Archives for March 2015

Asylum and the Waiting Game

The Wasthington Post shared that Vive La Casa, a temporary shelter for those seeking asylum, was on the verge of closing its doors as it struggled with debt. Fortunately, a local community health center was able to step in and take over services at the converted schoolhouse in Buffalo, NY with the help of a generous grant. While this may not mean much in the day to day life of average citizens, the services and shelter provided mean the world to immigrants seeking asylum or refugee status in Canada and the United States.


The shelter acts as a temporary holding place for visitors from Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Haiti, and other places who pass through the doors and hope for the chance of a better life. They may wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks while paperwork is processed in their asylum case. Each morning Shelly Schratz, acting director of the shelter, knows the air is heavy with anticipation as those waiting look upon a list and eagerly search for their names.

That list, containing two-10 names, is scrutinized by all temporary residents in the shelter as they wait to see if it will be their day. They know that a name appearing on the list means they are one step closer to their road to freedom.

Of the morning ritual, Schratz shares, “I remember when I was in high school and I tried out for a play and I remember running to see if I had made the list, or the athletes running to see if they made the football team,” she said, “and I think to myself, oh my God, we take life for granted. There’s these people here and all they want is their name on that list, because it’s their life,” she said. “That list means, ‘we have a chance at our life.’”

While the Washington Post article concerns Vive La Casa in Buffalo, NY, the road to freedom is never easy one when seeking asylum anywhere in the United States. If you are in the Atlanta area and are waiting for your journey to begin, or have already started the process of seeking asylum, we encourage you to take the next step. Often, that next step involves having legal expertise and support on your side. Contact the immigration law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen for legal assistance with asylum and refugee situations.

How to Fail-Proof Your Business

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to entirely fail-proof a business. As referenced in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Gallup, and countless other sources, small business failure rates range from 30-80% depending on the industry and length of time considered.

What Causes Businesses to Fail

Prevent Business DisputesWhile the actual percentage of businesses that fail varies according to industry and length of time in business, there are common threads of what causes businesses to close their doors. Gary Brownlee of the Indiana Small Business Development Center reported that the number one cause for a business’ demise was incompetence. Factors contributing to this cause included:

  • Overextending by living beyond the means of the income generated by the business
  • Poor planning
  • Emotional pricing products or services
  • Unpaid taxes
  • Inadequate information regarding financing requirements
  • Record-keeping skills below par for running a business
  • Uninformed decisions involving pricing related to the industry

These factors are preventable by making sound decisions and investments at the start of a business. Researching how to properly manage and maintain these factors is certainly one of the most important investments a small business owner or start-up can make. Specifically, when it comes to planning a business the old saying by Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true. Imagine how much pain and heartache can be avoided with a little preventative maintenance up front.

Poor Legal Planning Leads to Business Disputes

As mentioned above, one a major contributor to business failure is poor planning. This includes not just business planning, but also legal planning. We have seen many small businesses fail as a result of disputes or conflicts between shareholders or partners. Hiring a qualified business attorney from the outset is one of the most sound investments that can be made in starting a business. Legal advice, well-conceived and thoughtfully drafted agreements, and proper documentation of the legal structure of a business will help prevent disputes or conflicts in the future.

If you are a small business owner, or considering starting a business, contact the experienced business litigation attorneys at Atlanta based Brownstein & Nguyen.

Employment and Investment Visas

The White House has been working on immigration initiatives, including the DACA program enacted in 2012, since President Obama was first elected in 2008. The DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has already helped countless individuals who came to the United States as minors remain united with their families. The latest expansion of DACA, currently on hold pending a court challenge, will have an impact on potentially millions of immigrants looking to make a better life in America. Thousands of other hopeful immigrants seek to bring their valuable talents and human resources to our country through viable work visas or green cards.

Employment Visas

Work VisasMark Zuckerberg and other tech titans appear have keen interest in different aspects of immigration policy as it applies to work visas. These influential business leaders are people to pay attention to because they are leading the charge to open up the number of employment visas for skilled workers to come to the United States. Zuckerberg and others founded a political action committee in support of immigration, and have been supportive of President Obama’s recent executive order pushing new immigration guidelines.


There are opponents to the expansion of employment visas, including some legislators who have also voiced harsh criticisms of President Obama’s executive actions. For example, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has expressed concern over the number of work visas carved out for the nation of Ireland within a recent Senate bill, particularly when it comes to “lower skilled” workers. There are provisions within immigration reform legislation that limits the number of work visas within a particular city, if unemployment within the community hits 8.5% or higher. Provisions protecting the unemployed that were put in place by the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 appear to conflict with President Obama’s executive order in many ways.


A number of evaluations have been performed concerning how DACA might impact the fiscal picture of the United States. There are those who believe that millions of jobs will be created once 8 million immigrants ultimately receive legal status. The immigration issue and President Obama’s executive orders will clearly have an impact on the direction and future of our country, and the debates will likely continue for many years to come.

Contact the Atlanta immigration offices of Brownstein & Nguyen for expert help with employment visas and investment visas and other immigration questions and assistance.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer

Experiencing a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence is never easy. Once you’ve started the process of picking up the pieces, it is important to choose the right personal injury attorney. Here are four key factors to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer:

Atlanta personal Injury1. Experience

It is important to consider how long an attorney has been practicing personal injury law. It is also important to find out what type of personal injury case is involved, because personal injury is a broad category. The attorneys of Brownstein & Nguyen have over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases including wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home and elder abuse, premises liability, and automobile and truck wrecks.

2. Reviews and Recommendations

In addition to considering the number of years in practice and the types of personal injury cases a lawyer has handled, it is important to consider their reputation. How is the attorney viewed among peers and by current and former clients? Founding partner Jay Brownstein has been honored as a top rated personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia by American Legal Media (2012) and by Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite publication (2009). He has a peer rating of AV®Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating for ethics and professional excellence awarded by fellow attorneys and judges. Most importantly, former clients have honored him with their heart-felt endorsements.

3. Track Record

When seeking a personal injury lawyer, it is also important to consider the lawyer’s case history. Through their years of experience, dedication and excellence in legal representation, the personal injury attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen have built a record of success.

4. Compassion

Suffering and overcoming a personal injury is never easy or simple. Regardless of the situation, it is important to know that someone is truly there for you. Not just fighting for your legal rights, but understanding and being compassionate about what you and your family are going through. The accident and injury lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen recognize that clients are not just clients, but individuals with stories, families and hardships. This empathy comes through in reading our client testimonials. Our attorneys always fight for what is best for their clients.

Contact the Atlanta personal injury law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen at 770-458-9060 for more information about pursuing legal support for your personal injury case.

What you Need to Know About Non Emergency Medical Transport

Guest Post by Aaron Marks of the Marks Law Group

Non Emergency Medical Transport Accident Atlanta

Medical TransportThe elderly, sick and disabled often require specialized transportation, particularly non emergency medical transportation (NEMT), for attending doctors’ appointments and for receiving non-emergency medical treatment. NEMT is provided in vehicles that are equipped for accommodating people in wheelchairs, on stretchers, and who need to travel with other medical equipment. Just as with other motor vehicles, accidents can occur in NEMT, and cause injuries to passengers who are already injured, sick or frail.

Duty of Care for Atlanta NEMT Providers

Across the country millions of NEMT trips are made each year. In Georgia alone in 2012, the state Department of Community Health oversaw 3.6 million NEMT trips and, as the state has an ageing population and outside of the Atlanta metropolitan area, little public transit, the need for NEMT will continue to grow. Georgia state law currently has few safety regulations in place for NEMT. Unfortunately, some companies hire drivers who are neither adequately trained nor supervised. Because of this, vulnerable patients may be injured as a result of negligence by those people whom we trust to help them receive their much needed medical attention. Atlanta NEMT services have a duty to transport their passengers safely to their destination. Furthermore, drivers and staff of the service provider must ensure that all passengers, including the patient and their family members, are safely buckled and in a regular seat before moving the vehicle.

What are the Different Types of NEMT Accidents?

When transporting the elderly and the sick, accidents may occur as a result of:

  • A collision with another vehicle or another object
  • Carelessness in moving or transferring the passenger, or in failing to secure the patient sufficiently
  • Loading and transferring the patient
  • Improperly used chair lifts
  • Leaving the patient in extreme or unsafe conditions
  • Loading or unloading of a wheelchair or stretcher

What Forms of Negligence Cause an Accident?

Staff errors and carelessness in assisting passengers can increase the risk of passenger injury. Even a seemingly small slip or fall can aggravate the injury or poor health condition of the passenger. Other factors such as driver inexperience and inadequate training in the use and operation of specialized machines for transporting the patient, and certain behaviors such as driving recklessly and failing to restrain passengers sufficiently before moving the vehicle can also lead to an accident.

NEMT Accidents are NOT Merely Auto Accidents

NEMT collision cases are complex and require a thorough understanding of the current laws. They cannot be litigated as just auto accidents, nor are they seen as a form of medical malpractice. They are, in fact, a combination of unusual elements, including the following, which set these types of cases apart:

  • Broker relationship (NEMT brokers contract with state and local governments)
  • State regulations and policies, and
  • The particular special needs of those being transported

With the rapid expansion of the NEMT industry and a challenging regulatory environment, we expect to see preventable catastrophic injuries, including wrongful deaths, involving non-emergency transport vehicles in Georgia.

For more information about NEMT issues, contact the Marks Law Group. If you are in need of trusted personal injury, medical malpractice and elder abuse lawyers, contact Atlanta attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen.