you have a question that is not addressed below, please send an
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Do you need a lawyer?
ALWAYS talk with a lawyer EARLY ON if you are considering a lawsuit
or think you have a claim, if you are considering divorce, if someone
in your family dies, if you want a will or need estate planning, if
you are considering bankruptcy, or if you are organizing or dissolving
you have any doubt whether or not your situation requires a lawyer's
help please contact our office to set up a consultation with one
of our attorneys. Our attorneys will gladly answer you legal questions
and give you the expert guidance that you need.
You should ALWAYS talk with a lawyer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you
are sued, before admitting or denying guilt for a crime, before
you make a statement to the police, or if you have been in a serious
accident which injured someone or damaged property.
questions do you ask a lawyer?
Ask the lawyer what educational background and training he or she
has. Ask the lawyer if he or she has ever been disciplined by the
state disciplinary board and the circumstances surrounding such
disciplinary action, if any. Ask the lawyer who will be directly
handling your case. In short, will he or she be handling the majority
of the work or will an associate or paralegal be completing it.
Ask the lawyer if he or she has handled similar situations or matters
in the past and what the outcomes were. Ask what you will be charged
for the services provided to you. Make sure you fully understand
the attorney fee agreement and your responsibility, if any, for
the court costs and other litigation expenses and charges.
Adoption is the legal process of permanently transferring parental
rights and responsibilities with respect to a child from the child's
biological family to the adoptive family. This transfer of rights
results in the adoptive parent(s) and the child having all the legal
rights and incidents as if the child had been born to the adoptive
parent(s). In Tennessee, a petitioner for adoption must be at least
18 years of age. Adoptions in Tennessee may be granted to step-parents,
relatives or non-related third parties. There are numerous requirements
that must be met, and therefore, retaining an attorney to discuss
the requirements as well as your legal rights during and after an
adoption is highly recommended.
When you are involved in an automobile accident, never make an immediate
payment and do not promise to make any future payment to the opposing
party without first talking to an attorney and being informed of
your rights. As you may be aware, insurance companies are not in
the business of giving money away, they require an abundance of
information. Don't be bullied or rushed into a quick settlement
of your claim. When you are involved in an accident and sustain
injuries or property damage, an attorney is trained to assist you
in recovering your losses. Even though the other driver might be
at fault, street and weather conditions, the other driver's behavior
and conduct, your own conduct, and various other factors, can increase
or reduce the amount you may collect from the faulty driver.
At Snider & Horner, PLLC, we only handle chapter seven
bankruptcies for individuals. A chapter seven bankruptcy, also known
as liquidation or straight bankruptcy, allows the debtor a fresh
start by discharging his or her debts, subject to certain exceptions,
through a liquidation of his or her assets. After the debtor files
a chapter seven bankruptcy, most creditors will be prohibited from
taking his or her wages to pay the debts. A debtor is allowed limited
exemptions in an effort to protect their property.
Each year hundreds of enthusiastic, new business owners enter the
marketplace, and fail. Given the low rate of success among new businesses,
it is vital that potential entrepreneurs give careful consideration
to an array of variables that may prove to be the difference between
the business'?success or failure. One such variable is the choice
of business form.
choice may not only promote success in the market, but may also
provide protection in the event of business failure. The respective
advantages associated with forming a corporation, a partnership
or a sole proprietorship may prove to be the difference between
the success or failure of a new business entity, and may also shield
business owners from personal liability in the event of business
Child custody involves the care, control, and maintenance of a child,
which a court may award to one of the parents following a divorce
or separation proceeding. In most circumstances, the Tennessee laws
provide that biological parents make all the decisions involved
in rearing their child---such as residence, education, health care,
religious upbringing, and so forth. However, if there is disagreement
about who has the right to make these decisions, or if government
officials believe that a parent is unfit to make the decisions,
then family courts or juvenile courts determine custody. In general,
the courts determine what is in the "best interests of the child" in deciding to whom to award the custody of a minor child.
The most common legal application of the term civil rights involves
the rights guaranteed to US citizens and residents by legislation
and by the Constitution. Civil rights protected by the Constitution
include freedom of speech and press and freedom from certain types
of discrimination. Not all types of discrimination are unlawful
and most of an individual's personal choices are protected by the
freedom to choose personal associates, to express herself or himself,
and to preserve personal privacy. Civil rights legislation comes
into play when the practice of personal preferences and prejudices
of an individual, a business entity, or a government interferes
with the protected rights of others. The various civil rights laws
have made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color,
religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. Discrimination
that interferes with voting rights and equality of opportunity in
education, employment, and housing is unlawful.
Generally, all debt collections by outside or independent debt collectors
are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act applies to debts contracted by consumers
for personal, family, or household purposes; accordingly, it has
no application to the collection of commercial accounts. It applies
to debts whether or not they have been reduced to judgment, and
to debts which never existed or have been paid as well as to those
which are valid and due.
Disputes, Consumer Law, and Consumer Protection
Consumer protection laws are federal and state statutes governing
sales and credit practices involving consumer goods. Such statutes
prohibit and regulate deceptive or unconscionable advertising and
sales practices, product quality, credit financing and reporting,
debt collection, leases, and other aspects of consumer transactions.
The goal of consumer protection laws is to place consumers, who are
average citizens engaging in business deals such as buying goods or
borrowing money, on an even par with companies or citizens who regularly
engage in business. Tennessee law specifically provides protection
to consumers, tenants, purchasers of new automobiles, and individuals
from various illegal, unethical, and fraudulent practices. Consumers
are protected under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. This Act
has provisions which allow a court to award compensatory damages,
treble damages, and/or attorney fees to consumers who have been victimized
by businesses who engage in "unfair and deceptive trade practices."
are protected under the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
This act has provisions which allow a court to award compensatory
damages, punitive damages, and/or attorney fees to tenants who have
been victimized by landlords. Purchasers of new automobiles are protected
under the Tennessee Lemon Law. This Law has provisions which allow
a court to force an automobile manufacturer to repurchase an automobile
or replace the vehicle with one of a like kind and character and/or
award damages and attorney fees.
individuals are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act, the Federal Truth in Lending Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting
Act. These Acts protect individuals from illegal debt collection
tactics, fraudulent lending practices, and erroneous credit reporting
The drafting of a contract can be one of the most important undertakings
an individual or business pursues. All aspects of the transaction
must be thoroughly understood, researched, and studied. In short,
the parties must be able to clearly articulate who the parties to
the contract are, what the parties are required to do, when the
parties must complete their respective requirements, where the requirements
are to be completed, and possibly why the requirements must be completed.
In addition, various other factors must be considered. Everything
from mutual assent, consideration, and tax consequences must be
carefully weighed and considered.
The term criminal law generally refers to substantive criminal laws.
Substantive criminal laws define crimes and may establish punishments.
In contrast, criminal procedure describes the process through which
the criminal laws are enforced. For example, the law prohibiting murder
is a substantive criminal law. The manner in which government enforces
this substantive law---through the gathering of evidence and prosecution---is
generally considered a procedural matter.
are usually categorized as felonies or misdemeanors based on their
nature and the maximum punishment that can be imposed. A felony
involves serious misconduct that is punishable by death or by imprisonment
for more than one year. Tennessee law subdivides felonies into different
classes with varying degrees of punishment. Crimes that do not amount
to felonies are misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is misconduct for which
the law prescribes punishment of no more than one year in prison.
Lesser offenses, such as traffic and parking infractions, are often
called violations or citations and are not considered a part of
and Domestic Issues
Tennessee has two types of divorce: irreconcilable differences,
which requires no proof of fault, and fault-based divorce, which
requires proof of grounds for divorce. A signed agreement is required
for an irreconcilable differences divorce. Irreconcilable differences
divorce takes a minimum of 60 days in cases where there are no children,
and a minimum of 90 days in cases where there are children. Fault-based
divorce requires proof of one of 15 grounds for divorce, or the
parties may stipulate that either or both are at fault. Adultery
and habitual abuse of alcohol are two examples of grounds for fault-based
divorce. If there are no minor children, a two-year separation is
also grounds for divorce. Until a divorce decree is signed by the
judge, the parties are still married and should do nothing contrary
to their marriage vows.
Under the Influence
Generally in Tennessee, it is unlawful for any person to drive or
to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven
vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, or
on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping
center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other
premises which is generally frequented by the public at large, while
under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug,
or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system;
or when the alcohol concentration in such person's blood or breath
is eight-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more.
See Divorce and Domestic Issues
The term insurance describes any measure taken for protection against
risks. When insurance takes the form of a contract in an insurance
policy, it is subject to requirements in statutes, administrative
agency regulations, and court decisions. In an insurance contract,
one party, the insured, pays a specified amount of money, called a
premium, to another party, the insurer. The insurer in turn agrees
to compensate the insured for specific future losses. The losses covered
are listed in the contract, and the contract is called a policy.
insured suffers a loss or damage that is covered in the policy, the
insured can collect on the proceeds of the policy by filing a claim,
or request for coverage, with the insurance company. The company then
decides whether to pay the claim. The recipient of any proceeds from
the policy is called the beneficiary. The beneficiary can be the insured
person, or other persons designated by the insured.
is considered to be insurance if it distributes risk among a large
number of persons through an enterprise engaged primarily in the
business of insurance. Warranties or service contracts for merchandise,
for example, do not constitute insurance.
A juvenile is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held
responsible for criminal acts. In Tennessee and on the federal level,
this age threshold is set at eighteen years. The age definitions
are significant because they determine whether a young person accused
of criminal conduct will be charged with a crime in adult court
or will be required to appear in juvenile court. A study of juvenile
law is not limited to juvenile crime. Juvenile courts generally
have authority over three categories of children: juveniles accused
of criminal conduct; juveniles neglected or abused by their parents
or in need of assistance from the state; and juveniles accused of
a status offense. This last category refers to conduct that is prohibited
only to children, such as absence from school (truancy), flight
from home, disobedience of reasonable parental controls, and purchase
of alcohol, tobacco, or pornography.
and Tenant Disputes
See Consumer Disputes, Consumer Law, and Consumer Protection
The person who sustains injury or suffers pecuniary damage as the
result of tortious conduct is known as the plaintiff, and the person
who is responsible for inflicting the injury and incurs liability
for the damage is known as the defendant or tortfeasor. Three elements
must be established in every tort action. First, the plaintiff must
establish that the defendant was under a legal duty to act in a
particular fashion. Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate that
the defendant breached this duty by failing to conform his or her
behavior accordingly. Third, the plaintiff must prove that he or
she suffered injury or loss as a direct result of the defendant's
When a person dies, his or her estate must go through probate, which
is a process overseen by a probate court. If the decedent leaves a
will directing how his or her property should be distributed after
death, the probate court must determine if it should be admitted to
probate and given legal effect. If the decedent dies intestate---without
leaving a will---the court appoints a personal representative to distribute
the decedent's property according to the laws of descent and distribution.
These laws direct the distribution of assets based on hereditary succession.
general, the probate process involves collecting the decedent's
assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes, and distributing
property to heirs.
When a person is harmed by an unsafe product, he or she may have a
cause of action against the persons who designed, manufactured, sold,
or furnished that product. In Tennessee, a plaintiff's cause of action
may be based on one of four different theories: negligence, breach
of warranty, misrepresentation, and strict tort liability. Negligence
refers to the absence of, or failure to exercise, proper or ordinary
care. It means that an individual who had a legal obligation either
omitted to do what should have been done or did something that should
not have been done. A manufacturer can be held liable for negligence
if lack of reasonable care in the production, design, or assembly
of the manufacturer's product caused harm.
of warranty refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the terms
of a promise, claim, or representation made concerning the quality
or type of the product. The law assumes that a seller gives certain
warranties concerning goods that are sold and that he or she must
stand behind such direct assertions.
in the advertising and sales promotion of a product refers to the
process of giving consumers false security about the safety of a particular
product, ordinarily by drawing attention away from the hazards of
its use. An action lies in the intentional concealment of potential
hazards or in negligent misrepresentation.
liability involves extending the responsibility of the vendor or
manufacturer to all individuals who might be injured by the product,
even in the absence of fault. Injured guests, bystanders, or others
with no direct relationship to the product may sue for damages caused
by the product.
The person who sustains property damage as the result of tortious
conduct is known as the plaintiff, and the person who is responsible
for inflicting the property damage and incurs liability for the
damage is known as the defendant or tortfeasor. Three elements must
be established in every tort action. First, the plaintiff must establish
that the defendant was under a legal duty to act in a particular
fashion. Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant
breached this duty by failing to conform his or her behavior accordingly.
Third, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered a loss as
a direct result of the defendant's breach.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests
for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual
nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that occurs in the
workplace. Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue
under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.),
which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace.
and employers generally use the definition of sexual harassment
contained in the guidelines of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC). The guidelines say: Unwelcome sexual advances,
requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct
of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when (1) submission
to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or
condition of an individual's employment. (2) submission to or rejection
of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment
decisions affecting such individuals, or (3) such conduct has the
purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's
work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive
working environment. (29 C.F.R. § 1604.11 ).
Whenever you are pulled over by the police for any traffic violation
you need to begin making preparations for a possible court appearance.
Take note of how fast you were going, where did the officer come from,
what other traffic was close to you, what is your exact location,
and what were the weather conditions.
calm, open your window and cooperate with the officer fully. Do not
say anything that can be taken as an admission of guilt. Remember,
the officer may write down anything you say on the back of your citation
and use it against you in court.
when radar is used the officer will mention the fact, and may even
invite you back to the patrol car to verify his or her reading.
Don't refuse this opportunity. In fact, if the officer doesn't offer
to show you the radar, you should ask to look at it yourself. What
you're seeking is the make and model of the radar unit, and if the
officer is cooperative, how he or she used it to obtain a speed
reading. In particular, you want to know whether it was used in
the stationary or the moving mode, and if moving, from what direction.
Any individual who qualifies under the terms of the Tennessee unemployment
compensation law is entitled to collect benefits. To be eligible,
an individual must have worked for a certain minimum number of weeks
and earned wages in at least the amount set by law.
Tennessee law provides benefits for those who are unemployed because
of their employer's inability to provide work for them. An employee
who is discharged may receive benefits unless he or she was discharged
for good cause. Good cause for discharge usually is related to recent
misconduct on the job. Misconduct in private life or during off-duty
hours may constitute good cause for firing an employee if it affects
the person's work. Carelessness, disregard for the employer's interest,
intoxication, the use of illegal drugs, illegal work slowdowns,
use of abusive language, absenteeism, and habitual lateness can
be reasons for a discharge and denial of unemployment benefits.
A person denied benefits may appeal this determination first to
the state administrative office and then to a court of law.
People with minor children or who own property have the greatest need,
however, everyone should have a will. If you do not have a will, the
state of Tennessee decides who gets your property when you die, regardless
of your wishes. Anyone of sound mind and who is 18 years of age or
older can make a will.
are essentially 5 main steps when making a will. First, list in
reasonable detail, all of your real and personal property. Second,
list all of your debts and other financial obligations. Third, list
all people who may be appropriate personal representatives, guardians,
or trustees, and any others you want notified of your death. Fourth,
decide who you want to receive your property and when. Fifth, contact
an attorney to work out the details (i.e. what type of will, what
should be included, etc.) and prepare the necessary documents for