Category Archives for "Legal Help"

Jul 04

Librarian Sues Tarpon Springs After Exploding Toilet Injuries

By Angela Smith | Legal Help

In one of the most bizarre stories to hit Florida headlines lately, a former elementary school librarian is suing the city of Tarpon Springs after she was injured by an exploding toilet. At age 69, Anne Burson was enjoying a routine day as a school librarian in late 2012 when a maintenance crew from the city showed up to work on the water lines. There had been pressure issues in recent weeks and the crew was investigating the cause. Burson said she was in the library when she heard a huge explosion. She went to look inside the women’s bathroom and she noticed that one of the toilets had exploded. The floor was littered with porcelain fragments. She alerted the maintenance workers who cleaned up the restroom and then came back to tell her it was safe for use.

Later that day, Burson went back to the bathroom to use one of the remaining toilets. After she flushed, this second toilet exploded. She was washing her hands when the explosion happened, sending a shard of porcelain into her leg. According to the lawsuit, she had a “severe contusion to her leg which has resulted in a dark, gouging scar.”

While exploding toilets are not too common, it’s not unheard of. In fact, the plumbing instructor at Pinellas Technical College, Gregory Patterson, said he has heard of porcelain toilet explosions, but only when there was a manufacturer issue or the water lines had been crossed. If hot water runs up into the toilet, it could trigger this type of accident. “Us plumbers sometimes make mistakes,” he said. “It has happened before.”

Burson’s lawsuit against the city states that no one from the city office notified the School board or school employees that a crew would be doing maintenance on the school water lines on the day of her injuries. She is claiming negligence on behalf of the city.

Jay Daigneault, an attorney that is representing the city of Tarpon Springs, said officials had not yet been told of the lawsuit. However, a city spokesman said the city would not make comments about active lawsuits. A spokesman for Pinellas schools said that Burson had never filed any complaints through the school district’s legal office. In fact, the legal team didn’t seem to even be familiar with the accident. Burson retired from her job as librarian in 2013, the year after the exploding toilet incident.

Tampa personal injury attorney, Christopher Ligori, said these types of accidents are uncommon, but can be devastating to those who are involved. “It was undoubtedly a horrible day for Mrs. Burson. Not only was she injured by the explosion, but she was probably also very frightened by the noise from not one, but two separate explosions in the bathroom near her work area in the library.”

The lawsuit is still pending at this time, but more information will be released once a settlement is reached or a court date is appointed for the case to be reviewed.

Body of Florida Landlord Hidden for Two Weeks
May 02

Body of Florida Landlord Hidden for Two Weeks

By Angela Smith | Legal Help

When 69-year-old Mary Ring wasn’t seen around the neighborhood for several days, people started asking questions. Ring’s neighbor, Jameka Evans, said she was used to seeing “Miss Mary” bringing in groceries or passing out candy to the neighborhood children. Then two people moved in with her, began driving her car, and even moving her possession out of the home. “I thought they were taking care of her,” Evans said. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

When an anonymous caller expressed concern about “Miss Mary”, police went to the home to investigate. When they first visited the Clearwater home, no one came to the door. The next day, they received another call expressing worry over the woman’s wellbeing. When they went back to the home, they found her shot to death and charged her two new tenants with her murder. Lawrence Edward Cannon, age 42, is being charged with first-degree murder. Jennifer Elam, age 44, is also facing charges for accessory to first degree murder.


Officials say that Cannon shot and killed Mary Ring on February 5 and then spent two weeks hiding the body, while trying to decide the best way to dispose of her. John Elton Chantry, who used to rent a room from Ring, said she had numerous health problems. “She was sweet, but she was a mess.”

Chantry reportedly lived with Ring for five years. He not only rented a room from the elderly woman, but he also took care of her as she dealt with diabetes, bone problems, and muscle problems. “I’d take her to the store, go shopping with her, help her if she needed help getting to the bathroom,” Chantry said. “I did what I could.”

Chantry said he first met Ring through her daughter, Tracy, who passed away around five years ago. Chantry said Ring was a loveable person. “Everyone loved her, but she didn’t put with garbage,” he said with a laugh. “If she thought you were not being truthful, she let you know.”

While the details of Ring’s murder are still unknown, the family of her suspected killer did weigh in with some possible explanations. Cannon’s stepfather told officials that he had a serious addiction to pain pills. “I knew he had a little bit of a temper, but I never knew him to get into fights,” the stepfather said. “We hadn’t spoken in more than two years. I kicked him to the curb for stealing form me. Drugs got hold of him.”

When Cannon and Elam moved in with Ring, neighbors reported seeing them along with another man, often loitering outside the home drinking and smoking. Evans said they began to clutter the yard, tossing out Ringer’s possessions.

law“This is a tragic situation for our community,” said wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori of Tampa. “When an elderly woman cannot feel safe even in her own home, it’s time for our community to really examine the toll that illegal prescriptions drugs is taking on our city.”



What should you do
Apr 05

Choosing a guardian for your child

By Angela Smith | Legal Help

This isn’t the topic people often think about. It is only natural not to think about it because no one is hoping they will die in the near future. At least not while their kids are still underage. It’s fairly difficult topic to think about. When you have a kid, it’s hard to be separated from it. You don’t even want to think what will happen if you are gone. But the sad truth is that you have to.

If you die and leave your child without designated guardian, there is going to be a long and tedious process to determine what will happen to your child. First, it will spend some time with social services. It will wait there till the case gets to the court. And that can sometimes take months to happen.

Of course, there are worse things that can happen, but there are certainly better places for a child that lost his parents than civil services. When the case finally gets to the court, members of your family will have a chance to take the child and act as its legal guardian. But the final decision is up to the judge.

He is the one who will determine who has the best conditions to raise your child. And mistakes can happen. Not everyone has a great and loving family. The judge could choose someone thinking they are a great fit when in reality they just took the child in to get the benefits of child support. Or for any other reason.


Of course, this is not often the case, and the members of your family would probably raise your child like it was theirs. But it is certainly a possibility that can happen. And there is the case when no one comes. Or maybe you don’t have a close family. In that case, your child stays with civil services until someone decides to adopt it, or until they come of age. And in the case of adoption, there is the same risk as in the previous case.

What should you do

All of this can be avoided if you act in time and assign a legal guardian to your child in time. No one is saying it is going to be needed. On contrary. We all hope, it will never be needed. But if it is, it will make the life of your child in that kind of situation much easier. So you should talk to your family members and your friends. You should find someone who you trust and who is ready to take that kind of responsibility if it ever comes to it.

The whole process isn’t terribly difficult and doesn’t require a lot of your time. Just find an attorney or some kind of law representative, and they will walk you through it. And if it ever comes to the situation that it is important, your child will be grateful that you did it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

What is intellectual property
Mar 27

How to protect your intellectual property

By Angela Smith | Legal Help

Protecting your ideas from theft isn’t exactly a new concept. Ever since there were great people with great ideas, there were people who tried to benefit from them. So it only came naturally that there should exist some kind of protection from IP theft.

What is intellectual property

Intellectual property refers to any kind of your creation or idea that you want to monetize. To get the rights to monopolize your ideas and creations, you must contact the correct law representatives to get your intellectual property rights. This right (or IPR for short) that are granted by the law to you, the creator of IP can include many things. Some of the more notable ones are trademarks, patents copyrights and similar. Additionally, IPR covers the protection of artistic creations like music and literature, and even scientific creations like discoveries or inventions.

IP theft and scams

Theft of IP happens more often than most people think. It is not rare that someone is spending months or even years on bringing his/or hers ideas to life, just to have it stolen. If you do not act quickly there will always be someone looking to make a profit at the expense of your hard work.

When starting to work on an idea, it is very important to check if something similar was already claimed by IPR. It is not rare that people will register some ideas that are bound to be realized by someone else in future. When this happens, they will simply show up and claim they have already copyrighted your creation and reap the benefits with zero effort.

IP theft and scams

History of IP protection

Like it was said earlier, IP protection is exactly new. The first recorded instances of patent law and copyright were Statute of Monopolies and Statute of Anne in the seventeenth and eighteenth century respectively. The first actual recorded use of term intellectual property (IP) was in a Monthly Review from 1769. As the years went, the idea of IPR and the laws regarding it were advancing. They were very crude and at first, they were trying to give as little protection as possible to the creators of ideas.

This was a fine line to walk for them because they didn’t want to discourage the creation of new ideas by strict laws, but on the other hand, if just anyone could steal your innovations that could have equally if not worse consequences.

intellectual property protection

What can you do for your IP

Today there are many laws that can help you protect your IP. Patents are given out by the government and they give the inventor exclusive rights to create and sell their invention. This means no one else can make a profit on them for a limited period of time.

Copyrights are similar to patents but are broader. They can be applied to any kind of artistic or intellectual creation or idea. They are, like patents, given for the limited amount of time. Trademarks are some sort of design or sign that creator is putting on his product or services to distinguish it from similar products in the market.

need for legal help
Mar 07

When to seek legal help

By Angela Smith | Legal Help

Many of us find ourselves in a situation in which we are not sure if we should seek legal help or not. The general rule of thumb is quite simple actually if you are thinking about getting legal help, you probably should. Still, there are many things you should consider when determining if you need legal help. Here is the list of things you should keep in mind when choosing to contact a law firm.

Do you need help interpreting the law

There is an abundance of laws and many of them are very complicated and hard to interpret. If at any point, you are not clear on the law, you should defiantly contact a law firm for help. Risking misinterpretation of the law is a dangerous business and you should not take unnecessary risks in these kinds of situation. With the help of an attorney, you should have a clear representation of the law without any room for mistakes. You should do this even when you are pretty sure but not one hundred percent. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

interpreting the law

Do you think you broke the law

It is always the best to try and not break any laws, intentionally or unintentionally. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you think you broke the law, the first step you should take is finding yourself an attorney. The unintentional breaking of the law is not that rare, and with the help of a lawyer, you will be able to clear things out. Trying to handle these kinds of situations all by yourself can be very dangerous and can lead to very severe consequences. This is the reason why you should always seek the help of professionals if you ever find yourself in any kind of problem with the law.

Do you feel someone wronged you

Scam and unfair deals are part of our everyday life. However, there are some kinds of scams and unfair deals you can protect yourself against. Do you feel like you are not being treated fair at work? Do you feel like you were ripped on a house or car deal? In these, and similar situations the best choice you can make is contacting a lawyer. With his legal help, you can determine if anything can be done about it. And if it can, what are the best legal steps to take.

contacting a lawyer

Think of the expenses

While everyone deserves legal help, not everyone can afford it. Attorney expenses can sometimes be very large and leave you in bigger problems than you started with. If you think you can’t afford a lawyer you should seek free legal services if your city provides them. Whatever the case may be, you should always be aware of the costs that come with legal help

Of course, these are not the only things you should be thinking about when choosing to get legal help, but they should be first on your mind. After all, not all situations are the same, and only you can assess your own situation and make the correct choice.