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QUESTION:     HOW CAN REMOTE ONLINE NOTARIZATION WORK? ANSWER:        MANY STEPS ARE REQUIRED TO ASSURE THE ACCURACY AND INTEGRITY OF THE NOTARIZATION AND SIGNING PROCESSES. How could remote online notarization go awry? During my career I have been able to prove at least two fraudulent notarizations when the rules required pen and paper signatures in the physical presence of notaries.  I probably also dealt with a few fraudulent notarizations that I suspected, but could not prove.  The most blatant fraud was the time the notary’s certificate expiration stamp indicated that the notary’s certification had expired prior to the purported date of…
QUESTION:  NOW THAT BEACHES, LAKES, AND OTHER PLACES FOR WATER RECREATION ARE REOPENING, DO WE NEED SUPREME COURT GUIDANCE TO SPOT A BOAT? ANSWER:  THE U.S. SUPREME COURT SAYS THAT “NOT EVERY FLOATING STRUCTURE IS A VESSEL.” The United States Supreme Court plunges into important matters, such as healthcare reform, immigration, and voting rights.  The highest court in the land also dove into a case involving a maritime lien of $3,039.88 for dockage fees! Fane Lozman lived on the water in a 60-foot by 12-foot boat, or “floating home.”  Even though the home had a second level, the empty bilge…
QUESTION:     ARE ELECTRONIC NOTARIZATIONS LEGAL? ANSWER:        ELECTRONIC NOTARIZATIONS ARE LEGAL IN MOST STATES. Electronic notarizations have been legal in Arizona for years, but they still required the signer to physically appear before the notary for the electronic signature and the electronic notarization of documents. Remote electronic notarizations originally were scheduled to become effective from and after June 30, 2020.  However, on April 8, 2020, in partnership with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order allowing Arizonans to get documents notarized remotely, while ensuring secure and effective verification processes starting April 10, 2020. This…
  ANSWER:        A DEMOTION AND REDUCTION IN PAY CAN BE A “REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION” UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT! A deputy needs her shooting hand! Brigid Ford was a deputy in the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.  She started as a deputy sometime around the year 2000.  In 2008 she began working as a sworn deputy sheriff locating and arresting people with outstanding warrants.  Brigid A. Ford v. Marion County Sheriff’s Office, No. 18-3217 (7th Cir. Ct. App., November 15, 2019). In 2012, while on duty, Deputy Ford’s patrol vehicle was hit by a car that ran a red light. …
  ANSWER:              FACEBOOK USES FACIAL-RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY TO MATCH FACES, BUT IT MAY NOT BE LEGAL UNDER ILLINOIS STATUTE. Expensive privacy violation on social media? Some citizens of Illinois brought a class-action lawsuit against Facebook claiming somewhere around $35 billion for privacy violations!  Patel v. Facebook, Inc., 932 F.3d 1264 (9th Cir., 2019).  (The plaintiffs apparently don’t understand that “private” and “social” are antonyms.) The Ninth Circuit said that Facebook runs one of the biggest social media platforms in the world and has over 1 billion active users.  About seven out of ten adults in the U.S. use Facebook.  (Our…
Q:  HOW FAR DOES THE U.S. FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT REACH? A: THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ENFORCES THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT IN “EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE!” But I work for a foreign company, I am not a U.S. citizen and I never set foot in the United States?! In November, 2019, Lawrence Hoskins was convicted of six counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, three counts of money laundering and two counts of conspiracy in a U.S. District Court in Connecticut. Mr. Hoskins is a citizen of the United Kingdom and was working for a French company. …
QUESTION:    CAN I MAKE OUR EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS ELECTRONIC? ANSWER:       YES, BUT YOU NEED TO PROVE THAT THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY              AGREED TO THE ELECTRONIC TRANSACTION. Can I sandwich an arbitration agreement in an electronic employment contract? Jaime Odom worked for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches as a marketing manager. She had a beef with the sandwich shops. She sued claiming that she was sexually harassed at the job, retaliated against for complaining about the harassment, and not paid her full wages. Which Wich said Jaime had to arbitrate the dispute because she had electronically…
QUESTION:    WHY ARE COMPANIES STILL STRUGGLING WITH ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS 20 YEARS AFTER THE LAWS SAID THEY ARE VALID? ANSWER:       PEOPLE HAVE DIFFICULTY UNLEARNING THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF RELIANCE ON HAND-WRITTEN SIGNATURES. The laws of electronic signatures and e-transactions. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-SIGN Act”) became the law of the United States on June 30, 2000. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”) was released by the Uniform Law Commission in 1999 and enacted in Arizona in 2000. The E-SIGN Act allows the use of electronic records to satisfy any statute, regulation, or rule of…
C’MON! IT’S ONLY A COMMA!!!??? A MISSING COMMA COST ONE COMPANY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!   Oakhurst Dairy had to pay its delivery drivers five million dollars to settle a wage and hour dispute about overtime pay all because of a missing comma! O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, 851 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2017). What does punctuation have to do with an employment dispute? “For want of a comma, we have this case.” That is how the court started its opinion concerning a dispute between a Maine dairy company and the dairy delivery drivers. The case involved the scope of an exemption…
QUESTION:    I THOUGHT THAT ONLY THE COMPANY COULD BE PENALIZED FOR FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT VIOLATIONS?   ANSWER:       WHEN A TEXAS ROPE COMPANY GOT TIED UP WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, THE OWNER, PLANT MANAGER AND OFFICE MANAGER WENT TO JAIL!   Numerous federal laws include civil liability for individuals who fail to comply with the laws. Some federal laws even provide for individual criminal liability for company owners and managers. Don’t let the boss rope you into breaking the law! The U.S. Attorney’s office charged that High Performance Ropes of America, Inc. did not pay overtime compensation,…
QUESTION:    WE WORRY ABOUT GETTING SUED FOR FIRING PEOPLE, BUT NOW ARE WE BEING SUED FOR NOT FIRING SOMEONE? ANSWER:        NEGLIGENT HIRING, RETENTION AND SUPERVISION OF EMPLOYEES CAN COST YOUR COMPANY MONEY! Employers are conditioned by discrimination lawsuits to avoid background checks and to avoid disciplining and firing workers.  For example, so called “ban the box” statutes forbidding including questions about past criminal convictions on employment applications have caused employers to be lax in hiring standards. Wrongful termination lawsuits have made employers wary of disciplining or firing underperformers. Nevertheless, members of the public can and do sue companies…