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5 Tips to Reduce Your Legal Risks on Social Media

468338463With the ever-increasing use of the Internet and social media, it can be difficult for some companies and businesses to protect themselves against possible legal ramifications. Knowing how to reduce your legal risks can help prevent you and any of your employees from being sued.

  1. Avoid Misleading or False Advertising

Many individuals may not be aware that print media and social media fall under the same guidelines when it comes to honest advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandates that businesses refrain from making misleading or untrue statements, either about themselves or about another business entity. There is special significance placed on the importance of not misleading customers regarding health and money.

Reduce your company’s risk through:

  • Implementing clear guidelines to your employees about appropriate conduct, including on social media.
  • Not making announcements online that wouldn’t be said offline, as the laws are the same in either case.
  • Retaining a lawyer who regularly monitors the company’s social media activity.
  1. Don’t Share Employment-Related Content Online

Anything related to personnel or human resources should be kept confidential and not shared on social media. This includes personal information, business secrets, client information and profits. A company can reduce its risk by writing clear guidelines about what type of information shouldn’t be shared.

  1. Protect Intellectual Property and Copyright

If you share someone’s content on social media, including images and written text, the content should be attributed to whoever owns it. Additionally, some content can’t be shared without explicit permission. If you share this property without permission, you could become legally liable. Let your employees know the guidelines for sharing intellectual property on social media.

  1. Avoid Defamation

If a business makes false claims that can harm a competitor’s character, this is referred to as defamation. Employers should be cautious of sharing “opinions” about competitors, because it is hard to prove that a statement is just an opinion in court. In these situations, the court will determine whether the statement was in fact an opinion.

  1. Keep Privileged and Confidential Information Private

All confidential information between a company and a client should be kept off social media. Information spreads quickly through such mediums and could easily land in the wrong hands. The company should instead safeguard this information in order to avoid the risk of a lawsuit.

You can protect yourself and your company by making your employees aware of guidelines regarding social media. Doing so will lessen the chance of a lawsuit down the road.

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Things to Know about Common Law Marriage

487076200Common law marriage is an ancient tradition that has never been legally repudiated by federal law in the United States. Consequently it has been left up to the states to decide if they will grant legal recognition to such unions, and as of 2016 15 of them plus the District of Columbia still do.

What is a Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriages are matrimonial relationships that have gained formal recognition despite their thoroughly informal nature. No legal ceremony was ever performed , but the two partners are considered “married” anyway because it is their desire to declare themselves as such.

Of course it is not that simple. A court must decide to officially recognize a common law marriage, and that will only happen if the burden of proof has been met.

How Can I Get Married Under Common Law Statutes?

If you are in a committed relationship and want to have it established as a common law marriage, you and your partner will have to demonstrate that:

  • You have lived together for a certain period of time (varies by state).
  • You are both at least 18 years old, are not otherwise married and are “of sound mind” and capable of consenting to the relationship.
  • You have tangible evidence of your cohabitation and commitment (you’ve had or adopted children together, you call each other husband and wife in public, you use the same last name, you have joint bank accounts or credit cards, you’ve taken out car or home mortgage loans together and so on).
  • You both share a clear and well-indicated (preferably in writing) intent to be

With the help of an attorney you will need to put together a good application package before going before the court. If, however, you have all your ducks in a row and there exists no evidence to suggest evasion, dishonesty or misrepresentation is taking place, final approval of your common law marriage should be a piece of cake.

Where in the United States Are Such Unions Recognized?

Once a common law marriage has been legally recognized all U.S. states and territories will honor it. However, if you want to establish such a relationship in the first place you will have to live in a state that allows you to do so.

The list of these states includes:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah

The District of Columbia also sanctions common law marriages, and in Iowa, Rhode Island and D.C. the options is available for same-sex couples as well as those comprised of a man and a woman. For the purposes of inheritance New Hampshire will also sanction common law marriages, but only retroactively after one partner passes away.

Five states that formerly allowed common law marriages now prohibit it. However, they continue to recognize common law unions that were established before the ban went into effect.

The five states with the date of prohibition in parentheses include:

  • Georgia (January 1st, 1997)
  • Idaho (January 1st, 1996)
  • Oklahoma (November 1st, 1998)
  • Ohio (October 10, 1991)
  • Pennsylvania (January 1st, 2005).

Benefits and Obligations

Even though most states do not allow their citizens to enter into common law marriage, if you are in such a relationship already you and your partner can move anywhere in the United States and maintain your current legal status.

This means you can enjoy the same benefits as any other married couple. But it also means you will be required to go through a formal divorce process if you should ever decide to separate from your common law spouse.

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Turtle Beach Headsets Recalled for Mold

460477893If you’re a gamer, you might want to take a look at your headset and make sure it isn’t one of the ones recently recalled by Turtle Beach. Certain Ear Force XO Four Stealth gaming headsets are being recalled for mold spores, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. These mold spores are dangerous for anyone with chronic health problems, as contact could lead to respiratory illness or infection. The headsets were sold at Target, Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop, and for about 100 dollars.

The manufacturer, Turtle Beach, has issued the following statement: “Here at Turtle Beach, our customers’ safety and satisfaction with our products is of the utmost importance to us, so we are voluntarily recalling certain Ear Force XO Four Stealth headsets in an effort to prevent any potential adverse effects.” So far, no adverse effects have been reported, but Turtle Beach is taking measures to prevent these effects from happening down the line.

How Do I Know If My Headset Is Being Recalled?

The recalled gaming headsets were manufactured between April and June of this year and were distributed between June and September. Check the serial number on your headset to see if yours is one of the ones being recalled. Ear Force XO Four Stealth headsets with production date codes C16 to C25 and no green dot under the windscreen of the microphone are being recalled. Those with the serial number and a green dot are safe to use. Also check the model numbers, which are different depending on whether you live in the U.S. or Canada. The U.S. model number is TBS-2320-1, and the Canada number is TBS-2320-03.

How Do I Send in My Headset?

If your headset has the correct serial number and no green dot, stop using it right away. Place the headset, the audio accessory and the retail box (if you have it) in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Contact the manufacturer directly by going to the website and filling out the form. You will receive a pre-paid shipping label to send in the recalled headset, and you’ll also receive a new headset in the mail.

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10 Most Commonly Recalled Foods of All Time

480314077While chances are you won’t get food poisoning from something you buy at the grocery store, it definitely can happen. The following is a list of the most frequently recalled foods of all time.

  1. Eggs

Eggs get recalled for potential salmonella contamination. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration recalled about 400 eggs for this reason. Though it’s tempting to eat raw cookie dough, the FDA suggests that you cook eggs thoroughly before enjoying.

  1. Milk

Milk is susceptible to spoilage before the best-before date and is therefore sometimes recalled. If you aren’t sure if your milk is still good, smell it or take a small sip before drinking in large quantities. Often, an off smell indicates that the milk has already spoiled, even if it tastes okay.

  1. Peanuts

Between 2007 and 2008, eight deaths were linked to salmonella poisoning from peanuts. Additionally, over 600 people became ill from the poisoning during this recall.

  1. Chicken

Chicken is often recalled for salmonella poisoning. Be sure to refrigerate your chicken before use and then cook it thoroughly. Wash any surfaces that have come in contact with raw chicken.

  1. Seafood

Seafood gets recalled due to concerns over listeria and botulism contamination. Fresh seafood is also sometimes contaminated with mercury.

  1. Pet Food

Both wet and dry pet food can become contaminated with salmonella. When a particular batch is found to be contaminated, all containers that are potentially from that batch are recalled.

  1. Baked Goods

Baked goods are often recalled when they contain a potentially allergy-inducing ingredient that wasn’t part of the label. These ingredients can include nuts, eggs, soy, dairy and wheat.

  1. Cantaloupe

The rind of a cantaloupe is very porous, and as a result, contaminants can easily get inside to the flesh. Cantaloupe also has a low acidity, which means that pathogens can easily grow once they get inside. Store your cut cantaloupe in a sealed container to lessen the likelihood of contamination.

  1. Fresh Produce

When you buy fresh produce, the more it has been handled, the more likely it is to become contaminated. When possible, opt for produce that hasn’t been pre-cut, which will help you avoid listeria contamination.

  1. Beef

Beef can be susceptible to E.coli contamination, making beef recalls common. Ground beef is especially susceptible to E.coli.

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Know Your Rights when Questioned by an Officer, Sheriff or the FBI


Being questioned by an officer can be an intimidating experience, especially if you’re not sure how to respond. If you are aware of your rights ahead of time, you will be less likely to be caught off guard. The advice given below does not apply to airports or borders.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You never have to answer an officer’s questions, even if he says you do. In some states you may need to state your name, but otherwise, you can exercise your Fifth Amendment right. An officer may try to bargain with you, stating that if you answer questions now, he can make things easier for you later. This is in fact not the case. It’s best to ask for a lawyer instead.

Don’t Panic

If you resist arrest, it can be detrimental to a future trial. Instead, remain calm and courteous. If an officer seems out of line, be sure to get his name and any other personal information, and then file a complaint or tell your lawyer.

Ask if You Can Leave

An officer can’t detain you unless he’s charging you with something. Ask if you’re free to leave, and if he says no, ask what his grounds are for holding you. He will need to come up with a particular reason, and if he does so, remain silent and ask for a lawyer. If he says you are free to leave, calmly say goodbye and walk or drive away.

Refuse a Search Request

An officer can’t search your private property, including your car, without a warrant. If the officer attempts to search your property without asking, say you don’t approve a search. If the officer searches anyway, your lawyer can try to get anything found thrown out in court, as the officer obtained it illegally.

Don’t Display Anything Conspicuous

If you do have something potentially illegal in your vehicle or inside your home, keep it out of view. An officer can arrest you if he sees illegal items in plain view, as well as immediately confiscate them.

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What To Do After Your Home Has Been Robbed


Having your home robbed can leave you with feelings of anxiety and violation. No one wants to have their personal sanctuary ransacked and it makes you fee unsafe. However, knowing where to go and what to do can help to give you some type of solace no matter how small.

What To Do After Your Home Has Been Robbed

The first thing you should do after realizing that you have been robbed is call the police. Once you have done that, take pictures of everything, but don;t touch anything, simply leave things as you found them. Do not procrastinate as the longer you wait the harder it becomes to get your stuff back. The police will have a greater chance of apprehending the perpetrator if you contact them immediately as the probability of the guilty party being in the vicinity is greater. If you have seen the perpetrator, either in your home or on security footage, try to recall all the information you can about him or her. You should remember the sex, age, clothing they were wearing and the direction the fled to. This will help to speed up the process, not to mention give the police a greater chance of catching the perpetrator.

The one thing that you should never do is take pictures of your attacker. Even if you are face to face with them and you know that this will help to recover your property, your life is still more valuable than any property you may own.

Once you have contacted the police and filed a report, take this information to your insurance company. They will need all of the same information the police have in order to begin working on your claim and if you don’t have home owners insurance, now is a better time than any to get some. Tightening up on your security equipment at home is something that should be done regularly. Don’t wait for something like this to happen first. If you have both the money and the time, upgrade your security devices to make your home as safe as possible.

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The Differences Between Annulment and Divorce


You can end a marriage two ways. Either you can get a divorce or you may be able to annul the marriage. However, there is a crucial difference between the two that you need to be aware of. When a marriage is annulled, for example, it means that all legal status of the marriage becomes completely null and void. It is erased and it is as if the marriage had never taken place. A divorce, on the other hand, means that two spouses have legally separated from each other. Their marriage evidence is still valid but that they are no longer married, are single and can remarry if they want.

States have their own laws regarding both annulment and divorce, but there are certain common requirements and common grounds that apply nationwide.


Either spouse can initiate an annulment procedure. However, he or she will need to prove before the court that there is valid reason and irrefutable evidence for the marriage to get annulled. Some of the most common situations where a marriage is liable to get annulled include bigamy, underage marriage, mental incapacity, mental illness, forced consent, fraud and inability to consummate the marriage.


Again, in case of a divorce, there are differences in state laws and clauses. But we will brief you here on certain common points, conditions and requirements for obtaining a divorce. First of all, the spouses can have either a no-fault or a fault divorce. In a majority of divorce cases, all debts and marital assets relating to the spouses will be settled during the divorce. If there are children, the divorce proceedings will also include issues of child custody, child support, visitation rights, etc.

In case of a no-fault divorce, no party is declared guilty or responsible for the break-up of the marriage. We will like to mention here that some state require the spouses to go through a waiting period before a no-fault divorce is granted. For this reason, if either or both parties are looking for ways to expedite the process of separation, they may choose to pursue a fault divorce. Some of the most common situations in which a fault divorce is granted include adultery by either or both spouses, emotional and physical desertion of your partner, physical/emotional abuse, conviction of a crime, incurable mental illness and excessive addiction to drugs, gambling, alcohol, etc.

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Disability Insurance Surveillance:They Really May Be Watching You!

Businessman Using Binoculars

So you have filed your disability insurance claim and hope for the best that you will get compensated. You go about your normal life but little do you know that a camera somewhere is video-tapping every move you make. Disability insurance surveillance is real, and you are about to discover how to put on a good show for the big guys.

The moment you file for a disability insurance claim, the camera is immediately switched on to stalk you. With the advancement of technology, setting up video surveillance has become quite cheap, so insurance teams are able to follow everyone who wants to be compensated by them—everyone.

Why Do They Do This?

It is the nature of insurance companies to hold onto your money as much as possible. There have been several claims cases about insurance companies cutting off compensation after gathering some compromising evidence about the victim. They do agree it is such a grotesque method for evidence collection, but they swear it is quite effective.

Who is Likely to be watched?

The most targeted are the high stake claims that will definitely cost the insurance company lots of money if the application is successful. Disability insurance surveillance will also be frequent on those cases where the insured claims of disability caused by Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Because such conditions are hard to diagnose, the insurance company will monitor the extent to which the condition allegedly alters the victim’s life. They will watch you when you go out your home, eat at a cafeteria or visit a neighbor. It goes as much as a stranger knocking at your door and carries out a ‘secret’ scrutiny of your condition as you remain oblivious to their intentions.

How Can You Counter This?

Once you file for disability insurance claim, be wary of any strange smile that shows up at your door for some chit chat. Minimize your movements as much as possible and consider the option of staying home to rest. Though the insurance may have a leeway to conduct an unexpected interview, do not tell them anything until you have a close family member or your family doctor with you during the interview.

Crime Bull is a crime and law blog that provides informative tips on crime, law, and legality. Follow us for more tips, on law, legalities, rights,and disability insurance surveillance.

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Who Is Responsible For Damages Due To Fallen Trees?


No, this is not going to be another global warming story, but the reality on what happens when a tree crashes into your compound. According to insurance policy, damage due to fallen trees will be paid from your insurance cover; even when the neighbor’s tree is to blame. So how are things handled by insurance companies so neighbors don’t go at each others’ throats?

Any tree, not from your compound, falling and damaging your property will warrant compensation from your own insurance company. Likewise, if your tree tosses a branch over to the neighbors’ and hit their car windscreen, it’s not your fault.  There are, however, exceptions to the rule.

If you warn your neighbor in advance of the threat their tree poses, blame and payment for damages will be on them if they don’t heed. You only have to produce the official letter you wrote to the neighbor and a written verdict from a botanical specialist; these will back you up when presenting your case to court.

It get’s trickier; your insurance company only covers damages caused by natural phenomena like storms, gales or lightning strikes. Moreover, compensation only occurs if the tree hits property directly covered by their policy. The insurance company may also opt to clear away any tree causing obstruction like blocking your driveway or access to your house; but you will have to cough up extra for that.

What about payment for replacement of fallen trees? Your insurance cover will only agree to plant new trees if they were destroyed by lightening, vandals, fire or theft; wind damages are not covered. If the tree hit and damaged your car, compensation is liable through the comprehensive auto insurance cover. But if you run into a tree accidentally, your car’s insurance cover will pay for that.

You can only prevent such scenarios by trimming your tree branches or uprooting any tree that poses a threat. This helps avoid unnecessary problems to your property or the cat and mouse games played by insurance companies.

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The Fifth Amendment Explained


The Fifth Amendment is perhaps the best-known amendment after the first, at least to most of the television-watching public. Defendants who do not wish to incriminate themselves invoke this amendment in courtroom dramas, but the true function of the amendment has broader applications in the real world. This amendment provides Americans with the right to due process, the freedom from double jeopardy, and the right to just compensation after government takings in addition to the right against self-incrimination. It is the latter right, though, that comes into play as the “right to remain silent”.

If you have been arrested, you have been informed of your right to remain silent as well as your right to legal counsel. While this right does stem from the Fifth Amendment, the requirement for a defendant to be informed of these rights was codified in the 1966 Supreme Court decision of Miranda v. Arizona. The court upheld the defendant’s right to avoid self-incrimination (a Fifth Amendment matter) as well as his right to counsel (a Sixth Amendment matter). After the ruling, the police would not only have to uphold these rights but to inform those under arrest of the existence of those rights. In time, these “Miranda Rights” have become some of the best-known rights among Americans.

While the amendment does offer many protections, it is not a cure-all for those in trouble. In 1984, the Supreme Court found that a suspect’s Miranda rights could be waived if public safety was in immediate danger. In 1990, the Court found that a parent with limited custodial rights could be compelled to testify about a child’s location. Taken together, these cases demonstrate a public safety exception to the Fifth Amendment.

The Fifth Amendment is perhaps the most important right in the world of criminal law, as it directly affects every trial. While certain exceptions exist and the court constantly examines the meaning of one’s right against self-incrimination, it is clear that this well entrenched right is an important part of the American legal system. If you wish to learn more about law, crime, and the legal system, be sure to follow us today.