Articles Posted in News

At the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, we get multiple calls a day from people who feel they have been defrauded by a car dealership. As a result, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of the most common problems that vehicle buyers deal with. I previously laid out some of the most common car-buying pitfalls and some tips to avoid them here. Below, in Part 2, I discuss add-on products and how to deal with the dealership’s finance and insurance department.

PAY ATTENTION WHEN DEALING WITH THE F&I DEPARTMENT

Many people think that hiring an auto insurance lawyer can wait till you already have an accident. However, that is not the case. The age-old adage ‘forewarned is forearmed’ is as true today as it was when it was coined for the first time. 

Post-accident trauma can be so severe that legal issues may be the least of your worries. Sometimes, people trust insurance companies to pay their claims since they have been receiving their premiums for ages.

The holidays are usually a time for being with family and friends involving warmth and joy. However, psychologists have found there is a real condition called the “holiday blues.”

One survey by the American Psychological Association uncovered some interesting data about the holiday blues:

North Carolina is the last state to raise the age for juveniles charged with certain crimes to be treated as adults. Prior to December 1, 2019, 16 and 17 year olds were lumped together with adults in our District and Superior courts. Court and juvenile professionals recognize that children’s brains are still developing at the ages of 16 and 17 and young people should be treated as juveniles in our juvenile court system for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Every other state had raised the age, leaving North Carolina as the last state to implement this change. Session Law 2019-186 now allows kids to keep clean records and avoid the negative consequences that a conviction in adult court can have on a young person’s education, employment, and permanent public record.

Certain crimes are excluded from this change in law. Young people who commit violent felonies will still be charged as adults. Traffic offenses will also remain in adult court. However, most other misdemeanors and non-violent felonies will now be allowed to be handled in juvenile court. The minor’s name and information will remain confidential in the juvenile court system and they will receive a variety of counseling, rehabilitation and guidance from professionals to allow the young person to learn from the mistake without having lifelong consequences.

In the last several years, the number of claims of sexually harassment made in the workplace has risen dramatically. The growth has been driven in large part by the #MeToo movement. The federal agency responsible for enforcing the federal laws against sex harassment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, changed its litigation strategy in 2018, increasing the number of sexual harassment lawsuits it filed against employers by 50%. Because of the increase in the number of claims of sex harassment, and the fear of increased litigation cost and financial exposure to potential jury verdicts, many employers are firing male employees based solely on allegations of harassment made by female employees, without ever performing any investigation into the truthfulness of the allegations. However, a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit may provide relief for men who are wrongfully terminated in these situations.

Man walking Alone

In Menaker v. Hofstra University, 935 F.3d 20 (2nd Cir 2019), the Court found “when employers distort and deviate from their policies, fearfully deferring to invidious stereotypes and crediting malicious accusations, they may violate the law.” Specifically, these employers may be held liable for gender discrimination against these male employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Based on the Menaker decision, male employees fired for sexually harassing a female co-worker may be able to challenge their discharge by filing a charge of gender discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Justice is supposed to be blind. That is why the woman holding the scales of justice has a blindfold over her eyes. The implication is that everyone should be treating the same under the law. It’s one of the reasons you are entitled to trial by a jury of your peers. However, this fairly new law that was enacted in the fall of 2011 in North Carolina does just the opposite. It discriminates against Plaintiffs depending on their health insurance.

Rule 414 (or Billed vs. Paid as it may be referred) was codified in an attempt at tort reform to allegedly limit a windfall to Plaintiffs. However, in what can only be described as an extreme overcorrection, this rule of evidence has done nothing except to hurt Plaintiffs, even those with significant, serious and permanent injuries, and punish them for having health insurance and rewarding the tortfeasor (and thereby the insurance company) by making them have to pay less for the injuries they caused.

The 7th Amendment, is a tool designed by our founding fathers to ensure that the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor, the politically connected and the unknown are equal in their ability to share their story with a jury.  Making sure these rights are forever retained by the citizens, helps protect us from tyranny.  This changed in the early 80’s when a handful of Supreme Court decisions incorrectly applied the Federal Arbitration Act to consumers and employees instead of leaving it between merchants as it was intended. It was a voluntary way merchants (equal power) could resolve disputes quickly and cheaply without having to go through the court system for contract disputes. The Supreme Court has allowed the Arbitration Act to be applied to individuals and enforced even when state law has voided them. This irrational reasoning was again the foundation of a 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision last year in Epic Systems Case, which allowed enforcement of arbitration clauses preventing employees from banding together to hold employers breaking the law accountable.

When Wells Fargo cheated its customers by creating and charging for extra accounts, it protected itself with the forced arbitration clauses consumers did not know they had signed when they opened accounts. You find these forced arbitration clauses in all kinds of unusual places like nursing home agreements, cell phone contracts, banking agreements etc. It protects big business by preventing the harmed individual from having his or her day in court. The arbitration process limits discovery of information does not apply the rules of civil procedure, they frequently require secrecy of the results and are subject to the whim of a private arbitrator without the ability to appeal.

traffice-light-camera-225x300

Chances are that you have encountered driving through a city that has placed red light cameras at intersections.  The stated purpose is to increase safety at intersections by imposing a penalty for those drivers who run red lights.   The penalty fine varies from place to place but is typically $50 or $100 for a violation.  If not paid timely, then the fine amount doubles in most locations.

The Good.  When driving through an intersection, it is nice to know that other drivers may be less likely to run a red light if they fear being fined for that bad driving habit.  We know that 40% of the roughly 6 million car crashes that occur in the United States every year are intersection-related crashes.  Various surveys and data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warn us that intersections can be dangerous places.  If red light cameras cause drivers to be more careful not to enter an intersection on a red light, then that should be a good thing for all of us.

53607309_429589447816937_3099377748028686336_n-1-300x235

Choose Wisely…Your Insurance Company Matters

It seems like any time you turn on a television, radio or computer these days, you can’t escape a commercial from an insurance company.  Think about.  I bet you can hum the jingle or say the catchphrase from half a dozen insurance companies without even thinking hard.  That’s not a coincidence.  There are a handful of insurance companies that flood the airwaves with commercials and have done so for years.  I’ll admit, some of these are pretty clever.   Whether it is a talking amphibian, a guy constantly causing chaos or an athlete giving neighborly advice, the goal is always the same: to sell you insurance.  And you know what, it works!  The biggest advertisers have the most insureds in the United States.

Contact Information