The Individual Mandate May Not Be Dead – Florida Mask Mandate

The Individual Mandate may not be dead, but it isn’t looking so good – Florida Mask Mandate

Now that a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit panel has ruled that the individual mandate aspect of President Obama’s health care overhaul law is unconstitutional, what’s going to happen next?

Calling it an “unprecedented exercise of congressional power,” the Atlanta federal appellate court (in a 300+ page opinion, including one dissent) sided with Florida and 25 other states in rejecting a plan that would require almost all Americans to have health insurance in 2014.

The 11th Circuit’s decision (2-1 against the law) is the latest in a series of federal court rulings on the much-debated health care plan, as the panel held that the mandate exceeds congressional power under the Commerce Clause (i.e., Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution). The majority said Congress cannot require Americans to buy expensive insurance “from the time they are born until the time they die.”

With more than a hint of sarcasm, the dissenting judge, Stanley Marcus, a former U.S. Attorney from Miami, dismissed the “impending doom” and “parade of horribles” predicted by opponents of the law, saying that upholding the law does not mean that the feds will “compel us to purchase and consume broccoli, buy General Motors vehicles and exercise three days a week.”

The 11th Circuit ruling runs contrary to a recent decision from the 6th Circuit in Ohio, which concluded that the individual mandate is within legislators’ authority to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause. The majority in that case ruled that Congress had a “rational basis” for concluding the minimum coverage provision is essential to the law’s larger reforms.

It is a virtual guarantee that this dispute will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which will have the final judicial say on whether it is constitutional for Congress to require Americans to purchase medical insurance.

However, more courts are likely to weigh in on this issue before the Supreme Court gets there, as there are more than 30 lawsuits that have been filed over the health care legislation.  Stay tuned…

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Has the Best Wiener – florida mask mandate

A federal trial between the nation’s two largest wiener manufacturers got underway on Monday in Chicago.  The Court will decide whether the hot dog makers broke false advertising laws in their respective efforts to become the biggest dog in the pound.  The controversy pits Sara Lee Corp., which makes Ball Park franks, against Kraft Foods Inc.’s Oscar Mayer, in a proceeding that could define how much companies can boast about their products.

The war between the parties started in 2009, when Sara Lee filed suit after Oscar Mayer advertised that its dogs beat Ball Park franks in national taste tests.  Kraft argued that the tests were flawed and countersued, alleging that Sara Lee ran false and deceptive ads, which tagged Ball Park as “America’s Best Franks.”  The Sara Lee ads also assert that the “other hot dogs aren’t even in the same league.”

At the trial’s opening day, the parties argued over such minutiae as the difference between beef and meat and whether taste tests that exclude buns and condiments are valid.  Another focus of the trial will be Kraft’s claim that its jumbo franks are made of beef.  Not surprisingly, Sara Lee contends that the claim is untrue and further asserts that Kraft’s “100 Percent Pure Beef” campaign has damaged the sale of Ball Park franks.

At stake in the legal battle is a $1.76 billion hot dog market and whether either company’s boasts crossed a line into the world of ‘false advertising.’  The trial is expected to last two weeks.  Stay tuned for the ‘top dog’ finale.

The Individual Mandate May Not Be Dead - Florida Mask Mandate

Update: Some Justice After All – florida mask mandate

Last week, I wrote about these Internet terrorists who engage in elaborate e-mail scams to steal your money.  In particular, I wrote about my own personal experience and how one of these scam artists solicited my law firm under the guise of attempting to collect a debt from another U.S. company. Now, it seems that there may be some justice after all.

Ironically, as I posted my article, Emmanuel Ekhator, a Nigerian man was being handed over to U.S. Marshalls after being extradited to the U.S.  Ekhator was accused of defrauding dozens of lawyers and law firms of more than $31 million dollars.

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Arrested in Benin City Nigeria by the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, it appears that Nigeria is finally cracking down on these types of Internet and bank fraud crimes.  They are sending a message that Nigeria is no longer safe for them and that if caught, they will face prosecution.

While there is no telling whether the e-mail I received from “Daniel Johnson” was part of this crime ring, it does have a striking similarity to my story.  Fortunately, I did not fall for the scam, but according to federal prosecutors, more than 80 lawyers and law firms were not so lucky.

Nigeria has tried to police these scammers, but corruption and weak law enforcement have made that exceedingly difficult.  The best way to stop these fraudsters is to not fall for their scams in the first place.  Be smart and don’t be a victim.

Internet Crimes Don’t Be a Victim – florida mask mandate

Have you ever received an e-mail telling you that you are about to inherit millions of dollars because your last name is similar to someone who has supposedly just passed? What about an e-mail telling you that you’ve won something that you didn’t sign up for?  Or, an e-mail requesting legal services for what seems like a legitimate business dispute?  Well, I have, and I know that I am not alone.

I used to think how could people fall for these scams.  I mean, really? How could someone possibly think they could inherit millions of dollars from someone they don’t even know just because their last name is supposedly similar to someone else’s.  Now, having seen some of these scams in action, I know just how smart these Internet terrorists can be.

Several weeks ago, I was asked to provide legal services to a “Daniel Johnson.” He claimed that he worked for Zenith Medi Equipment Co., Ltd., in the UK and that his company was owed approximately $500,000 over a contract dispute with Universal Hospital Services. He also requested the services of an attorney with a presence in Florida.  Skeptical of the request, I responded to the e-mail, requested more information, and eventually sent him a retainer agreement.

Surprisingly, Daniel signed the retainer and advised that the dispute with Universal Hospital Services had been resolved and that a check would be forwarded to my attention.  Even more surprising, I received what looked like a cashier’s check for almost the full $500,000.  The check even had a watermark.

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I advised Daniel of my receipt of the check and received an e-mail the next day from him telling me to forward the money to some account in Dongguan, China.  I then explained to him that no money is being forwarded to anyone until the check clears which should take 7-10 days.  Not surprisingly, the response I received was radio silence.

Of course, the check did not clear and I have heard nothing further from Daniel.  But, after having that experience, I’ve heard many similar stories.  While some were fortunate enough not to fall for the scam, others were not so lucky.

So, what can you do to avoid becoming the next victim?  Always trust your gut. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Look for warning signs.  In my case, the first red flag was misspelled words.  Second, the check, although it supposedly came from the US, it had a priority international sticker on the check’s envelope.  Never send any money to someone you don’t know.  And, if you receive a check, remember, it takes 7-10 days to clear.  Don’t send any money or anything of value until the check clears.

One last piece of advice – if you are the victim of one of these crimes, report it to the FBI or other police agency.  If you are a victim, you still have a voice – so use it!

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