see plenty of selfies that have been posted by your friends and family. High quality cameras now come as standard equipment on most cell phones, and photo sharing applications enable cell phone and tablet users to edit pictures on the go. These technological advances have helped to make taking self-portraits, or “selfies” as they are commonly called, a popular pastime for many people.

Of course, there are many situations in which taking selfies can be dangerous, and even deadly. While you may feel as though that is common knowledge, more people than you might imagine are taking selfies in one of the most dangerous situations imaginable – behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. People are taking distracted driving to a dangerous new level, snapping selfies, and even posting them online while driving. If you are wondering how many people actually take selfies while driving, a recent study from AT&T and Braun Research suggests that approximately seventeen percent of drivers have taken a selfie while driving. In fact, driving selfies are all too easy to find on social media sites like Instagram, where users can help others find their pictures by labeling them with hashtags like #driving, #drivingselfie, and #hopeidontcrash.

This past March, Mississippi banned texting and driving.  Many states impose similar penalties for using social media while driving as they do for texting while driving, and it is unclear as of yet whether Mississippi will do the same. Bans on texting and smartphone use have been shown to be effective in reducing the amount of accidents caused by distracted driving, but not all drivers are so easily deterred. Drivers of all ages are continuing to snap and post selfies while driving, and some driving selfies are even posted by truck drivers in their eighteen wheelers and people who are driving construction vehicles and other types of heavy machinery.

Whenever you get in your car and drive somewhere, you may unknowingly be sharing the road with someone who is willing to risk their lives and the lives of others by taking selfies while driving. You can do your part to reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities by refraining from texting, taking selfies, or using social media while driving, and teaching your children to do the same.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Serving the Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents

If you have suffered an injury or a loss because of a distracted driver, the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC may be able to help you. Automobile accident cases can be complicated, especially when there is an injury or a loss involved. Our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys is ready to assist you and your family during this difficult and challenging time in your lives. Please call our office today, at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial consultation.

Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Attorneys Discuss Opiates as Treatment for Chronic Pain

Monday, June 1st, 2015

In the past, when a workplace injury caused an injured worker to develop chronic pain, it is likely that their doctor prescribed opioids for pain management. Unfortunately, while opioids do relieve pain temporarily, they do not help injured people recover, nor do they prevent the pain from occurring again. Even worse, they are highly addictive.

Recently, there has been severe criticism of the frequent use of opioids to treat chronic pain. There has also been regulatory action on the topic, with the net result being a dramatic drop in the number of opioid prescriptions that are being written for patients with chronic pain. This is a step in the right direction, but worker’s compensation, which has covered opioid medications for chronic pain, does not yet cover treatments that are designed to prevent chronic pain or treatments that will aid in recovery from chronic pain.

Some people who have experienced chronic pain following a workplace injury have engaged in behavioral approaches to chronic pain. These programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can help prevent chronic pain. Behavioral approaches have also been shown to help patients recover from chronic pain.

People who have been managing their chronic pain with opioids can find success with behavioral approaches if they are encouraged to access those approaches by their insurers. For example, some behavioral approaches involve tapering off of opioids so that the patient can understand how their body would feel without them. This, in and of itself, can be a very telling experience. Sometimes, an attempt to come off of opioids will require admission to a detox facility. At other times, coming off of opioids may result in much less pain being felt than the patient had anticipated feeling, which may indicate that the opioids had been causing the patient to feel pain more intensely than they would have felt it without them.

Telephone coaching programs are easy for injured workers to access. Some workers who have engaged in telephone coaching programs report that they have been able to learn new ways of thinking about chronic pain, and techniques for managing it without opioids. This is especially important because many injured workers who have been prescribed opioids for chronic pain would rather prevent the pain or recover from it than push it away temporarily with this highly addictive class of medication.

When worker’s compensation insurers deal with workers who experience chronic pain because of a workplace injury, they have options. Increasingly, more insurers are encouraging injured workers to try behavioral approaches to pain prevention and management first, before proceeding to using opioids to relieve the pain.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Helping Injured Mississippi Workers Pursue Workers’ Compensation Claims

The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC understand that it can be difficult to live with the chronic pain that sometimes develops after a workplace injury. Fortunately, there are some approaches to treating chronic pain that have helped people to prevent and even recover from it. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may be able to access these alternative approaches to opioid treatment. If you have been injured at work, seek out a knowledgeable guide who can help you navigate the workers’ compensation claim process.  Call the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free, initial consultation.