Our office litigates both Criminal and Civil legal actions. Civil Practice, as a general matter, refers to all areas of legal practice that are NOT "Criminal Law" related or "Administrative Law" related. Administrative Law is explained below, but for now, can be thought of as being in the Executive Branch, NOT in the Judicial Branch of government, as Civil and Criminal Law are (Three Branches of Government = Executive, Legislative and Judicial).
Civil practice is an enormously large practice area. Most attorneys do NOT practice in every area of Civil Practice law, but have selected primary practice areas to concentrate in and to become highly proficient in. Below I have listed and explained those areas of Civil Practice that our office has selected as a "Primary Practice" area. If you do not see a particular Civil Practice area listed below, contact our office to verify whether we can handle such a legal matter.
Family Law Practice: including such issues as Divorce (Dissolution), Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation, Support Modification due to changed circumstances, Termination of Parental Rights, Alimony, Paternity, Separation, Juvenile Delinquency, PINS cases (Persons in Need of Supervision), and quasi-criminal Juvenile matters. Family Law legal issues can sometimes become the most acrimonious litigation in the legal profession. It demands a special sensitivity and compassion on the part of the attorney.
Contract Administration: In this practice area Bruce: 1) Develops and Manages contracts and Advises management regarding all aspects of the contracts development and management process relative to Commercial Contract Law and relative to targeted business objectives; 2) Insures compliance with government and corporate regulations and best practices; 3) Supervises all related contracts project personnel; manage and support all aspects of the contracting process including proposal preparation, final contract drafting, fact finding, negotiation, and contract administration (implementation & execution). This practice area capitalizes on Bruce's 20 + years of sales\marketing experience and his extensive legal experience, coupled with an understanding of proposal cost structure, material estimates, development costs, performance requirements, delivery schedules and terms and conditions for accuracy and completeness.
Business Law: Both Plaintiff & Defendant - including such issues as Contracts Leases and Breaches, Employment, Contract Enforcement, Employee Benefits, Unemployment, Disability, Worker's Compensation, Partnerships, Sales, Liability, Product Liability, Malpractice, Personal Injury.
Administrative Law: This area is sometimes referred to as a "quasi-judicial" area of law practice. The Executive Branch of government sometimes conducts 'Hearings' before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that closely resembles hearings and trials in the Judicial Branch of government. Typically these are "Agencies" of the Executive Branch, not part of the Judicial Branch of government. The best known example is the "Unemployment Compensation Benefits Denial Hearing" which an unemployed person is entitled to if s\he is denied Unemployment Compensation Benefits and feels the denial is in error. Another well-known example is the "Worker's Compensation Benefits Denial Hearings" which an injured employee is entitled to if s\he is denied Worker's Compensation Benefits and feels the denial is in error. Most "Wrongful Denial of Benefits" legal issues fall into this Administrative Law area of legal practice. Also included, are Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Hearings which typically relate to denials of some kind of driving-related privilege. For example, a person who refuses to take a "Breath Test" when requested by law enforcement will be entitled to a DMV Hearing, if they seek one, before their Driver's Licence is revoked for six (6) months or longer, depending on the case facts. Keep in mind there are significant differences between Judicial and Administrative Law Practice. For example, the 'Rules of Procedure' and the 'Rules of Evidence' are frequently very different.
Personal Injury: This practice area refers to cases in which a person is injured by another who is alleged to have inflicted such injury because s\he violated a legal duty and that violation was the 'cause' of another's injuries. Typically, this relates to a level of 'negligent' or 'reckless' conduct that falls below the level required to make such conduct a 'criminal' offense. However, many times, it may be both a civil matter and a criminal matter, as in the O. J. Simpson case, where Simpson won his criminal trial but lost the civil Personal Injury trial that was based on the same conduct. Regardless of what the media may say to the contrary, a person's conduct must be clearly and legally "negligent" or "reckless" before a plaintiff can prevail in litigation. A person who did not act negligently or recklessly is not guilty of such a civil infraction and is not liable for any injuries. Typically a jury, but sometimes a judge, decides what conduct a defendant engaged in and whether it constituted 'negligence.' Even if a defendant violated a law, s\he will not be deemed liable in a lawsuit unless it is shown that the 'law violation' was the cause of the plaintiff's injuries. In addition to negligent and reckless conduct, deliberate acts committed with the intention to inflict harm and injury are also subject to Personal Injury lawsuits. Such conduct is sometimes referred to as an "Intentional Tort" committed against another. Intentional Torts are capable of resulting in very large monetary awards because the monetary penalties are enhanced where the conduct and injury was intentional. Conduct involving fraud and deceit is often deemed to constitute an Intentional Tort where the fraud and deceit is deemed to be, at least in part, the cause of the resulting injuries. As a general matter, "injuries" can be either physical or monetary or both.
Municipal Law: This is a practice area that relates to such issues as Zoning, Land Management, Land Use, Eminent Domain, Property Taxation, Property Appraisals, and other acts by local government which may adversely effect residents, citizens and property owners within their jurisdiction. This attorney worked in a county attorney's office and conducted extensive legal research into a very broad range of Municipal Law legal issues. When local government or local police are sued in civil court for damages, such actions are deemed to constitute Municipal Law Practice.
Benefits Entitlement: As one can see, there is some over-lap in these legal practice areas. Benefits Entitlement, in the broad sense, includes benefits one is entitled to from the government and benefits one is entitled to from a third party, such as an employer. Most often, the term refers to "government benefits" which have been denied to a person for some specified reason. The best known examples are Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits, Worker's Compensation Benefits, and Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Invariably, these cases are litigated within the Administrative Branch of government in a 'quasi-judicial' environment and context, where the 'Rules of Procedure' and the 'Rules of Evidence' are often quite different from those in the Judicial Branch (see "Administrative Law" above). Typically, these benefits constituted the Client's sole means of survival and the wrongful denial of these benefits often leaves them destitute and sometimes homeless. Bruce has a very deep appreciation of the Special Plight these clients are facing. For these clients, time is of the essence, and litigation effectiveness at the early stages of the Hearing/Denial stage is absolutely imperative. Bruce approaches these cases with an extra special sense of urgency, as he does with other similarly desperate legal clientele circumstances where the client's virtual survival is at stake. See our "Social Security Disability Video" webpage. See also, our "Links
" webpage for more information resources on the SSD crisis.
Wills, Health Care Proxy, Trusts & Estates: Wills include "Living Wills" which are documents designed to stipulate (provide directives for) a person's "end of life" preferences regarding the medical treatment and intervention one wants or does NOT want, where one is in a terminal medical condition in which acts to prolong life are deemed to be futile, and are often very painful and traumatizing. Every person should have a Living Will so the courts are not left to guess what you would have wanted. Health Care Proxy refers to a legal document that automatically transfers 'medical decision-making authority' over to another designated person in the event the signor becomes incompetent to make such medical decisions for himself or herself. Often when one is seriously ill, but not terminal, one is rendered incompetent by one's illness. Many medical decisions may need to be made, and having a Health Care Proxy designated for such situations allows the doctors to act more quickly, as is often necessary in such situations. A Will is important, even for persons who have very little in the way of property. There may be keepsakes which have no monetary value, but might have sentimental value only for certain family members or other persons. Wills can also designate how the remains should be handled after death (burial location, cremation, etc). Every person, regardless of one's wealth, should have a Will, a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy document executed by an attorney so these important unexpected contingencies can be swiftly addressed as they arise. If you do not do it for yourself, do it for your Loved Ones, so they are not unnecessarily overcome by an avalanche of tedious confusing legal issues at such an emotional time.
Power of Attorney - Guardianship - Competency Issues for Child or Adult: When any person becomes incompetent without having designated a Power of Attorney or a Health Care Proxy, the courts must intervene in order to protect the rights of the incompetent person. It is not uncommon to see third-party interests locked in heated, virulent litigation against family members or friends of the incompetent person, mainly because no advance directives were executed (such as Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Wills). The Terry Schiavo Case is one example. The problem is that one cannot usually predict when one might become incompetent. Such events are invariably totally unexpected. The courts appoint an attorney to represent the incompetent person and that attorney is called a "Guardian Ad Litem." This Guardian Ad Litem represents only the incompetent person, and not his\her spouse, family or friends. The task of the Guardian is to advance the best interests of the incompetent person. Many times this comes down to having to speculate as to what the incompetent person would have wanted if s\he could decide for themselves. This predicament just re-emphasizes the importance of having an attorney execute Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Wills documents to the extent possible.
Miscellaneous Personal Legal Issues: Foreclosure, Contract Fraud, Employment Law, Wrongful Termination, Right To Refuse Medical Treatment, Contract Enforcement, Landlord - Tenant Disputes, Unlawful Use of Force by Police (Civil suit), Unlawful Arrest (Civil suit), Worker's Comp Claim Denial, Unemployment Compensation Benefits Denial, Landlord Eviction, Utilities Shut-off, Health Care Denial, Debt Collection, Debtor - Creditor Litigation, IRS Civil Monetary Claims, Utility Services Denial.
Not Every Civil Legal Issue Could Be Listed Here. If you have a civil legal issue not listed here call our office to confirm whether we handle such cases.