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Dude, Where’s My Car’s Legal Protection? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 12:41
New Automobile Sharing/Renting Programs a Gamble,
Says Asset Protection Specialist

If parents loan the family car to their child, they can be sued if an accident occurs. The same goes for anyone who loans a car to a friend in need. So, what happens when a third party like RelayRides is involved?

RelayRides is a peer-to-peer car rental or car-sharing service that went nationwide in March this year after launching in Boston in 2010. Many participants loan their cars as a good deed to open up parking along busy urban streets, promote environmentally sound habits or simply to help those in need of a ride. Most, however, opt to rent their vehicles for a variable rate – usually about $10 per hour.

“Every car loaned or rented through the program gets $1 million in liability insurance coverage from RelayRides, but even that may not be enough,” says Hillel L. Presser, a lawyer specializing in asset protection planning and author of Financial Self-Defense (

“When there’s an accident involving serious injuries, the victims simply have no choice but to sue for at least $1 million, and often more. If you rented the car and you have assets, you could become a target.”

Earlier this year, a man who rented a car through the program was killed in an accident while driving the wrong way on a highway, Presser says, citing a New York Times report. Four people in the car he hit were seriously injured.

“Medical expenses are expected to exceed RelayRides’ insurance coverage,” Presser says. “The owner of the car is a part-time Google systems administrator – which means she probably makes good money. Who will pay the overage, and who might be sued, is still yet to be determined.”

In today’s world, lawyers have gotten very creative in what they’ll go after, which is why comprehensive protection of assets is absolutely crucial, he says.

Presser offers the following tips:

• Account for ALL of your assets: Not sure of what you have? Don’t wait for a plaintiff’s lawyer to tell you exactly what that is before he or she takes it from you. Take stock of valuable domain names, telephone numbers, intellectual property, potential inheritances, and other non-liquid assets.

• Liability insurance is no guarantee: Buy as much insurance as you can; it’s cheap and it helps you sleep at night. But realize that 70 percent of claims will not be covered. Your coverage may be inadequate for a particular suit, and your insurance company may go bankrupt. Having insurance and an asset protection plan is the belt-and-suspenders approach for hanging onto your pants.

• Convert non-exempt assets into exempt assets: State laws protect some personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Those assets typically include your primary residence; personal items such as furniture and clothing; pensions and retirement funds; and life insurance. Find out the exemptions for your state and convert non-exempt assets, such as cash, into exempt assets, such as life insurance.

• Transfer your assets to a protective entity: The key to asset protection is to own nothing while controlling everything. Transfer any non-exempt assets out of your name to protective entities such as trusts, limited liability companies, limited partnerships and others.

• Don’t loan out your car – even to your kid: If your children are going to drive, they should drive cars titled in their name alone. And if they pay for the cars themselves, you add another layer of protection. Courts may find that parents who are obviously paying for their children’s cars liable to some degree, even if the car title is in the child’s name.

“While everyone can take well-informed steps to further protect their wealth, there is no substitute for having an experienced legal professional review an estate – all of it,” Presser says.

About Hillel L. Presser

Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations for his professional athlete clients. He is a former adjunct faculty member for law at Lynn University. Free copies of Financial Self-Defense are available through

Bills to Protect Premium Cigars Continue to Gain Support PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kyle Whalen   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:17

Washington, DC-As the Representatives and Senators settle into session, two bills (H.R. 1639 & S. 1461) continue to gain support. H.R. 1639 has just reached 190 co-sponsors, nearing the 218 co-sponsors needed for the majority. S. 1461 has reached 10 co-sponsors with Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska supporting it most recently.

The bills seek to restrict the FDA from regulating the premium cigar industry as it wishes to do to other tobacco products.

With the FDA’s proposed new jurisdiction, they would have the ability to completely alter the way premium cigars are sold, even going as far as having the ability to take the word “cigar” out of advertisements. These two bills seek to limit that. Supported by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), Cigar Rights of America, small tobacco shops throughout the country, and tobacco enthusiasts, the bills seek to protect the cigar industry from the FDA’s potentially heavy-handed regulation.

The bills have come a long way, but are still in need of support. The IPCPR encourages any tobacco enthusiasts to contact their local legislators and discuss with them the importance of small tobacconists throughout this country and the negative impact that FDA regulation could have on their businesses.

Bill Spann, CEO of the IPCPR, noted, “The premium cigar industry employs over 85,000 Americans alone. In today's economy, our representative form of government should be doing everything possible to protect small businesses and promote job growth, not trying to regulate it out of existence.”

As the bills continue to gain support, cigar enthusiasts everywhere hope that the legislators will hear their voices and discuss the bills during session this year, which is expected to close in December.

This article was written by Kyle Whalen. Kyle is the Public Relations Manager for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More information can be found online at

Haiti reopens for adoption PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sara LoCoco   
Monday, 04 June 2012 15:04

Lifelink International Adoption’s Haitian adoption program is now operational. The agency is working with Haiti-based Three Angels Children’s Relief to place orphaned and relinquished children for adoption from Haiti. “We are thrilled to resume placing children for adoption from Haiti and are now working hard to find loving families for the children brought into care,” explained Lifelink Director of Adoptions Pat Radley.


Three Angels has been committed to placing orphaned and relinquished children from Haiti since 2003 and has facilitated the placement of more than 100 children with families. “The goal of Three Angels Children’s Relief is to provide hope to the children of Haiti,” said Three Angels Marketing Director Shannon Hoffmann. Their orphanage is licensed by IBESR, the Haitian social service authority. The children receive dedicated 24-hour care with assigned nannies to encourage healthy attachments.


Haitian adoptions were temporarily suspended after the devastating earthquake that ravaged the country in January 2010. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people died during the tragedy and another 1,000,000 were left homeless. While Haiti continues to move forward with rebuilding, it has reinstated international adoptions in order to find loving homes for the many children left without families.


Haitian children available for adoption are infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. They are all screened for HIV, Hepatitis, TB and sickle cell. Each child receives regular check-ups and has access to the Three Angels medical clinic as well as the Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port au Prince. Boys and girls are available for adoption, as well as twins and sibling groups.


Those individuals eligible to adopt from Haiti include married couples and single women between 35-50 years of age for a healthy child and 55 years old for a child with special needs. Only one parent needs to be 35, and age exceptions can be made if there is medical proof of infertility. Married couples are also required to have been married for at least ten years. Haiti prefers childless applicants or families with adopted children, but IBESR will allow families with biological children to adopt with presidential dispensation. Families are required to take two short trips to Haiti as part of the adoption process, which can take from 12 to 24 months.


Three Angels has four children, all less than three months of age that have been brought into care since April 2012. Individuals interested in learning more about the availability of these children and the requirements for adopting through Haiti can visit or call 630-521-8281.

Lifelink International Adoption (license #508312), a ministry of Lutheran Child and Family Services, has established and maintained a reputation for the quality individualized service  it provides to all applicant families, the  expertise and professionalism of  its staff and  its commitment to be available throughout the adoption journey and beyond.  It serves families and children in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Lifelink has direct placement programs with China, Haiti, Hong Kong, Philippines and Korea, as well as cooperative programs with Poland and other countries. The organization is accredited by the Council on Accreditation as well as the Hague and is a member of the Joint Council on International Children's Services.




Grassley questions new federal grant to research physician who was previously suspended PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:52

Senator calls on the National Institutes of Health to set tone for disclosure, accountability


WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the National Institutes of Health to explain why it has awarded a $400,000 medical research grant to a physician who it banned from NIH funding in recent years for failing to disclose a $1.2 million financial relationship with a major pharmaceutical company while leading a $9 million federal study involving that drug company’s blockbuster depression drug Paxil.


“It’s troubling that NIH continues to provide limited federal dollars to individuals who have previously had grant funding suspended for failure to disclose conflicts of interest and even more troubling that the Administration chose not to require full, open and, public disclosure of financial interests on a public website,” Grassley wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins.


Last year, the Obama administration scrapped a proposed conflict of interest rule that would have required universities to disclose financial relationships between medical researchers and the pharmaceutical industry to be posted on publicly available websites.  “The Office of Management and Budget in the White House, which had final say over the matter, should have supported the policy that every institution post financial conflicts of interest on a public website,” Grassley said.


Grassley has pursued an extensive campaign for disclosure of payments made by drug and medical device makers to physicians since 2007, when he began to expose dramatic disparities between what was reported and what was, in fact, received.  Grassley’s oversight of industry payments also has extended to medical schools, medical journals, continuing medical education, and non-profit patient advocacy organizations.


One of those cases involved the doctor receiving the grant in question today, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff.  In 2008, documents revealed that Nemeroff, who was then chair of Emory University’s psychiatry department, failed to disclose that he received $1.2 million in consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, while leading federal research on the treatment of depression.  Nemeroff left Emory University and was then hired by Miami University.  The Director of the National Institute of Mental Health within NIH weighed in on Nemeroff taking this new position.  While the NIH said that Nemeroff could not receive federal medical research dollars for two years, the ban has expired and, regardless, it did not apply to him in a position at a new university.


In addition, Nemeroff remains under investigation by the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is working with the Department of Justice on the case.  In his letter today, Grassley asked the NIH if this was considered.  "There has been no final resolution by DOJ or public finding by HHS OIG related to the investigation of Dr. Nemeroff. Yet, NIH awarded him another grant,” he said.


Grassley said the decision by NIH “risks sending the wrong message to physicians seeking or performing federally funded research.”


Click here to read Grassley’s letter to the NIH, which he also sent to the President of the University of Miami, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.



Braley Statement on Memorial Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kira Ayish   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:14

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on Memorial Day:

“This weekend, families all over the country will gather to honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Memorial Day always brings back memories of my father, who was just 17 when he fought the battle on Iwo Jima, but this year is even more personal. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit Iwo Jima with several veterans. It was a moving and memorable experience, and I was so honored to pay my respects to all who fought in that historic battle 67 years ago. As a veteran, my father taught me to take pride in America’s values and fight for my beliefs. From him, my family learned of the struggles and challenges facing members of the military and their families when they come home from war. Although this weekend we honor our fallen soldiers, we must also remember our military heroes and their families every day. We must work hard to make sure that they have the care and support they need not only when they’re on the front lines, but also when they come home. We owe that to them and their families.

This Memorial Day weekend, I keep all of our fallen heroes and their families in my thoughts. And I extend my deepest thanks to our veterans and their families. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your bravery.”


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