How The Government Can Take Your Property


lawA new bill has been introduced to end forfeiture funding of the DEA’s Marijuana Suppression programs. The bill is a bipartisan effort to modify was has become a widely abused system of asset forfeiture from innocent citizens, who in many cases have not even been charged with any crimes.


What is Asset Forfeiture?

According to the Department of Justice, asset forfeiture is used to seize the proceeds from crimes, in particular drug trafficking and organized crime, in order to apply those funds towards safety and enforcement in the community. The rationale of the program is the belief that by removing the means to facilitate crimes, the system is not just incarcerating guilty individuals but also weakening the organizations that support them.

How is it Really Working?

While the intent behind forfeiture is bolstering community safety and funding police, it has been so widely abused that voices from all walks of life are now speaking to end it. Police organizations have so much latitude to seize property that the seizures may even occur on suspicion of activity. For example, a young college student had his life savings taken on a DEA search at the

Is an Agreement Based on Duress Enforceable?


criminal-law-policyParties are usually free to contract as they see fit. However, if one party’s actions rise to the level of duress, the act of entering into a contract is no longer a voluntary process, and the contract may not be enforced.



Duress is a defense that may be raised when a party is suing for a contract to be enforced or for damages. The defendant may state that the contract should not be enforced because it was a product of duress, a wrongful pressure that coerced him or her to enter into the contract. State contract law usually determines what constitutes duress. There are different types of duress, but the usual legal standard is that the coercive action must have been such that it deprived the other party of free will and that the party had no other reasonable alternative than to agree to the contract.

Physical Force

The most egregious form of duress is using physical force to get another person to enter into a contract. This type of duress may arise when one party threatens physical harm to the other, batters the other party or holds the party at gunpoint. This

Child Custody After Common Law Marriages

Common law marriage used to be much more widely accepted than it is today. Today, only a handful of states recognize common law marriage. But, in those states that do, what is the process for child custody when the spouses separate?


Many have misconceptions about the modern applicability of common law marriage concepts. First, it is important to note that just because two people live together for seven years or more, they are not automatically common law spouses. The institution of common law marriage came about due to the problem people once had getting to places where they could properly wed before clergy or justices of the peace. Today, though, since transportation is rarely an issue, common law marriage is a little more complicated. Common law married couples never obtain a marriage license or fulfill the state’s statutory marriage laws, but typically cohabit for at least one year (longer in some states) with an agreement to be married and presenting themselves to others as husband and wife.

Only a small number of states still allow common law marriages. They include: Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia (if created prior to 1997), Idaho (if created before 1996), Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New

When Guests Overstay Their Welcome, How Can You Get Them Out of Your Apartment?

It happens to most of us at some point or another: a house guest comes to stay for a while, but ends up freeloading far longer than expected. When this happens, what can you do to get your pesky house guest to leave? Does the law offer any solutions?


Trespassing Laws

Your first thought might be to call the cops and report the overstaying house guest as a trespasser. Laws vary from state to state, but in most cases, a person commits the crime of trespass by entering or remaining in a building or on land without permission. Thus, someone who remains at a party after being asked to leave is a trespasser.

Unfortunately, if someone has taken up residence in your house, trespassing may no longer be an option. For example, if they have changed their mailing address (particularly with your permission), paid rent at some point, or if your state recognizes squatting rights, you may have to do more than simply call the police to report a trespasser.

House guest or tenant?

All too often, police officers become wary of getting involved in domestic disputes or tossing out overstaying house guests, because they fear the guest may actually be a tenant.

Can I Sue a Foreign Doctor for Malpractice in an American Court?

Medical tourism is on the rise for Americans. Many Americans seek the substantial savings they can obtain by getting various medical treatments, bot necessary and elective, performed by doctors in other countries. But, what happens when something goes wrong? Can you sue a foreign doctor for malpractice in an American Court?


Unfortunately, the answer is only maybe, and it may take a long time. American patients that opt to leave the United States to have procedures done overseas probably do not realize that they may be foregoing the legal protection of the American court system. This is part of the reason why procedures performed overseas are so much cheaper: other nations do not have the stringent legal and administrative protections required of American doctors. This could leave a patient bearing most of the brunt of any legal risks associated with such a procedure because it can be very difficult to successfully sue foreign doctors in the US or to bring an action as a foreign citizen overseas.

In the United States, there are many jurisdictional issues that could bar bringing a claim in an American court. Litigants would have to establish that the doctor had sufficient contacts with the United

Fighting Collection After Judgment

Losing a lawsuit stinks. Getting slapped with a court judgment will leave you filled with dread and wondering what you can do next. This is especially true if you lack the resources to immediately pay the judgment. So, what can you do after you have been hit with an adverse court ruling?


First, the bad news: after a judgment ruling, the creditor can take steps to seize part of your wages, freeze your bank account, or take and sell your personal belongings. Your adversary from the lawsuit now becomes a “judgment creditor,” and can take legal steps to seize the judgment amount. It can also charge interest at a rates set by the law (usually between 5 to 18 percent).

The good news is that a final judgment is often less final than it may seem. Moreover, even if you cannot get the judgment overturned, you may be able to deal with the debt in other ways. In many ways, a final judgment is really just the beginning of a new phase of your legal battle. While this may feel exhausting (especially after a protracted court battle) it also provides more options.


The first thing you can do is fight the

Food Products Can only Be Advertised with Ingredients which They Contain in Europe

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has strengthened consumer protection. Thus, food products cannot give the impression that they contain certain ingredients if this is not actually the case.


According to an EU directive, consumers are not allowed to be misled by food product labelling. Information regarding, e.g. consistency, composition, quantity or shelf life cannot be misleading.

The case before the ECJ concerned a children’s tea whose name featured the terms “raspberry” and “vanilla”. These were also depicted on the packaging. The problem was that the tea did not contain any traces of these substances but instead only natural vanilla and raspberry flavourings. This went too far in the eyes of the Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen (vzbv) (Federation of German Consumer Organisations). Its lawsuit based on misleading advertising ultimately led to the case before the ECJ and success for consumer protection advocates, as the ECJ ruled that consumers cannot be misled with respect to the ingredients of food products. Consequently, the tea producer was prohibited from making reference to ingredients which are not contained in the product.

The OLG Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court) had ruled differently on the matter. It took the view that it was sufficient for the tea to