Immigration Law

Our Immigration Resource Section contains information and resources concerning various aspects of immigration law. These topics range from obtaining US Citizenship, resident alien status, green cards, visas and much more. Immigration has become a touchy political subject, and much of the...

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A family law attorney  specializes in the family law relationships which encompass adoption, child custody, visitation rights, domestic violence, divorce, juvenile dependency, marital property rights, support obligations, and paternity. Family law is the name given to the branch of civil law...

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Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony  between the parties. In most countries divorce requires the sanction of a...

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Rizwan Butt

Rizwan Butt

A bill just signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie promises to help protect the trade secrets of businesses across New Jersey by establishing specific remedies when intellectual property such as a formula, design, prototype or invention is misappropriated.

A trade secret is defined by law as information that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

Misappropriation means the acquisition of a trade secret by a person who either knows or has reason to know the secret was acquired by improper means, improper disclosure or use of a trade secret without consent of the trade secret owner. If the holder of a trade secret finds evidence of misappropriation, he or she can seek the following remedies:

• Damages for the actual loss suffered and for unjust enrichment of the defendant caused by the misappropriation. The trade secret holder can also try to impose a royalty.

• Injunctive relief for actual or threatened misappropriation of a trade secret. In some cases, a trade secret holder may be able to grant future use of the information on the condition of a paid royalty.

• Punitive damages, in cases where the misappropriation was found to be willful or malicious. The damages must not exceed twice the amount awarded for damages and unjust enrichment.

A court will also be able to award attorney fees in cases where willful and malicious appropriation exists, a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith, or a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith. If the defendant in a misappropriation case is a public entity or employee, the provisions of the New Jersey Tort Claims Act supersedes any conflicting provision of the bill.

Both the state House and Senate approved the bill unanimously and takes effect immediately. Although it doesn't apply to past or ongoing cases, it provides necessary legal consequences to those who wrongly disclose confidential information for all state businesses going forward.

On behalf of Dunn Lambert, LLC posted in Intellectual Property

Source: PolitickerNJ.com, "Scutari's 'New Jersey Trade Secrets Act' Now Law," Trish Graber, Jan. 9, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is announcing talks with the European Union to set informal rules aimed at limiting debris in space that threatens satellites.

A senior U.S. official says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce the talks Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.

The EU already has made public its own draft rules for operating in space. The U.S. official says the United States views that document as a starting point but would like to see changes. The United States also wants other countries, including Russia and China, involved.

U.S. and EU concerns were spurred by China's move to pulverize a disabled weather satellite in 2007. The test sent large amounts of debris into orbit.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fourteen people have been arrested at the Supreme Court for protesting the resumption of the use of the death penalty in the United States.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg announced the arrests soon after the high court began hearing oral arguments on Tuesday. Those who were arrested will likely be charged with illegally demonstrating at the Supreme Court. Such activities are banned on the court's plaza looking out toward the U.S. Capitol.

The protests are timed to mark the year of the 35th anniversary of the execution of Gary Gilmore, who protesters said was the first person executed under the Supreme Court's upholding of the death penalty in 1976.

Protesters say there have been 1,277 more executions since then, with at least three more scheduled for this month.

2012-01-17 16:00:53 GMT

Ohio's governor and attorney general said Sunday the state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling that Ohio's protocol for carrying out the death penalty is constitutional.

Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement that the state wants the high court to reverse a federal appeals court decision to delay the Wednesday execution of Charles Lorraine.

Lorraine was condemned to death in the 1986 slaying of an elderly Trumbull County couple. But the federal appeals court said Friday his execution should be delayed to review changes Ohio has made in carrying out the death penalty.

Lorraine argued that Ohio broke its promise to adhere strictly to its execution procedures. But the state said that deviations from the procedures during the last execution were minor and that an inmate's rights would not be violated by changes, such as which official announces the start and finish times of an injection.

A federal appeals court is hearing arguments in a case that challenges the planned use of reclaimed water for snowmaking at an Arizona ski resort.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case Monday morning in San Francisco.

The Save the Peaks Coalition and a group of citizens want the U.S. Forest Service to do a more thorough environmental analysis on the health and safety risks of using treated wastewater for artificial snow.

A lower court has ruled that the Forest Service adequately considered the impacts of the snowmaking plan and that the record supported the agency's decision to allow it.

More than a dozen tribes consider the mountain sacred. American Indian tribes argued unsuccessfully in a separate case that the plan violated religious freedom.

Nevada's Supreme Court has reached a milestone this week after hitting its 60,000th case.

Court officials say Monday that the distinction went to an appeal in a complex homeowner's association case with 74 defendants.

Supreme Court officials say that filings at the Nevada's only appellate court have been growing rapidly as the state's population has increased.

It took 112 years of statehood for the court to hit 10,000 cases. That milestone came Aug. 12, 1977.

But it took just more than four years to accrue the most recent 10,000 cases. The court hit 50,000 cases in August 2007.

Chief Justice Nancy Saitta says the number of cases is memorable, but also points to a backlog that delays resolving the legal matters.

Posted on : breakinglegalnews.com

A Texas abortion law passed last year that requires doctors to show sonograms to patients can be enforced while opponents challenge the measure in court, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks' temporary order against enforcing the law, saying Sparks was incorrect to rule that doctors who oppose it had a substantial chance of winning their case. The court's opinion systematically dismantles the argument that the Texas law infringes on the free speech rights of doctors and patients, one of the key arguments for not enforcing the law.

"The required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information," the opinion concluded.

Sparks ruled in August that several provisions of the state law violated the free-speech rights of doctors who perform abortions by requiring that they show and describe the sonogram images and describe the fetal heartbeat, all of which doctors have said is not necessary for good treatment.

The appeals court cited a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that "upheld an informed-consent statute over precisely the same 'compelled speech' challenges made" in the current Texas case.

Earlier rulings have found laws requiring doctors to give "truthful, nonmisleading and relevant" information are reasonable regulation, not ideological speech requiring strict scrutiny under the First Amendment, the appeals court said.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that disputes between consumers and companies that issue low-rate credit cards to people with bad credit ratings can be handled in business-friendly arbitration, rather than federal court.

The justices voted 8-1 to reverse a federal appeals court ruling allowing consumers to sue in federal court, the latest in a string of recent high court decisions in favor of arbitration. The consumers said they were promised an initial $300 in available credit, but were charged $257 in fees in the first year they had the credit card.

But the court, with only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting, agreed with the companies' argument that the dispute must be settled through arbitration, under an agreement that the customers signed to receive the card.

The federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, says consumers have a right to sue, which the federal appeals court in San Francisco interpreted as a right to go to court, rather than be forced to submit to arbitration.

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Bullying is a very serious and growing problem for young people, especially with the increase in communications technology giving bullies easier access to their prey.

Recognizing that “ground zero” for bullying activities is the school, Michigan has recently passed Act 241, the main provision of which is a mandate that all school districts have anti-bullying policies in place by the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Over the last several years, as studies showed that bullying and cyber-bullying were proliferating at a rapid pace, the Michigan legislature and administration repeatedly considered and reconsidered what to do about it.

When anti-bullying legislation failed in 2010, there was a sense that its chances might be very slim in 2011. But it got new life when Gov. Rick Snyder prioritized it as part of his April education reform plan.

Upon signing the bill into law Dec. 6, 2011, Gov. Snyder said, “This legislation sends a clear message that bullying is wrong in all its forms and will not be tolerated. No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) also had praise for the new law, known as Matt’s Safe School Law in honor of 14-year-old Matt Epling who killed himself after a physical bullying incident in 2002. “All Michigan children have the right to go to school in safe environments. where they are free to learn, grow and express themselves without fear,” stated MDCR Director Daniel H. Krichbaum at the time of the signing. “The legislation signed by Gov. Snyder today is an important step in achieving that goal.”

The MDCR had held public forums on the subject in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Marquette and Benton Harbor during 2011, and plans to continue public education on bullying.
As the 48th state to enact such a law, Michigan came late to the table. And even the process for passage of the current legislation was fraught with
problems.

After the House introduced bipartisan-sponsored bill 4163, the Senate adopted a version that differed by adding the following language:

“(8) This section does not abridge the rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States or under Article I of the State Constitution of 1963 of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian. This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”

That language set off alarms for many advocates and “went viral” nationally, with some calling it a “license to bully.”

Advocates-in-the-making Katy Butler and Carson Borbely, two young students from Ann Arbor, decided to take matters into their own hands, using the technology available to them in a positive way.  They started a petition on the open web site change.org asking people to sign if they supported asking the Senate to remove the offensive wording, telling their stories (Butler is a self-described lesbian and Borbely is transgendere) and stating, “We're speaking out because we deserve a bill that will actually protect us at school, not make it more dangerous, or give bullies a free pass.”

Over 50,000 people signed the petition, while other advocacy staffers continued their work. The reconciled version of the bill which was enacted into law omitted that provision.
Commented Butler, “This bill was passed in the end without this language; however it was also passed without enumeration [of the protected] and without reporting requirements, which was not at all what I, Equality Michigan, Riot Youth, and many other people wanted.”

Some lawmakers were also disappointed in what they termed a weak bill.  Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal, of Battle Creek, issued a press release stating “This new law could have gone much farther  and offered better protection to all students who are bullied. I voted for it because... we could not go any longer without a law to encourage our children to come forward if they are being bullied, and to send a message to bullies that their behavior will not be tolerated.”

 Segal says that she is hoping to address through the appropriations process one of the omissions she finds most glaring: that of a mandate to report on bullying statistics and anti-bullying progress. “It was very frustrating not to be able to get that included, after hearing from the administration that they want to see lots of data. We really need Michigan data. It would help parents and other students to know the extent of the problem.

“I intend to keep educating the public and other legislators to help them    understand the scope of the problem and why a more stringent bill is needed to help protect our kids,” Segal pledges.

Among other problems with the law, Equality Michigan Director of Policy Emily Dievendorf says, “We would have liked to see it include a list of  those disproportionately affected by bullying in the bill, as protected categories.”

Dievendorf indicates that she feels that drawing attention to “bullying based on bias” would help school administrators gain confidence in recognizing bullying, an effectiveness factor that many underestimate but has come out consistently in anti-bullying studies.

She also points to research that shows, “When you’re considering bullying that’s based on a person’s specific characteristics, for example, race, disability or sexual orientation, you’re looking at a different kind of damage done to that individual. These aren’t just any Michigan citizens, these are our kids, and they’re in the middle of their development. If they’re being bullied for who they are, psychologically they have a feeling of less value as a person.” Naming protected categories, as states such as Washington and Oregon have found out, makes for more effective intervention against bullying.

“The positive spin on the weak law is it requires the schools to have anti-bullying policies, and they can create strong policies,” Dievendorf says. She praises the model anti-bullying policy that the Michigan State Board of Education has adopted.

The Michigan Department of Education web site says that policy should  “[m]ake a clear and unambiguous statement that all students be protected from bullying; and that no license is created (wittingly or unwittingly) that condones or accommodates bullying.” The model policy defines bullying as “any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts – i.e., cyberbullying, through the use of internet, cell phone, ...PDA, computer, or wireless handheld device, currently in use or later developed and used by students) that is reasonably perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear... and may be motivated either by bias or prejudice based upon any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment...”

School districts must hold at least one public hearing or meeting to get comments before adoption. However, if the district has a policy with all of the elements the new law requires, all the district has to do is submit a copy to the Department of Education.

While there is talk about Intermediate School Districts helping with the adoption process, it may be difficult for cash-strapped educational facilities to implement some of the law’s recommended bullying prevention programs and education. However, local attorney Gary L. Chamberlin of Miller Johnson (which also offers a model anti-bullying policy) noted in an online article he wrote for martindale.com that appropriations Act 62 of 2011 specifically offered funding for such programs  listed in Section 388.1631a of the State School Aid Act.

by Cynthia Price of
Legal News

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