NFL Player Protests and the Constitution

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pdaphoto/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pdaphoto/

NFL Football photo by Parker Anderson

The hottest topic in our country right now involves NFL (National Football League) Players kneeling during the United States National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick began kneeling as a protest against police brutality in America. Now other players and entire teams (including the Pittsburg Steelers and Dallas Cowboys) are protesting racial inequality and injustice that still exists in our country today. Opponents to the protests consider kneeling to be disrespectful to the military, first responders, and the United States as a whole. President Donald Trump has added fuel to the fire by suggesting that NFL Owners should fire players who protest. While the country appears to be divided on this political issue, it presents an interesting question for some NFL Team Owners: Can NFL Team Owners fire players for protesting the national anthem?

It is well established that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the rights of free speech, and the right to peacefully assemble. However the First Amendment applies towards the United States government, not private organizations like the NFL. The current debate does not involve any state action, so it is highly unlikely that the First Amendment would preclude any NFL Owner decisions.

The most likely way for NFL Players to defend themselves for protesting would be in their NFL employment contract. If players had contracts that protected their right to free speech within the scope of employment, then they would likely be able to protest the national anthem among other free speech actions. Currently the player’s collective bargaining agreement put together by the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) gives vast power to the NFL Owners. NFL owners are allowed to fine or discipline players for any actions that diminish public respect for the game. These terms make it highly unlikely that players have any defense for being fired for their actions.

The latest debate regarding NFL Protests brings about significant constitutional, employment, contractual, and civil legal matters. If you or someone you know is facing civil legal issues please contact the Bruner Law Firm. The Bruner Law Firm has served thousands of clients throughout Northwest Florida for over 30 years. The Bruner Law Firm has lawyers who specialize in recovering damages for victims of car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, and trucking accidents. If you need a personal injury attorney in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City, Niceville, Navarre, or Crestview please contact the Bruner Law Firm. With offices located in Fort Walton Beach and Panama City, Florida the team of lawyers and legal specialists at the Bruner Law Firm are ready to help!


Will text messages become a will?

In the UK, the Law Commission has recently proposed revised rules that would permit a deathbed text message to serve as a legally enforceable will. The proposed rule changes would allow not only text messages sent from an iPad or phone, but also voicemails, and even emails to serve a will that would be enforced by British courts. The rule changes are meant to bring the “outdated” law of wills into the modern era because they are failing to protect the vulnerable. Currently, around 40% of people die without making a will. This proposal aims to clear up much of that by making it easier for people to direct the legal affairs were they to meet an unfortunate end.

It is important to note, that in Florida, no such rule has been proposed, and the formalities for a valid will are very strictly enforced. Rules vary significantly among states and it is highly advisable that one seek consultation from a licensed Florida Bar member before attempting to draft such a document. To reach an attorney licensed to assist in drafting a will, the Florida Bar Referral Service can be reached via telephone at 1-800-342-8011.


Ohio Suing Pharmaceutical Companies For Causing Opioid Epidemic

Photo taken by Jamie from Flickr

This Wednesday the State of Ohio filed suit against five big Pharmaceutical Firms alleging that they undersold the risks of potent opioid drugs. Drugs like OxyContin and Percocet are used to reduce pain symptoms in patients, but have led to mass addiction. Attorney General Mike DeWine stated, “We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans, our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids, addicted to opioid pain medications. These drug manufacturers knew what they were doing was wrong, but they continued to do it anyway.”

The State of Ohio claims that big Pharmaceutical companies have caused patients to become addicted since they have not adequately described the risks associated with taking the drugs. DeWine stated, “We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced, and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales.”

Patients often form physical and psychological dependencies to opioids like OxyContin and Percocet. Once patients are no longer able to obtain the prescribed drugs, they often turn to the street for opioids and sometimes heroin. Big pharmaceutical companies minimizing the risk of addiction in order to increase sales leads to a slippery slope. Some are even comparing these unethical marketing strategies to that of the tobacco companies during the 1990’s.

Have you or someone you know been harmed by addiction to legally prescribed opioid drugs? Have you been wondering how to deal with a problem with prescription pain pills? Were you given adequate knowledge and warnings about the risks related to using legally prescribed opiates? If so you should immediately contact an attorney to seek relief for the potential damages that you have incurred. The Bruner Law Firm has represented thousands of clients in Northwest Florida against major corporations in lawsuits related to personal injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured please contact The Bruner Law Firm by phone (850-243-2222), or visit our office in Fort Walton Beach 0r Panama City. It makes sense to talk to Vince.


Casey Anthony’s revealing interview with the Associated Press

Casey Anthony, the notorious woman charged with killing her child several years ago, has given an exclusive first-time interview with the associated press. In the interview, Casey states that she is sleeping well and that if her daughter was still alive, she would be “…listening to classic rock, playing sports” and putting up with no nonsense. To read more please visit the following URL:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/apnewsbreak-1st-time-casey-anthony-speaks-about-case


Trump to consider appointing new Justice for Supreme Court

Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado—known for upholding religious rights in battles against Obamacare—has become the odds favorite for replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia. This would restore the balance of “power” on the court, shifting the makeup to four conservatives, four liberals, and one middle/swing vote in Justice Kennedy. Gorsuch currently sits on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Gorsuch is seen by most as an easier confirmation due to his cool manner and clear legal writing. One way or another, Trump is expected to make his pick earlier next week.


American Museum of Tort Law

The American Museum of Tort Law has just celebrated its first year anniversary. The Museum is the child of renowned consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who started the project to give Americans a look a the truth and history behind many famous torts lawsuits. Amongst the chief cases exhibited are the famous Ford Pinto, Liebeck v. McDonald’s (the “Hot Coffee Case”), and various Tobacco lawsuits/Engle Progeny. The museum has received donations and funding from various consumer advocate groups. Nader has described the running theme as keeping the powerful accountable. The museum can be visited most days from 10:30am to 5:00pm and is located at 654 Main St, Winstead, CT 06098.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/american-museum-of-tort-law-winsted


Regulators to Block Apps on Smartphones while Driving

Apple iPhones and Google Android Devices may soon disable certain apps while motor vehicles are in motion. Federal Auto Safety Regulators want makers of these devices to add a driving mode that blocks certain apps from use forcing a driver to keep their attention on the road.

The new proposed regulations come via voluntary guidelines that will be issued by the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such changes are intended to improve car safety, where texting and driving has caused a number of vehicular accidents. “Your smartphone becomes so many different things that it’s not just a communication device,” Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Transportation Department, said in an interview. “Distraction is still a problem. Too many people are dying and being injured on our roadways.”

 

Although phones currently have an airplane mode, making them safer for pilot’s wireless communication systems, they do not yet have such a feature for driving in motor vehicles. Although the new regulations do not force companies to comply with the rules, in the past, carmakers have voluntary complied with them—disabling such things as watching movies on displays while driving. These new proposed regulations come as fatalities rose 7.1 percent in the last calendar year—the biggest single annual percentage change in 50 years.


Galaxy Note 7 Burn Lawsuit

For the last several weeks, it seems like there has been a daily incident of yet another Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploding or catching fire. There has even been a car fire that was reportedly due to the defective device catching fire. So it comes as no surprise that Samsung has decided to stop selling the device altogether in hopes to limit their liability. The AP has reported that the costs of suspending the device manufacturing and various recalls/replacements will likely end up costing the global consumer electronic giant approximately $17 Billion. Samsung will also likely face dozens of tort suits from consumers due to burning or inhalation of toxic fumes. If you have been the victim of one of these device malfunctions, feel free to contact our law firm for further consultation and help in litigating this matter.


Federal Judge Stops Florida Law that Defunds Planned Parenthood

Last Thursday, a federal judge blocked a Florida law that attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, under the Supreme Court’s “unconstitutional conditions” doctrine. “Unconstitutional conditions” basically stop a state’s government from depriving a group of funds simply because it exercises a fundamental right that they find unacceptable. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, writing on behalf of the court, “a government cannot prohibit indirectly—by withholding otherwise-available public funds—conduct that the government could not constitutionally prohibit directly.”

Civil Liberties groups are counting this ruling as a significant victory for privacy rights, freedom of association, and personal autonomy. Conservative groups, including Governor Rick Scott, are likely not so happy.


Pokémon GO Lawsuits

An irresponsible Pokemon Go driver is about to run over a pedestrian while trying to catch a Pikachu.

An irresponsible Pokemon Go driver is about to run over a pedestrian while trying to catch a Pikachu.

The days of people peering into their phones consumed by Words With Friends, Tinder, or Candy Crush have finally been replaced by the advent of the newest handheld game craze—Pokemon Go! It seems like you can’t even grab a cup of coffee without running into someone flicking a Pokeball or trying to catch a scurrying Pikachu. The craze has swept the world and is quickly becoming our new national obsession. Although like any other distracting cell phone activity, it is also generating its fair share of problems—especially for those behind the wheel of an automobile. In Baltimore, a Pokemon player actually ended up driving his automobile into a parked police car (see http://www.cnet.com/news/pokemon-go-player-crashes-suv-into-parked-police-car/). Although wrecks like these remain rare, it is likely they will continue to endanger the drivers and commuters of our roadways for years to come.

Pokemon Go is also creating problems in the purview of one’s property rights. A class-action lawsuit in Michigan has recently been filed by Jayme Dodich of St. CLair Shores alleged that the game illegally places Pokestops and PokeGyms on private property without the landowner’s consent. This represents some of the first new cases that have been filed in an undiscovered area of law surrounding “virtual” rights… that is, if any such thing actually exists! However, it does race some well-litigated issues like trespass and landowner liability. It may even be the case that Nintendo/Niantic is found to have created an attractive nuisance or dangerous condition on one’s real property. Whatever the case may be, we at The Bruner Firm will continue to monitor this new area of law and will be prepared to fully litigate and cases involving distracted driving or Pokemon Go.


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Bruner Law Firm represents clients throughout Florida’s Emerald Coast including Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Mary Esther, Niceville, Freeport, Defuniak Springs, Crestview, Shalimar, Navarre, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Laurel Hill, Bonifay, Chipley, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Valparaiso, Miramar Beach, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, Bay County, and Holmes County.

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