How to Protect Your Property or Business From A Neighboring Construction Project


Having a neighboring business or residential property under construction can be a stressful time for anyone. Business owners or families may be worried about ongoing noise, increased traffic, pollutants in the air, or even damage to their own property. For anyone that has found themselves in one of these situations, here is a look at some simple tips, tricks, and tools that can be used to make this process as stress-free as possible.

Communicate with Your Neighbors

During any major construction there are sure to be some minor mishaps or disagreements, but one of the easiest ways to avoid these problems from escalating is to preemptively open up lines of communication. Home or business owners should speak with their neighbors and the neighbor’s contractors and attempt to start this process out as friendly as possible. Inviting the neighbor and contractor to any meetings for the HOA, historical preservation societies, Planning Committee, or any other local planning organization is also a good idea.

Research City Statutes

Local statutes about remodeling and construction can become extremely complex, but it is worth it to take a fresh look at them before any major projects get underway. At the very least, business and homeowners can brush up on some basic information such as the proper hours of construction and what changes must be made to avoid traffic or parking issues. By doing this, locals will know when a problem has escalated and assistance will be needed.

Inquire About Their Insurance Coverage

Every construction project should be fully insured and bonded, and it is not out of line for neighbors to inquire about what type of coverage the company has. The average policies for these projects will protect those on-site as well as anyone on neighboring property from injuries that occur. There are also a wide variety of situations in which damage may occur to neighboring buildings, and this should be covered by contractor insurance. Contractors operating without insurance, permits, and bonding should be reported to the police.

Have Your Property Surveyed Again

Residents have every right to keep their property free from any unwanted buildings, materials, or people. If there is some doubt about the exact dividing line between two properties, a surveyor may need to be contacted. Modern surveyors use advanced techniques to figure out the boundary between two properties down to the inch. They can also instruct their clients on more abstract laws such as how far their property extends downwards and upwards according to local statutes.

Speak with an Attorney

The best method of protecting your property from a nearby construction project is taking a few preemptive steps, but this will not always work. In some unfortunate scenarios, home and business owners may need to go out of their comfort zone and contact a local attorney to explore their legal options. This is especially important if you have had any property damaged or anyone has been injured on or around your property. Other serious problems such as contaminants in the air or unorthodox hours of construction may also require an attorney.

If any neighboring construction has left you with your back up against the wall, it is important to take immediate action. The longer these issues take place the more difficult and complex they can become for all parties involved.

Assessing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


If you have watched Mad Men on the AMC network, you already know how prevalent sexual harassment and the denigration of women was back in the 1960s. We would like to think of that show as a historical time piece and have the old skeleton of sexual harassment in the workplace shoved in the closet for good.

The fact is, it’s simply not that simple of an issue. Sexual harassment is taking place all over the workforce and not just with women. Men are getting sexually harassed by female bosses, the LGBT community faces discrimination all of the time, and young workers are getting abused by their older superiors.

Politicians like to sell us on a clean and pure image, but they are some of the worst sexual harassment offenders of all time. Whenever you turn on the news, you can probably find a story about a politician involved in a lawsuit. Even Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain came under fire for his underhanded methods of dealing with sexual harassment on the campaign trail. The pure image politicians present often suppresses their true actions and causes them to act out in strange ways to satisfy their urges.

Sexual harassment isn’t only relegated to the office these days. Anyone with a mobile device can easily snap risque pictures, post harmful comments, or start a string of lewd advances through instant messaging services. While it is hard to monitor what is happening on social media all of the time, it is important to bring anything you find distasteful or harmful to the attention of an HR department, supervisor, or even the police if the you can not find reliable help.

When dealing with sexual harassment, it is important to know your rights in the workplace. According to the Equal Rights Advocates, if someone simply asks you out once, it is probably not sexual harassment. If they keep on making advances when you continually deny the opportunity, they are encroaching on your workplace comfort and are in turn sexually harassing you. Anything that includes criminal actions constitutes sexual harassment, and should be met with the possibility of jail time.

Prevention is always the best way to deal with damaging attacks. If something doesn’t have to happen in the first place, there will be no need to fix a potentially devastating problem. NOLO, the free online legal database says to have clear guidelines related to sexual harassment policies. They also suggest to have severe penalties for those who break the codes set in place at work.

While the 1960s were a trying time for sexual harassment in the workplace, the threat of creepy advances and misconduct at work will always be there. People all have different conceptions of what is right and wrong. The only way to keep a consistent grasp on how we act is to set up a set of rules that applies to everyone.

6 Stories of Illegal Construction Projects That Went Ahead Anyway


The issue of acquiring contractor insurance does not lend itself to a general debate as even the novice recognizes the general protection that policies that cover things such as equipment, inspectors, builders, engineers, general laborers, and vehicles afford. However, the specifics regarding a particular policy, as they relate to an individual construction project and potential risks, can and should be examined very carefully.

Since history oftentimes repeats itself, it is advisable to consider examples of illegal construction projects that proceeded in the face of evidence that suggested a different course of action to answer the old adage regarding ‘a pound of cure…’.

1) Hawaiian Construction Projects Defy Caution

According to Civil Beat, Hawaii’s State Historic Preservation Division, or SHPD, has given the go-ahead on various construction projects without complete archaeological evidence to support the projects. The website mentions a certain multi-million dollar project in 2009 that resulted in the filing of several lawsuits and delays due to required inventory surveys not being completed before the start of the project.

2): Court Ruling Does Not Derail the Plaza de Panama Project

The San Diego Reader documented a case of the city council of San Diego took steps to initiate an ordinance that would exclude the project from a required permit with the support of the City Attorney’s Office.

3): National Historic Preservation Act Defied

A 200 million dollar construction project in the northern part of California proceeds while ignoring legal restrictions designed to honor and protect local tribal history. The website indicated that the result has been mounting tensions between CalTrans and various local tribal officials.

4): Allegations of Corrupt Dutch Construction Contracts

The publication, Crime, Law, and Social Change 2005 uncovered illegal contracts between public officials and contractors in connection with a certain train tunnel facility project. The reported result, in part, was three construction companies paying a fine of five million Euros each to their clients.

5): Magic Motorways in China

It appears no permission had been granted to Chinese officials to build twenty motorways. The project proceeded without the required permits and was buried under soya beans plants to hide the motorways until permission could be received. The Chinese motorways would then magically appear.

6): Illegal Construction on Agricultural Land in Delhi

Construction projects that have proceeded illegally on agricultural land are the subject of this article, which cites local authorities as being aware of the illegal construction of at least 198 homes, that stretched over four acres over the past five years, without taking any steps to halt the process.

The examples that are cited above are not intended to solicit your vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ any decisions or actions put in place by those with duly designated authority. Rather, these examples may encourage you to give sufficient pause when selecting appropriate contractors insurance. It is vital to become educated regarding the process of securing this type of insurance, just as it is important to become thoroughly familiar with the list of options that are available to you and that will serve your present and future needs for insurance protection.

Vehicle Defects – The Legalities and Hazards


However uncommon, vehicle recalls do happen and sometimes they involve more than just a faulty door handle or missing stereo wires.  It’s an unsettling thought that we could be driving several tons of metal that could suddenly give out on us, but it’s something that is risked even when buying the most reputable car and truck manufacturers.

Sometimes the manufacturer defects are more annoying than anything else, which was the case when Subaru put out a mass recall on their newest SUVs not long ago.  Their line of vehicles that included a remote starting component already installed into the automobiles had the chance to malfunction, causing the engines to begin even when not prompted.  If kept in a garage or similar small space, they ran the risk of poisoning anyone nearby with carbon monoxide, but as that seemed highly unlikely, the biggest issue seen with the cars was the expenditure involved.

Should the cars begin starting up on their own, they had the potential to run for several minutes.  Some of the SUVs involved in the recall, however, wouldn’t stop and the engines could run until resources were depleted such as the tank running out of gas or the car’s battery being bled dry.

Honda’s recent vehicle recall, however, was much more serious.  This particular error in the car’s design affected the entire system that enveloped the brakes in the car.  Motorists reported driving down the road for several minutes before the car would apply the brakes rather sharply and in many cases, this caused the drivers to lose control of the vehicle.  After investigation, Honda found that the issue lay not with the brakes but with the pre-installed system in the automobiles that was put into place in order to help motorists keep control of the car.

There was a miscommunication in this system, which would cause the car to automatically slam on the breaks without having any reason to.  Because this fault affected not only the breaks but the communication systems, it was increasingly possible that the brake issues were only the first of many.

Luckily enough, no one had been hurt due to the faulty brakes in Honda’s recent model lineup, but sometimes drivers will need legal help because the problem is much more severe.  This was such the case of a local gardener when he rented out a truck from an in-town business.  The owner of the aforementioned business failed to disclose the defects that were present in the truck the gardener was renting and instead, allow him to take the truck anyway.

This cost the local man his life as the steering gave out on the vehicle and ultimately crushed the man to death, living his family behind to mourn the loss.  The business owner pled guilty of breaking several laws including Health and Safety.

It’s disconcerting to hear that a vehicle recall has been issued but what is even more unnerving is that sometimes recalls don’t happen and these defects are only found because a driver discovered them while on their morning commute.  It’s important that consumers understand how their car is supposed to behave so they can better evaluate how it’s acting on the road and if they find anything wrong, they are then prepared to take legal action if needed.


Drug Addiction & The Workplace: Warning Signs of Drug Abuse in an Employee


Tommy has been a consistent employee, coming in on time and undertaking his tasks perfectly. In fact, HR had shortlisted him as one of the candidates for the employee of the month award. However, things changed. Tommy started missing work regularly and he became withdrawn. A routine substance test showed that Tommy was on drugs. This shocked everyone.

The manager had forgotten that drug abuse in the workplace is becoming more and more common. Many businesses are spending up to 10 percent of their annual payroll trying to rid their workplaces of this behavior. This is because studies have shown that employees who are on drugs affect the overall performance of the business. Most businesses have recorded improved levels of productivity after putting in place measures to curb the drug menace at the workplace. Before you take any step, you need to know how to identify an employee who is on drugs.

Declining Work Performance

Substance abuse reduces the performance of the employee drastically. This drop will be easily noticeable. For instance, you will notice a previously focused individual losing interest in work. The victim will come in late regularly and leave early. The individual will have unfinished tasks or submit low quality work on regular basis.

Increased Cases of Absenteeism

It is normal for an employee to be absent occasionally. However, there is a standard way to communicate the absence. Additionally, the cause of the absence has to be valid and logical. An employee who is using drugs makes absenteeism a habit. The rate of missing work increases with time. Time may come when he or she doesn’t turn up for work at all. The funny thing is that the employee may not offer any explanations regarding the cases of absenteeism.
Solitary Behavior

The employee starts avoiding co-workers. In most cases, you find the employee in a secluded place far from colleagues. The reason behind this is that the victim thinks co-workers will notice signs of drug abuse. Additionally, interpersonal relations become strained with increased cases of hostility towards fellow workers.

Increase in Risky Behavior

An employee who is on drugs becomes reckless and careless. The worker ignores any safety procedures put in place to handle tasks at the workplace. For instance, you will find the employee tackling risky jobs without any protective gear at all. This endangers the lives of other employees, and increases the probability of workplace injuries. This may end up increasing the cost of compensation, and affecting your business reputation negatively.

Noticeable Physical Signs

A person who is abusing drugs displays changes in physical appearance that you can easily notice. Frequent irritability, instant loss of weight, poor personal hygiene, poor grooming, and fatigue represent some of the signs you will notice. Additionally, the pupils will be dilated or constricted depending on the type of drug the employee is using. As an employer, you need to be keen to notice any of these pointers so that you make the right step.

Why Drug Testing is Vital at the Workplace

You shouldn’t take anything for granted at your workplace. It is only through drug testing that you can confirm the extent of this problem in your workplace. Apart from monitoring your employees behavior and productivity, make periodic drug tests mandatory for all employees. If someone at your workplace seems to have a problem with substance abuse it is important to address the issue in a caring way. Providing an option such as a men’s rehab for a struggling individual can be a helpful way for someone to fix their problem.

They Got Away With What? 5 Baffling Unpunished Crimes


With the persistent coverage given to court cases by cable television networks and the 24-hour news channels, people all over the world are able to keep track of a variety of cases. Every so often, the public will hear evidence that seems to create an air-tight case against a defendant, but that defendant winds up going free.

The public’s perception of a case can sometimes differ from what the jury hears, but that does not stop people from developing strong opinions. Over the years, there have been many defendants who have been able to walk out of courtrooms free after their trials were over, but there have been a few unpunished crimes that still have people scratching their heads.

O.J. Simpson – 1994

The 1994 double murder case against former football star O.J. Simpson seemed like a slam dunk to the public. There was plenty of evidence to connect Simpson to the murder scene and put him in the general area of the murder at the time that it happened. But people all over the world were shocked when Simpson was acquitted of all charges by a jury. He later lost the civil case, but Simpson never served time for the murders that so many people were convinced he had committed.
Lorena Bobbit – 1993

Lorena Bobbitt is famous for mutilating her husband’s manhood in response to what she claimed were repeated, sexual attacks. Bobbitt admitted to mutilating her husband and then discarding part of his body in a field. Despite her admission, Bobbitt was acquitted.

Casey Anthony – 2011

Casey Anthony was a single mother who was accused of killer her daughter Caylee. Despite an overwhelming amount of evidence linking Casey Anthony to the murder, and the lack of emotion that Anthony showed during the time that her daughter was reported missing, a jury acquitted her.

There have been several attempts by groups of people unrelated to the case to get Casey Anthony re-tried, but the law does not allow it. As of 2014, the outrage from the verdict is still a topic of conversation on social media sites.

Los Angeles Police Department – 1992

When four Los Angeles police officers were videotaped beating an African American motorist named Rodney King, the entire country was in an uproar. The film was played over and over again on the news, and the case even captured the attention of the United States Congress.

When the four officers were acquitted of all charges, riots broke out in Los Angeles and around the country. Rodney King himself went on television to try and stop the riots by asking everyone to just get along.

George Zimmerman – 2012

In a case of conflicting stories, 28-year-old George Zimmerman was put on trial for murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The initial outrage regarding this case occurred when the police initially refused to arrest Zimmerman for the murder. That outrage was only compounded when a jury in Florida acquitted Zimmerman of all charges.

The legal system does not always see things the same way that the general public does. Mass outrage often occurs when a defendant looks guilty to the public, but that defendant is eventually acquitted. These kinds of incident always leaves people wondering how the defendant got away with it and shakes the public’s faith in the legal system.

5 US Travel Destinations Where You Can Legally Gamble

There are many places in the United States where people can go to gamble. Because gambling is illegal in so many areas, casinos tend to cluster in areas where it is legal. This leads to resort towns that are big draws for gamblers from all over the country as well as those from abroad. Here is a look at the top five US travel destinations where you can legally gamble.

vegas1. Las Vegas

Although Macau has taken over the top spot as the biggest gambling travel destination in the world, Las Vegas still sits in the top spot in the US. People from all over the world come to Las Vegas to experience the entertainment. As well as the many casinos, there are lots of fun things to do in Las Vegas. Shows, dining, dancing, drinking and general debauchery are what Las Vegas has to offer its visitors. Although Macau may be more popular, no gambling destination is more fun than Las Vegas.

image from Flickr

image from Flickr

2. Chickasaw Country

Chickasaw Country, located in Oklahoma, is a hidden gem in American’s Midwest. It is home to one of the world’s third largest casino, the famous WinStar World Casino and Resort. With plenty of entertainment for the adults, Chickasaw Country has much more in terms of entertainment. It is a cultural hub for all interested in learning more about America’s Native American heritage. The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma is the 13th largest federally recognized tribe in the United States! But it doesn’t stop there, anyone looking for great Oklahoma hotels with nearby shipping, spas, golf and family friendly activities will find themselves at home at Chickasaw Country. This isn’t just a stop where it’s legal to gamble, it’s the whole package! Continue reading “5 US Travel Destinations Where You Can Legally Gamble” »

10 Questions To Ask A Car Accident Attorney Before Hiring Them

car crash

When hiring an attorney after a car accident, a motorist can get the money he or she deserves. Of course, not every attorney will do a great job and it is up to a consumer to choose wisely. With that being said, here are the top 10 questions to ask a car accident attorney before hiring them.

1) Specialization: It is crucial to make sure that the attorney specializes in vehicle-related cases. When a lawyer has this as his or her main area of practice, they can represent their clients to the fullest.

2) Size of the firm: A busy law office will often have a hard time making time for a customer. Sadly, this is the norm in some areas and a customer will suffer. When finding a place that cares about customers, a motorist will get solid representation. Continue reading “10 Questions To Ask A Car Accident Attorney Before Hiring Them” »

Microsoft Wins Patents From Google, Should Apple Be Concerned?

image from Flickr

image from Flickr

Ask any person on the street about Bill Gate’s reputation, and they might throw out words such as “humanitarian” and “philanthropist” or “tech-genius.” But lately he’s earning another title: “Patent Troll.” The term comes from the practice of coming up with multiple ideas that the competition may use, filing patents on these ideas, and then suing companies who also come up with them.

Recently this has made for icy dealings between Microsoft and Google, as Gates has supported patents for products that seemed destined only to take down competitors such as Google’s Motorola company. It’s a case where products are being invented not to help anyone, but merely to generate income via lawsuits.

In fact, Gates works closely with a company called Intellectual Ventures which holds over 70,000 patents — but does not make a single product. While the company’s stated aim is to license out its ideas to other corporations, many critics argue that what the company really does is wait until its ideas exist via other products, and then sue the makers of those products. Continue reading “Microsoft Wins Patents From Google, Should Apple Be Concerned?” »

8 Strange Laws You Have Never Heard About

Laws are generally helpful in order for the safety and security of citizens. It takes a lot of effort to write a law then to have it approved and put on the books as well, so it would stand to reason that laws would make sense and be kept up to date. However, many states still have strange laws you have never heard about on their books. Thankfully, many of these are outdated and not enforced.

1. In Florida, it is illegal to tie an elephant to a parking meter without putting money in the meter. So it’s okay to use an elephant as transportation on city streets as long as you feed the meter when parking, like any other vehicle.

2. In Alaska, it is illegal to push a live moose out of an airplane. It might seem like an obvious law that no one should push a human or any animal out of an airplane. It is just interesting to think about how much moose pushing actually occurred in order for someone to feel it was necessary to put this law into effect. Continue reading “8 Strange Laws You Have Never Heard About” »