LegalZoom Blog

Legal news and small business tips.

Is My Kid’s School Violating His Right to Privacy? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 5/25/12

no comments yet

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.

Susan: My question for Joe Escalante is about my son’s school district. The only legal way a child can be excused from school is with a doctors note, which is taking away my son’s medical privacy. My son also feels uncomfortable changing for physical education in front of the other students and is failing in gym because of it. Is there any legal way around the school’s rules?

Joe Escalante: This story has home school written all over it. The school gets money from the state, or whoever, if your kid is sick when he’s absent. If he’s just out in front of the liquor store smoking, the school gets no money.
They need to know if he’s sick or not. They don’t need to know if it’s an STD or anything personal. They just need to know that he’s sick. It would be difficult to convince a court that this requirement is a violation of any rights you may have, in light of this compelling state interest to fund the education system in your area.

Annie: I poste dthis question but I still dont know the answer. When I die are my children responsible for my credit card debts.. You said the estate is responsible but i dont know what that means .. Please answer this as though I was a complete idiot..

Joe Escalante: The estate is the sum of the assets of the dead person. It’s all the dead person’s money, houses, jewelry, framed Tupac Pictures, etc. All their stuff. When they die, the probate court has a process for all their creditors to come and get the money owed to them.
If someone owed you a lot of money and they died, the court would protect your debt from relatives that might think, “hey, why should my inheritance be stuck with that bill. The guy’s dead, and he left his money to me. I wants to keep it.”


Joe Escalante: If the deed refers to “surface rights” you may not own the mineral rights. If it doesn’t say that, you probably do but the deed still could be inaccurate. A mineral rights search would have to be done to be sure. That involves researching at the country registrar back into the 1800s or so to see if they were ever split out. There are attorneys that specialize in this.

Debra: Wondering the papers to file to dissolve a salon partnership..I’m listed General proprietor, but want out asap. The taxes are filed as a partnership. I need to remove my liability!
Any advice on this dissolution?

Joe Escalante: Your partnership agreement should have a specific process for dissolution, or leaving member language. If not, you have to create it with new documents transferring your interest to the other members, or dissolving the partnership entirely. BUT YOU ARE IN LUCK! Legalzoom has this specific document for people in your situation. Click below and sleep well tonight.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Debra:

Antonio: I have been unemployed now for almost two years and I have been volunteering from time to time. I am now looking for a place where I can volunteer 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Is it legal for one organization to allow someone to volunteer for 40 hours a week?

Joe Escalante: It is not legal. It violates the 13th Amendment. It is the same thing as slavery in the eyes of the law. Recently I was castigated by a local scandal sheet for illustrating this point by pointing out that calling slaves “cotton interns” would have made it no less of a crime against humanity. The paper called me “shockingly insensitive” but I was impressed with myself.
You need to be getting college credit to get around this pesky Amendment to our Constitution. But 40 hours is excessive. It’s not going to fly.

Bodey: I have a question me and my ex have been separated for 24 years now. How do I go about filing for a divorce I live in california. I have no idea where she is at last I hered she was living in the state of washington. I need to get this done I. Wanna marry my long time girlfreind of 23 years. But how do I divorce her meaning my ex. When I have no idea where she is please help me.

Joe Escalante: File for divorce in the county where you guys were married. Attempt to serve her and publicize the filing in the manner prescribed by the court. If she doesn’t answer, it is a contested divorce and a default judgment will be entered against her. I would read up on the subject with the following book:

Tim: I am a driver who was involved in an accident which I was not at fault with a 18 wheeler. I was told that I could not seek compensation since I was in a company vehicle and on company time. Is that true?

Joe Escalante: That depends. You can’t be compensated for loss of a company vehicle but if you are injured due to the fault of another, you are entitled to recover damages against them. Call Larry Parker, or someone like him.

Tyler: I started a business awhile back (a sole proprietorship) and I was wondering what I need to do to close it. My business flopped and I never made any revenue. I have a FEIN but have never had employees. I live in Oklahoma. Thank you.

Joe Escalante: If you google this you will find a few articles with tips on dissolving a sole proprietorship but generally you just tell clients you are stopping, pay bills, pay taxes, close bank accounts, let licenses expire. Not a big deal.

Cynthia: Free Joe, I need to write contracts for film artists who will be allowing me to show and sell tickets to their films via an on-line film channel I am co-producing. I also need a co-producer contract for my co-producer and I. Can you point me to examples that may be close to what I need? Two follow up questions…If I write these in everyday English and not legalize and I and the artists and my co-producer sign and date the agreement, is it binding? THANKS!

Joe Escalante: What you are seeking is license agreements. The copyright owners will license to you some of the rights they own in order to allow you to exhibit their films. This verbiage may help you to find samples on the internet. However, without an attorney at least looking at them before you start this business sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Katherine: Is a survey to show where land boundaries are where there is only a letter showing a survey was done good enough in court or does a person have to get a whole new plat survey done? Having problems with neighbors on where their land is and mine and they keep putting stuff on mine but I can not find my markers and I am trying to find the least cost to do . thank you for any nofo you can give me plus I don’t want them cutting anymore trees on my land. I am located in Poquoson,Virginia Plus we share a back part on my land for a drive way?

Joe Escalante: Sounds like you need a real survey. From your description I can’t recommend anything else. Sorry.

Katherine: The part that we share can they take it from me?

Joe Escalante: Yes, by adverse possession. If they were exclusively using it and paying taxes on it for a certain number of years. Or they may have created an easement that you can not deny them in the future. You need a property rights lawyer.

Leanne: Will a Power of Atty work to retrieve a vehicle for someone incarcerated?

Joe Escalante: Computer says yes.

Julie: Boyfriend has 50% custody of daughter one week dad one week….live in has even yr priorty for vacation time ..however bf wants to take vacation time during his week and take his child to nevada…we have given mom more then 30 days notification (just in case )..we r asking her to confirm that he is taking her out of state for vacation…my understanding is mom can block this time even if its week cause she has priorty on even yr..however we have given her 2 1/2 mths notice…if she refuses to answer ..and suddenly takes her vacation at same time ..r we screwed ?thxs.

Joe Escalante: It appears to me that you are screwed. If this is a court order, there is no duty to allow variations. Variations would be in the form of a petition before the court. There’s no “nice guy” clause that makes them behave like humans.

Cheryl: I was recently laid off. My employer spreads our annual salaries out over 12 months. I have been told that I will be paid as usual for the next 2 months (the end of the 12 months is July). The salary has already been earned as I have completed all the days of my contract. Since I am no longer an employee, can they rightfully retain my earnings and continue to pay on the 12 month schedule? (I live in Colorado-the employer is a school district.)

Joe Escalante: This would all depend on the contract you signed. It probably has language dealing with this scenario. It’s probably happened many times before. Read it and see. If not. Send them an invoice. If they don’t pay, you could threaten some kind of lame legal action that you probably wouldn’t follow up on, but would perhaps do the job and get you your check sooner than the 12 month period would provide.

Markitta: What are the benefits of having an LLC vs a Trademark?

Joe Escalante: Come on Markitta. These are two different things. You can have both, or neither, and go through life quite nicely. You have some reading to do. Click the links below:

LegalZoom: Check out our Education Center, Markitta. You can find lots of info on both:

Richard: Joe, a friend of a friend was walking past a flour company and got hit in the head by a flour barrel and was hospitalized for a month. The flour company denies it was their barrel, but it was discovered that the barrel was of the same type …used by the company, and also that they store the barrels on their 2nd floor, but drop them out on Wednesdays to a truck for transport to market. The incident occurred on a Wednesday! So, we have a “he said, she said,” situation, and the injured person has no way of proving their case. The flour company has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on lack of evidence they did anything wrong. What do you think?

Joe Escalante: I saw this episode of the Three Stooges, and here’s what happened: Shemp had witnesses that the barrel did in fact come from the flour plant. He also had evidence that the flour barrel caused his injuries. This was enough evidence to carry the case past summary judgment. In other words, it will all depend on the amount of evidence you can put in front of the judge making this motion determination. Good Luck.

Demonte: Hello attorneys I have question concerning legal responsibility. Say for example, 2 associates come together to start a LLC with Legalzoom – and only one signs all the documents. If the one party who never signed decides he doesn’t want to be with the company, is there any legal responsibility for the one who never signed.

Joe Escalante: It does not depend on the signature much. It depends on whether the party was acting as if there was an agreement. If it can be established that he was acting as if he agreed to these terms, it’s the same as a physical signature on the piece of paper.

Deirdre: A friend received a infraction for unauthorized use claim and they are demanding $500 for use of a photo. Is a take down notice suppose to be issued first? Can this hold up? She also says she doesn’t see the picture in her files. She thinks they took it out of her files. Is that possible?

Joe Escalante: The take down notice thing is tricky. That generally protects ISPs from liability if they respond to a take down notice. For a general user, if they are distributing / exhibiting copies of a copyrighted work, the copyright owner can sue them, without a take down notice.
Now they are going to have to pay an attorney at least $500 to just write one letter and thousands more to file an answer to a law suit. You see? They know that you would rather just give them the $500. Keep searching the internet for people who have received this letter and see what the outcome was.

Colleen: Hi Joe. I am gay and my partner and I want to make wills and living wills. I would like to know if there is anything that our families can do to override them once they are filed? Incidentally we live in Indiana where gay marriage is not yet legal. Thanks!

Joe Escalante: The court would probably defer to the written wishes presented in these documents. However, as with anything like this, even if you were legally married, your relatives would have the right to petition the court to have their wishes addressed. Ana Nicole Smith was legally married, but her in-laws weren’t buying it and challenged everything they could.

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

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Sign up for the LegalZoom newsletter!

Written by

May 29th, 2012 at 5:52 am