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H-1B Visa: A Stepping Stone to Having a Green Card

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Immigration | 0 comments

With the high increase in the number of Asian-American and Hispanic voters, the need to address immigration reform in the US has become more necessary and urgent. Even studies from Compete America, Republicans for Immigration Reform and Partnership for a New American Economy showed that majority of Americans favored an immigration reform and hinted non-support to any political candidate who would oppose such reform.

Especially when it concerns the high-skilled arena, it is obvious that granting information-technology and other highly-skilled workers the green card, which will allow them to have permanent work and residence in the US, is a much needed move. Due to the difficulty in finding qualified U.S. workers to occupy job vacancies that will pave the way to continued innovation, and the temporary visas issued to most skilled foreign workers, the nations’ competency in the global market is only compromised.

As an alternative to a green card, the H-1B visa is being offered to highly-skilled foreign workers to be able to work in the US for a minimum of three years to a maximum of six years. This non-immigrant visa allows business firms all across the nation to hire computer programmers, engineers, scientists and other highly-trained individuals whose contributions can have a significant effect in the recovery and growth of the US economy. Though temporary, many foreign workers use it as a gateway to gaining a green card.

H-1B visas are prepared and managed by employers, in behalf of foreign employees, leaving the concerned employee usually not aware as to what the law actually says about his/her privileges and rights regarding the possibility of acquiring a green card, permanent work and permanent residency. This is also due to the complexity of the immigration law which, as stated in the website of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, a firm based in Austin, can be confusing to many immigrant workers. It is also due to the complexity of the immigration law that many highly-skilled and qualified foreigners are denied of their application, rendering them non-productive despite their skills.

Though employers would act in behalf of foreign employees, it is still necessary to have a good immigration lawyer acting to pursue your rights and interests in being granted permanent work and residency in the US, especially after having worked and served the nation for three or six years.

Legal Penalties Resulting from Possession of Cocaine

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Drug Crimes | 0 comments

Cocaine is one powerful and highly addictive stimulant, which has been classified as a Schedule II drug by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of the United States. A Schedule II drug refers to any illegal substance with a high potential for abuse; doctors, however, have the authority to administer it to patients for specific purposes.

The known largest consumer of cocaine in the world is the United States, where cocaine was first used in the late 1800s by workers in textile mills, railroads and factories. The drug served as a stimulant, to enable them to stay productive, despite extended hours of work. Today, though used the same way, that is, as a means to increasing functional activity, the drug is used more by well-earning employees, thus it earned the name, “rich man’s drug.” To the younger generation, cocaine is more famous under the name “party drug,” as party people use it to stay alert through the party’s end. Other names associated with cocaine are charlie, uptown, white dragon, toot, snow, dust, foo-foo, coke and so forth.

The addictive effects of cocaine make users take it more often, with the amount increasing on each take.

Like many other illegal substances, anyone charged with cocaine possession, is bound to suffer the harsh punishments imposed by the law. The United States Code (USC) of Controlled Substances Act exacts the following punishment and fines for mere possession of the illegal substance:

  • For first time offenders: up to 12 months behind bars plus a fine of, at least, a $1,000
  • For second time offenders : up to 24 months behind bars plus a fine of, at least, $2,500
  • For third time offenders: up to 36 months behind bars plus a fine of, at least, $5,000

Longer jail terms and higher fines are imputed to sellers and distributors of cocaine, and still much higher if injury or death can be connected to any activity involving this drug.

Concerns for Business Owners: Protecting Intellectual Property

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Business Issues | 0 comments

Starting a business includes conceptualization of a business name, a business logo and products or services that are exclusive to the business firm. These are products of planning and creative thinking by business owners to keep their firms competitive and sought after due to their unique quality service. Thus, to protect and recognize the efforts put into businesses by their owners, including the time and costs incurred during the conceptualization, planning and execution stage of whatever business-related improvements decided upon, laws have been formulated and passed.

One specific law that gives copyright holders and the US government extra capability to stop access to fraudulent websites, where selling of counterfeit or infringing goods is the main trade, is the PROTECT IP Act or PIPA. PIPA, the shortest acronym for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, was introduced on May 12, 2011. It is actually a re-write of COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act), a bill which was not approved in 2010. Another related bill that was introduced on October 26, 2011, was the SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act.

“Infringement,” under PIPA’s definition, refers to any act that will enable or facilitate the distribution of counterfeit goods, as well as violation of the anti-digital rights management technology. This is because of the recognition of the exclusive rights to the creations of the mind, such that each unique good, or improvements in existing goods, would be the intellectual property (IP) of the one who conceived such good or improvement.

The intellectual property law grants owners exclusive rights to their intangible assets, like music, literary pieces, other works of art, inventions, discoveries, newly formed words, symbols, designs and phrases. Some types of intellectual property rights are trade secrets, trade dress, industrial design rights, patents, trademarks and copyright.

A copyright is aimed at protecting different forms of artistic and written expression, while a trademark is meant to safeguard a symbol or a name which identifies the specific provider of services and/or goods. A patent, on the other hand, is a legal document that is issued by the US government to grant inventors the right to exclude others from copying or selling their inventions (unless rights have been transferred or granted by the inventor to others through inheritance, renting or selling). A patent usually lasts for 20 years; upon its expiration, the right to exclude others stops.

Often, finding the right employees, who can be trusted with company trades and secrets and who can contribute greatly to the growth of a company, is a challenging task, especially if the firm lacks the instruments necessary in screening applicants well. The emergence of functional employment testing firms, however, changed the face of the hiring process, helping employers find the right people for the right job. Through pre-employment screening, these functional employment testing firms are able to specifically identify applicants’ (as well as existing employees’) skills and capabilities and determine whether they are capable of meeting the job’s basic requirements.

Protecting your intellectual property, besides entrusting your company’s growth to capable and trustworthy employees, should one of your major concerns as a business owner. Rather than hiring just anyone, only to compete with them or others who are able to benefit greatly by copying your company’s secrets and/or legally protected inventions, make sure you hire the right people; hiring the services of functional employment testing firms may be additional company cost, but you will soon find out that doing so is more beneficial in the long run.

Cerebral Palsy: A Birth Injury that Can Forever Change the Life of a Child

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Medical Mistakes | 0 comments

The overall health of a pregnant woman, as well as that of the unborn child inside her womb, is under the care of an Obstetrician, or OB/Gyn, a medical professional, especially trained to manage pregnancy, labor and birth. Thus, it is part of an Obstetrician’s duty to know what medications can and cannot be prescribed to a pregnant woman (or anyone expecting who may be under his/her care), as there are prescription drugs that may cause side effects that can result to severe health conditions in the mother and/or unborn child.

Likewise, any vice that the pregnant woman has, such as smoking, drinking, use of illegal drugs (and even over-eating) should be checked and stopped by an OB/Gyn to ensure the good health, especially, of the child yet to be born; if not stopped, the toxins coming from any of these vices can result to a serious birth injury that may change the life of the unborn for the rest of his/her life.

Besides the time spent inside his/her mother’s womb, an equally critical time for the child is the time of delivery. Many errors have been committed in delivery rooms (in the past) due to the carelessness and negligence of the team, or any of its members, managing the delivery process. A couple of these errors are injecting a wrong dose of anesthesia or clamping the head, with the use of forceps, quite tightly that the flow of oxygen to the baby’s head is temporarily obstructed.

The years prior to 1980, doctors believed that the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth, which is known as asphyxia, caused a birth injury called cerebral palsy. This injury is a result of an abnormality in the brain development of an unborn child, resulting to loss of motor function impairment in muscle coordination. Thousands of children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. The condition makes walking, playing, eating, talking and playing quite difficult for a child.

Rather than asphyxia as being the major cause of brain injury that leads to CP, scientists discovered that abnormality in the brain development may be caused either by bleeding inside the brain or Intracranial Hemorrhage, which is usually the result of a stroke, or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen that causes severe damage to brain cells, which can be caused by use of illegal drugs, very low blood pressure, infection or very low blood pressure.

Birth injuries often happen because of improper care or failure of a doctor to provide reasonable level of care. This is why patients are afforded the legal right to seek justice by filing lawsuits against their doctors to see the level of responsibility doctors have behind the injury.

Speeding: Choosing Danger over Safety

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Automotive Accidents | 0 comments

A car’s speed is one of the major factors that determine safety on the road. While over speeding will definitely mean shorter time of travel, it will also increase the risk of car crash, wherein damage to property is greater and physical injury, more severe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in fact, reports that speeding is one of the top causes of car wrecks and accidental deaths; other causes are DWI or driving while impaired and driver error, which includes distracted driving. The government’s move to enact laws and strictly implement these, in an effort to reduce the number of accidents due to DWI and driver error, are slowly, but gradually, raking positive results: it is not the same, however, when it comes to over speeding. This is because while majority of drivers take speeding as a threat to road safety, they, themselves, are guilty of violating this traffic safety rule.

Driving at excessive speed can mean going beyond the maximum speed limit or driving at the allowed maximum speed, but on occasions when road condition is not totally safe, like when there is road construction going on, mist or fog, or when the road is wet and slippery due to heavy rain or snow. Some of the other reasons why drivers over speed, include:

  • The thought that over speeding is neither dangerous nor a serious offense
  • The need to be on time for an appointment or so as not to be late for work
  • Non-concern about causing injury to other drivers or pedestrians and damage to cars since insurance firms will shoulder the burden of costs
  • The belief that, though over speeding, they are still in perfect control of their vehicle
  • Not being aware of what the speed limit is

Every year, there are about 13,000 lives that are lost due to driving over the speed limit – and the ones most guilty of this traffic violation are  young males drivers aged 17 to 24. When driving at illegal and inappropriate speeds, it will take longer for cars to stop; drivers will also have lesser time to assess and react to whatever dangers they may be faced with. Over speeding also makes driver errors much more dangerous, causing injuries that are more severe and turning what may only be near misses into a fatal crash and a total car wreck.

On its website, the Sampson Law Firm in Louisville speaks about the possible injuries a victim can sustain in a car accident, ranging from minor bruises to spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injury – any of which can cause physical trauma and costly medical treatment plus loss of income due to inability to render time for work. And though victims may be legally entitled to compensation, their lives will be forever changed, simply because of the negligence and irresponsible acts of other drivers on the road.

Some Measures that will Help Reduce Instances of Surgical Errors

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Medical Mistakes | 0 comments

The long and rigorous training undergone by medical professionals plus the national medical licensing examination that they have to pass, in order to earn the license that will allow them to practice their profession, should be more than enough to make them worthy recipients of the trust of every patient who they take under their care. In return, however, doctors are legally obliged to provide nothing less than the best care to all their patients.

Best care includes timely treatment, accurate diagnosis, correct medication and safe surgical procedure, if ever surgery becomes necessary, that is, if and when all other forms of treatment and medication fail. But, as there have been numerous reports of medical malpractice or errors, so have there been thousands of cases of surgical mistakes. A research on patient safety conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that, in the US, incidences wherein surgeons operate on wrong body sites, perform wrong procedures or accidentally leave a foreign object inside a patient’s body, such as forceps or a sponge, happen, at least, 20 times every week (for each incidence). There have cases too wherein a kidney had been removed from a wrong patient, a good kidney that was ready for transplant had been thrown accidentally into a waste basket, the wrong leg or arm had been amputated plus, as stated in the website of Massachusetts law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP,  other internal organs being injured, and many other complications occurring due to negligence in providing quality post-operative care.

The effects of these erroneous surgeries are serious, some even leading to a patient’s untimely death. Surgical mistakes are avoidable, though, and have been identified as “never events.” Yet, despite the advocacies and other measures taken to quell these, all efforts seem to have failed, (and continue to fail) as the number of mistakes still continue to go beyond 4,000 every year.

Making sure that the right patient is on the operating table, re-checking the record that identifies the exact site to be operated on or which limb needs to be amputated, making sure that an X-ray is not flipped, re-checking information vital to the surgery and giving final instructions to nurse attendants (before surgery), making sure that all tools and materials used in the surgery are accounted for before stitching, are just some of the extra measures that doctors can and should observe to help lessen incidences of surgical errors, in particular, and medical malpractice, in general.