Attorney Franklin Presents at Pennsylvania Bar Association Conference

 

PBA ConferencePrince Law Offices, P.C. Attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin was pleased to present two sessions at the Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Solo and Small Practice Conference at Bedford Springs this week. Attorney Franklin spoke regarding Title 15 (new Pennsylvania business entity law Act 170) and Virtual Practice technology issues.

Mr. Franklin assists entrepreneurs to form new business entities, to improve existing businesses, and with mergers and acquisitions.  If you desire assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, copyright, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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FTC Cybersecurity Roundtables with Small Businesses

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting small business owners in a series of public roundtables across the United States to discuss the most pressing challenges small businesses face in protecting the security of their computers and networks.

Engage, connect, protect - small business & data security roundtablesThe Engage, Connect, and Protect Initiative: Small Business and Data Security Roundtables are part of an ongoing initiative by Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen aimed at helping small businesses, which included the launch of a new website in May focused on helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks. There are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“The FTC has been a leader in guiding businesses of all sizes on how to protect the data in their care,” Acting Chairman Ohlhausen said. “Companies with only a few employees face unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. We’ll use what we learn in the roundtables to tailor our practical resource materials for small businesses.”

The first roundtable event will take place July 25 in Portland, Oregon, in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the SBA, and other organizations. This event will be followed by a roundtable discussion in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 6, hosted by the FTC and the Council of Smaller Enterprises and in collaboration with the SBA. Another roundtable event will take place later in September in Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored by the NCSA.

The roundtables will bring together FTC staff along with the SBA and other federal partners, industry associations, and the small business community. The comments and feedback generated by the roundtables will be used to help the FTC and its partners provide additional education and guidance for small business owners on cybersecurity issues.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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USCIS Releases New Form I-9 Dated July 17, 2017

USCIS_Sig_Rib_VertU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17, 2017. Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the Form I-9 page. Employers can use this revised version or continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through Sept. 17, 2017. On Sept. 18, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:

  • USCIS changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • USCIS removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • USCIS added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • USCIS combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C.
  • USCIS renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

Desire more specific assistance regarding immigration matters, your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, copyright, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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HAVE YOU BEEN SUED BY A COMPANY YOU NEVER HEARD OF FOR MONEY YOU BORROWED FROM SOMEONE ELSE?

The average consumer does not realize that the delinquent debt industry is a trillion dollar a year business. Everybody has borrowed money to buy a house, buy a car, for school loans or over charged credit cards. A large number of these loans will end up in default. These troubled loans have a market. There are very large debt buyers who purchase millions of dollars of delinquent debt for pennies on the dollar. The debt buyers purchase the delinquent accounts at a substantial discount and then come after consumers for the full balance. The debt buyers purchase large volume of delinquent accounts often purchasing tens of thousands of accounts at a time. The purchases are often made electronically with only the data being stored and transferred. Hard copy documents such as the original loan agreement often are lost or were never transferred from the original creditor to the debt buyer. A problem for the debt buyers arises when the consumer challenges the claim and the debt buyer can not prove that the consumer entered into the original loan agreement.

Debt buyers do not want their right to collect on obligation challenged by consumers. Debt buyers purchase delinquent debt in large volume aware that many of the accounts will be uncollectable. Debt buyers make a business decision to try and collect as high of a percentage of the delinquent debt accounts as possible. Typically, debt buyers hire debt collectors and/or debt collection attorneys to collect the delinquent debt. The debt collectors or debt collection attorneys will be assigned a large number of accounts for consumers in the area where the debt collectors or attorneys practice. They are paid a percentage of each account they are able to collect on, approximately 15% to 20% percent of whatever they manage to collect on each account. Remember, debt buyers have purchased the delinquent debt accounts for pennies on the dollars so any money they recover is usually profit. If the debt buyers average 50% collection of the delinquent debt on 10% to 20% of the accounts they have purchased but fail to collect on 80% to 90% of the delinquent accounts purchased, the debt buyers will still make a profit. It is in the best interest of debt buyers and the debt collectors to get the money from the consumers as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Any challenge to the claim by the consumer wastes time and costs money which ultimately reduces profit.

For this reason, debt buyers do not want to start a law suit unless they are forced to. It is much more cost affective to send a demand letter threatening legal action in attempt to get the consumer to agree to pay back the debt. This creates an opportunity to negotiate with the debt buyers to reduce the amount of the obligation or to pay it back over time. The debt buyers are more than willing to work out a repayment plan because they have purchased these accounts for pennies on the dollar. For some that is a reasonable option. Hard times may have led to the original default and now when the consumer is in a better position they wish repay their loan or credit obligation.

What many consumers don’t realize is that in this computer electronic transfer age, may of these debt buyers never received the original loan documents and can not prove the original debt or that they actual own the right to collect on the debt. Recently, a New York Times article discussed this problem with regards to privately held student loans.  In summary, the article discusses how debt buyers who own at least 5 billion in troubled private student loans could not prove they had a right to collect. As a result, many consumers where seeing thousand of dollars of their student loans wiped out because the loans were uncollectable.

Credit card debt is very difficult to prove for third party buyers of debt in Pennsylvania. In 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court decided the case of Commonwealth Financial Sytems, Inc. v. Larry Smith, No 3455 EDA 2009. In that matter, Mr. Smith obtained a Citibank credit card in 1989 and proceeded to use it for the next thirteen years. By July 2004, Mr. Smith’s account was delinquent account and was sold to Commonwealth who filed suit in March 2006 seeking $5,435.93, plus interest at 23.99% per annum, plus attorney fees at a rate of 20%, and costs. Commonwealth failed to attach many of the original documents and those that were attached the Court found were inadmissible hearsay and did not qualify under the business record exception of the hearsay rule. The question of whether computerized files of an original creditor were admissible as the business records of a successor debt buyer was one of first impression in Pennsylvania. Without the original creditor testifying, the debt buyer could not establish the trustworthiness of the documents, the chain of title, and/or whether an original contract existed.

Any consumer who receives a letter from a debt buyer needs to understand that while a debt buyer may claim it has the right to collect the delinquent debt, they still have the burden of proving that right in court.

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2018 Appropriations Bill Still Doesn’t Provide Funding For Federal Firearms Relief Determinations – Contact Your U.S. Representatives!

As our viewers are aware, although 18 U.S.C. § 925(c) provides for federal firearm relief determinations, since 1992, the ATF’s appropriation bill – which has been enacted each year thereafter – has provided a restriction on ATF’s use of any of the appropriate money for federal firearms relief determinations. As I reported in 2015, an amendment to the 2016 appropriations bill – H.R. 2578 – was passed, which provided for funding of federal firearm relief determinations. Thereafter, the bill, as amended, was passed by the entire House of Representatives. Unfortunately, due to the late nature of the House passing the bill, when it was received by the Senate, the Senate gutted all the language and replaced it with the language from an appropriations bill that it was working on in the interim. The Senate’s version was later passed by the House, including the provision precluding ATF’s usage of the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations.

The House is now working on an appropriations bill for 2018 and although it has been reported to include pro-Second Amendment provisions (which it does and are discussed below), the one provision which has not been modified, is the restriction on the appropriated money being used for federal firearms relief determination. Specifically, it provides that

Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code

Accordingly, I am respectfully requesting that you contact your U.S Representatives and demand that the language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill be amended to remove the restriction on ATF utilizing the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations. In the alternative, if your Representatives push back regarding the cost, then I would respectfully suggest that the language be modified to:

Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code; however, nothing shall preclude an individual from funding his/her own application for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c); whereby, the cost to the individual shall not exceed $1,000.00

As this strikes a balance between allowing federal firearms relief determinations to be made and the cost being born by the prohibited person, it is hard to fathom what objection anyone would have to this language.

In relation to the pro-Second Amendment provisions included in the current version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill,  it would:

  1. Ban the use of funds for the program launched under the Obama administration to require federally licensed firearm dealers in Southwestern Border States to report certain rifle sales to the U.S. government;
  2. Permanently defund any form of unmonitored “gun walking” operations involved in U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death;
  3. Effectively block the implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty;
  4. Permanently block any attempt by anti-gun groups within the ATF to implement a highly restrictive framework on the importability of shotguns (i.e. any shotgun that was importable before the release of ATF’s 2011 shotgun importability study could not be reclassified as “non-sporting” and therefore banned from importation); and,
  5. Promote the importation of collectible “curio and relic” firearms and facilitate export of certain firearm parts valued at $500 or less to persons in Canada.

Accordingly, please join us in supporting the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, while demanding that the language restricting federal firearms relief determinations be removed.

 

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PaPUC Proposes Change to Age Requirement for Drivers of Paratransit Vehicles

puc_sealJuly 12, 2017, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) proposed a change to the age requirement for drivers of paratransit vehicles, in order to more closely match current guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and reduce operational and hiring challenges for ambulance and paratransit companies across the state.

The Proposed Rulemaking Order was approved 5-0 by the Commission on July 12, allowing paratransit vehicles to be operated by trained and certified ambulance drivers who are 18 years or older – initiating a written comment period and review by relevant agencies.

Currently, PUC regulations for paratransit services require drivers to be at least 21 years old, while DOH rules allow drivers 18 years or older to operate ambulances if they have proper training and certification. In proposing the change in PUC regulations, the Commissioners noted that many of the state’s ambulance companies also provide paratransit services, and the differences in age requirements currently prevent some trained ambulance drivers from being able to operate paratransit vehicles – complicating operations for those organizations.

The proposed change established the following conditions for paratransit drivers who are under the age of 21:

  • Drivers 18 years or older must be certified as an Emergency Medical Service Vehicle Operator (EMSVO) by the DOH.
  • Drivers must carry their DOH-issued EMSVO certification on board, while operating a paratransit vehicle.
  • Paratransit carriers must comply with all DOH regulations and maintain records for a period of four years to prove each person’s EMSVO certification.
  • These records must be available for inspection by Commission Staff, upon request.
  • Paratransit carriers must notify the PUC of any accident involving a paratransit driver who is under 21 years of age, regardless of the severity of the accident.

The Proposed Rulemaking Order will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and written comments should be submitted within 30 days of that publication. All comments must reference Docket No. L-2017-2600599.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with transportation law and PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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FICG/Prince Law Offices, P.C.’s Bi-Annual Machinegun Shoot – October 21, 2017!

Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG)®, a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., will be hosting our twelfth bi-annual machine gun shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod and Gun Club on October 21, 2017, in celebration of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, and Article 1, Section 21 of the PA Constitution. Eastern Lancaster Rod and Gun Club is located at 966 Smyrna Road, Kinzers, PA 17535. It will start at 11am and go until 4pm. From 11am until 2:30pm, it will be unsuppressed and suppressed fire. From 2:30pm until 4pm, only suppressed fire will be allowed. Come on out and meet FICG Chief Counsel and your PA Firearms Lawyer, Joshua Prince, as well as, as other FICG attorneys!

Everyone, over 18 years of age, is welcome to attend. We are sorry but the insurer will not allow anyone under 18 to participate. There will be a small area for observers, under the age of 18, to watch the shoot. The only requirement is that you bring a driver’s license and hearing and eye protection. All attendees will be required to sign a waiver.

There will be several dealers and manufacturers in attendance and which will have some unique firearms for rent that you might not otherwise have an opportunity to shoot. We are still waiting for confirmation of the dealers that will be in attendance and will update this blog, as they confirm. While you are welcome to bring your own firearms and ammunition, it will be up to the owner of the firearm as to whether he/she will permit you to use your ammunition in his/her firearm. The FFLs will be bringing ammunition for purchase, if you need additional or if they require certain types of ammunition to be used in their weapon systems.

Also, Eastern Lancaster County Rod and Gun will be making food and have drinks available, at extremely reasonable prices. There will be breakfast available again this time starting around 9am! Most attendees at the last shoot couldn’t get over how the Club could make any money on the food sold!

All attendees MUST RSVP. To RSVP via facebook, please go here. If you do not have Facebook or are having difficulty, please contact our Tammy Taylor, at ttaylor@princelaw.com.

We are requiring that each person donate at least $10 to the Eastern Lancaster County Rod and Gun Club for their generous permission to use their range. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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