Fraud and Unfair Trade Practices in Texas

»Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Fraud | 1 comment

The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), originally enacted in 1914, is designed to protect consumers and business from fraud via unfair trade practices. The Texas state statute specifically prohibits 25 acts which are considered fraudulent under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Mislabeling a product or service as that of another
  • Misleading the customers on the quality and certification of goods or services
  • Misrepresenting the condition of the product
  • Bad-mouthing competitors using false information
  • Making unnecessary repairs or replacements
  • Overcharging for repair of an item under warranty
  • Tampering with the odometer of a vehicle
  • False announcement of going out of business
  • Paid chain referral sales plan
  • Pyramiding
  • Failure to disclose necessary information prior to a purchase
  • Overpricing basic necessities in times of calamity

Also considered under unfair trade practices are those engaged in the following that have exhibited abusive behavior:

  • Debt collection
  • Warranties
  • Insurance

Anyone who has been a victim of unfair or deceptive trade practices can have recourse to the state statutes which is distinctly favorable to consumers. Most states mandate the awarding of minimum damages to any claimant that can prove the defendant engages in unfair or deceptive trade practices, even if there is no proof of actual damage done to the plaintiff. If the defendant knew the practice was unfair or defective, then you can sue for punitive damages. Compensation may be approved for the following

  • Refunds of purchase price, repair cost or rental fees
  • Medical bills in case of defective products or services which resulted in injury
  • Loss of income
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Pain and suffering

A plaintiff may also request for a cease and desist order for those businesses that engage in fraud from a civil court.

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Discharging Debt in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

»Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

When you have overwhelming and burdensome financial issues, bankruptcy may become an extremely tempting option. In considering the many different options you have for paying back your debts, you may come to find that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option. This is generally a good choice for people looking to get their debts wiped out so that they can start anew. However, there are only certain debts that are considered dischargeable, while others are still required to be paid.

Excluding some non-dischargeable debts, a large number of your debts can be wiped out through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Getting these debts discharged means that it is no longer legally necessary for you to pay the creditors, and they are not allowed to collect anything from you anymore. Among the most common debts that are usually discharged are:

  • Credit card debt
  • Past due amounts for utility bills
  • Business debts
  • Social security overpayments
  • Balances on repossession deficiency
  • Dishonored checks
  • Loans from family, friends and employers
  • Debts from lease agreements
  • Penalties from taxes (past a set number of years)
  • Revolving charge accounts (not including the extended payment charges)
  • Lawyers fees (not including alimony and child support awards)

There are just some of the possible debts that can be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but some of these can become non-dischargeable if the court determines that any of these debts are related to any fraud or misconduct. It is also important to note that aside from the debts that you acquired or built up before you filed for bankruptcy, the debts you have gained after filing your petition are still your responsibility. While filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem complicated and confusing at first, it may nevertheless be the best way out of your financial predicament.

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The §341 Meeting in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

»Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

The §341 meeting of creditors is part of the process of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so called because it refers to Title 11 Section 341 of the USC. This is convened by the assigned trustee for the purpose of bringing together the debtor and creditors in case there are any questions regarding the proposed repayment plan filed under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Law and other issues.  In general, creditors do not attend §341 meetings unless there are some issues regarding the legitimacy of the plan. Even then, creditors usually dispense with actually attending the meeting and simply lodge their objections with the trustee.

Prior to the scheduled meeting, the trustee will go over the documentation filed by the debtor in accordance with the requirements of the bankruptcy process. If everything is in order, a §341 meeting is scheduled between 21 and 50 days after the initial Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, and will only be presided over by the trustee, not the judge. It typically takes about 5 minutes.

The debtor is required to bring the following, without which the meeting cannot proceed and will have to be rescheduled:

The trustee will pose questions to the debtor, who may have a bankruptcy lawyer in attendance. These include but not limited to the following issues:

  • Accuracy of financial statements
  • Civil status and dependents
  • Employment
  • Income
  • Assets and liabilities
  • Other payment plans

The trustee may decide to schedule a follow up meeting if more information is needed or if there is a need for the debtor to amend some documents. In cases where objections by the creditors cannot be resolved through negotiation, a judge will have to step in.

The §341 meeting is a mere formality in most cases due to the failure of creditors to attend them. However, since it is part of the filing process for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors and trustees are obliged to comply. Using the services of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, you’ll be able to understand exactly what is happening throughout your bankruptcy and will be informed about the implications of issues that arise and guided on preferred ways to handle such issues.

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Cerebral Palsy

»Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Cerebral Palsy, Child Injury, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury | 0 comments

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth defects that affect newborn children in the United States. It is a permanent health condition where the muscle and body coordination is affected, causing problems in physical movements. Although there are also mild cases, severe and lifelong cases can affect the victim and their families.

The lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) or the body (asphyxia), premature childbirth, or birth traumas are the leading causes of cerebral palsy. When medical malpractice is the cause of your child’s condition, it would be best to consult medical malpractice lawyers in order to get assistance in arranging compensation and making sure the hospital and its staff are well reprimanded for their errors.

For medical malpractice to be the trigger of your child’s cerebral palsy, medical professionals may have:

  1. Failed to recognize the prolapsed umbilical cord
  2. Neglected and insensibly mistook the use of instruments during childbirth
  3. Overlooked the treatment for the mother’s infections such as meningitis
  4. Failed to properly check the child’s heart rate before and during labor
  5. Delayed or failed in performing caesarian section procedures

Although cerebral palsy does not get worse as the child grows up, it can still pose a huge challenge in their everyday life. The symptoms of cerebral palsy can only be determined after a proper diagnosis and these symptoms can appear after some years. This serious and incapacitating condition not only affects the child as they grow up, they also affect the parents. And because it is a lifelong condition, it treatment can lead to financial burdens. Compensation from the medical errors made by the doctors and other staff responsible for the condition can help in maintaining the medical care of the child, as well as punishing the people responsible for the condition.

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