Friday, January 16, 2015

President Obama's Executive Action...illegal? I think not!

In an interesting twist to the ongoing debate about immigration, a Federal Court in PA held that President's Obama's executive action on immigration -- namely, shifting enforcement priorities and granting defacto status to illegal aliens -- including work authorization -- is illegal.
3. Conclusion
President Obama's unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional. (Case: 14-0180, Western District PA, Judge Arthur Schwab, 16 December 2014).

I tend to think this is a rather dim and narrow view of the President's ability to direct his agencies in the prosecution of their duties. However, it is an interesting case. See: PA Court challenges the President's immigration reform.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.

Setting up the jury -- jury operations in DC, and tactics at the Bar

Jury Management = Trial Success


Beyond closing arguments, my trial experience has taught me that jury instructions and voire dire are probably the most important aspect of civil and criminal trials in state and federal courts. This stems from the simple fact that, the more complex a case, the less likely a jury member will be to remember the information presented. However, the more inclined a juror is to listen to one side or the other, the more likely that juror will be to vote in favor of the preferenced party.

How do you manage the voire dire process? This article is specific to the District of Columbia Court system. It is based on voire dire from the Bench - that is, the judge asks the jury "yes/no" questions based on a predefined set of questions. Prior to trial, it is the duty of the defense (plaintiff and prosecutor, too!) to submit proposed jury questions to the judge for consideration. Generally, the question must fit within the frame work of the general questions asked in Superior Court.

Sample Superior Court Civil Jury Instructions (DC)

  • 1. Do you know or recognize any of the lawyers, the parties, the witnesses, the judge, or court staff?
  • 2. Do you know anything about this particular case?
  • 3. Do you or any immediate family member live or work near or have any special familiarity with the Dunkin Donuts at 1101 4th Street NW or the immediate area where this case is alleged to have occurred?
  • 4. Do you know any other member of the jury panel?
  • 5. Have you ever previously served on a jury in any type of case?
  • 6. Have you ever been a party to or involved in a lawsuit?
  • 7. Have you ever testified as a witness in any trial?
  • 8. Have you or any immediate family member ever studied or been employed in the legal field?
  • 9. Have you or any immediate family member ever been trained or employed in any type of health care services?
  • 10. Have you or any immediate family member ever worked in the area of claims adjustment?
  • 11. Have you or any immediate family member ever witnessed, been involved in, or sustained personal injuries in a slip and fall?
  • 12. Have you or an immediate family member ever served on a corporate board?
  • 13. Have you or any immediate family member ever made a claim for personal injuries; OR filed, defended, or been a witness in a lawsuit involving a claim for personal injuries?
  • 14. Do you have strong feelings about personal injury cases and lawsuits in general that might affect your judgment in this case?
  • 15. Do you hold any convictions or beliefs concerning lawyers, judges, or the legal system that would impair your ability to fairly decide this case?
  • 16. Would you be unable to follow the Court’s instructions or render judgment in this case due to religious, moral, political, or philosophical beliefs?
  • 17. Do you have any type of personal health problem or are you taking medication that would make it difficult to serve on the jury?
  • 18. This trial will take approximately 4 days plus deliberations. Do you have important and/or pressing time commitments/conflicts that would make it difficulHave you or anyone in your family ever been “labeled” in an unpopular way?t for you to serve on this jury?
  • 19. Is there any other reason you could not be fair and impartial?

Other common jury instructions I use in civil trials:

Contract
(NOTE: I do not submit these questions in advance, as DC does not allow open ended jury questions. Instead, ask these when you are standing at the bench and the judge asks if there is anything else you would like inquire about)
  • Tell me a little about the neighborhood you live in.
  • What type of work do you do?
  • Do you supervise other people? How many” How do you feel about supervising other people?
  • Does anyone have current work related projects that are going to occupy your mind to the extent that you wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the evidence that will be presented in this trial?
  • Does your spouse work outside the home?
  • How much TV do you watch? What are your favorite shows?
  • Have you or anyone in your family ever been “labeled” in an unpopular way?

Vary the questions above based on whether the juror answered "yes" to any of the generic questions proposed by the judge. If the juror answered "yes" to none, you must ask further questions to ensure you can form an opinion about the juror!

Remember, in DC, there are no jury questionnaires. Although, you may ask for an exception to this rule in felony or capital cases. See Rule 24 of the Criminal Rules of the District of Columbia.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IMMIGRATION WEBINAR: 18 December 2014 at 1pm (FREE!)

Entry into the United States -- whether as a visitor for a short duration, or an immigrant with an intent to stay -- is a complicated area of law. Learn how to advise your clients -- and how to help yourself! -- while navigating the changing landscape of US immigration law.

This workshop will cover three topics -- family immigration, business immigration, and visas. It is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, as a topical overview, you will leave the webinar with a greater understanding of how the US system works, the timeframes involved, the steps required for the most common forms of immigration and visa applications, and what to watch out for in terms of triggers and immigration pit-falls. More importantly, the new immigration reforms by President Obama will also be discussed.

Everyone is welcome to take part. Please invite any you feel might benefit from learning more about US immigration law. Let's get the right information out to those that can benefit from immigration reform!

Sean R. Hanover, Esq., principal attorney of Hanover Law -- an immigration and criminal/family law practice based in Washington, DC -- will be hosting the event.

The entire presentation will be streamed live, 18 December 2014 at 1pm (Eastern US time). It will last approximately 90 minutes and is absolutely free. If you are in the Washington, DC area, you are welcome to attend in person (this will be produced in our Fairfax offices).

To register, contact admin@hanoverlawpc.com. Please indicate your name, and occupation. We will send you the link and syllabus. There are no prerequisites to attending -- and we will answer questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NEW IMMIGRATION RELIEF: DACA EXPANDED -- NO MORE AGE LIMIT!

DACA is Now Available to All!

With President Obama's announcement last night, DACA (Deferred Action, Childhood Arrival) has been expanded. Previously, the age cap was 31 -- individuals older than 31 could not apply. That cap has been removed! DACA is now available to a person meeting the DACA eligibility requirements, regardless of age. Further, the continuous residency requirements have also been amended. The new DACA requirements are:

  1. You must have arrived in the United States before you 16th birthday.
  2. You must have remained in the United States continuously since 01 January 2010.
  3. You must not have any serious criminal record (no misdemeanors or felonies -- some exceptions here).
  4. You must not be a priority removal target for ICE/DHS (generally, this means you cannot be a repeat immigration removal offender, terrorist, national security threat, serious criminal, gang member, smuggler, or other ne'er-do-well).
Source: DHS Memorandum on DACA eligibility amendments

This is an outstanding opportunity for those who were previously excluded. We expect an overwhelming response to these new regulations. This will result in a large backlog and significant delays in processing. Contact Hanover Law now to start this process immediately. We will determine if you qualify, and what steps you need to take to complete the application process.

Do you have a criminal conviction that makes DACA difficult?


Do NOT be afraid. We specialize in helping folks just like you overcome their immigration difficulties. We practice throughout the East Coast in immigration courts from New York to Florida. We can help you! While no attorney can guarantee success, our experience assures you the best possible chance for obtaining legal status.

The new regulations indicate that you will receive a work permit (EAD = employment authorization document), and legal status, for three years under the DACA program. In most states, this will also allow you to obtain a driver's license and apply for student loans/aid. This is state specific, however, so be sure to discuss this with us when you call.

Start your DACA application now. Call us at 1-800-579-9864. The government filing fee for DACA is $465. This covers the EAD and biometrics fees. The actual application is free. We will complete your DACA application and shepherd your paperwork through the system for $750 + the filing fees. If two or more applicants apply from the same family, the cost is $500 per applicant + the filing fees.

Be CAREFUL how you apply. If your application is denied, you do not have a right to appeal the decision, and you may not apply again. We are licensed attorneys.

Your better future starts today. Contact us to start the process of obtaining legal status. Stop hiding and start living.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.

Friday, November 21, 2014

NEW IMMIGRATION RELIEF: DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTS

DACA expanded to parents of US Citizen or LPR children!

With his announcement last night, President Obama fundamentally changed the immigration landscape. If you are here illegally in the United States, and have a US Citizen or LPR child, you need to contact our Firm immediately. We can help you obtain legal status under the expanded DAP -- deferred action for parents program. The components of DAP are:

  1. You must have been continuously present in the United States since 01 January 2010.
  2. You must have a US Citizen or LPR (green-card holder) son or daughter.
  3. You must not have any serious criminal matter (generally defined as no misdemeanors or felonies -- some exceptions).
  4. You must not be an "enforcement priority" -- generally defined as a national security risk, criminal, repeat immigration offender, or gang member.
See: DHS Memorandum on expanded DACA/DAP

The filing cost is $465. This includes the cost of the EAD (employment authorization document) and biometrics. The actual application itself is free. Hanover Law is completing DAP applications for $750 (not including the filing fees) each -- or both mother and father together for $1000 + filing fees. Folks -- that includes preparing the package and shepherding the paperwork through the system. Let us help you, as we helped hundreds of DACA applicants. We can't guarantee any result -- that's up to the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the President. However, we can promise a properly submitted application that has the best chance of success. Don't take any risks with this!

Like DACA, you do not get to apply twice. If you are denied DAP, there is no appeal or second application. DO NOT make the mistake of carelessly applying, or waiting too long. This will take some time for DHS/USCIS to get the process properly perfected -- you want to be in the front of the line to take advantage of this program -- not waiting years to get your work permit.

Once approved, DAP is valid for three years. This includes you right to work in the United States for three years, and further, to get a driver's license. Let us help you!

Contact Hanover Law today at 1-800-579-9864 to begin gathering information for the DAP process. Be ready when submissions are accepted -- get legal status and join the millions who enjoy the benefit of working, living, and thriving in the United States.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bankruptcy -- sample Complaint Filing for 523(a)(2) and 523(a)(6) Adversarial Process

I have been meaning to post the link to this for a bit. We are representing a client who is attempting to avoid the discharge of his claim against the debtor. The following is an example (pdf) of a bankruptcy adversarial filing under 523(a)(2), fraud, and 523(a)(6), willful and malicious injury done by the debtor.




Click here to download the PDF file.

If you have a bankruptcy adversarial case, contact us! We can help develop both a defense and offensive strategy as required.



Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.

Bankruptcy -- Supporting a Motion to Remand to State Court (Relief from Stay).

Hanover Law recently won a hard-fought battle in DC Bankruptcy Court. The defedant/debtor sandbagged our client two weeks before a jury trail in Superior Court by filing bankruptcy. This is known as a tactical filing, and is not uncommon. However, fortunately for our clients, we also practice in bankruptcy court. Nice try -- but defendants actions were not successful. The Superior Court case will now go. Nevertheless, it is educational to see how the case proceeded in Bankruptcy.

I am including our response to the filing to prevent removal of the case back to State Court. I believe it is worth reviewing our strategy. When considering adversarial bankruptcy defense -- specifically remand or relief from stay, the key is to remember three critical points:
  • The litigation in state court must be well advanced (usually, through mid-discovery or later). Also known as the "amount of time" the state case has been ongoing.
  • The matter must be substantially regarding state law and NOT a federal or bankruptcy question (the resulting decision is always a bankruptcy question, obviously. Rather, the matter itself, about which the state litigation is concerning, cannot be a federal or bankruptcy issue.)
  • It should involve a jury matter. Though not strictly required, the fact there can be no jury trial on state matters in bankruptcy court is a strong motivator for the Bankruptcy Court to send the matter back to state.


The controlling cases are: Barge v. Western Southern Life Ins. Co., 307 B.R. 541, 547 (N.D. W. Va. 2004), and Linkway Inv. Co. v. Olsen (In Re Casamont Investors), 196 B.R. 517 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Cal. 1996).

If you are the defendant attempting to prevent removal/remand, remember -- never argue that due process was violated in the state court (say, for example, due to pre-trial irregularities in preparing the case, discovery, etc.) when the parties have had ample time to prepare and litigate. There is nothing wrong with the approach per se, rather, the Bankruptcy Court is just going to point out that deficiencies in state court trial procedures are best handled at the state court level, not at Bankruptcy. A filing in Bankruptcy Court is not a second bite at the litigation apple.




Click here to download the PDF file.

Do you have questions about bankruptcy or an adversarial process involving a debtor? Come talk to us! For the defense or the plaintiff, we are an experienced litigation firm, and we are accomplished at interweaving bankruptcy procedures with state court action.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Wells, Esq.