Legal Issues, Head-On!

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Following FTC Rules on Online Marketing

Following FTC Rules on Online Marketing

For most of the 20th-century television advertising was a regulated industry. Initiatives like Kidvid and the Fairness Doctrine helped keep television a balanced but still profitable business platform for a number of successful companies.

When the web first became popular in the early 90s it was not immediately accepted as a commercial platform. Since online advertising has now become a multibillion-dollar business it is necessary for regulators to take a closer look at how products are promoted on the web. The Federal Trade Commission is the organization tasked with making sure customers have a clear idea what they’re buying and from whom.


If you are promoting a product on the Internet your obligations under FTC regulations are fairly simple. You need to make certain that your customer knows who is selling the product, who is promoting the product and who is reviewing the product. From a regulatory standpoint, this is known as “transparency.”

Following these guidelines makes it possible for the customer to make an informed decision about their purchase while not having to worry about whether or not reviews, promotions, and sales techniques are genuine.


As a reviewer, your main obligation under FTC regulations is to disclose any relationship you may have with the manufacturer of a product or any relationship you may have with other reviewers. This is so customers who read your review will be reassured your opinion has not been unnecessarily influenced by the manufacturer or by other reviewers. This principle also to ensures you haven’t been secretly compensated for your efforts in reviewing a product.


Disclosure principles become especially important in the world of influencer marketing. Many bloggers have made a career of reviewing products on their sites. The trust between bloggers and their readers is the foundation upon which their business operates.

If they endorse a product at the behest of a manufacturer they are required to disclose to their readers the manufacturer compensated them for their article or opinion or paid marketing. This rule creates a distinction between an independent reviewer and a paid marketing campaign.

By and large Federal Trade Commission regulations are very easy to follow. At the same time they are a necessary part of online marketing because they help enforce the difference between paid marketing and the genuine opinion of another customer. Only this level of trust makes it possible for online marketing to join other media in being a part of a successful economy.

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Don’t Ignore a Jury Summons

Don't Ignore a Jury Summons

Jury duty is a civic responsibility that many individuals want to avoid at all costs. All juries are essentially a group of peers who hear the particulars of a case without governmental interference with respect to the final determination of guilt or innocence by a petit jury in trials, or by returning indictments when sitting on a grand jury. Regardless of which type of jury for which an individual may be chosen, the criteria for being allowed a waiver is the same for both. Actually, the interview process before the selection is essentially for a jury pool from which official jurors. Grand jury service is probably more common, and is usually the initial focus of jury selection.

Potential Impact of Ignoring a Jury Summons
Those who decide that appearing for a jury interview or actual jury duty is not important are truly making a mistake because the court system actually has penalties in place that can be filed against the potential juror. It is effectively the same thing as being summoned to court. While being chosen for jury duty is a rarity for most people, some still want to avoid serving because it can be disrupting to the individual routine. But, the truth is that the judge can actually issue a warrant for the arrest of a non-compliant potential juror and the bench warrant can be served in any scenario, including while at work. The charge is effectively contempt of court and the judge can impose the penalty in the first hearing.

Avoiding Jury Duty
There are several legal methods of avoiding jury duty. Some of those are relatively surprising, while others are common sense reasoning. Convicted felons are immediately excluded from the potential jury pool because they may be influenced by the prior conviction with respect to applying appropriate penalties. However, most cases requiring a jury are actually civil cases. Anyone who actually approves of settlement law could also be influenced as well, so many times individuals who have filed a lawsuit are also waived. Actually, upper-level education could be a good reason because prosecutors do not necessarily want jurors who understand the process well. Mental stability can be a reason to request exclusion too, and this is stipulated in law. Actually, almost any medical problem will suffice in most instances when verifiable.

One of the most common reasons for not wanting to sit on a jury is financial when an employer wants to put pressure on an employee to avoid serving. There are several reasons the employer may want exclusion, but many employers do not realize they too can be cited for contempt if they instruct an employee to report for work and miss jury duty. This event is rare, but it does happen and is often the main underlying reason for wanting avoidance.

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How to Join a Class Action Lawsuit

How to Join a Class Action Lawsuit

When any type of consumer product causes harm to a person, that person has the right to seek compensation from the manufacturer for the damages they received. This is applied to every industry that creates a product for public consumption. When that product causes harm to many people, the court system may combine all of the cases into a class action lawsuit.

Class action lawsuits are a way for the court to effectively manage multiple cases against the same product or manufacturer. This type of case is handled in a special court setting and by attorneys that are skilled at class action cases. When this type of case is heard, all of the Plaintiffs that have been injured by the product are being represented at the same time.

Do I Have To Join A Class Action Lawsuit?

If you have been injured by a product that is currently a part of a class action lawsuit, yoru attorney may recommend that you join the class action suit because it would be the most beneficial action for your case. This means that the injuries you received were very similar to those of the people already in the lawsuit and the outcome of the case would be beneficial to you.

However, if your injuries are different than those included in the case, your attorney may request that you file an individual case against the manufacturer. This will allow you to present the specifics related to your case and seek the appropriate compensation for your losses.

You are not required to join a class action case, even if your injuries are the same or similar to those in the class action suit. You have the right to seek compensation as an individual. However, most attorneys will inform you that class action cases often produce better results for the Plaintiffs who have similar injuries.

If you decide to join the class action suit, your attorney will prepare the proper documentation for you to join the lawsuit. All aspects of your case will take place as part of that action from that time forward unless you withdraw from the case and seek compensation on your own.

The only true drawback to a class action case is time. Class action hearings often take longer to complete. When there are so many Plaintiffs involved in one case, the time it takes to prepare and present this type of case is extended. Where individual cases may finalize quickly, class action suits may take several years to complete. If the Defendant appeals the verdict, the finalization process could take even longer.

Overall, the best thing that you can do when you have been injured by a defective product or dangerous medication is speak to an attorney. Your attorney will review the facts of your case to determine which method, either individual or class action, would be the most beneficial to your case.

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Using Social Media to Track Deadbeat Parents

Using Social Media to Track Deadbeat Parents

Are you an avid user of social media? If so, I fervently hope you plan to keep up with your child support payments. Criminal investigators will use whatever means at their disposal in order to catch deadbeat dads, and this would include examining the Facebook and Twitter universe to see if they have a presence there. Message: if you use Facebook and don’t pay for your baby’s child support, you WILL get caught. Here are some examples:

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

A man in Milwaukee County found out the hard way that social media can do a person in after he failed to make any child support payments for a total of three years. The man was finally busted in February 2013 after someone tipped off the local district attorney’s office about the nature of the man’s Facebook posts. Interestingly enough, the man actually had numerous photos of liquor bottles and cash plastered all over his social media profile. If he had enough money to have wads of cash and buy liquor then he definitely had enough to pay his child support.


This state has began to aggressively target deadbeat dads on social media in another way: if you fail to pay your child support, you can expect to have your face plastered all over Facebook. Governor Doug Ducey, himself a father of three, called out deadbeat dads in his latest State of the Union address: “For too long, you have been able to remain anonymous – able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame. Not anymore,” Ducey said.

Nova Scotia

Novia Scotia maintenance enforcement workers are looking to harness the power of social media in new ways in order to make deadbeats pay up. Currently, the only way they are able to notify anyone is through the mail or by phone. These Canadian officials are looking to change what counts as a notification to emails or private messages on Facebook. So there! Even in Canada you can run but you can’t hide. The time is now to pay up or face public shaming at its finest in this day and age.

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Leaving a False Bad Review Can Land You in Legal Hot Water

Leaving a False Bad Review Can Land You in Legal Hot Water

From Google Places to Yelp, Angie’s List to Healthgrades, people are expressing their opinions on practically everything. In this digital era, reputations are destroyed or strengthened by what people publish online. Major consumer sites such as Amazon and Yelp are dependent on user reviews and content. However, there is no shortage of consumers who use online platforms to settle grudges. Disgruntled consumers often post negative reviews on the sites of businesses or service providers whose products or services fail to live up to their standards. In a counterattack measure, business sites have embarked on a campaign of cracking down on negative and fake reviews.

Read on for information on when a consumer can be sued for a negative review, examples of how posting false or negative reviews can have legal repercussions, and how to engage in safe review practices.

When Can a Consumer Be Sued For a Negative Review

Although the First Amendment protects consumer reviews, a reviewer can be found liable for defamation when they leave false accusations. The right to freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment is based on whether one is asserting facts or expressing an opinion.

For example, if a consumer says that an organization charges exorbitantly for their products, the business cannot sue them for expressing their opinion or if they do sue, they are likely to fail due to the protections given to consumers by the First Amendment.

However, if a consumer claims that an organization is unlicensed and it turns out to be a false assertion, the business can file a claim of defamation.

Legal Repercussions of Negative Reviews

Jane Perez, an ex-military captain, was not satisfied with the services of her contractor and this led her to post negative reviews regarding him on Angies’s List and Yelp. She remarked how he had done a poor renovation job and how he charged her for tasks he had not done. She warned her fellow consumers not to hire this contractor.

Christopher Dietz, the contractor in question, filed a defamation suit worth $75,000 ordering Perez to rewrite her reviews. Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling stating that there were no grounds for censuring the reviews but if they were defamatory, Dietz should seek money damages.

While the ruling is considered a victory for the right of expression or speech, it also calls to mind the dangers of posting critical reviews. According to Dietz, the comments made by Perez cost him a significant share of lost business, mental suffering, and a good business reputation. Dietz further claimed that the allegations made by Perez were false and insists he did his job satisfactorily and billed her for the work he had done.

According to Federal Law, websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are protected from defamation suits, however, the writers, reviewers like Perez, can be held legally responsible for their posts. Perez confessed to the media that when posting her reviews, she never thought she would end up in court for thousands in legal costs and monetary damages. Dietz suit stands at $75,000.

Another case that shows the legal implications of negative reviews involves a Utah couple which posted a negative review about a company. The company demanded $3,500 in damages. When the couple failed to pay, the company regarded the $3,500 as a debt and forwarded their claim to a collection agent. The claim seriously ruined the couple’s credit leading them to sue the company. Whichever way the case goes, the couple would have not been facing court costs, legal fees, a bad credit report, and probably defamation damages, were it not for their bad review.

Safe Review Practices

From the case examples above, it is clear that leaving negative or bad reviews can work against you in the long run. Companies monitor their reviews and watch for false statements. When revenues rely on positive reputations, Kyäni reviews their complaints and customer satisfaction comments closely. To avoid the high cost in damages resulting from posting reviews online, the following are some of the practices you should observe when leaving comments on websites:

Be factual: Stick to your experiences and refrain from generalizations
Give the company or professional a second chance: Before posting a negative review, approach the company and offer it a chance to rectify the situation. Maybe you received a defective product and the company will agree to give you one that is in good condition

Remove the Review: If it boils down to legal action, you are better off apologizing and removing the review. Although you are likely to win if the review was based on factual evidence, court cases are unpleasant endeavors full of surprises.

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