Matthews Bark Attorney – Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?

Source     :  Huffington Post
By             :  Reboot Illinois
Category :  Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?
Should The Legal Smoking Age in Illinois Be 21?

Should the Illinois legal smoking age increase from 18 to 21?
A proposal by Sen. John G. Mulroe, D-Chicago, would do just that. Mulroe, surrounded by public health advocates, pitched the idea Thursday in a news conference. He said the change would serve the public well for several reasons, among them:

– Smoking is deadly, and the proof’s available on every pack of cigarettes in the form of a warning from the U.S. surgeon general.
    – Smoking is expensive to the individual. A two-pack a-day habit in some areas (notably Chicago) can run a person24 a day or more than8,700 a year, Mulroe said.
    – Smoking is expensive to the state. The senator and public health advocates said5 billion annually is spent in Illinois treating smoking-related illnesses, and2 billion of that comes from taxpayer-supported Medicaid funds.
    – Raising the legal age for the purchase and possession of tobacco is a research-proven way to cut use among young people. Mulroe said research also shows that if people make it to 21 without smoking, they likely never start.

Mulroe said he’s not targeting smokers, many of whom have told him they support raising the legal age. “The smokers tell me, ‘It’s a good bill, John,'” and when he asks why, they respond, “I wish I’d never started smoking.” “They can’t quit,” Mulroe said. “The addiction makes them powerless.” People who don’t smoke or don’t object to smoking shouldn’t shrug off the issue as none of their concern, said Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association in Illinois. “Two billion dollars of the Illinois state budget is spent treating Medicaid recipients with tobacco-related diseases,” Drea said. “That cost alone is one of the main, right reasons this bill should be passed,” she said. “Illinois should be doing everything it possibly can to reduce tobacco use and the associated disease, death and cost.”
Anthony Fisher of Reason.com, a branch of the libertarian Reason Foundation, said not everyone agrees.

While Mulroe and supporters make some valid points, the change in law the senator proposes “restricts the personal liberties of adults, which people who are above the age of 18 are, period,” Fisher said.
“They can be charged as adults under the law, they can fight and die for their country, and they are required to pay taxes. They’re adults, and they are entitled to make their own decisions, even if they are ill-advised decisions like taking up cigarette smoking,” he said.
Fisher acknowledged the public-health cost of smoking is “a fair and valid point.””But if we’re going to go there, let’s go further — let’s make it so that nobody under 21 can purchase sugar,” he said.
“That will make it hard for people to develop the sugar habit, (and) it will make it harder for people to develop diabetes,” he argued. “Let’s just never stop,” he said. “Let’s just never stop using the public good as an excuse to curb people’s choices. We can go on forever with this.”

Fisher said he doesn’t smoke and doesn’t think people should, but “we’d actually be a freer and more tolerant society if we allow people to make those choices and not turn everything into a potential crime under civil and criminal codes.” Mulroe’s legislation, Senate Bill 3011, would apply to the sale, purchase and possession of all tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes. If passed, it would provide business penalties for retailers who sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 and make it a petty offense for anyone under 21 to be in possession.

Read More : huffingtonpost.com/reboot-illinois/should-the-legal-smoking_b_9292860.html

Matthews Bark Attorney – Legal battle pushing Vaughan homeowner into poverty

Source     : The Star
By            : Noor Javed
Category : Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

Legal battle pushing Vaughan homeowner into poverty
Legal battle pushing Vaughan homeowner into poverty

Every weekend, Sydney Walters spends hours mowing the lawn, and cleaning up the yard of a home he owns but hasn’t lived in for years. His family fled the semi-detached home in Vaughan four years ago, when mould spread in his home due to the missing insulation in the attic. But he returns to the home every few days, to keep it looking habitable. “I don’t want it to look unkempt,” said Walters. “It’s a beautiful house from the outside, but inside it is hell.” The Vaughan resident says it breaks his heart when he sees the neighbours near his home on Hollywood Hill Circle sitting on their decks, enjoying the weather and holding barbecues with their families and friends.

“That should be me. That should be my family,” said Walters. “But instead, we are on the verge of losing everything.” For Walters, “everything” refers to the home he bought in 2004, in the hopes of giving his family a taste of the suburban dream. But it’s a dream that has become entangled in a web of lawsuits, that Walters says have brought him to the brink of bankruptcy and will soon cost him the only asset he has. In the meantime, Walters has been living in a cramped one-bedroom basement apartment a street away, with his wife and teenage son — who sleeps on the couch. The burden of paying for and running two households is proving to be just too much. “I’m still paying my mortgage, and we pay almost a thousand dollars to rent this,” said Walters, pointing at the small apartment around him. “Our monthly insurance fee is so high. It’s just a matter of time before the bank will take possession of the house,” he said.

The Star profiled Walters in 2012, when he was living in a tent in the backyard of his home because of the mould inside. He had just filed a lawsuit against the city of Vaughan, the builder Villa Royale Homes Inc., and Tarion Warranty Corporation — alleging the parties are responsible for the damage to his home as a result of the bare attic and should be responsible for the costs of the cleanup. In 2013, Walters initiated a new lawsuit against the parties, seeking $2 million in damages to their home and personal injuries. The lawsuit has sparked a handful of others, with the city suing the builder and the builder suing the city, the original homeowners and a subcontractor, who in turn sued the insulation company. With the agreement of all parties, the claims against Tarion and the insulation company were dropped after recent mediation. None of the allegations have been proven in court. Since then, the case has hit a standstill as nobody can agree on who is at fault. And each party Walters is suing says the other should pay, if a judge rules in his favour. Court mandated mediation failed in June. Walters’s lawyer, Wendy Greenspoon-Soer, says the case is headed to trial early next year.

According to the lawsuit, Walters and his wife Olivia bought the home in 2004 for $320,000 from the original homeowner, who bought the new build in 2002. As first time buyers, Walters admits he was naïve. Because it was only two years old, he moved in without a home inspection. He dutifully paid heating bills — upwards of $400 a month — even though he noticed the home was “extremely hot during summer months and extremely cold during the winter months, with poor ventilation and ice buildup where the walls meet the roof,” according to the suit.
In the winter, when he turned up the furnace, heat would escape through the top and melt the snow and cause leaks. In the summer, the house was hot, and the mould began to grow and spread because of the moisture. According to his claim, the family began to have health issues, and specialists and doctors advised Walters and his family to move elsewhere. Even now, he says he enters the home only if he’s wearing protective gear. Walters complained to the city after a contractor he hired said the attic lacked insulation. During legal examination in 2011, notes from a city of Vaughan building inspector confirmed that “no attic ceiling insulation” was ever installed.

As a result of the investigation, the city of Vaughan sent Walters and Villa Royale an order to complete the insulation in 2011. In a statement of defence, the city claims any damages should have been rectified by Walters, and that he has “exacerbated their own damages by suing Vaughan rather than fixing the problem.” They also say the damages were caused by the negligence of Villa Royale. Vaughan cites an independent contractor who said the cleanup and repair would cost around $15,000. In the reply to defence, Walters says his house will need to be completely demolished and rebuilt. He blames the builder for not installing the insulation and the city building inspector for failing to ensure it met the Ontario Building Code.

Neither Villa Royale nor its lawyer responded to a request for comment for this story. Last week, days after the Star started asking questions about the matter, Vaughan’s legal counsel sent Walters a settlement offer “to retain and pay a contractor to complete interior repairs to his home… including the installation of attic insulation.” Walters said he can’t comment on the offer. Since 2011, Walters says he has gathered documents that try to find answers to how his house was approved, if insulation was never installed. A city document Walters obtained through an Access to Information request show a city inspector approved the home, including its insulation, a day after the house was sold. Normally, a home must pass city inspection before it is cleared for sale. The city did not respond to questions about whether any internal investigation was conducted as a result of Walters’ 2011 complaint, as is required by the building inspector’s code of conduct protocol created in 2005. The city of Vaughan said it could not comment on the matter because it’s before the courts. “Our family, we are living in poverty. We are not poor. We are hard-working people, but we have no money. We go to bed hungry some nights,” said Walters, his eyes wet with tears. “We have a house, but we are living in these substandard conditions,” he said.
“That is just not right.”

Read More:  thestar.com/news/gta/2015/08/19/legal-battle-pushing-vaughan-homeowner-into-poverty.html

Matthews Bark Attorney – UC San Diego wins legal battle in dispute with USC over Alzheimer’s project

Source    :  LA Times
By            :
Category : Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

UC San Diego wins legal battle in dispute with USC over Alzheimer's project
UC San Diego wins legal battle in dispute with USC over Alzheimer’s project

UC San Diego won a major legal battle Friday against USC when a judge ruled that control of a landmark project on Alzheimer’s disease belongs to the La Jolla school. The decision addressed the heart of a lawsuit that has gained international attention since UC San Diego filed it early this month, largely because it’s rare for such disagreements in the academic world to reach the courtroom. The dispute pits UC San Diego, a research powerhouse, against USC, a well-heeled institution seeking to bolster its biomedical research efforts and extend its reach to San Diego. “We never wanted to resort to legal action, but when all reasonable requests to return what is the rightful property of UC San Diego were ignored, there was no alternative,” Dr. David Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences, said in a statement. “We are pleased with today’s decision and believe it indicates the strength of our overall case.” Left unresolved Friday was UC San Diego’s request for monetary damages based on its accusations that USC, Dr. Paul Aisen and other defendants conspired to illegally transfer the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study to the Los Angeles-based university. Aisen resigned in June from UC San Diego, where he had overseen the study since 2007, to become founding director of an Alzheimer’s institute that USC was establishing in the Sorrento Valley neighborhood. In recent weeks, the two sides have argued about who owns the database for the $100-million nationwide project UC San Diego, which has overseen the study for nearly a quarter of a century, said it still retains the government funding — an assertion backed by the National Institutes of Health. Aisen and USC officials have countered that it’s academic tradition for departing faculty members to transfer their research to their new employer. They presented supporting statements from several researchers taking part in the Alzheimer’s project. After Friday’s hearing, USC attorney Glenn Dassoff told journalists that USC and Aisen’s interest in the study “is real, genuine, and unfortunately was not addressed today. This is not over.” In an email Friday night, Aisen wrote: “We all lose here. Science and public health lose when research is torn from the investigators with the passion, knowledge and skill to assure its success.”

In the courtroom, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes said she would issue a preliminary injunction early next week that will require USC to surrender custody of the Alzheimer’s project. She told USC not to manipulate data from the study or make any other changes to the database, which involves details of lab research clinical trials from dozens of sites across the country. As the next step, the two universities and their lawyers will negotiate the choice of a “special master” to supervise the process of USC restoring full control of the database to UC San Diego. This phase will involve an independent expert on bioinformatics who can determine whether information in the database has been tampered with. Dan Sharp, an attorney representing UC San Diego on behalf of the University of California Board of Regents, said USC would start returning the data next week. “How long it takes will depend on what we find in terms of what they’ve done with the [computer] system, changes they may have made,” he said. Dassoff, the USC attorney, said that although his party disagrees with Hayes’ findings, “we’ll reflect on the decision and I’m sure that [we’ll] approach any settlement discussions in good faith.” During the hearing, Hayes offered to refer the opposing sides to a settlement judge, with the aim of negotiating an end to the lawsuit instead of proceeding to a jury trial. UC San Diego alleges that Aisen, USC and as many as two dozen other defendants colluded to commit a range of violations, including contract interference, breach of duty of loyalty by an employee, commission of computer crimes, and civil conspiracy. Brenner, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and others at the university have said the defendants have harmed their school’s reputation. Aisen and his new employer have denied any wrongdoing. In the last year, USC has reached out to at least three life-science institutions in San Diego to explore a purchase, merger or other types of collaboration. None of those inquiries has resulted in a partnership. During an interview this month, USC Provost Michael Quick said his university’s envisioned footprint in San Diego could include free-standing institutes, academic consortia and joint ventures with targeted companies. The 20th century was dominated by physics. The 21st will be dominated by biomedical sciences,” Quick said. “We have to be at places where the conversations [in life sciences] are the best, and San Diego is one of those places.”

Read More : latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0725-uc-sandiego-20150725-story.html

Matthews Ryan Bark – How China’s proposed Cyber Security law could impact tech companies

Source    :  Fortune
By            :  Jonathan Vanian
Category :  Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

How China's proposed cybersecurity law could impact tech companies
How China’s proposed Cyber Security law could impact tech companies

China’s draft cybersecurity law requires companies to hold data in China and could make it hard for foreign hardware vendors to do business. When China adopted a new wide-ranging security law early this month that covers everything from politics to the environment, foreign tech companies were concerned that its broad language meant bad news for them to do business in the country. However, a draft proposal of a new cybersecurity law (link is in Chinese) issued this week shines a bit more light on some of the ways China is looking to regulate data inside the country and influence foreign technology companies, especially Internet service providers (ISP) and hardware manufactures.

According to an International Business Times report this Wednesday on the proposed law, the draft says that ISPs and Internet companies will need to store data in China, with Reuters pointing out that this refers to data collected inside of China as opposed to company data collected from countries other than China. This seems similar to Russia’s tough new cybersecurity law that calla for web companies to set up data centers in the country so that any personal data obtained in Russia on its citizens stays in Russia. The problem with that law, according to European market analysts, is that Russia doesn’t distinguish between personal data—like a person’s name and sex—and routine business data like how many ad clicks does a website operating in Russia receive on a typical day. Essentially, all business data, even manufacturing and IT data, can be interpreted as personal data under the Russian law, which a European think tank studying the law said could dampen the desire of foreign companies to work in Russia. China’s proposed law seems vague as to what exactly constitutes the type of data China wants to keep on shore, but the law is still open for modifications until August, so that issue may clear up by then. What is different between this portion of the law and Russia’s is that China will allow outside tech companies to apply for special exemptions that could allow them to hold Chinese data outside of the country.

Internet operators in China are also subject to more scrutiny under the proposed law. They will have to aid the Chinese government when it conducts criminal investigations or issues that officials believe could compromise national security. These companies will also have to allow for annual audits to determine if there are potential security concerns for the Chinese government. As for hardware manufacturers, it should come as no surprise that the proposed law calls for network equipment—like switches and routers—to be approved by the Chinese government before being sold domestically. China has made public its concerns that the United State’s National Security Agency was installing so-called backdoors within Cisco’s hardware for the purpose of spying, and as a result the country has made it much more difficult for foreign hardware companies to do business inside China. Both Cisco and Hewlett Packard have seen their sales in China suffer as the country scrutinizes imported hardware. This is why Cisco said in June that it is investing $10 billion in the country to rebuild relationships and perhaps manufacture more gear inside the country.

HP in May sold off 51% of its server and networking business in China to Tsinghua University, in the hopes of boosting sales in the country as well. It’s these type of deals that Cisco CSCO 1.87% and HP HPQ 0.29% are doing with China that allow them to potentially grow their business while appeasing the Chinese government. China does not seem like it’s going to reach compromises that totally satisfy every foreign tech company that wants to grow in the country, however. China’s official Xinhua News Agency published an editorial this week scolding foreign companies, for their intransigence. In it, Xinhua claimed that the new laws are not designed to thwart foreign companies, and that China will consider “financial input from overseas and expertise in the process.” The editorial stated that foreign companies “should first abandon their victim complex and learn to adapt to the new norms in order to continue to thrive.”

Read More : Fortune.com/2015/07/08/chinas-proposed-cybersecurity-law-impact-tech-companies/

Matthews Bark Attorney – Australia wants legal services included in trade pact

Source    : The Hindu Business Line
By            : Amiti Sen
Category : Matthews Ryan BarkMatthews Bark Attorney

Australia wants legal services included in trade pact
Australia wants legal services included in trade pact

Australia is keen to include legal services in the free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated with India despite the fact that the sector, at present, is closed to foreign players and New Delhi’s plans of partially opening it up are still tentative. There are two attorney generals in a team of about 24 Australian officials that is in India for the eighth round of negotiations on the FTA, formally known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), a government official told BusinessLine. Negotiations began on Wednesday and will go on till Friday.

“The Australians want the legal sector to be included in the pact, although there is no clarity yet on the commitments they want. We are hesitant as legal services are not open to foreigners at the moment and we cannot take on any commitments based on what might happen in the future,” the official said. Both sides are looking at signing the CECA, which would result in lower tariffs on trade in goods and more opening up of the services sector by the end of this year.

While India does not want to allow foreign lawyers in litigation, the government is looking at the possibility of opening up non-litigious services and international arbitration. “A committee of secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, is giving finishing touches to a note on phased opening up of the sector and a Cabinet note is likely to be drafted by the legal services department based on that,” another official said.

There is a possibility that the Australians might want an in-built mechanism that would ensure that once the sector is opened up, the provisions become part of CECA commitments. “India is likely to oppose such a mechanism. All that we may be ready for is an agreement to hold negotiations on the sector once it is opened up,” the official added.

The CECA holds potential as annual bilateral trade between India and Australia is around $15 billion, while China-Australia trade is at $160 billion. New Delhi wants greater access for professionals, textiles, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, leather and automobile parts, while Australia wants collaboration in the dairy sector and commitments in services sectors such as insurance, e-commerce and legal.

Read More :  thehindubusinessline.com/economy/australia-wants-legal-services-included-in-trade-pact/article7375412.ece