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“Absolute” Liability under the Scaffold Law

Critics of New York Labor Law § 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, claim that it is driving up construction costs because of rocketing insurance premiums from the few insurers that still provide construction coverage. This is the same argument used by medical practitioners that are lobbying for medical malpractice law reforms, but the numbers show that insurance is not the problem. The problem is when the duty of care is breached and preventable accidents happen.

The construction industry is undoubtedly a hazardous occupation, and accidents will happen. The Scaffold Law is still in place more than 100 years since it was first enacted because it is an effective deterrent to construction companies and contractors to breach their duty of care towards their workers. This is exactly the purpose for which the Scaffold Law was designed, and despite numerous attempts to dislodge it is still there.

It would be exaggerating to say that the Scaffold Law guarantees an injured worker a win in a personal injury case. The law mandates that if it is proven that the injury from a fall from height accident was due to equipment failure i.e. defective or inadequate ladder, insufficient training i.e. poorly assembled scaffold, or lack of required safety measures i.e. guardrails, then the construction company is liable. If there are no safety violations on the work site, there will be no case.

Unfortunately, most construction sites do have evidence of safety problems which is why when a falling accident happens it is highly probable that the company will be found liable. Changing the law will not change that; if the worksite is unsafe, people will get hurt. The Scaffold Law serves merely as a silent threat to cost-cutting construction managers and companies in New York that is more effective than citations from building inspectors.

If you have been seriously injured in a falling accident, the Scaffold Law may apply to you. Present your case to experienced New York construction accident attorneys to find out if it does.

Fast Food Restaurants – The New Trend in the Resta...

The practice of catering and serving food to travelers and people who were far away from home go as far back as the early Greek and Roman times. Taverns and inns performed this practice as the term “restaurant” was still unheard of back then.

A restaurant, where people can sit and eat the food they have ordered, is a relatively a new concept. When used in the 18th century in France, the word referred to a shop where soups (that could restore health, probably due to hunger) were sold. It was also during the latter part of this era and early part of the 19th century when “eating house,” oyster houses and coffee houses became really famous in America. These establishments, though, were built only in areas where population was big and, as America became more urbanized, so did these establishments – becoming more sophisticated and increasing in number.

Jumping forward to the early 20th century (between 1991 and 1921), the emergence of what is now known as (and very famous) fast food restaurants came into existence. These new eating places catered to the needs of people who were always on the go and who demanded quick service, thus these were also known under the name quick service restaurant or QSR.

It is obvious that fast food restaurants, which serve pre-cooked and kept-hot “meat-sweet diet” food, are preferred much more than those that cater fine dining. Location, cost of food, and formality are some of the factors that greatly affect this preference. While fine dining would definitely cost much more, restaurants that serve it would also require a more presentable attire – a great inconvenience to many.

The concept of fast food restaurants still continue to develop (in terms of service). This is evidenced by the emergence of catering trucks and fast casual restaurants. Fast casual restaurants have maintained the practice of having their patrons seated and their food brought to them, while catering trucks, which is very popular among office workers and factory workers, are often seen parked right outside work places, making purchase and consumption of food, during breaks and lunch periods, faster and more convenient.

Things to do in The Woodlands

Hailed as one of United States’ top master-planned communities, The Woodlands in Texas offers more than being a quite sub-urban residential retreat. Surrounded by forests, The Woodlands has evolved from a bedroom community into a flourishing village that has many parks, school campuses, playgrounds, shopping centers, and golf courses. Visiting The Woodlands would guarantee that you, your family, and your friends will have a pleasurable experience due to a number of countless activities that the place can offer. Situated about 32 miles north of Houston, Texas, The Woodlands is located chiefly in a heavily forested district of Montgomery and Harris, Texas. It was an extension of the Mitchell Energy & Development, and was devoted to George Mitchell. Mitchell was an oil businessman who was interested in developing a suburban retreat that city-dwellers would find relaxing and enjoyable. Aside from the residential areas that cater to convenience, The Woodlands also has a variety of entertainment that appeals to people of all ages. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion has hosted a number of live concerts from known artists such as James Taylor, Dave Mathews Band, Tom Petty, and Sting. The Houston Symphony also has summer performances at the pavilion. Movies are also more interesting with the Cinemark Tinseltown 17 that features state-of-the-art sound systems and stadium seating for best movie experience. Life in The Woodlands won’t be boring since there are various entertainment options that you can go to, with sights and sounds that you will encounter. A couple of minutes walk can get you to anything from a place of worship to a cool shop, a hospital or any other places of interest. The flurry of activities and recreational areas is enough to provide anyone with a warm and welcomed feeling. With so many options for entertainment and leisure, The Woodlands is a great family-friendly destination.

Did you know…? Cruise Ship and Other Trivia

Most of us probably don’t know and don’t care about stuff we will probably encounter once and never again (unless you’re a Love Boat fanatic), but it is nonetheless interesting to know about this stuff once it is brought to your notice. For example, ever wonder what a “poop deck” actually is?

A poop deck is not the place of choice for dog-walkers to bring their charges, but refers to the raised portion at the back end of a ship, and its etymology can be traced back to ancient Rome. Back in the day, sailors would place sacred icons on an elevated dais in that area so that the crew and ship would receive the protection of that idol. These icons were called puppis and the platforms puppin. You see where this is going.

And there is more on deck etymology. Ever wonder why most cruise ships refer to something called a lido deck, typically where the swimming pool is found? The lido deck, also typically found near the aft or rear of the ship, is derived from the Italian term lido which means “beach.” In the 19th century, it was commonly the term used to denote an exclusive beach resort, and early transatlantic steamship lines borrowed the term to characterize the sundeck as the purview of their wealthier passengers. Today, anyone can go to the lido deck, but it is still typically where the pool and other outdoor activities are held.

Okay, so much for decks. Let’s move on to some –ests. The largest cruise ship ever built is currently the Allure of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International. Although registered in the Bahamas, its home port is in Florida, and regularly makes its rounds of Antigua, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. It is so big that it has its own Starbucks, the first cruise ship to have one. It has a length of 1,187 feet, which is long enough to put five 747 planes tip to tail with room left over! It can accommodate 6,318 guests and has 2,384 people as the crew.
The oldest cruise ship operating as such is the Sea Cloud, currently owned by German company Hansa Ltd. and operated by Sea Cloud Cruises GmbH. It was originally commissioned as a private yacht in 1931, but it is big enough to accommodate 64 passengers. During World War II, it served as a weather ship for the U.S. Coast Guard. It has a length of 316 feet and regularly plies its route in the Caribbean and Europe.

Yasmin and Acne

A lot of women have been using Yasmin as a birth-control pill, although it has other “benefits” such as easing the symptoms of severe PMS and acne. Even the manufacturer of the pill, Bayer, has advertised Yasmin as an effective treatment for moderate acne, thus prompting many women to ask if they can use it solely as an acne medication. But are they really an effective acne treatment?

Yasmin and acne seems to be popping up in the internet; many women have been asking if they are really effective or if there are side effects to stopping the medications. Yasmin is not actually approved to treat acne, even though many doctors have prescribed it as an “off-label” treatment for acne. This has led many to use it, therefore causing many women to suffer severe Yasmin side effects.

The main ingredients in Yasmin are drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, and it is the presence of drospirenone that is said to counter the effects of certain “male” hormones (such as testosterone) in women that is often associated with acne. Suppressing these “male” hormones in women is believed to help prevent acne, and with Yasmin providing a steady dose of drospirenone, it makes sense as an acne treatment. Yasmin and acne seems to make sense to many women, thus they choose it an option for their moderate acne treatment aside from it being their birth-control pill.

A common side effect of many birth-control pills or contraceptive pills is acne, therefore it may be hard to determine if taking Yasmin can really be beneficial in treating acne. Although it is determined that Yasmin’s sister birth-control pill Yaz (which has a higher dosage of drospirenone) is a more effective treatment for acne, it does not really necessarily follow that Yasmin has the same effect. Some women do report to have noticeable improvement after taking Yasmin, however, if the acne gets worse it would be better to stop the medication and see your doctor to ask for different options.

Types of Owner Financing

Owner financing is not really a new concept, but it is not usually a go-to solution when it comes to real estate. Times have changed however, and owner financing is becoming more available in online real estate listing sites such as Austin-based Easy Road Home. For buyers and sellers of real estate, owner financing is a whole new ball game, and there are no time-worn traditions to uphold. In other words, there is lots of room for negotiation.

Aside from state laws against usury and standard financial regulations, the terms of an owner financing agreement will depend on what the buyer and seller can mutually live with. In general, the details that should be included in the agreement are the down payment, amount financed, interest rate, loan term, and monthly payments. Most sellers entering into an owner financing agreement require a down payment of up to 30% of the purchase price. The higher down payment is thought to discourage buyers from defaulting on payments because they have already invested a sizeable amount in the property.

While owner financing agreements can take any form, the most common types of agreements include lease purchase agreements, land contracts and promissory notes.

Lease Purchase Agreements

Also known as rent-to-own agreements, lease purchase agreements entitle the buyer to take possession of the property as a lessee for a monthly consideration over a designated period of time. At the end of the lease period, the buyer pays the purchase price less all the monthly payments remitted to the seller and receives the title in return.

Land Contracts

Also known as an installment sale agreement, land contracts is an agreement by which the seller simply divides the purchase price less down payment (if any) plus interest by x number of months over a certain period of time. The resulting amount is the monthly payment the buyer will make to the seller, who will only transfer the title to the buyer once the full purchase price plus interest has been paid. Many land contracts have a balloon payment at end of contract, although this is not required.

Promissory Note

Also known as real estate lien note, promissory note on mortgage is literally a promise by the borrower to pay in writing. It should include the debt amount and interest rate as well as the monthly amounts over a certain period of time. The seller holds the title of the property as security to oblige the borrower to fulfill the promise. The note is a legal binding document in the US, and the seller may be required to produce it during foreclosure proceedings.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Brief Timeline

On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, sinking the rig, killing 11 workers, and injuring 17 others. As a result of the explosion at the incomplete well, oil began to gush into the ocean. The exact rate of the spill has been difficult to pin down, reported as anywhere from 8,000 to 60,000 gallons per day.

The spill went uncontained for 87 days, as BP made several attempts using four different methods to cap the well. BP was finally successful on July 15, using a “top hat” containment dome that was specially engineered to prevent ice from clogging the tube to the surface, which allowed all the oil spilled each day to be salvaged by ships. Later, two relief wells were installed to mitigate pressure within the dome, and by September 19, the spill was permanently cemented closed.

By December, a federal lawsuit had been filed against BP, holding the company liable for the costs of cleanup and damages. The case was settled in November 2012 when BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in reparations, as well as plead guilty to several felony counts. A separate class action case was settled in August 2012, creating the Medical Benefits Settlement for certain people whose health was harmed by the spill.

As of June 2013, BP has declared cleanup efforts finished in most affected states. However, tar balls are still often reported on beaches and the Coast Guard continues to lead residual cleanup. The full, long-term effects on the environment, its wildlife, and human inhabitants remain to be seen.

Thinking Outside the Box for Your Legal Marketing

In previous decades, marketing for your business was much less complicated. Produce a few television ads, create some print ads for a newspaper or magazine, and design a variety of posters or short media spotlights, and you were likely to have created at least a decently successful marketing campaign.

However, in the last decade, the explosion of internet marketing and social media has not only expanded the number of available outlets for marketing, but has also made creating an effective marketing campaign much more difficult. This is especially true when it comes to the saturated legal market, as the ever increasing number of law firms all over the country are constantly competing for business.

As a result, legal professionals often need to use a variety of marketing outlets, especially those beyond the traditional, to create a noticeable and effective presence. Creating social media profiles on sites such as Google +, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; utilizing evolving SEO methods; interacting with clients through online chatting services; and other creative marketing techniques can go a long way towards helping law firms create focused and powerful marketing campaigns and,  thus, increase their number of clients.

Online Marketing for Dentists

In years past, people in need of a new dentist would likely look to the yellow pages to get an idea of the dentists in their area and find a name to call. However, these days, phonebooks are largely obsolete, and most people in need of a dentist or another medical professional turn to the internet. This trend has significantly increased the importance of online marketing for dentists, both in terms of visibility and in terms of website quality.

Competing against other dentists in your area for prominent placement in internet search engines is a task that requires dedication and a clear strategy, as companies that do not rank highly are likely to not be found and therefore,  are not likely to get many new patients. Few people look past the first few pages of results in Google or another search engine, and as such, it is important for offices that want to be found to make sure that they show up. Dental offices looking to rank well will either need to do significant research into how to effectively optimize their website to rank well, or entrust that task to a professional search engine optimization firm.

However, showing up highly in search engines is not the end of the story. Once a potential client finds your site, they are not likely to contact you if they don’t find a professional-looking, well-written site. As such, making sure that your site looks good, is easy to navigate, and contains high-quality, helpful content is of the utmost importance. Again, dental offices will likely either need to invest a decent amount of time into their site design and content creation, or turn these tasks over to a professional team.

Legal Marketing: Where Things Stand

In the legal field, marketing has undergone a dramatic change in the past decade. What had, until recently, been a fairly stable marketing landscape for many years has, with the implementation of ground-breaking technological change, become a rapidly changing field.

Driving this change, of course, is the emergence of the internet and social media as powerful forces in the marketing landscape. It is no exaggeration to say that a significant portion of all legal marketing potential lies in these new forms of media. At present, the possibilities of online marketing appear nearly boundless; the growth of new avenues for reaching clients, and the sheer speed with which this change occurs, make predicting the future of legal marketing online extremely difficult.

The case of one element of online legal marketing, however, shows how important it is for law firms to begin implementing marketing strategies in these new areas as quickly as possible. Search engine optimization (SEO), which helps law firms to stand out from their competitors in search results, was only recently a new development in legal marketing. However, at this point, attorneys in large urban markets such as Chicago and New York are already discovering how difficult it is to get ahead of the competition after delaying implementation of SEO strategies. While it is impossible to know whether this same dynamic will play out with other forms of legal marketing online, it is an important lesson to keep in mind.

Nevertheless, legal marketing in traditional forms of media continues to be an enormously important form of reaching clients. Television ads, billboards, radio spots, and magazine placements can all be drivers of significant business for a law firm. However, as the old and new media continue to realign, and consumer expectations continue to change, the most important thing any attorney can do for his or her business is to make sure to follow a coordinated, concentrated legal marketing effort that maintains consistency across media.