Saving Farmers and Fishers from Overwhelming Debts through Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Law

A really good bankruptcy lawyer will take it as his/her primary obligation to tell everything you should know about bankruptcy, including which specific chapter to file to save yourself or your business from overwhelming debts and what the actual effects of bankruptcy are to you and your firm.

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding where creditors forgive debtors their full, or a part of their, debts which cannot be paid; creditors, depending on the chapter of bankruptcy filed by the debtor, may be able to obtain repayment even of a portion of the outstanding debt through the liquidation of the debtor’s assets. An application for bankruptcy may be filed either by the debtor or the creditor.

Bankruptcy is meant to give individuals and businesses the chance to refresh and regain control of their present and future financial situations. There are different chapters of bankruptcy laws in the US, each aimed at the specific situation of the debtors with consideration of assets and properties or the absence of both.

One particular bankruptcy law is Chapter 12, which is specifically intended for families of farmers and fishers with a regular annual income (regardless whether this income is seasonal), to help them recover from unmanageable debts. Individuals (married or unmarried) may be advised by their legal counsels to apply for this bankruptcy chapter only if:

  • They or their families have ownership of more than 50% of the fishery or farm
  • The total debt they owe is not more than $4,031,575 (for farmers) or $1,868,200 (for fishermen)
  • 50% of total debt is due to the farming or 80% of totality of debts is due to commercial fishing business
  • At least 50% of their gross profits come from the farming or commercial fishing business.

Like Chapter 13 bankruptcy law, those who are qualified to file Chapter 12 are required to submit to the court a repayment plan proposal within 90 days after filing of the bankruptcy. The repayment plan proposed covers a period of three years (may be extended to five years if approved by the court, usually due to alimony or child support obligations).

Due to the unstable nature of the farming and fishing industries, which render these more vulnerable than other types of businesses, these have been given additional benefits not found in any other bankruptcy chapter laws. An article posted on the website of Raleigh’s Bradford Law Offices, PLLC, makes mention of these additional benefits:

  • Exemption from means test or credit counseling requirements
  • No asset falls at risk of liquidation
  • More flexibility on the amount limit of debt

There are more exemptions afforded to debtors compared to other types of bankruptcy chapter

Is the da Vinci Multi-Armed Surgical Robot More Advantageous for Patients?

It seems that the da Vinci Surgical System has given surgical procedures a much improved record as it has significantly reduced the number of surgical errors and complications in patients. Besides these, the minimally invasive surgical procedure, for which the device has been designed, is guaranteed less painful and quick to heal, needs only a few stitches as the incisions made are very small, can be performed with the greatest accuracy and precision and allows the patient to recover fast, which means fewer days in the hospital and, thus, reduced hospital bill.

The da Vinci Surgical System was manufactured by Intuitive Surgical Inc., an American company located in Sunnyvale, California; it is part of S&P 500 and NASDAQ-100. Since the year 2000 it has remained to be the only device certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to perform soft-tissue surgeries. To date, the da Vinci multi-armed robot includes in its treatment shrinking of stomachs, removal of gallbladders, prostates and wombs, organ transplant, repair of heart valves, ureteral reimplantation, and cystectomies where cancerous bladders are removed and new ones reconstructed.

More than 2,000 units are now being used in the US, Europe, and Japan and while the number of surgeries has exceeded more than 300,000 all across the US, it has reached more than a million around the world. The cost of the device is more than a million US dollars and another $100,000 is needed to keep the device in good condition; this remains as the obvious reason why other hospitals cannot acquire the device.

Each of the robot’s arms holds an instrument used to suture, clamp and manipulate tissues. These instruments can be detached and replaced with another, while the arm itself can move with the exact dexterity as the surgeon’s hands, but without the tremors. The trained surgeon, who is in charge of the procedure, is seated a few feet away from the operating table, while a surgical team surrounds the patient.

The da Vinci device also provides the surgeon an enlarged three-dimensional image of the surgical field, about 10-15 times larger than what he/she actually sees during open surgeries (the traditional way of performing surgeries). The enhanced image plus the dexterity of the arms enable the surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgeries, where very small incisions are made, accurately and precisely.

The da Vinci Surgical System is specifically made for minimally invasive surgeries; it was intended to help surgeons reach even hard-to-reach places, as well as eliminate any possibility of infection. However, some surgeons are not trained well enough to perform surgeries using the machine, leading to injured patients. Patients that have been injured in this manner have the right to file a surgical robot lawsuit.

Why File a Januvia Lawsuit?

It seems that many of the “wonder” cures that have come out into the market are more painful than the disease. You expect some side-effects when taking medication for life-long and complicated diseases such as diabetes, but you certainly don’t expect to develop cancer. But that is exactly what research is saying the incretin mimetic drug Januvia does.

First introduced into the market in 2006 by drug company Merck, it has enjoyed widespread use with average sales of $5 billion annually. This is because, ironically, it has lower degrees of the usual side-effects of anti-diabetic medication such as weight gain and hypoglycemia. Januvia, or sitagliptin generically, acts on the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), preventing it from degrading incretin. Incretin is a hormone that encourages the production of insulin when present in the blood.

The problem that Merck is now facing is the good thing-bad thing about DPP4 inhibitors; Januvia keeps incretin in the blood longer, but also keeps DPP4 from doing something else: kill cancer cells. When a 2011 study showed that patients taking Januvia had a 178% higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer and 48% for thyroid cancer, it was too late for some patients. This has led to many complaints filed against Merck, who had allegedly delayed studies that would have revealed these findings earlier. This is the main reason why victims should file a Januvia suit. In early May of 2013, Merck agreed to transfer all personal injury lawsuits involving Januvia and another Merck anti-diabetic oral medication Janumet to California in a special multi-district federal court to expedite the legal process.

If you have been taking Januvia and are currently experiencing severe stomach pains, flu-like symptoms, nausea, headaches and red and blistering skin rashes, consult your doctor at once. If it is confirmed that Januvia is the cause of your problems, you could already be a candidate for pancreatic or thyroid cancer. Contact a lawyer in your area who has experience in handling Januvia lawsuits and get advice on how to get compensation for your current condition.

Special Features of Military Divorce Law

The family life of an active member of the military is far from ideal. There are frequent moves and deployments as well as long separations, and this puts extra stress on a non-military spouse that can become too much to bear. As it all too frequently happens, the marriage ends in divorce. The Department of Defense puts the divorce rate of military couples at 3.2% in 2011, a significant rise from the 2.6% in 2001.

But even in the dissolution of marriage, there are special features that differentiate civil and military divorce law. In a military divorce, it is entirely acceptable that the petition is filed wherever the service member is currently deployed, the home state, or the official state of residency on record. Because states all have different laws about divorce, it is important that the state where the divorce will be filed have laws that will benefit one or both spouses.

One of the special laws that are state-sensitive and impact on a military divorce is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). It is federal statute that requires a military spouse to give part of his or her disposable retirement pay (about 50%) to a non-military spouse. All states except Puerto Rico follow this law, though calculation of the division may vary from state to state. Moreover, California and some other states allow a non-military spouse to immediately benefit from an ex-spouse’s retirement pay even while he or she is still on active duty.

divorce in the militaryAnother military divorce law that is federally-mandated is the Service Member Relief Act or SMRA. It gives a member of the military on active duty the right to place a hold-order on divorce proceedings for 90 days or more while he or she is overseas.  This is to address the problem of appearing for hearings when it is not possible for the service member to be given leave. However, it is not an automatic stay. The service member must apply for this or choose to proceed with the divorce through video or other means of communication.

If a military divorce is being contemplated, it is best for both spouses to engage the services of a lawyer in the area cognizant with military divorce law. This will ensure that the best interests of all concerned are addressed.

Why Truckers Need Freight Factoring

Nowadays, it is in fashion to say that times are bad, that you need to keep liquid to stay afloat, and that competition is so stiff that you have to really sacrifice the profit margin to keep old business and get new ones. These trends are particularly true for the small to medium trucking business, which is why freight factoring is such an important option to have.

Freight transportation in the US is primarily accomplished using trucks, which in 2006 hauled nearly 70% of the total freight volume, or revenues in excess of $600 billion.  It sounds that business is good, but these figures are deceptive. With the rising costs of diesel and the growing competition for contracts, many small trucking companies are shaving it close to the bone. More than 900 trucking companies with 5 trucks or more filed for bankruptcy in the January-March period of 2008; the research did not include trucking companies with less than 5 trucks, which would probably make the outlook even more grim.

The biggest problem for small to medium trucking businesses is liquidity. Most trucking contracts require a credit period of 30, 60, or even 90 days, so truckers have to wait for as long as three months or even longer to get their money. In the meantime, rent, utilities, payroll, fuel and other overhead and regular expenses have to be met. Big trucking companies usually have the juice to meet these expenses, but for the independent contractors and smaller companies, it is literally a hand-to-mouth existence.

Freight factoring solves the problem of liquidity by enabling truckers to get the money from jobs as soon as they get a signed invoice instead of waiting a minimum of a month after the job has been done. While there is a fee for this accommodation, the savings on cost of money more than makes up for the difference. If freight factoring is handled correctly, meaning that trucking companies use this option only when needed, it can mean the difference between bankruptcy and continuity.

Cholesterol Drug Lipitor Linked to Diabetes

Many women are filing lawsuits against Pfizer, the makers of the cholesterol management medication Lipitor, claiming that using the drug caused them to develop type 2 diabetes.

lipitor diabetes side effectLipitor hit the market in 1997 and has since generated more than $100 billion in sales for the pharmaceutical giant. It is aggressively marketed directly to consumers through television ads prompting them to talk to their doctors about its benefits. However, the risk of diabetes is not clearly stated in the advertisements nor on the label. In 2011, the FDA asked Pfizer to change the wording of the label to better reflect this risk, but the new wording is still confusing.

The lawsuits assert that diabetes is a significant side effect and the risk of developing it should have been disclosed to patients before they were put on Lipitor. They further accuse Pfizer of either hiding this risk or failing in its responsibility to release safe, effective products.

When companies release defective products, they can potentially be held accountable for the injuries they cause. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that causes lifelong expenses. These lawsuits seek compensation from Pfizer to cover these treatment costs as well as other undue hardship brought upon the plaintiffs as a result of this undisclosed side effect.

Company Issues Voluntary Ice Cream Recall

mislabeled ice cream Winston-Salem, North Carolina dairy company Dairy Fresh has issued a voluntary recall of certain flavors of ice cream after realizing it was shipped in mislabeled containers.

The mislabeled ice cream does not identify potential allergens on the packaging. IGA brand chocolate and vanilla ice creams with sell by dates of August 13th of this year and a plant code of 3783 are affected. Ice cream labeled in this manner may not be the flavor described on the packaging, but rather another flavor that can potentially contain allergens such as soy, almonds, and coconut.

The ice cream was sold in 10 states, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the mislabeled ice cream, but individuals with food allergies should be wary of it. So far, the company is aware of only one person who suffered a reaction as a result of its mistake.

FDA Investigating Potential Dangers of Januvia

In March of this year, the FDA issued a drug safety warning in which they stated that they would be investigating possible pancreatic damage caused by the use of a certain class of Type 2 diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics. One popular drug from this class is Januvia, and some studies have revealed that Januvia and drugs like it could lead to an increased risk of pancreatitis as well as pancreatic duct metaplasia, a pre-cancerous condition affecting the pancreas.

Other drugs named in the FDA drug safety warning that could potentially pose a danger to users include exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), sitagliptin (Janumet, Janumet XR, Juvisync), saxagliptin (Onglyza, Kombiglyze XR), alogliptin (Nesina, Kazano, Oseni), and linagliptin (Tradjenta, Jentadueto).

To read the FDA’s full drug safety warning, click here.