Friday, November 29, 2013

Beware holiday shopping scams

Each year, financial crimes investigators and consumer groups see a spike in scams targeting holiday shoppers looking for extra cash and quick deals.

New York State officials have issued a number of tips to avoid getting ripped off during the holidays. They include:

Educate yourself about the pricing of the products you want, to help insure that the “sale” price was not marked up before it was marked down, nullifying the impact of the sale.

Be aware of added fees, such as hidden delivery charges and/or other added costs.

Compare warranty terms to learn what protections you get and the duration of those protections.

Know the terms of a layaway plan, including all charges and the consequences of missing payments.

Check return and refund policies, including whether the store charges a hefty restocking fee for returned items.

Beware of restricted gift cards.

Use caution when taking advantage of social network promotions and be mindful of the websites you visit to avoid malware and phishing sites.

Christmas is one of the most expensive times of year. Don’t let it cost you more than it has to.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Town of Romulus continues reviewing legal options for sidewalks

Ithaca Times:
Addressing the issue of sidewalks in the Town of Romulus, [Town Supervisor David] Kaiser reported that the previous administration accepted the roads.

"Unknown to us until the properties were researched recently, the properties at Lakeshore Landing were surveyed to the sidewalks rather than to the center of the road. Our attorney, Steven Getman, researched NYS law on roads and sidewalks as a result of a complaint from at least one resident that the town should remediate the problem created by a tree causing a sidewalk to rise.”

Getman presented his findings.

"The issue: one resident has a tree which is causing certain liabilities for the town and argues that the town should undertake responsibility for the repair of the sidewalks in the interest of public safety. The resident opposes the removal of sidewalks and/or trees. Other residents may or may not have conflicting viewpoints. What are the responsibilities of the town with regard to sidewalks and trees?"

Getman said generally, the care of sidewalks and trees is imposed upon the Highway Superintendent. It is his duty to remove broken sidewalks and overhanging branches and trees which prove to be dangerous. However, the town does not have to assume responsibility if there is an injury as borne out by referenced law. If the town wishes to completely give up being in the tree and sidewalk business, they could tear out the trees and the sidewalks or have the residents establish side walk districts at which time the residents would be completely responsible. The town board can pass a local law establishing policy that the homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of his sidewalk as well as its liability.

A lively discussion ensued. It was most commonly felt that the town should remove the offending trees. The Town Highway Department has already yellow-marked damaged sidewalks. It was felt that the offending sidewalk sections should be removed, with responsibility for that sidewalk to be turned over to the home owner.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Legal links of interest for the week ending November 22

Steven Getman, attorney, reports on some news stories about lawyers and the law in the past week:
Attorney general cracks down on fake online reviews: The agency announced that it had reached a $350,000 settlement with 19 companies for posting bogus online reviews to consumer review sites like Yelp, Citysearch and Google Local.

Democrats vote to curb filibusters on nominees: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the move a “raw power play” – and said the whole issue was meant to “distract people from ObamaCare.”

Judges must warn about deportation, New York Appeals Court rules: In a 5-to-2 decision, the Court of Appeals overturned its 1995 ruling that deportation is a “collateral consequence” of a guilty plea, and so judges need not warn foreign defendants it might happen.

Justice Alito rips NY federal judge for requiring race- and sex-based law firm staffing: The issue was the practice of U.S. District Judge Harold Baer requiring that class action counsel ensure that attorney staffing of the case reflect the racial and gender of the class.

NY court rejects 'too intoxicated' murder defense: New York’s Court of Appeals upheld the murder convictions Thursday of three drivers who caused deadly crashes, rejecting arguments they were too intoxicated to know the threat they posed.

NY debt collector settles claims of bad business: Authorities said he tried to collect on payday loans, which are illegal in New York state. Those short-term loans are typically advances on a paycheck with exorbitant interest rates.

NY registry to have multiple pictures of sex offenders: The state’s Sex Offender Registry will now display multiple images of convicted sex offenders to help make them more recognizable to the public and law enforcement.

Senate, Assembly to jointly file against Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission: lawyers representing the legislators will argue that the subpoenas are overreaching, violate the constitutional separation-of-powers edict and seek protected client information, sources said.

For more on each of these stories, click on the links above.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Town of Ovid to create capital reserve funds

At a regular meeting held on the 13 day of November, 2013, the Town Board of the Town of Ovid, New York (the “Town”) duly adopted a series of resolutions, abstracts of which follow, which are each subject to a permissive referendum:

Resolution No. 24-2013: Establishing a Capital Reserve in the Highway Fund DB to Finance the capital repair of existing Town of Ovid bridges;

Resolution No. 25-2013: Resolution Establishing a Capital Reserve in the Highway Fund DB to Finance the acquisition of new Highway Equipment;

Resolution 26-2013: Establishing a Capital Reserve in the General A Fund to Finance the capital acquisition of new town hall and capital repair of existing Town of Ovid Highway Barn

Pursuant to each resolution:

The chief fiscal officer is hereby directed to deposit and secure the moneys of this Reserve Fund in the manner provided by Section 10 of the General Municipal Law. The chief Fiscal officer may invest the moneys in the Reserve Fund in the manner provided by Section 11 of the GML, and consistent with the investment policy of the Town of Ovid. Any interest earned or capital gains realized on the moneys so deposited or invested shall accrue to and become part of the Reserve Fund. The chief fiscal officer shall account for the Reserve Fund in a manner which maintains the separate identity of the Reserve Fund and show the date and amount of each sum paid into the fund, interest earned by the fund, capital gains or losses resulting from the sale of investments of the fund, the amount and date of each withdrawal from the fund and the total assets of the fund, showing cash balance and a schedule of investments, and shall, at the end of each fiscal year, render to the Board a detailed report of the operation and condition of the Reserve Fund.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Legal links of interest for the week ending November 8

Steven Getman, attorney, reports on some news stories about lawyers and the law in the past week:
Bill to ban job bias against gays clears Senate hurdle: A measure that would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity overcame a significant obstacle as seven Republicans voted to begin debate on the bill.

In Bond v. U.S., the Supreme Court will decide if a treaty trumps state police powers: Carol Bond concedes that she spread a toxic chemical on the car and mailbox of a friend who had an affair with her husband. Federal prosecutors intervened in what would normally be a state criminal case to charge Bond with violating the chemical-weapons convention that the Senate ratified in 1997.

Domestic violence alerts available in New York: Victims of domestic violence can now sign-up for SAVIN-NY alerts at by clicking on “Orders of Protection.”

D.C. Circuit rules against Obamacare contraceptive mandate: the D.C. Circuit ruled November 1 that two brothers who own and operate a food-supply company are entitled under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a preliminary injunction against imposition of the HHS mandate on contraception and abortifacients.

Judge upholds Rochester's red light camera program: A state court justice found the red light camera laws do not infringe upon a fundamental right

Legislative prayer gets Supreme Court review: The case argued at the court Wednesday involves prayers said at the start of town council meetings in Greece, N.Y., a Rochester suburb.

New York State warns residents of STAR application scam: New homeowners have received letters offering to enroll them in the STAR Program for a substantial fee; however enrollment in the the program is actually free.

For more on each of these stories, click on the links above.