Category Archives: Articles


I am a forensic psychiatrist with experience and expertise in correctional health care administration and clinical practice. My area of expertise is suicide and wrongful death in jails and prisons. By researching and analyzing risk factors of suicide and developing prevention strategies, I have established considerable expertise in the field. As a consultant, I provide expert opinions and, if reasonable medical opinion, testimony on disputes such as standard of care, deliberate indifference, and civil rights violations. I have consulted on at least 70 cases under litigation in the United States and testified in at least 20 cases.


During the last forty years, courts have attempted to address issues about legal liability related to suicide. The decisions cover various practices in jails and prisons, including diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, communication, policies, staffing, and training.

1          Inadequacy of mental health evaluation

In Comstock v. Mc Crary (1), psychologist Mc Crary did not perform an adequate psychological evaluation and risk assessment of an inmate who committed suicide. Had he done a detailed psychological evaluation, he would have known that several enemies who called him a snitch bothered the decedent.

2          Failure to identify obvious and substantial risk factors

In Williams v. Mehra (2), the significant issue involved a failure to identify an inmate’s substantial risk factors, including depression, psychiatric hospitalization, suicide ideation, and a previous suicide attempt with antidepressant tablets. The psychiatrists neglected to review the record that contained his diagnosis, suicidality, and specific treatment measure to address his suicidality, i.e., prescribing liquid medication.  Also, procedurally, the nurse failed to manage his medication on a watch take basis.

3                Psychotropic medication practice 

In Greason V. Kemp, (3), the Court held abrupt discontinuation of psychotropic medications of an inmate with a recent history of suicide attempts constituted deliberate indifference.  Greason killed himself in a Georgia prison. A doctor abruptly discontinued his antidepressant medication without reviewing his clinical file, conducting a mental status examination, or ordering close monitoring. The Court identified the department’s failure to train the staff, inadequate mental health care delivery, and delayed or denied treatment.

In Steele v. Shah, (4), a psychiatrist discontinued Steele’s psychiatric medications. Steele had a long history of depression, drug addiction, and attempted suicide twice before starting his long sentence.  The district court granted the psychiatrist’s motion for a summary judgment, indicating that his decision was nothing more than a disputed medical opinion. On appeal, the 11th  Circuit held that “psychiatric needs can constitute serious medical needs and that the quality of psychiatric care one receives can be so substantial a deviation from the accepted standards as to evidence deliberate indifference to serious psychiatric needs.”

4          Officers’ failure to communicate an arrestee’s suicide statements

In Gordon V. Kidd (5), the Court established that failure by an arresting officer to communicate to booking officers constitutes deliberate indifference.

In Connecticut v. City of Reno, (6) the Court of appeals reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of two officers because there was “sufficient evidence to create a genuine fact regarding defendants’ “subjective awareness” of a serious medical need. 

In Freedman v. City of Allentown, (7), in contrast to Gordon v. Kidd and Conn v. City of Reno, the Court decided that a probation officer’s knowledge of an arrestee’s previous suicide attempt did not reach the threshold of deliberate indifference when he did not inform the arresting officer. Therefore, his actions were not intentional, malicious, or reckless, and “at most the averments against the officer amount to a lack of due care and are not actionable as a 1983 claim.” 

5          Suicidal ideation, suicide watch, and logging 

Mental health professionals often release inmates who deny suicidal ideation from suicide watch.  Some inmates intentionally conceal their true intentions after they make their decision to exit the world. 

In Woodard v. Myres, (8), the claims centered on the failure to institute standard suicide watch, lack of suicide watch monitoring and logging, premature discontinuation of suicide watch, and noncompliance with the facility’s policies and practice.

In Simmons v. Navajo County, (9) the Court opined that placing a pretrial detainee on suicide watch, even the highest level, standing alone “does not demonstrate that an official was subjectively aware of a substantial risk of imminent suicide.”  As per Simmons ‘ Court, determinants of imminent suicide risk include “observed suicidal actions, heard statements of suicidal, or witnessed evidence of suicidal intent,” indicating a strong likelihood of suicide.

In Hott v. Minnesota (10), falsification of suicide watch by an officer resulted in an unfavorable court decision for the officer.  

In Minix v. Canarecci (11), the district court opined that there was enough evidence to allow a jury to find a direct causal link between the Jail’s practice of classifying and releasing detainees from suicide watch and suicide.

In Broughton v. Premier Health Care Servs., (12), the issue was intentional concealment of suicidal ideation, making it difficult to stake a successful claim against correctional officials. The Court opined, “While Broughton’s disclaimer of suicidal ideation does not automatically insulate the defendants from liability, it does undermine the claim that they willfully ignored his past medical history and current symptomology.”

Strickler V. Mc Cord (13) illustrates the difficulty for jail officials charged with the care of inmates who are determined to commit suicide.  The Court found, “He lied on the intake form; he lied when questioned about suicidal thoughts at the Bowen Center, and he deceived the guards about his medication and the razor blades.” 

6          Recent Suicide attempt and failure to get prior medical records.

A recent suicide attempt is the most significant predictor of suicide. The courts have not opined on the recency of suicide attempt relevant to a liability claim. Clinically, a near-lethal suicide attempt within six months to a year has the most predictive value.  Failure to question an inmate about history of past suicide attempts can lead to potential liability. While some inmates intentionally withhold the information, the prior records serve as the most reliable vehicle to get such information. To prevail in a lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish the decedent previously made near-lethal suicide attempt/s/ 

In Terry v. Rice (14), County officials went out of their way not to collect information from the prison where the decedent was transferred, presumably for “safekeeping.”  In denying the summary judgment, the Court opined, “Going out of your way to avoid acquiring unwelcome knowledge is a species of intent. Being an ostrich involves a level of knowledge sufficient for a conviction of crimes requiring specific intent.”

In Mc Kee v. Turner, (!5) the treating psychiatrist was sued for failing to get prior jail records that indicated that the decedent had attempted suicide by hanging six weeks before he arrived at the prison. The dissenting judge opined, “McKee is distinguishable in one specific aspect, i.e., failure to obtain medical records.”  

7          Diagnosis and Treatment Issues 

Prisoners have claimed several diagnostic and treatment issues to support § 1983 claims. 

a)        Diagnosis of Mental illness

The diagnosis of a mental disorder or failure to diagnose per se does not support a claim of liability. While inmates diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder have a high degree of suicidal propensity, unless indicators of suicide vulnerability accompany the diagnosis, the claim is not sustainable.   

 The Courts have held that displays of erratic behavior or signs of mental illness, without specific indicia of suicidal tendency, “do not rise to the level of a serious risk of suicide” and do not provide “the level of notice” required to trigger the deliberate indifference standard (16, 17)   

b)        Incorrect diagnosis

In Steele v. Choi (18), the Court concluded incorrect diagnosis or improper treatment does not support an Eighth Amendment claim. In affirming a summary judgment in favor of Dr. Choi, the 7th Circuit opined, “Estelle requires us to distinguish between `deliberate indifference to serious medical needs on the one hand, and `negligence’ in diagnosing or treating a medical condition.”

c)         Intentional refusal to provide medical care.

Courts have acknowledged that intentionally refusing to respond to an inmate’s complaints, including repeated requests to see a mental health professional constituting deliberate indifference. Thus, to prevail, the plaintiff must establish the providers intentionally refused to provide medical care or denied access to a physician. Further, such refusal must cause the inmate undue suffering or threat of injury.

d)        Delay in treatment

Courts have established that repeated delays in treatment of medical or dental conditions support a claim of deliberate medical indifference (19, 20). However, isolated delays or delays due to the natural course of events in a facility and administrative procedures, not an uncommon occurrence in a correctional setting, may not be actionable.  

Delay of treatment claim depends on the length of delay, the nature of the medical need, and the reason for the delay (16)   In Harris v Coweta County, (21), the Court held that such “a delay created a genuine issue of material fact about deliberate indifference.”

Delay in responding to repeated requests to see a mental health professional by a potentially suicidal inmate may result in a liability claim.   In O’Quinn v. Lashbrook (22), the Court decided a claim of delayed treatment was meritorious.

e)        Improper medication or modality of treatment

Improper medication treatment and medical supervision by the psychiatrist can support a claim of deliberate indifference if it can be proved such improper medication treatment cause suicidal ideation and serious injury resulting in death. Prisoners are not entitled to a specific prescription or modality of treatment if the choice of medication prescribed by the physician or the modality of treatment addresses his medical need.

f)         Inadequate treatment

In Durmer V. O’Carroll, (23), the Court opined that all inadequate treatment provided to a prisoner could not be construed as deliberately indifferent. Instead, it can simply be “no more than mere negligence.” The Court further opined a failure or delay in providing prescribed treatment if deliberate and motivated by non-medical factors, a constitutional claim may be presented.

In Arenas v. GA Department Corrections, (24), the Court found that a failure to provide adequate treatment to a young inmate with a longstanding history of depression and bipolar disorder constituted deliberate indifference.

       g)  Inadequate monitoring of inmates in administrative segregation

Periodic reviews of inmate’s suitability to continued stay in administrative segregation is a standard procedure.  Courts have recognized “substantial risk of psychological harm and decompensation posed by extended placement in segregation” including anxiety, panic, paranoia, depression, PTSD, psychosis, and disintegration of a basic sense of self-identity (25, 26)

8)         Policy, staffing, and training 

In many deliberate indifference lawsuits, counties face Monell claims related to suicide prevention policy, mental health and correctional staffing, and training.

  1.    Absence of suicide prevention policy   

In White v. Watson (27), the Court opined that the absence of suicide prevention policy and lack of training and supervision were “the moving force behind the failure to protect the inmate from the known risk of suicide in the Jail.  

Other Court decisions show that for a successful claim based on the absence of suicide prevention policy, evidence must be presented to show a pattern of suicide or suicide attempts.

         2)        Policy or custom causing or contributing risk of harm.

In Gibson v. County of Washoe, (28) the Ninth Circuit opined that County’s failure to respond to the decedent’s urgent need for medical attention was a direct result of “an affirmative County policy that was deliberately indifferent, under the Farmer standard, to this need.”

In Gates v. Cook (29), the Court noted multiple policies or practices that combine to deprive a prisoner of a “single, identifiable human need,” such as mental health care, can support a finding of Eighth Amendment liability.

          3)        Shortage of staff

In Bragg v. Dunn (30), the Court found persistent and severe mental-health and correctional staff shortages, combined with chronic and significant overcrowding, as the “overarching issues that permeate” the contributing factors of inadequate mental health care and suicide.

            4)        Failure to Train

Failure to train the staff focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in City of Canton v. Harris  (31). A County can be found deliberately indifferent if it fails to train officers to recognize suicide indicators, policy issues, monitoring procedures.   Officers cannot be held liable for deliberate indifference “unless an inmate was so obviously mentally ill that the deputies, who had received no training regarding the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, must have known that [he] was exhibiting symptoms of mental illness” (28)


The court decisions noted above provide valuable insights and directions to develop appropriate risk management strategies in jails and prisons.


Note: This article is abstracted from my book in preparation, titled, “Suicide in Jails and prisons: preventive and legal perspectives.


  • Comstock v. Mc Crary, [2001], 273 F.3d 693, 6th Cir
  • Williams v. Mehra [1999], 186F, 3d 686,690,6th Cir
  • Greason v. Kemp, (1990) 891 F.2d 829 (11t h Cir
  • Steele v. Shah, [1996], 87 F 3rd 1166, 11th Cir
  • Gordon v. Kidd, (1992) 971 F.2d 1087, 1095, 4th Cir
  • Conn v. City of Reno, 591 F.3d at 1105, 9th Cir
  • Freedman v. City of Allentown (1988) 853 F.2d 1111, 1117, 3d Cir
  • Woodward v. Myres, (2002) No. 00 C 6010, 99 C 0290, at *1, N.D. Ill.
  • Simmons v. Navajo County, (2010) 609 F.3d 1011, 1018, 9th Ci
  • Hott ex rel. Estate of Hott v. Hennepin County, (2001) 260 F3d 901, 8th Cir   
  • Minix v. Canarecci, (2010) 597 F.3d 824, 833, 7th Cir
  • Broughton v. Premier Health Care Servs Inc, (2016), No. 15-4150, 6th          Cir
  • Strickler v. McCord, (2004) 306 F. Supp. 2d 818, N.D. Ind
  • Terry v. Rice, (2003) CAUSE No. IP00-0600-C K/H, at *1, S.D. Ind
  • McKee v. Turner, (1997) No. 96-3446, 1997 WL 525680, *3, 6th Cir
  • Jackson, 787 F.3d at 1354-56.
  • Cavalieri, 321 F.3d at 621
  • Steele v. Choi, (1996) 82 F.3d 175, 178, 7th Cir
  • Gutierrez v. Peters, (1997) 111 F.3d 1364, 1371, 7th Cir
  • Hunt v. Dental Dept. (1989) ,865 F.2d 198, 200, 9th Cir 
  • Harris v. Coweta County, (1994) 21 F.3d 388, 393-94, 11th
  •  O’Quinn v. Lashbrook,(2019) No. 18-cv-2013-SMY, S.D. Ill
  • Durmer v. O’Carroll, (1993) 991 F.2d 64, 69, 3d Cir
  • Arenas v. Ga. Dep’t of Corr, (2020) No. CV416-320, at *2, S.D. Ga.
  • Palakovic v. Wetzel,(2017) 854 F.3d 209, 225-26, 3d. Cir.
  • Braggs v. Dunn, (2019) 367 F. Supp. 3d 1340, 1344, M.D. Ala
  • White v. Watson, (2016) No. 16-cv-560-JPG-DGW, S.D. Ill.
  • Gibson v. County of Washoe, (2002) 290 F.3d 1175, 1189, 9th Cir
  • Gates v. Cook,(2004) 376 F.3d 323, 333, 5th Cir
  • Braggs v. Dunn, (2017) 257 F. Supp. 3d 1171, M.D. Ala
  • City of Canton v. Harris, (1989) 489 U.S. 378

How to Proceed When Dealing with Criminal Drug Charges

Criminal drug charges can threaten your future. If you don’t spend time in prison, you’ll still spend time on probation or parole. You could be forced to pay hefty fines, too. That’s why you need to take care and respond appropriately when accused. Here’s how to proceed when dealing with criminal drug charges.

Don’t Give Them Anything That Can Be Used Against You

Have you been pulled over for a traffic violation? Don’t do anything suspicious like throwing things in the back seat or rushing to hide things in the passenger compartment. Don’t get into a confrontation with officers asking to see ID. Acting like you don’t want to be searched can lead to them searching your car or your person. You might be stopped for legitimate reasons, too, such as matching the suspect in a crime. Be calm, present ID, and don’t answer any more questions than you’re legally obligated to answer. For example, you need to give them your name. You don’t need to give them an explanation for what you’re doing or why you’re in the area. Have the police shown up to your address in response to a wild party? Turn down the music, ask people to calm down, and don’t give them a reason to enter the premises. Clean up things as the party progresses so that there aren’t open beer bottles or bongs sitting in the middle of the room.

Hire a Good Attorney Immediately

Don’t try to defend yourself against drug charges. And don’t try to explain what happened. Police will use everything you say against you, and nothing you say will make them dismiss the charges. Hire a good Ottawa drug lawyer. Furthermore, you should seek their advice before you answer any questions from the police. Always have legal counsel present, whether it is a court hearing or an interview with the cops. Contact your attorney when you have questions so that you don’t make a mistake.

Follow Your Attorney’s Advice

This shouldn’t need to be said, but unfortunately, too many people negate the value of having good legal counsel by not following their advice. If your attorney says not to talk to the cops, don’t meet with them to “give your side of the story”. If you’re advised to stay silent about the case, don’t complain about the arrest and try to explain it all away on social media. The police can use what you say on social media against you. If you’re advised to stay clean, don’t push it by getting drunk or smoking cannabis to relax.

Stay Out of Trouble

An unfortunately reality of life is that you are more likely to be found guilty is you demonstrate a habit of “troublemaking”. If you’re facing drug charges, a DUI arrest can be used against you. Why? Because it shows you choose to abuse other recreational substances. That’s aside from the fact the tests may show illegal drugs in your system. Subsequent arrests for drug crimes can prevent your attorney from negotiating down the charges in a plea deal.

If you’re given parole, probation or a stint in rehab, obey the rules so that you don’t get hit with more severe consequences.

5 Steps to Finding the Right Engineering Expert Witness

It’s not always easy to find someone who can help you determine who is at fault for a failure, a safety issue, or a contractual breach. Ultimately, you want someone who understands the law and has a firm grasp of the concept of engineering and everything pertaining to it. If you need an engineering expert witness or licensed engineers who aid in risk assessments, consider taking these five steps below.  

1. Discover the Case’s Issues

Before reaching out to a litigation economics consulting firm like the Knowles Group for help, it can be worth working through the issues of the case to determine what it is you really need. Find out what the client’s story is and outline the technical facts for each claimed matter. It may surprise you to learn how many unique elements there are in a case and how each of them can determine the type of expert you use. It can also often help to determine the type of structures involved, the failures or issues, and any unique components that stand out.

2. Determine the Expertise Required

Upon establishing the facts of the case, you may then be able to narrow down the specialty fields you might require. For example, you may need an engineering expert witness who can work closely with a commercial building expert witness. They might also need to have a firm understanding of a specific type of framework or roofing material that sits at the center of the claim. The more precise you can be, the easier it might be to find the expert you are looking for.

3. Consider the Timeframe

Not every expert witness you call upon will have the capacity to be tied up in a case that takes years to resolve. During the early days of exploring a claim, identify the possible timeframe. For example, the average crown court case can take 525 days from the offense to the case’s conclusion. However, an engineer’s role in that case can be as simple as a brief analysis. Being able to pass this information on to expert witnesses can be helpful in selecting the right ones for your needs.

4. View Their Qualifications and Experience

For judges to approve of an engineering expert witness, they often require that they have a professional engineering license. This license is indicative of years of experience, a high level of education, and adherence to business and ethics codes. This is why experience matters in expert witness testimony. Without this qualification and resulting experience, you may not be able to put together a strong case with as much expert evidence as you may have hoped.

5. Learn About Their Court Experience

A qualified engineer may be highly skilled in what they do, but it certainly helps if they also have experience giving depositions, putting together technical reports, and providing testimony in a courtroom. It’s at this point you can also learn about their testimony style. The expert may break down the facts into layman terms for a jury or simply discuss what they know from their perspective.

Even if it’s not always that straightforward to find the right engineering expert witness for your case, this information above may help. The more experienced they are with their line of work and court cases, the sounder your case might be.

What are Non-Fungible Tokens and are There Ways to Legally Protect Them?

Also known as NTFs or NFTies, non-fungible tokens represent a type of digital asset and its ownership is recorded on a blockchain, which is a digital ledger that was made popular by digital currencies like Bitcoin. 

However, if in the case of digital currencies, tokens had a similar value and could easily be swapped for any other (they are fungible products), NFTs are unique and not interchangeable (or “non-fungible”). In fact, the best comparison with the real, tangible world is an art gallery, where each piece is unique in both aspect and value. And, just like with art pieces, NFTs are sold in an auction. 

The main purpose of non-fungible tokens is to broaden the options of artists and online creators when it comes to receiving proper recognition and payment for their work. Right now, if there’s a suspicion of IP theft, you’d need the help and advice of specialists like Heer Law, who can properly represent your interests. However, in the near future, NFTs may provide a faster way to discover the creator or owner of an online creation without a shade of doubt. In short, NFTs are a way to stop the piracy of songs, texts, movies, and other similar digital creations that can easily be replicated indefinitely due to the immense popularity of the internet. 

The NFT acts as a digital certificate of authenticity and allows both the rightful owner and the creator of digital art to reap the benefits of their work. For instance, the original Nyan Cat gif (considered a piece of crypto art) was sold by its creator in an online auction for 300 ETH (nearly $600,000)! 

But this is not the only example of an NFT that comes to mind. For instance, the digital artist Beeple sold an NFT art collection for over $3.5 million (also in cryptocurrencies). And people are not just buying digital art and memes – they are also buying tweets (yes, posts made by someone with a Twitter account), and other forms of digital originality. Due to NFTs, collectors now have a whole new market to spend their money on! 

Still, since NFTs are rather new on the market, many fear this is only a digital bubble in the making. And, while the same worries existed with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it’s also true that this is a very volatile market that can go away overnight. So, are there any ways to protect NFTs?

Is There Legal Protection for Creators & Owners?

Most specialists are a bit skeptical when it comes to NFTs. First of all, even if the technology uses blockchain to record the seller and buyer (plus other rules) it does not mean the buyer has complete ownership of the original. Therefore, in the case of the Nyan Cat, owning the original gif doesn’t mean you can prevent anyone else from using it in their online posts or even altering its original design. In addition, a transaction does not guarantee you are buying the art piece from its creator since it is difficult to establish such a thing. 

Therefore, from an intellectual property perspective, an NFT is more like a receipt that proves you bought a version of something. Nothing less, nothing more. As a result, it is difficult to enforce in the real world, using the current laws. Still, this hasn’t stopped people from spending their money on NFTs. Some even seem to believe the practice will seep into the real world and that we will be able to turn real estate properties into such assets. 

Wrap Up

The only conclusion that can be drawn right now is that NFTs are quite popular at the moment. Therefore, international patent protection laws and regulations may have to change in order to accommodate a new type of authenticity certificate. But until this happens, the world of digital creations is in a bubble of its own. Only time will tell if buyers were right to spend their cryptocurrencies on gifs and tweets.

Safety and Legal Protection: How Dash Cams Help

A Dash Cam provides irrefutable video evidence to protect you against false accusations after an incident, road rage, drunk drivers, and insurance fraud. This video footage can also be used as evidence to help remove sly drivers off the roads and protecting everyone on the other hand.

The new advancements like dash cams, body cam glasses, and other recording tools have provided next-level security to law enforcement.

The demand for dashcam footage is increasing daily by police investigators as a shred of vital evidence for a severe car accident. These videos provide the essential evidence of any mishap and a great help in the investigation process. This shows how beneficial and important Dash Cam footage can be.

How to use a dashcam?

Dashcams or dashboard cameras are located on the windshield, without blocking your vision, and records everything happing is in front of your car. There’s no doubt that the demand will continue to rise, with many dash cams costing under $100 and the footage being captured becoming more relevant in court dealings.

How can we use dashcams in case of accidents?

Camera footage from dashcams is admissible as evidence in court, so long as the dashcam is not used to record a private activity. The clear advantage of dash cams is that they can easily provide irrefutable evidence of who was at fault during an accident without relying on independent eyewitnesses. This can cut out the ‘he-said-she-said’ scenario, which may burden your claim.

Dashcams could be used in the following ways :

Evidence In Case Of An Accident

This is the most common reason people use dash cams on their cars. In case of an accident, you have a recording of the whole incident, and you have the advantage to show the authorities what really happened and what should be done. 

A Slew Of Sophisticated Features

Today, dash cams have many useful features that make them extra essential for drivers and business owners. These state of the art dash cams have GPS integrated with them so you can accurately track where an incident occurred. Some have voice reminders and accelerometers that alert the driver that the vehicle is being driven unsafely. Other models may include live view facilities that allow fleet managers to watch the vehicle in real-time while driving down the road! These dash cams can use the internal SD card/hard drive removed and analyzed on other devices. 

Some of the more advanced units even have their own proprietary software to aid in the viewing and reporting the journey.

Business Managers and owners Can Track Their Vehicles Efficiently;

Businesses can considerably benefit from executing a dashcam system on their fleet vehicles. Several insurance companies give discounts, and some outright requiring the installations of dash cams to get an insurance policy. For instance, You have a car fleet and have a strict “no use of cell phones while driving a car” law.

 How do you actually enforce this law without personally being in every vehicle, with your drivers every day? It is impossible Without a dashcam. Well, if you plan on applying a profit that day, it is. If you employ technology, you will easily see who is and who isn’t following the company’s policy.

Help Stop Fraud

There are lots of shady drivers on the road nowadays that prey on the unprepared. These drivers intentionally cause accidents and say that the other person caused the crash to claim insurance money.

 By placing a dash cam on your cars or other automobiles, drivers can record their journey. If they encounter such drivers, you can easily prove that he intentionally did the accident for insurance claims. Driver and the owner will be safe from these insurance frauds.

Dash Cam Can Protect You From any Insurance Lawsuit.

Dashcams and other security equipment could help protect you in various ways if you are sued. If an incident occurs, having a Dash Cams installed in your car can ensure that every detail, like your vehicle’s speed, the crash’s angle, and surrounding driving conditions, will be available. With this information, insurance companies can investigate the incident’s cause and fault more efficiently and timely. 

Can you use your dashcam when you drive abroad?  

There are restrictions on dashcams or the video footage you record using one in many countries. This is usually due to privacy rules that restrict video or image capture of public members without their approval. So it would be best if you verified the laws of the respected country or countries you’ll be driving in.

Legal Aspects To Consider While Building A Commercial Property

Commercial property, or commercial land, refers to land possessed or utilized by a business element. Commercial property is regularly not the same as private property in its plan, capacity, design, and feel. Most state laws have specific laws that manage commercial property. These are independent and unmistakable from private property laws. For example, commercial property regularly has specific protection rules than private property. Additionally, the commercial property might be related to unexpected reasonable direct in comparison to private property. Some lead might be permitted distinctly in local locations, while some direct is just permitted in industrially drafted territories (for example, business exercises).

One must have complete knowledge of legal aspects before building a commercial property. This awareness could be obtained via the internet through different websites or by the C-10 License study guide, which gives you a unique study mode. The C-10 License Study Guide is an intuitive, PC based program comprising various decision questions introduced in various investigation modes. C-10 License study guide is made explicitly for passing an exam, so it could help gain knowledge about legal aspects.

What are Some Commercial Property Legal Issues?

Because of the distinctions in commercial property laws, commercial property is regularly connected with particular legitimate issues. These can include:

  • Drafting and Land use–As referenced, commercial exercises can regularly just happen in commercial zones on commercial property.
  • In some cases, property burdens can be higher than private property burdens and might be diverse as per the sort of business set up on the property.
  • Protection Commercial property protection debates are a typical wellspring of lawful issues for some organizations.
  • Proprietorship debates Many organizations manage title, possession, and renting disagreements regarding commercial property.
  • Limit debates. Some commercial property may cause questions because of the property’s actual limits or if the property is jutting onto another neighboring zone.

Likewise, commercial property can include lawful issues with regards to the deal and acquisition of commercial structures. Such questions can include authoritative breaks, business-related debates, and issues with the use of the property.

If purchasing commercial property is essential for your business’s subsequent stages – either for exchanging use and speculation, here are five critical lawful contemplations when purchasing a commercial property:

  1. Discovering Opportunities

In contrast to the private area, you won’t discover an overabundance of commercial operators on your high road. Numerous commercial speculations are sold through private settlement in any case; barters are a helpful wellspring of good worth, especially if you are merely beginning.

Abandons saying that care is needed at any bartering – we’re not talking deal chase here – since, supposing that useful, you should hand over 10% on the day and complete inside a month.

2. Freehold Or Leasehold?

Freehold proprietors by and extensive control and own the entirety of the property: the land itself, any structures on it, the dirt beneath, and so on. If unpracticed in this world, know that a proprietorship might be limited by an outsider; for example, there might be a privilege of access over the property.

With leaseholds, the proprietor authoritatively holds the interest for a set period restricted to the rent’s length. The rent substance will rely upon the property and the connection between the landowner and the occupant.

3. Money Buyer Or Loan?

Money is regularly ruler, and business property is the same. Incredible arrangements are accessible on the off chance that you can move very fast.

On the off chance that you are utilizing an advance supplier, at that point, keep them refreshed at all times abandon saying that business property moneylenders are keener on loaning against the pay produced by very much let properties instead of void ones.

4. Expenses

Expenses for Buying business property include:

  • The underlying price tag or rent premium
  • Stamp obligation and land library charges
  • Assessor, bequest specialist, and specialist charges
  • Introductory changes or potentially embellishment
  • Prepayment of the introductory lease (for leaseholds) and protection
  • Perhaps VAT

Extra expenses for drafting the rent can be costly as there is no formal organization for purchasing a commercial property. Get due perseverance guidance (counting the standard property look yet additionally natural pursuits and enrolled charges).  

5. Occupants

As above, banks are a lot more joyful loaning against very much let properties, so except if you need to utilize the property for your motivations promptly, it’s valuable to purchase a property that has an occupant in situ.

Great inhabitants are precious, so it’s a uniquely favorable position to acquire a quick lease move which permits you to precisely spending plan your costs going ahead: the lease is fixed, you are paid ahead of time, and lease audits, for the most part, increment – however, ensure you get pre-culmination exhortation on the footing and rights you’re acquiring.

Guide to International Patent Protection

International patent protection has been gaining popularity over the years. Now more than ever, intangible assets such as patents have never been more important. As businesses continue to expand their market reach, patent protection has been one of the most important assets that jump-start their success abroad.

It is worth noting, however, that the journey of obtaining patents abroad can be costly. There is also no such thing as an international patent that you can use or enforce in other countries. But, there are several ways to obtain international patent protection.

Direct Filing

The direct route of obtaining an international patent is recommended for applicants with a tight budget. It is best for those who are interested in obtaining patents for only a limited number of countries.

The direct or Paris route allows applicants to file their initial application in their home country. Afterward, they have a 12-month period wherein they can file a patent application abroad. The countries where they filed the application would be the one to determine whether they are eligible for patent protection.

For instance, a US applicant wants to obtain a patent in his only two niche countries. Using the direct route, he would have to file a patent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) first. Upon application, he then only has a 12-month period to file the application for the two countries where he wants to market his invention.

Patent Cooperation Treaty

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) facilitates the applicant’s international patent application. It streamlines the initial filing process by buying the applicants enough time (up to 30 months) to file for a national phase entry. National phase entry is when an applicant files an application to the country where they want to obtain the patent.

Note that the PCT does not examine an application fully and it does not necessarily grant patents to applicants. Rather, it is one of the routes to take when obtaining patents abroad. In essence, PCT grants an applicant enough time to further develop the patent and examine countries where it would be most suitable to obtain patent protection.

Since there is no such thing as an international patent, the PCT made it possible for an applicant to file one international application in one language and one location. This route is best suited for applicants who are interested in obtaining patents for numerous countries.

To further illustrate, let us take a US pharmaceutical company as an example. The company wants to obtain a patent in 12 countries. They already filed a patent application with the USPTO, but they are still not certain whether obtaining a patent for these 12 countries would be enough or, even, worth the cost. With the PCT route, they have enough time (30 months) to further observe the market behavior of a country, as well as further, develop the invention they want to patent. When they finally decide that they want to obtain protection in these countries, they can  then easily proceed with the national phase entry and file applications for each country. 

The World Intellectual Property Organization summed up the process of obtaining patent protection abroad in the illustration below.

Cost and benefits of obtaining a patent abroad

Having discussed the two different routes, applicants still need to take several factors into consideration before starting their international patent application journey.

1.    Cost

As mentioned above, obtaining a patent abroad can be costly. Since the patent process is associated with several fees (e.g filing fees, translation costs, attorneys fee, maintenance fees, and so on), applicants need to carefully assess their budget and resources.

2.    Enforceability

When obtaining protection abroad, applicants must evaluate whether the country’s patent system is reliable.

3.    Eligibility

Different countries have different patent laws. For instance, software or living organisms are not patentable in other countries as compared to the United States. It is important to have a basic understanding of the patent laws of different countries before filing an international patent protection.

4.    Longevity

Is the invention worth the patent protection? Or will it just be overshadowed by another product in the next 3-4 years? It is crucial to also conduct a market study and weigh its benefits before proceeding to file an application.

5.    Competition

If an invention is most likely the target of infringers, then it might be a good indicator to obtain protection for that specific country.

Overall, it is worth noting that the information set above is merely an overview of the international patent application process. It is still highly advisable to consult and ask for assistance from a qualified patent attorney. They would be able to provide a more strategic approach as well as give more details about the patent application process. With the help of a patent attorney, it would be much easier to navigate through the market of different countries.

Coronavirus impact on Employee Rights

The coronavirus pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on employees’ rights, including the right to health and safety in the workplace and the right to be paid.

If you have been unfairly dismissed or your wages have been cut because you have refused to attend an unsafe workplace, read our more detailed article here.

Despite employers accidentally infringing, or even deliberately ignoring your rights to stay afloat in this chaos, your employment rights have not changed.

Can your employer force you to attend work if you are vulnerable, or a danger to a vulnerable person?

Your employer will be aware of your age, and assuming that they also know if you are pregnant, or suffer from a disability or ill health, then they will be open to proposals for you to work from home where possible or be put on the government furlough scheme. The deadline for new entrants to the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) has now passed (except for parents on statutory maternity/paternity leave).

Your employer could be breaking the law in attempting to make you attend work, even if you live with someone in one of the above categories.

The law in relation to covid-19 is not entirely clear, however, we advise that employers attempting to force employees to attend work could be unlawful as doing so could subject you to one or more of the following;

Furlough Leave

Furlough leave (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) is available to businesses affected by covid-19. The scheme allows employers to let you stay at home, as the government will pay 80% of your salary (up to £2,500 per month) until the end of August. In September, government contributions will be reduced to 70% and further reduced to 60% in October. 

Employers should agree with you in advance whether you are happy to accept only a percentage of your wage, or whether you insist on receiving the full 100% (with no upper limit). Your employer cannot just put you on the scheme without your agreement. However, if you don’t agree, employers can make you redundant. 

More detailed information and tactics for employees can be found in our practical guide on the furlough scheme.

Can you be dismissed for not coming to work because you are self-isolating?

If you refuse to work, your employer could start disciplinary action against you, but legally, they cannot dismiss you. Doing so would amount to automatically unfair dismissal under s.100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

An example of automatically unfair dismissal can be found in the case of Harvest Press Ltd & McCaffrey 1999 ILRL 778, despite not relating directly to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our more detailed guide on coronavirus unfair dismissals can be found on here.

Can your employer cut your salary?

As long as employers are justified in doing so, they can make cuts to your salary. Employers asking their employees to take a pay cut is something that we have frequently encountered during the coronavirus. It will be easy for your employer to justify implementing a pay cut, provided that they ask the same of other employees. 

Employers could also give you your notice and another contract of employment including the pay cut. If you do not agree to work under the new contract provided, your employer can terminate your employment once your notice period is over. 

The effects of coronavirus on the self employed

On the 29th of May 2020 the Chancellor announced a second grant for those who are self-employed and have been affected by the coronavirus. 

The first grant was available until 13th July 2020 and was worth 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 total.

Applications for the second grant closed on 17th August 2020 and was worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £6,570. 

Our article on the government scheme for the self employed outlines the scheme in more detail.

Are you entitled to pay if you are self-isolating due to coronavirus?

If you have been advised by your doctor or other medical authority to self-isolate, or have been experiencing symptoms, you are legally entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can obtain an isolation note online on the NHS 111 website.

If you are not sick yourself and want to self-isolate, you will not be entitled to SSP.

We advise that if you are a vulnerable person, for example with underlying health conditions or old, to obtain an isolation note online on the NHS 111 website, as current legislation does not entitle you to SSP.

Employers must conduct a risk assessment if you are pregnant. If it is deemed unsafe for you to attend work, you can be suspended on full pay. At this point, you will also be entitled to start your maternity leave, as long as it is within 6 weeks of your due date. Further details can be found in the legislation here.

You will be entitled to your usual pay if you can work remotely, as long as your employer agrees to this.

Any concerns that you have should be addressed with your employer to see if you can agree on the best way forward, before taking any action. 

This legislation is contained in The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Are you entitled to pay if your employer tells you to stay off work?

If you have recently returned from a country badly affected by the coronavirus, or have had contact with someone with the virus, your employer will have a good reason to ask you not to attend work. If your employer does this, you will be entitled to your usual pay, as per your contract.

You will also be entitled to normal pay if your employer closes your place of work or reduces your hours. In these circumstances, your employer could put you on the furlough scheme, where the government will pay 80% of your salary whilst you are at home. 

(See S151 Social Security, Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and S147-154 Employment Rights Act 1996 for relevant legislation)

What are your rights if you take time off work to care for dependents?

On 4th April 2020, the government announced extension of the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) to people with childcare responsibilities due to covid-19 restrictions. Furlough is not an automatic right, so you must still come to an agreement with your employer about this, however, this is great news for parents. 

The automatic rights that you do have are set out in Section 57A-57B Employment Rights Act 1996. This legislation grants you a right to ‘reasonable’ time off work to care for dependents in an ‘emergency’ including circumstances here your dependents’ usual school/carers or other provider cannot operate due to covid-19 restraints. 

Unless you have an insurance policy or your employment contract provides for payment, time off in these circumstances will be unpaid. A ‘reasonable’ amount of time off will depend on your individual circumstances and your employer must consider your case without reference to possible disruptions or inconvenience it may cause the business. 

Undoubtedly the coronavirus pandemic is considered an emergency, so what is considered as ‘reasonable’ is a period of time ongoing, at least, until schools and nurseries re-open. Initially, you should ask for full pay or at least furlough leave.

If you get coronavirus, will you be entitled to sick leave and pay entitlements?

You will be entitled to your usual sick leave and pay entitlements if medical authorities suspect that you may have the virus or you have been diagnosed, just like any other sickness and sickness absence. 

(See S151 Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992)

If you are made redundant due to covid-19 do you still have to be consulted by your employer?

Employers would normally have to consult for a period of 90 days before making over 20 employees redundant. However, during the coronavirus, employers will likely be able to cite ‘special circumstances’ so that this consultation period is compressed and the full 90day consultation is not necessary. In our opinion, consultations will still need to be carried out by employers, but for a reduced number of days. Failure to do so would be procedurally unfair dismissal.

Despite not being defined in statute, employers will also have a duty to consult when making less than 20 redundancies. This consultation period generally includes meetings and an opportunity for you to make reasonable input into the decision.

If you have been laid off due to the coronavirus but want to leave your job, can you choose redundancy?

If you have been laid off for 4 weeks in a row, or for 6 weeks in any 13 week period, you can write to your employer asking them to give you statutory redundancy payment as well as your notice pay. Where your employer does not respond, you will be able to resign and claim for statutory redundancy pay. In doing so, you will have to give notice as per your notice period (the longer period of either your contract or statutory notice period).

Next Steps

Monaco Solicitors have created a free Coronavirus Rights App which may be able to help if you have been affected by any of the situations outlined in this article. This app can provide you with an advice letter as well as two example letters to your employer, for free. 

Monaco Solicitors.

Deposition FAQs, Tips and Tricks

You have been called upon to give sworn testimony via deposition. Thorough preparation on your part is essential. Following are answers to frequently asked questions along with some tips and tricks to make your deposition go smoothly.


  • What is a deposition?

A deposition is the process of giving sworn testimony. It is an opportunity for a lawyer to examine a witness or party under oath.

  • Who can be deposed?

Any person (or entity) with knowledge of discoverable information regarding the lawsuit.

  • Why is a deposition important?

A deposition allows a party to:

  • Pin down another party or a witness.
  • Eliminate surprises at trial.
  • Find other witnesses or evidence.
  • Preserve testimony for trial.
  • Evaluate the credibility of the deponent.
  • Obtain information from nonparty witnesses.
  • Preserve testimony of witnesses who may be unavailable at trial.
  • Challenge the testimony of the party or witness.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case and their opponent’s case.
  • Where will my deposition take place?

Depositions typically take place in the conference room of the attorney for the party being deposed. While there is some bit of maneuvering as to where a deposition will take place, tradition dictates that your deposition is to take place at your lawyer’s office.

Additionally, in Oregon, you can only be deposed in the county in which you live. For example, if you live in Multnomah County and are noticed to appear in Washington County, you may be able to object to the location of the deposition.

  • Who will be in the room?

All parties to a lawsuit and their respective attorneys are allowed to attend a deposition. The deponent (person being deposed) will be present and is also allowed to have their attorney in attendance. There will also be a court reporter and, possibly, a videographer.

  • When are depositions usually taken?

A deposition can be taken at any time after an appearance is due from a defendant in a case, usually 30 days after service of the summons and complaint.

The timing of depositions is also dependent on the case and strategic issues.


Always tell the truth. Prior to beginning your deposition, the court reporter will place you under oath. Lying or being untruthful will only make a situation worse.

Answer only the question that is being asked. The examiner is not your friend. You are not to volunteer information or help the examiner in any way. This is not the time for oversharing.

Wait for the entire question to be asked before responding. There is nothing worse than doing the lawyer’s job for him – listen to the entire question and don’t answer what you think he is asking.

If you do not understand a question, ask the attorney to clarify it. Again, the lawyer is asking you questions. Do not help him out by guessing at what he is asking you.

Do not ever guess or estimate. What you say in a deposition will follow you for the rest of the case – a poor guess at a deposition may undermine you at trial.

Speak slowly, calmly, and confidently. Be aware that the deposition is likely recorded and can be played back at trial. Regardless of the questioning keep your composure and remain calm.

Do not argue, get mad, swear, or raise your voice. Assume that this deposition transcript will be published on the front page of the New York Times – how do you want to come across to a jury of your peers?

Sit up straight and dress appropriately. You want to be comfortable yet professional. In my experience, dressing the part aids your confidence which leads to a less stressful deposition. In some cases, your deposition may be videotaped and you will want to look pleasant for the jury.

Answer only as to what you know. For example, if you are asked to provide the names of all persons present at a meeting but you cannot remember the names of all parties in attendance, answering “I cannot recall” is appropriate. If you are asked to state the names of all persons present at a meeting that you did not attend the proper response is “I do not know”.

Ask to see exhibits. If an examiner asks you about a document, always look at it before answering questions. Be careful to make sure that the document is accurate – if it is not, say something.

If you need to take a break ask for a break, or nudge your lawyer.

If you make an error, tell your attorney so it can be corrected during the deposition. There is nothing worse than leaving an incorrect statement on the record. Be sure to talk to your lawyer at a break and correct whatever errors there may be. It is easier to fix at the deposition than in the middle of trial.

Never say “never” or “always”. There is always an exception and, if you are too absolute, a smart adverse attorney will find it and undermine your credibility.

Preparation is the key to being an effective witness so make sure that you discuss any areas of concern with your attorney and review all pertinent documents prior to your deposition.

© 9/18/2018 Hunt & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved.

Article Source:

BigLaw And Millennials: Peas In A Pod

Almost every day, we see yet another article on millennials; they are examined, poked, and prodded to determine just exactly what they are and why they are not like the rest of us.

I would argue to the contrary. They are just like the rest of us – only better. Millennials represent the hopes and dreams of the generation that came before them. We made them, hence we should already understand them.

Yes, the Baby Boomers (and those just a bit younger) raised millennials in the same way that BigLaw – the world’s biggest and most successful law firms – trains its young lawyers. Like parents, partners teach associates best practices. They are models for what works and what doesn’t. BigLaw creates environments, activities, and committees geared toward pleasing its associates. In more ways than one, partners praise associates, in particular for their adept use of various technologies. In fact, BigLaw continues to offer associates – as a matter of course – the most advanced technology on the market.

BigLaw parents taught their progeny to appreciate time away from work as much (or more) than time in the office. Women and minority lawyers, who had to work longer and harder to get noticed and promoted, taught their boys and girls that everyone should be held to the same standards; their children were taught not to accept anything less. As BigLaw parents of every stripe worked diligently to climb the ladder of success, they taught their children that being the best, at both recreational and academic pursuits, is paramount.

The Baby Boomers expanded BigLaw practice beyond the regional, to the national and international. As their practices grew, they encouraged their offspring to be local and global – as both learners and leaders. BigLaw parents taught independence; their children learned it. And, following suit, BigLaw parents were able to praise their children for yet another achievement.

It should not be a surprise that Baby Boomers created millennials. As in many other endeavors, we did a good job. Studies routinely show that millennials are the most highly-educated generation to date. Some may observe that millennials appear “entitled”, but millennials believe that everyone else is also entitled. They are a generous and giving generation, as highlighted in just about every published report that statistically analyzes millennials. Indeed, the annual Deloitte Millennial Surveys confirm, again and again, that millennials prefer to work with organizations that have a purpose beyond financial gain.

Is it bad that millennials want to believe in the social missions of their employers, rather than simply their professional purposes? After all, some of the work of young lawyers may be entry level or may not provide the most exciting content, and learning to do it well may be an all day and all night proposition. Yes, BigLaw’s Baby Boomers worked 24/7. No, they did not enjoy it. The difference is that (their) millennials were not raised to grin and bear it; they were raised to work hard, add value, and fight for what they believe in.

BigLaw: the challenge is to embrace millennials, to understand and serve their professional goals, and to give them something to believe in. It would be a shame to let all of your hard work go to waste – and to watch as your exquisite peas find another pod to call work, life, balance.

Article Source: