Archives for January 2016

2016 and Nursing Home Negligence

Having to place a loved one in a nursing home is one of the toughest decisions a family will ever make. While most nursing homes provide excellent care to residents, unfortunately mistakes and poor care resulting in nursing home negligence are far too prevalent. It’s important for families to do their due diligence when choosing a nursing home, even when circumstances arise requiring that placement must be done quickly.

Consider What Care is Needednursing home atlanta

What type and scope of care will a loved one need? Do they need assistance with daily living activities such as personal hygiene, mobility, eating, dressing, etc.? Are there special medical issues or conditions involved that require specialized medical care? Are there memory issues or some level of dementia that require a different expertise and setting? Individual needs and the type of skilled care offered by a facility are key factors in the selection process.

Ask People You Trust

If nursing home placement is imminent after a hospital stay, consult with the hospital’s social worker to get recommendations for appropriate facilities. Also talk to family physicians, trusted friends or family members to create a list of recommended facilities. Then go online and research the facilities, checking for complaints, patient reviews and the like. Also look for information provided by government agencies and third parties such as Medicare’s nursing home compare tool and third party websites like this one which compiles complaints, safety inspections and violations maintained by state agencies.

Contact Nursing Homes

Call facilities on the list and ask questions of each one. Find out exactly what skilled services are offered, staffing and patient-to-staff ratios, costs, whether there’s a waiting list, and other pertinent information for the decision process. Then, schedule an appointment to visit and meet with the director and nursing director in person. There is no substitute for first-hand observation to get a better sense of a facility and the people who will be cared for your loved one.

Ask Questions

While visiting a facility, ask questions about their Medicare and Medicaid certification. Take notice of whether the residents look well cared for, and how they are treated by staff. How responsive is the staff – are resident calls for assistance promptly answered? How do staff members talk to residents: with respect, disinterest, or worse, disdain? Be aware of bad odors or heavy chemical smells such as ammonia, poor maintenance, and general signs of lack of cleanliness. Observe a typical meal, including nutrition content, appearance and appeal of the food, and whether hot meals are timely served. Introduce yourself to staff members to get a feel for their demeanor, attitude towards family members, and manner when dealing with residents. These and other indicators can help identify signs of nursing home neglect or negligence. In short, do whatever you can to determine if a facility gives you confidence that your loved one will get the best possible care under the circumstances.

Make Unscheduled Visit

Before making a final decision on a facility for your loved one, if possible make one more visit – this time unscheduled. Arrive on a different day and observe another shift and staff from your scheduled visit.

Of course, your vigilance does not end after a loved one is placed in a facility. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home negligence, abuse or neglect, contact the law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen. We are experienced in helping families and their loved ones fight elder abuse.

Business Law and New Year’s Resolutions

Procrastination can be a deadly habit and it is so easy to slip into, especially for small business owners and partnerships. The lack of an immediate need or pressure to address brewing and potential future legal problems means that all of the impetus for action must come from business owners themselves. So, rather than procrastinate, here are a few tips to get a jump-start for 2016.

New Year's ResolutionsFor your New Years’ business resolution, be proactive and anticipate legal problems both within and without your business. Proactively confront personality clashes among your partners. Be honest about the differences in management style, business goals, and financial philosophies. A partnership is best run by a balance of personalities, not by the dominance of one.

If your business involves customer data, take a hard look at cyber-security. It seems like 2015 was the year of the data breach, from BlueCross/BlueShield to Ashley Madison to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, data breaches were everywhere. Educate employees on proper email, internet and cloud storage usage and security measures. The last thing your business needs is the economic loss of a data breach and inevitable lawsuits that follow.

If your business is open to the public (restaurant, retail store, etc.), another issue to consider is investing in an ADA-compliant infrastructure. Disability compliance lawsuits are one of the easiest to avoid. Also, don’t forget to invest in your digital and other intellectual properties.

Aside from these and other business issues that can result in costly legal issues, one of the most important and often-overlooked traps for business owners is failing to plan for potential break-ups. If you do not already have one, come up with a “business divorce” plan. No one likes to think about it, but partnerships do fall apart. It is far cheaper and more efficient if rights and obligations of shareholders and business partners are established before an event of dissolution. Don’t just consider capital contributions, assets and liabilities: take note of clients; employees and personnel matters; technology, trade secrets and other intellectual property; goodwill; and business continuation.

Many businesses fail because of a dispute among partners that might have been prevented or at least mitigated with proper planning. Make 2016 the year you build a sturdier foundation for your company for the future.

A key element of proactively running a business of any size is having experienced legal counsel available. Contact Atlanta business law attorney Jay Brownstein at Brownstein & Nguyen for sound, practical business advice and legal representation.

What is Business Divorce?

When business partnerships have run their course, it might be time for a business divorce. Similar to the end of a marriage, a business divorce involves taking into consideration the assets and debts of a company, determining how to distribute them, and legally severing the relationship between small business owners.

Reasons for Business DivorceBusiness Divorce Atlanta

Many events can trigger the need for a business divorce. Partnerships may dissolve because partners no longer share the same goals and expectations for the business. Small business owners may begin new ventures or start to pull away from the business. A poor business model or financial problems may also lead to a business divorce. When partnerships can no longer be maintained, there may be little choice but to sever the legal relationship between partners and dissolve the business.

Issues Involved in Business Divorce

When a business must be dissolved, there are often several major issues that must be addressed. Business debs, including legal and tax liabilities, must be dealt with. Partners may disagree on the prioritization of certain debts and current obligations to lenders. Underlying problems that contributed to financial difficulty may need to be identified and rectified. Long-term liabilities such as leases must be addressed, as well as contingent or future liabilities such as personal guaranties of the partners. Other common issues include how to deal with the termination of employees and whether owners will be permitted to operate a new or successor business within the same industry.

Legal Rights and Obligations

Well-prepared business owners obtain legal assistance at the start of new business venture, including the preparation and execution of a shareholder, operating or partnership agreement that includes provisions regarding future dissolution of the partnership or company and winding up the affairs of the business. Absent such an agreement, the rights and obligations of small business owners are established by state statutes and applicable case law. In either event, it is important to consult with qualified business counsel as soon as a disagreement or possible event of dissolution occurs.

For legal guidance and assistance when dealing with a business divorce, contact the experienced partnership and shareholder dispute attorneys at the Atlanta law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen.

Legal Update on the Journey of Unaccompanied Minors

What is the current status of the legal and humanitarian problem of unaccompanied minors?

The number of unaccompanied minors, or minors entering the United States without adult guardians, seems to have slowed. Some 67,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border in 2014, while in 2015 that number dropped to less than 20,000. Moral questions aside, the United States is legally bound to ensure that it does not deport refugees to any country in which they face persecution. This requires the government to investigate the circumstances for each refugee to determine eligibility for refugee or humanitarian status.

Changing Detention Procedures

Not AloneDuring the height of the unaccompanied minor crisis, children were apprehended and detained in border facilities pending a resolution of their application. However, if a child had family or a legal guardian present in the United States, the child is eligible to be released into their care pending their application for adjustment of status. As of June 1, 2015, Congress urged the Border Patrol to reduce detentions. In response, Border Patrol has been coordinating with state foster and child care agencies and facilities to move children out of detention facilities and into better family-friendly environments.

In-Country Processing Program

In November 2014, the State Department launched the in-country processing program in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Through this program, parents may submit refugee applications in their home country. This process allows children of refuges to remain with their parents pending their application status. The idea is to offer safe legal alternatives to the perilous journey north.

The goal of this program, coupled with increased security at the Mexican southern border, is designed to slow the movement of unaccompanied minors into the United States. The journey is expensive and dangerous for the children who attempt it. It is less expensive, both fiscally and morally, for the United States to process refugees in-country and safer for children to remain with their parents while waiting the processing of their application for refugee status.

It is important to be aware of the often complicated and lengthy legal immigration process. If you or a loved one needs support navigating the immigration system in the United States, contact the Atlanta experienced immigration attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen.