Legal Talk

Religious Freedom Restoration Act – How It Works

A new year and a new cause of action – life doesn’t get any better than that. Unless, of course, you are a government official. That is because the new cause of action makes you, the government official, personally liable for your wrongdoing. What Is The Religious Freedom Restoration Act? It all centers on a federal law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which generally prohibits the government from placing a...

Breaking the Chains of Christmas Past A Gift for the Ages

If truth be told, most families harbor a lot more Marleys than they do Scrooges.  It is not too late to cut the chains. Marley appeared in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as a ghost of Scrooge’s deceased partner burdened with chains. Marley was the first to warn Scrooge that all was not well with his world when   he gave an ominous explanation of his unusual garb:  “I wear the...

Through the Ages – Last-minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is rapidly approaching and you are in a panic to about what to get for that special someone. Rest assured that you are not alone. General Sherman found himself there in 1864 when he had not had time to go shopping for his Commander-In-Chief. His solution was to wire Lincoln with the following: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah, with 150 heavy...

Earth, Wind and Fire When Disaster Hits, Head for the Insurance

If you live in Texas then you know that a bright sunny sky can shift to a blinding hailstorm in a matter of minutes.  Tornados?  Earthquakes?   Wind storms?  Texans know these can, and do, pop up with alarming regularity.   That is why most sane Texans carry property insurance.  That is also why insurance-toting Texans need to know about  the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act.   The TPPCA may well be...

A Stroke of Optimism

In October of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke. Rather than follow the constitutional protocol that dictated Vice President Thomas Marshall should serve during President Wilson’s incapacity, the First Lady, Edith Wilson, took the reins. While Woodrow Wilson languished, paralyzed on one side and barely able to get out of bed, Mrs. Wilson drafted official correspondence in her famously childlike handwriting, met with cabinet members, and most importantly,...

16 Relaxing Quotes To Make You Feel Better

For goodness sakes’ people: Smile! All is not gloom and doom.    The future may contain huge unknowns, but doesn’t it always? The other side may seem completely wrong about everything,  but isn’t there a possibility that there may be the slightest smidgeon of right lurking under the bombast?  Your favorite sports team may seem condemned by a broken ankle, but aren’t there another 54 or so players still running around on...

Research Pays Off – Problematic Decisions When You Reach Retirement Age

Your retirement age, in case you are interested, is between 65 and 67, depending on the year you were born. So says a host of government agencies.   That does not mean that the government will force you to put down your pen and pick up a fishing rod when you hit that age. It just means that it is the key age when your friendly government will force you to...

Agents on the Cloud – Digital Assets Lost Without Planning

Merrily we have drifted into the world of the internet while abandoning file cabinets, stripping picture albums and tossing piles of unwanted paper along the way. The lure of the cloud is impossible to ignore. You alone hold the magic formula of logins and passwords and URLs where your treasures may be found.  Financial documents and accounts for banking, brokerages and cryptocurrency, frequent-flier and credit-card points, photos, blogs, social-media accounts,...

Texas Open Carry – Everything You Need To Know in 2020

If you’re in need of an attorney, we want you to know that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm is open during regular business hours. We are meeting clients in our office while practicing social distancing, keeping everyone six feet apart and, for the time being, foregoing all handshakes and hugs. If you prefer, we can schedule telephone or video conferences, and we also make off-site appointments. Whatever your preference,...

A Horrible End to a Beautiful Beginning – Cohabitation Nightmare

So you want to live with someone to whom you are not married?  We call that “cohabitating” or “inviting a lawsuit.” Whatever. Cohabitation is legal, but that does not mean it is a relationship you should leap into lightly.  Before you make the move, you should consider the cautionary tale of Stephen Carl Smith and Mary Deneve. Smith and Deneve began living together in 1991. They neither married nor signed a cohabitation...

Idiots and Lunatics – State Law Controls Voter Qualification

For well over a century, idiots and lunatics were prohibited from voting in Texas. There had been some discussion about also prohibiting drunkards, but that was dropped when the legislators realized it would disqualify most of them. Texas has not been alone in its thinking. Eleven states still have laws banning “insane persons” or those who are “non compos mentis” from voting. More than 25 states ban people who have...

Employer Retirement Plans – Where Wishes Do Not Count

In 1974 an undoubtedly very nice man by the name of William Kennedy worked for DuPont. He, like company employees are wont to do, participated in his employer’s retirement savings plan. William dutifully filled out the plan’s beneficiary form and designated his wife Liv as the sole beneficiary. Twenty years later William and Liv divorced. The divorce decree recited that Liv gave up all of her interest in William’s retirement...
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