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Copyright for Educational Material and More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 11/18/11

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Bill: I’m waiting for a final ok for a business name via LZ but my question concerns copyrighting: I have a few courses that I wrote. If I want to license them, how can I protect my work?

Joe Escalante: Use form TX to copyright your course materials as literary works. Of course you know LZ can help you with that too.

LegalZoom: Here’s a link to our copyright service, Bill:

Trevor: I sought patent services from a patent firm. They requested details for a conflict check and a week later I engaged them. I didn’t receive a patent. A few days ago I came upon a very similar patent owned by a major company, filed before mine, granted after my filing and prosecuted by the same firm. I wonder if the law firm acted in my best interests given the prominence of their other client. In my opinion there was a conflict. Do you think I have any recourse for a refund of charges or anything else?

Joe Escalante: This is problematic. Assuming the inventions were similar enough, you wouldn’t have been able to get a patent anyway because the other party was first. However, your attorney had a duty to disclose if he knew he was wasting your time and money. Maybe your fees should be returned to you, it might be worth a letter. It will be hard to prove this without another expensive patent lawyer. A letter will at least let them know you are on to them.

Ashley: If court papers are filed to give one parent custody of a child and that parent lives off her boyfriend yet they are “broken up” but living in the same house and the papers say no child support, can she move out and seek child support since she would have no income besides public assistance?

Joe Escalante: The baby daddy is going to be responsible for some kind of support, but the baby mama needs to go to court and get a support order stating her income and living situation.

Jacqueline: My Husband has been working as a sub for 7 weeks now and he has only been paid for 2 weeks. What can we do to get the money that he has worked for?

Joe Escalante: Well, if he wants to make trouble, he can file a claim with the state labor commission. That’s what they’re there for. Make sure you have plenty of documentation as to what his pay is supposed to be, when he is supposed to get it, and especially document all the times you’ve asked for it, and what the responses were.

Ashley: If a mortgage was sold or transfered to another company and it was the first company listed in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, does the 2nd mortgage company have any claims to non-paid payments if the home owner let the house go? I was told that I’m not responsible under the bankruptcy but this mortgage co. sent a letter saying they want the non-paid amount but not the amount of the total mortgage loan, just since we stopped paying in preperation to move out. Our bankruptcy attorney says they should never have sent the letter. Is this correct?

Joe Escalante: Just because a mortgage company has a typewriter and some fancy letter head, doesn’t mean what they write to you isn’t complete B.S. I would listen to your BK lawyer.

Pepper: A friend filed for disability on a private policy. Is the onus on the insurance company to obtain all the medical records or can they make a determination without all the information ruling against my friend by claiming limited knowledge of his condition? I ask because I lost a Worker’s Comp case after a doctor evaluated me and did so stating he didn’t have CRITICAL medical records!

Joe Escalante: The insurance company will usually look for anything not to pay a claim. it doesn’t mean it’s kosher. But, if you were the insurance company, you would probably make disabled people give you all the evidence. It’s like, “if you want this money, jump through some hoops.” That’s pretty standard but I don’t know if it would be bad faith, per se, in your state.

Karin: my ex lost his visitation and parenting time in 08, he has since got married. I still have full custody, his now new wife had his mother sneak my child(8yr old) to see him and took pics and now has posted on facebook!!! canI stop this? we have a trial coming up Dec.8th

Joe Escalante: I’m assuming your bangs got in the way and you didn’t notice when the 8 year old was abducted, but if it happened, it sounds like a violation of the court order at best, or at worst, an outright kidnapping. Document it, make screen shots of the facebook photos, and make it part of your case.

Sharee: had a fall in my community on uneven pavement. left knee contusion, got xrays and missing days from work. would i have a case for injury?

Joe Escalante: That is a classic slip and fall case. There are plenty of attorneys that specialize in slip n fall personal injury. You should consult with one. It will be free and you will know if you have a case. Only engage one that will take it on a contingency basis. Click the link below if you need some help finding a good one.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Sharee:

Scott: A landscaping company is charging me for work they did in a clean water protected area…. protected under section 404 of the cleanwater act. the bill has been delivered to me as president of our homeowner’s assciation… does that give you more clarity

Joe Escalante: In my world, you don’t pay bills for services you didn’t contract for. Nothing I see under 404 of the clean water act allows a company to do work and bill an HOA willy nilly because they are close by. If you don’t pay, the landscaper sues you for breach of contract? Well, there has to be a contract first.

Juawana: can u start a biz under bankruptcy?

Joe Escalante: If the new business means additional income, you will have to disclose that and any financial changes in your life to the court. Also, the court may dismiss your bankruptcy if it sees that you are taking on new debt. You should get the court’s permission or wait until the bankruptcy is completed.

Hipolito: When Filing a Statemen of Information (LLC-12) for the State of California, what should be considered very carefully?

Joe Escalante: Accuracy is important of course, and it might be a good idea not to limit yourself to a “type of business” that is too narrow, in case you want to diversify. My corporation was formed for “any lawful business.” Check with your tax pro before you complete your LLC.

Rose: Good morning Joe.. My question is how many years can an insurance company legally drag out a personal injury claim against their company?

Joe Escalante: That’s up to the local rules of the jurisdiction where it’s being adjudicated. If they take too long, it might be dismissed, but that rarely happens.

LegalZoom: That’s it for Free Joe Friday! Come join us next week for more free legal advice: Have a great weekend!

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November 22nd, 2011 at 6:07 am