Posts tagged with "Litigation"

Is Everything That Happens in Front of a Judge on the Record in Connecticut?

All court proceedings in front of a judge are recorded by a court reporter.  If you are in need of a copy of the record from the day you were in court, you have the option to contact the court reporter to get a copy of the transcript.  You can do so by contacting the court with your docket number, the date of your appearance, and the name of the judge.  If you are having custody issues, they may not be resolved simply by obtaining a copy of your court transcript.  It may be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can educate you on all of your options and tell you the best way to proceed for the benefit of you and your child.

If you have any questions regarding family law in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Growing Awareness Surrounding Bullying of Students with Disabilities in Fairfield County

If you have any questions regarding bullying of students with disabilities, or any education law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

Bullying has gained the attention of the media over recent years, but despite the focused spotlight, bullying is rampant in our society.  Among the easiest targets are children with special needs.  They are, on average, at a greater risk to be bullied than their non-disabled counterparts.  This is in part because special education children make easy targets. It is often harder for children with disabilities to recognize which behaviors are socially appropriate and those that are not.

Many organizations are stepping up to the challenge of educating the community and parents on the complex issues surrounding bullying of students with disabilities. The Stratford Special Education Teacher and Parent Association recently held a presentation on “Bullying of Students with Disabilities.” The presentation focused on how to help schools avoid litigation stemming from the targeting of children with special education needs. The hope is to set up systems in schools that address bullying before it becomes a problem.  Interestingly, the presentation also focused on teaching parents how to work with the school system to effectively develop plans to prevent harassment of their children.  It is important that parents work with school administrators to develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that encourages students to learn, develop self-advocacy, and social and life skills necessary to reduce disability related harassment.

In addition to parents and school administrators working together to reduce and bring awareness to bullying and its drastic effects, it is also important to be familiar with the laws that protect children with disabilities.  At Maya Murphy, P.C., we have experience dealing with Education Law, harassment or bullying, Special Education Law, and discrimination.

By Leigh H. Ryan, Esq.

If you have any questions regarding bullying of students with disabilities, or any education law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.

Connecticut School Districts and Bullying: What Can Parents Do?

I was greeted this morning with a very unfortunate email.  The email concerned bullying in Westport Schools and included a heart wrenching video of an 8th grade girl claiming to be a victim of bullying in Westport schools. (http://patch.com/A-gcKG) It is just not enough to feel sorry for this victim of bullying, we need to question the effectiveness of the current law and policies in place to avoid the tragic consequences that other towns have dealt with because their students were victims of bullying.

I previously blogged about the revisions to Connecticut’s law against bullying in 2008.  Under Connecticut General Statute section 10-222d, the law requires “any overt acts by a student or group of students directed against another student with the intent to ridicule, harass, humiliate or intimidate the other student while on school grounds, at a school sponsored activity or on a school bus, which acts are committed more than once against any student during the school year.” In addition to definitional changes, the statute requires:

  1.  teachers and other staff members who witness acts of bullying to make written notification to school administrators;
  2. prohibits disciplinary actions based solely on the basis of an anonymous report of bullying;
  3. requires prevention strategies as well as interventions strategies;
  4. requires that parents of a student who commits verified acts of bullying or against whom such bullying occurred be notified by each school and be invited to attend at least one meeting;
  5. requires school to annually report the number of verified acts of bullying to the State Department of Education (DOE);
  6. no later than February 1, 2009, boards must submit the bullying policies to the DOE;
  7. no later than July 1, 2009, boards must include their bullying policy in their school district’s publications of rules, procedures and standards of conduct for school and in all of its student handbooks, and
  8.  effective July 1, 2009, boards must now provide in-service training for its teacher and administrators on prevention of bullying.

Westport responded to the requirements of this statute with a comprehensive bullying policy which can be found on the school district’s website under the tab for parents, and then selecting policies.  Here is the direct link to the policy: (http://www2.westport.k12.ct.us/media/policies/prohibition_against_bullying_5131.911_revised_8.25.2008.pdf)

Armed with Connecticut’s law and Westport’s policy, what should we do as parents, community members, and professionals?  I do not profess to have the answers but at a minimum, we should discuss this with our children, question the school administrators, guidance staff and teachers. Together we should challenge ourselves to make a difference using the channels available to us.  There are ways that we can help to effectuate change before it is too late.  If you know of a child affected by bullying, please act on their behalf.  Not every student will post a video to tell you this is happening. If the school is not addressing the bullying in a meaningful way to eradicate the conduct, legal redress is available and the courts will readily intervene.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by telephone in the Firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at SMaya@Mayalaw.com. Attorney Maya is a partner at Maya Murphy, P.C. Her practice is limited to Education Law and Trusts and Estates.

Do I Have to Comply with Document Requests for A Deposition When the Opposing Side Has Not Complied?

You have an obligation to produce documents requested for deposition regardless of whether the opposing side has produced the documents or not.  If the opposing side has filed a motion for an extension of time then they might have been granted additional time to comply by the court.  You have the option to file for an extension of time, if you would like.  It would be helpful for you to consult with an experienced trial attorney in this matter to educate you on the rules of practice in Connecticut and the best way to proceed in this scenario.

If you have any questions regarding litigation in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Do I Have to Comply with Document Requests for A Deposition When the Opposing Side Has Not Complied?

You have an obligation to produce documents requested for deposition regardless of whether the opposing side has produced the documents or not.  If the opposing side has filed a motion for an extension of time then they might have been granted additional time to comply by the court.  You have the option to file for an extension of time, if you would like.  It would be helpful for you to consult with an experienced trial attorney in this matter to educate you on the rules of practice in Connecticut and the best way to proceed in this scenario.

If you have any questions regarding litigation in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

How Can I Stop a Default Judgment for Failure to Plead in a Civil Suit?

You may stop a default judgment for failure to plead by seeking leave of court by motioning to file an answer to the complaint.  If your motion to file an answer is granted then you may submit your answer to the court, or any other motion you may wish to file.

If you have any questions regarding litigation in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Should a Judge Make His Ruling Based on a Letter Someone Wrote, Even When That Person Did Not Testify at Trial?

A judge is permitted to admit a letter into evidence under the right circumstances.  However, if you believe the judge made a mistake in his ruling by permitting the letter into evidence, it would be wise to discuss the facts of your case with an appellate lawyer.  An appellate lawyer would be able to educate you on the potential success of an appeal as well as your claims.

If you have any questions regarding litigation in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Should a Judge Make His Ruling Based on a Letter Someone Wrote, Even When That Person Did Not Testify at Trial?

A judge is permitted to admit a letter into evidence under the right circumstances.  However, if you believe the judge made a mistake in his ruling by permitting the letter into evidence, it would be wise to discuss the facts of your case with an appellate lawyer.  An appellate lawyer would be able to educate you on the potential success of an appeal as well as your claims.

If you have any questions regarding litigation in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

What Is the Purpose of Interrogatories?

Interrogatories are part of the discovery process.  This process is an investigation conducted by the parties and their attorneys into the facts of the case.  Interrogatories are an important method to conduct this discovery, as they are responses to questions made under oath that may be used at trial.  If a question asked in an interrogatory has already been asked in a deposition, you may not file a motion to quash.  The rules of litigation may be complicated as they are governed by the Connecticut Practice Book.  If you have not already done so, you should consult a practicing attorney in Connecticut, who is familiar with these rules and can assist you during litigation. If you have any questions related to the discovery process in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Sufficient Consideration for At-Will Employees

Sufficient Consideration for At-Will Employees
Home Funding Group, LLC v. Kochmann, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41376

Home Funding Group, LLC was a New York corporation with primary business operations in Connecticut that engaged in the residential mortgage brokerage business. The company employed Mr. Nicholas Kochmann and Mr. Patrick Dougherty in its New Jersey office. They worked for the company from January 2004 to May 1, 2006 and July 18, 2006 respectively. The company had both employees sign an Employment Agreement that contained non-compete and non-solicitation clauses to protect Home Funding’s business interests. The employees later signed an “Invention Assignment Agreement” stating that Home Funding was the sole owner of any invention connected to their employment and that it would maintain full intellectual property rights. The agreement stated that Connecticut law would govern any legal disputes and litigation in state and/or federal court. Both employees signed a new restrictive covenant in March 2006 that amended and superseded the 2004 Employment Agreement.
Misters Kochmann and Dougherty both voluntarily terminated their employment with Home Funding and Hamilton Financial, a direct competitor in the mortgage broker industry, hired them shortly thereafter. Home Funding sued its two former employees for breach of the non-compete agreements and requested they be enjoined from further employment with Hamilton Financial. Misters Kochmann and Dougherty asserted that the agreements were not legally binding on them because they lacked valid consideration, claiming that continued employment is inadequate consideration for a covenant executed after the start of employment. The federal court sitting in Bridgeport, Connecticut rejected this argument and held that the agreements were properly executed, contained adequate consideration, and were binding upon the parties.
The former employees argued that Connecticut law requires an employer to promise to something different from what it is already obligated to do when it wants to modify/amend a restrictive covenant with one or more of its employees. The court however applied Home Funding’s legal assertion that at-will employees may be terminated at any time at the employer’s discretion and thus continued employment amounted to adequate consideration to support a valid non-compete agreement. The court noted that in this case, Home Funding had the burden of proof at trial to demonstrate that the agreement was correctly executed and enforceable. Home Funding was able to provide such proof and the federal court held in its favor. Had Misters Kochmann and Dougherty not been at-will employees however, the court would have likely held that the agreement did not have the requisite consideration and could have invalidated the agreement in its entirety.
If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

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