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Starting a Non-Profit, Appealing Convictions and More – Free Joe Friday 4/1/11

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

Willie: Hey joe, trying to start a beer and tobacco delivery service. Where, can I determine the legality of this service in my community? Hate to start and get nailed!

Joe Escalante: First, this is a great service you are planning to provide. Liquor stores deliver this stuff so why not you. Talk to a liquor store owner in your area and find out what kind of hurdles the authorities make him jump over. You will need some kind of retail liquor license so that licensing agency is another good resource for you.

First, this is a great service you are planning to provide. Liquor stores deliver this stuff so why not you. Talk to a liquor store owner in your area and find out what kind of hurdles the authorities make him jump over. You will need some kind of retail liquor license so that licensing agency is another good resource for you.

One thing I would avoid is a truck with a song playing out of it, and colorful stickers on the side with images of cigarettes and beer on them, and clown makeup.

Genny: Question for Joe: Someone owes me money but unfortunately i cannot pursue lawsuit action due to lack of proof, so i thought i would just remind them everyday in the hope they would pay. However, the only number i have for them is their work cell. They contacted me a month ago and said their personal phone was stolen and i need to contact them using that one. Now they are saying their boss is going to “handle” the situation because i was texting the work phone. What action can the boss take against me? And do i have any right to contact him using that number if that is the only number I have? Thanks Joe.

Joe Escalante: Well, since you can’t prove that he owes you money, you could be accused of harassing him for no reason so I would be careful. Contacting his work just adds to the problem / liability. You do not want a restraining order on your record. that is nasty business and it’s like an arrest.

Wayne: Hello I’m thinking of starting a project where I need a team of creative people to donate their services on a per project basis.I.. photographers, film director, web designing etc. Can you tell me what paper work I need in order to retain ownership of the project and to fairly share all income from it with the contributors? Thanks

Joe Escalante: If you want to retain ownership, secure their services under a work for hire agreement. Legalzoom has one of those in its business form section. If you want to share the proceeds, you could promise it through a contract, or start a business entity and give these contributors shares in the entity. (like an LLC) Or you could just continue to enslave these people without pay in violation of the 13th amendment.
Without a written agreement a transfer of someone’s creative work to you would probably be an invalid agreement.

Call my show, that’s the kind of thing we talk about. It’s on today in 20 minutes at and at 2 pm PST on Radio Weezer, and Sunday nights on KTLK in L.A. for more info visit

Katherine: how would i find an atty to put a lawsuit against an establishment who served my son to much alcohol then let him drive home when the bartender promised me he would call me and not let him drive home i want to sue them because of it he wrecked and got a dwi on his way home from the place i know theres a lot of law suits going on but this one is really important to me. Thank you very much for all your help and is ther a limit on how long u have to do the law suit too?

Joe Escalante: Well Katherine, a lot of bar tenders are really just speed freaks who happen to be working at this time. Don’t give them this kind of responsibility. I don’t think there would be liability attached to that promise, but in certain scenarios a innkeeper could be liable for continuing to serve a patron that is clearly intoxicated.

I would approach a few personal injury attorneys in your area and explain your son’s case to them. Make sure your son is on board because this is his lawsuit, not yours. I don’t know the statute of limitations in your state on this, but it’s probably not less than one year. Good luck.

Rashidat: Im owed about 2500 in wages as an administrative independant contractor in fl.the client is closing the location. Ive sent her notice of what she owes, the contract is null, but how do I insure I get my wages?

Joe Escalante: Take her to small claims court quick, before she spends all that money on aligator po’boys or something.

Mike: Hi Joe, I’m looking to start a non-profit. Any advice/guidance?

Joe Escalante: Yes I do. pick up the book “How To Form A Nonprofit Corp by Anthony Mancuso. And read all the stuff at Legazoom’s site, and when you’re ready to pull the trigger, have Legalzoom help you put it together. They helped me put one together for the Sons Of The American Legion. My dad was in the big one.

Kathleen: I was convicted by a jury of a DUI even though my BAC was .03. I literally had 1 cocktail. Im in CA. Can i appeal and get it overturned or a lesser charge?

Joe Escalante: You have a right to appeal any conviction. That is pretty lame. However, it happens. The blood alcohol content is just one factor used to determine if you were under the influence. You need a criminal defense attorney with some experience in this. It will cost a lot, but you probably have a good chance unless you ran over an infant or something, and as long as you didn’t shotgun the cocktail, while driving.

Jeffrey Hunt: I’m ready to start a record label. I need to know how to go about making revenue from the artist and music I produce. Any guide lines or advise to start up my business is welcome also. Thank you.

Joe Escalante: I have a lot. listen to my show starting in 2 minutes on htpp:// call the show today or on Sunday night when it airs like on KTLK am 1150 in Los Angeles. stream it at And get your checkbook ready. Record labels are expensive.

Kathleen: I was riding my bike in the bike lane 9.09 and was hit by a car. Taken to the hospital and consequently had to resign my job dutys. The police report says it was my fault cuz i was going against traffic. The woman that hit me was @ a stop then proceeded to cross trafic when i warm the middle of the crosswalk. I am perminatly disabled now. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO LEGALY? 1 a monetary compensation? 2her driving privleges revoked?(she was 84)

Joe Escalante: Just because the coppers said it was your fault doesn’t mean you can’t sue this old buzzie for your injuries. However, she will bring that police report to court as evidence. you will have to refute it. This will be expensive. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area. If one will take the case on contingency, you have a case. If not, you have very little. Congratulation on being able to drive with a BAC of 9.09

Mia: I’ve got a question for Free Advice Friday :) I started a non-profit fundraiser about 4 years ago. And it became very popular, occasionally we get other people come to it and say that they’re going to do something similar, and we’ve helped them with advice and even networking with them to pass business around. However last year, we had a couple come and ask a LOT of questions, they then told us they had taped our event and that they were going to do something very similar but “better”…

I just got notification their venture had started up, and when I look at it they have used the same event name as us, only changing one word, and they are saying extremely similar things to us on their website. I’ve actually send these to you in Private Messages so you can see what I’m talking about – I would post them here but I don’t want to create unnecessary public drama. Now… we’re obviously not happy about this, and would like them to do something different enough that their not obviously copying us. Any advice on what our options are, and what we could do?

Darn I just realized I can’t send you a message with the websites in questions. If you want to take a quick glance at them (they really do show the whole thing pretty much immediately) – just let me know an email I can send the links to :)

Joe Escalante: This is the kind of question you should ask on my radio show where we can discuss it at length. go to, click “email joe” write the question there and we will get back to you with a time we can answer it for the radio show. If you don’t hear from us by Sunday night, call me on the KTLK show. all the info is on the site. You can hear one of the shows right now at

Cindy: My father went to the police for protection from his landlord of his antique shop in Dinuba Ca. My father was then murdered the morning of August 18, 2009 inside his shop. The accused man is in jail and the trial still has yet to begin. Can my family sue the police for negligence as they did not protect my dad. There is a lot more to this story.

Joe Escalante: That’s a tough one. Police in most cases have immunity for discretionary decisions in the line of duty. It would be a real uphill battle. You need to find a lawyer in your area who has successfully sued the police department you are dealing with, or a similar one. You will probably have to prove more than the fact that he obviously made a bad decision. I think you would have to prove malice, or some kind of willful act that would obviously result in the harm that was caused.

Monica: Hi Joe, Is it possible to sue an organization for not informing people who attend their event about a serious health risk? The goal would be to mandate they disclose and warn about this health risk. In this case, the participants were required to sign an agreement about the rules, etc., of this event, but nowhere did the organization list a health risk in the immediate vicinity of the event. The health risk was lyme disease. If it is possible to sue, what’s the statute of limitations on this? The event happens regularly in New Jersey.

Joe Escalante: The statute of limitations for stuff like this is always at least a year, so if the event happens annually, we can sue these rat bastards anytime. SOLs usually start when the tort becomes known, so if someone gets lyme desease from the event, the SOL would start tolling when they found out, not when they got it.
Regarding liability, if there is a serious health risk, and it is known and if warning people would have prevented harm, there is some liability there but first you have to establish a duty to warn them. Like what is the relationship between the parties? Smog hurts people, but is it the duty of everyone who holds an event to warn all attendees about it, and every other hazard?

Also, there has to be harm. Someone had to get the lyme disease, and THAT person would be the only one with “standing” to sue. If a lot of people got it, they could join together as a “class” for a class action suit. So it’s hard, but it is possible if all the facts line up in a certain way. Good luck.

Celine: Hi Joe, My husband and I run a small video production company in southern cal, so far we are a partnership. I wanted to modify our partnership to an LLC with the help of legalzoom, (we have kids we want to protect our assets) but Our tax guy told me to forget it since the tax is CA is $800/year so I should just get insurance, which is about the same amount a year (I checked).
What would you recommend ?
Thank you !

Joe Escalante: I would recommend the insurance for now, and when the tax burden makes sense, you can switch then. Insurance you pay for and forget about. The LLC takes some maintenance. Listen to your tax guy.

Sue: Joe, I live in Subsidized Housing and I have been denied Accommodation because I do not use regular Dr’s. I won my SSDI after several years of fighting and was awarded Soc Security by an AZ AL Judge over ten years ago. I can’t afford to go thru all the labs and tests and expense, not to mention stress and travel to establish a relationship with an MD for just this purpose (Doctors in AZ do not recognize Lyme Disease and other invisible illnesses and basically make the patient feel crazy). On top of that, when I requested assistance from my Apt Manager, he pinned me in a chair and screamed in my face when i asked for the denial in writing.

In my research, I see no where in the statutes that I MUST have an MD ‘blessing’ before I can request accommodation in the form of a move to a different apartment when one becomes available.

Joe Escalante: My advice is to try a different building and see if you get a different result. The substantive issues here are way beyond the scope of what we can do in this type of question and answer forum. Sorry.

Rocky: I know that I should have my home and car titled “in an entity” instead of my own name. How, and what entity is best in California. What does that do to homestead tax exemptions?

Joe Escalante: I assume you are speaking about avoiding having your assets go through probate by placing them in a trust for the benefit of your family. A trust or “living trust” is great for that. Check them out at legalzoom. Your tax professional is the only one you should listen to regarding tax advice. I’m a lawyer and a great bass player but that’s kind of where it ends.

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April 5th, 2011 at 7:15 am