New Tax Laws Implemented In 2022

Many new tax laws will go into effect as early as January 1, 2022. Democrats at the state and federal level plan to increase taxes on corporations to pay for their proposals — some of which have already been passed into law, some of which seem dead on arrival in the Senate or House of Representatives. 

Representative Mary Keefe (D-Worcester) wants to hike the corporate tax rate to 9.5 percent, which was its pre-pandemic level. Estimates say the law would lead to up to half a billion in revenue each year. These propositions were made after corporate America made record profits even as most Americans struggled to pay rent.

Keefe said, “During the pandemic, 17 out of America’s top 25 corporations have made extraordinary profits and distributed 99% of their net profits to their wealthy shareholders, who are overwhelmingly white, male and among the wealthiest 10% of Americans.”

Unsurprisingly, studies have shown the vast majority of benefit from the 2017 Jobs and Tax Cut Act went to the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. 

Not sure if the new tax laws will affect you or your business? Visit Seder Law for more information or speak to a representative. Keefe wasn’t the only state representative with new ideas.

Representative Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) wants to impose a law establishing a tax based on a corporation’s profits. The tiered system would levy a tax of $456 to $150,000 annually.

Yet another proposal wants to tax the often untaxable profits that corporate empires hide away overseas.

Opponents of these measures have all sung the same song in unison: “The new measures would hurt businesses.” The evidence of such is lacking, though. Governor Charlie Baker is still against new taxes on businesses. 

State Director Chris Carlozzi of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses said, “The idea of piling on new taxes at a time when businesses are trying desperately to recover would be folly. For lawmakers to say that the state needs more tax revenue from businesses at a time when billions of dollars in pandemic relief has come into the state is disingenuous.”

Instead he and other Republicans and special interests groups prefer to cut taxes for corporations even more. Carlozzi said, “This would give the state a competitive edge by doing away with what many businesses feel is an unfair tax.”

The problem with these opposition statements is obvious: the new taxes would only target the richest earners, which are the ones who rarely pay a dime in taxes anyway. Why should only the poor have to pay taxes?

Connolly said, “As we know, corporations avoid paying taxes by employing a variety of accounting techniques and taking advantage of certain provisions in the law.”

Federal lawmakers are still pushing the Build Back Better bill, but efforts to push it through Congress have stalled in large part due to one Senator, Joe Manchin, who believes in a more conservative approach and wants to avoid hurting West Virginia’s already ailing coal industry (even though those jobs are destined to disappear anyway).

When Does The First Amendment Protect A Person From Liability?

Most religions have rules. Are you supposed to work on the Sabbath? Probably not, but some folks take this rule far more seriously than others. Let’s say John Doe is Jewish and believes strongly that he should not work on the Sabbath. The faucet in front of his property begins to leak on a cold winter day. The water from the faucet turns into ice, making the sidewalk much more slippery overnight.

John becomes aware of the problem the next day — but that day is his Sabbath. He chooses to do nothing because he feels God will judge him harshly should he work to fix the leaky faucet. It can wait one day, right? Unfortunately, no. Pedestrian Jame Smith comes along, slips, falls, and cracks her head open on the pavement. She suffers from traumatic brain injury. Her wealthy family retains a great lawyer, who sends his investigators to learn all they can from the scene of the incident.

Those investigators quickly learn that John Doe knew about the leaky faucet but chose to do nothing. The great lawyer contends that John Doe is solely liable for the slip and fall because his negligence in fixing a known maintenance issue on his property caused the accident. He seeks punitive damages to punish John Doe for this atrocity.

John Doe works hard when his god allows him to work, though, and hires a great lawyer of his own. His lawyer tells the judge that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of his client’s first amendment right to religious freedom. Jane Smith’s lawyer counters, saying that the case should move forward because Doe could have mitigated the fallout from the faucet by spreading salt or making a sign to warn pedestrians of the danger. Doe’s lawyer snipes back that these actions also constitute “work” under his client’s religious beliefs.

The case could go either way because religious freedom boundaries have yet to be determined in court. Ask your lawyer for details if you believe your religious freedom preempts you from liability.

Is Sexual Harassment Related To Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury is a branch of law devoted to those who suffered pain or loss — physical or financial — due to the negligence or voluntary actions of another. Sometimes, personal injury is caused by a larger organization such as a business or government. The type of “injury” is irrelevant when determining what constitutes a claim under this branch of law. Therefore, sexual harassment is considered personal injury. But sexual harassment cases can be different from most others.

First, sexual harassment can be part of a bigger picture that includes unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, i.e. sexual assault. Physical attacks leave a victim damaged both in body and mind, which can result in both criminal and civil action taken against a perpetrator of sexual assault. 

In fact, most damages resulting from sexual harassment are of the mind. This type of abuse is often constant. Victims don’t always know how to react or where to go for help. It can lead to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, PTSD, and emotional trauma. These symptoms can last a lifetime. That’s why personal injury cases resulting from sexual harassment or assault can be worth millions — especially when the guilty party heads a big company.

Were you subject to inappropriate touching in the workplace? Ultimately, it will be up to you and your personal injury attorney to decide how to build a case, and who is actually liable for the perpetrator’s actions. Is the perpetrator of the harassment alone in his accountability? Or did the company fail to provide necessary training or a safe work environment? These are questions that will need to be answered.

An employment attorney for Castronovo & Mckinney, LLC said, “These are my least favorite cases. Every client was taken advantage of by a coworker or employer, but victims of sexual assault are unique. They don’t feel empowered by their lawsuits, even though they should be. They usually sue for justice, which isn’t always something they win in criminal court. It’s a shame.” 

Sexual harassment cases are also different because revealing publicly such unbecoming conduct at work can sometimes be restricted by nondisclosure agreements, which are signed when taking a new job. They might require a victim to remain silent or seek arbitration instead of filing a lawsuit. New laws are taking aim at these types of agreements, and the writing is on the wall: they are not always binding. Ask your lawyer for additional advice regarding these types of agreements if you were forced to sign one.

Sometimes, settlements between the victim and company where the conduct occurred will result in one of the aforementioned NDAs or a gag order, depending on what each party can agree on. It’s important to keep in mind that these constraints are far more binding than those that occur to keep a case like this from happening in the first place. Thankfully, public interest in the #MeToo movement is resulting in a sea of change.

How Is Fault Determined After A Boating Accident?

Imagine you’re the proud owner of a brand new boat (which you immediately regret, because all boat owners do), and you get into an accident on the water. You blame the other boat owner. The other boat owner blames you. How does the law determine fault? After all, there are no roads or traffic lights on the open water. Who has the right of way? What laws might change the outcome of an investigation? Here’s what you need to know?

The authorities should always be called when a boating accident occurs, even if one party begs the other not to involve police. Do it anyway. There might be damage you haven’t detected yet. You could also have injuries that don’t present right away. The police will want to determine whether either party was operating the boat recklessly. 

Determining the cause becomes easier if one party happened to be drinking or under the influence of drugs (which isn’t all that uncommon for boat owners, who often believe it’s not likely they’ll be caught when operating a boat on unpopulated waters).

Other accidents can be pinned on the manufacturer. If there was a defect, and the defect caused the accident, then the manufacturer is at fault (and you can sue for damages if the boat was damaged or you were injured). 

It’s possible that both boat operators are partially at fault for the accident. This would result in shared liability. Insurance carriers and police will determine whether or not this is the case.

Investigators will often be able to tell whether one or both boats were speeding based on the damage done, especially if one boat was stationary at the time of the accident. 

Weather conditions might also factor into fault. For example, operating the boat in a storm might reduce the recommended speed. Boat owners might also be responsible for damaging property by speeding near docks and creating a wake.

Can I Sue My Attacker If They’re In Prison?

Imagine this situation: You were attacked on the street, but you defend yourself to the best of your ability. You manage to subdue your assailant. You flag down a witness to call the police. When they arrive, they arrest the perpetrator and send him off to jail — but they also notice that your arm is broken in two places. An ambulance arrives. You get patched up. Weeks go by before the bills finally come in the mail. You can’t possibly pay! What’s your next move?

First, when a person injures you either voluntarily or through negligence, we call that niche of law “personal injury.” In these situations, you have the right to collect “damages” by filing a lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers even work via contingency, which means you don’t pay a dime until they win your case. Sounds good? Of course it does!

But what if the person you’re trying to sue has already been arrested and is in prison?

That’s where things get slightly more complicated. You have two basic options, neither of which will likely sound wonderful. First, you can ask your lawyer if restitution is possible. Restitution is a form of repayment when victims of a crime suffer financial loss and is actually mandatory for many federal crimes. 

Because you were assaulted and suffered an expensive injury, you are almost certainly entitled to restitution. The problem, though, is that most people who commit crimes like these are already living in poverty and won’t be able to pay you back. This is especially true when the criminal is serving time in prison.

A lawyer for jgcg said, “We provide criminal defense services. Sometimes clients are slammed with restitution. Guilty or not, most of them are unable to pay these additional costs — especially after they retain legal aid. Restitution is an impractical option for victims of violent crime, but sometimes it’s the only option.”

Whether or not you receive restitution, you can still sue in civil court for additional costs you incur. Of course, the problems with this option are the same as with restitution: if the criminal cannot pay, you won’t receive a dime. 

If the perpetrator still has assets tied up through marriage, you might be able to sue successfully. You should keep in mind, though, that recouping damages might pass along the financial difficulties you suffered to the family of the defendant. Legally, you have that option. Morally, it’s up to you. 

There’s another side to this story, though. If you’re an inmate with a legal reason to sue someone who is outside of jail, you still have that right! This is especially true if the person works at the jail housing you, or the institution is guilty of cruel or unusual punishment. These lawsuits are more common than you might think, but it shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Over 2.3 million people are sitting in jail in the United States.

Can I Try A Personal Injury Case Myself In Small Claims Court?

The law can be tricky. That’s why law school takes years and years to complete — and why some would-be lawyers need more than one shot to pass the Bar exam. Because the law can never be simplified, it’s unlikely you should try a personal injury case on your own. There are exceptions, such as when the amount owed really is very small. Here is when you can and cannot try your own case.

Whether you find yourself sitting in the plaintiff’s chair or the defendant’s, the law is sort of a “pay to play” life experience. If you want the best outcome, you need a lawyer. For example, a prosecutor will never make a plea deal with a defendant who represents himself. Prosecutors like to deal with people who know what they’re doing, which means a defendant who gives up his right to counsel is in big trouble.

The same is true for a plaintiff who fails to hire a lawyer. Most individuals or companies won’t give a sole plaintiff any respect — which makes it difficult to bargain a settlement. People feel less comfortable disrespecting a lawyer because they feel more intimidated by someone they know can do real damage. That’s why you’ll want one.

You should never handle your own case when medical malpractice, premises liability, or defective products are involved. The same is true when injuries sustained are severe.

That said, claims processes can be fairly simple in small claims court. You might be able to handle a case where only a few letters or phone calls to an insurance adjuster are required. One thing is for sure: in order to sue someone else for personal injury, your organizational skills need to be impeccable. You need to keep every related scrap of paper. You need to be able to articulate exactly what happened without faltering. And you need to be able to throw around legal terms you’ve never heard before.

Can you do that?

How Is “Premise Liability” Defined By Law

Most people have never even heard the term “premise liability” used, but it can be relevant in any situation where a personal injury occurs. This is how the law defines premise liability, and what you should do when you think you might have a personal injury claim.

“Premise liability” is an umbrella term under which most other aspects of personal injury law fall. Personal injuries might include: animal bites, slip and fall, danger on the premises, negligence, inadequate security, non-gated swimming areas, inadequate maintenance, unsupervised children, etc. 

But these types of personal injury are only included under the premise liability umbrella when the negligent party is the property owner. Usually, restaurant owners or retail management are responsible for keeping the brick and mortar “premises” safe and secure. 

You can always visit the company’s website to find the names of individuals who might have been responsible for increasing security at the brick and mortar location where you were at the time of an incident.

There are situations where the owner of the infrastructure might not be responsible for injuries that occur there. For example, a landlord might not be responsible for injuries that occur in your rental unit if the lease made you responsible for the underlying cause. For example, if a friend punches you in the face, you can’t sue your landlord for failing to establish adequate security measures on the premises. 

Then again, if your child drowns in the pool because the gate was broken — and your landlord knew about the maintenance issue but did nothing — then you have a case. The same is true if someone breaks into your apartment by taking advantage of a locking mechanism defect when that lock was recalled. It’s your landlord’s responsibility to know about these issues. Not knowing is tantamount to negligence. 

An example of liability of a store or restaurant owner might occur when the floor has been mopped but there is no “wet floor” sign to warn customers. There are less common occurrences, of course. Let’s say there’s a flickering light in the store. You walk underneath at the exact time the bulb explodes. A shard of glass lands in your eye. You’ll need surgery — and the store or restaurant owner is liable for the entire incident. 

“Duty of care” usually factors into premise liability cases. Duty of care is the measure of caution owed to a specific type of visitor. Sometimes state laws differentiate between “invitees,” or those who were invited to the property for business, versus “social guests,” who were invited there absent a professional relationship. 

Duty of care can also depend on other aspects such as age. A customer might not be owed the same duty of care as a child who swims at the apartment pool. Adults are expected to accompany children to these locations, but premise liability is why apartment complexes with pools usually have a lifeguard too. 

State law might also result in restrictions on how much a plaintiff might receive during a lawsuit or limit the amount of time someone has to file one.

Can I Choose Incarceration Over Probation?

The technical answer is no. The determination of whether or not a defendant receives jail or probation is entirely up to the judge. There’s one big caveat, though. The judge usually follows the recommendation of the prosecutor, who functions as the hand of the Attorney General’s office. But the prosecutor and a defense attorney will normally come to an agreement so a defendant can take a plea deal to avoid trial. 

What this means is simple: A defendant’s attorney has a big say in what the terms of that agreement will be. Does the defendant prefer incarceration over probation? They need only let their attorney know they’ve thought it through, and the attorney is ethically bound to attempt such an agreement. So whereas you can’t technically choose incarceration over probation — there’s the obvious loophole. 

Of course, not everyone would prefer to be jailed instead of enjoying freedom. Then again, there are benefits.

The first and most obvious? In jail, you get free room and board. Outside of jail, there are a plethora of fees associated with probation. They can add up. They might include a reporting fee, fines and court costs, and DWI education or vehicular alcohol lock fees if applicable. Many people who are on probation must also complete a number of hours of community service. That’s not the case when you’re stuck in jail.

Another benefit? Violating probation can result in stiff legal penalties than if you had committed the same crime outside of probation. That’s the point of probation! But if the defendant is likely to commit another crime while on probation, then the best option is to go to jail instead. At the end of the day, it might result in far less incarceration time.

It’s also worth noting that probation and jail time are disproportionate to one another because jail is considered the stiffer punishment. That means probation lasts a lot longer. Want the punishment over faster? Ask for jail.

Are Undocumented Immigrants Committing More Crime?

Many questions that we receive involve whether or not undocumented immigration causes increased crime rates in bigger cities like Los Angeles, Miami, or Dallas. The short answer is “no, not really…but yes, technically.” What exactly does that mean? Well, first you need to understand that simply being an undocumented immigrant is usually a crime. Overstayed your visa? Hopped the fence? Well, those are technically crimes. So when you hear how many undocumented individuals are criminals, that’s where those statistics are coming from.

Another reason why undocumented individuals are convicted of crime is the status quo. Those who flee to the country generally don’t do so because their pockets are leaking with American dollar bills. Plenty of people are stopped by police officers. If those officers don’t find a valid ID, chances are you’re getting arrested no matter who you are. It’s a lot more likely if they can’t find out who you are. On top of that, once arrested they can’t afford an attorney who can actually help.

An anonymous lawyer for the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman said, “We always recommend immigrating to the United States the old fashioned way, but the truth is harder for most people to comprehend. It’s just not an option for everyone. Moving is a huge financial drain for most of us, and they’re not coming from places where wealth is the norm. Heck, even your average American would have more trouble just emigrating to Canada than they might expect. It’s tough.”

And some people just think immigrants are immune from the law in the United States. They aren’t. When they commit a crime, they’re treated with far more scrutiny than anyone else. But if you were the victim of a crime committed by an undocumented individual, you have the legal right to call the police to report the crime or sue in civil court if there were damages. 

What would surprise some people in this country is that the rates of “actual” crime among undocumented immigrants are usually lower than those of the native population. One Texas study published in the PNAS used data compiled from arrest data compared crime rates in various groups, including undocumented individuals, legal immigrants, and native-born citizens living in Texas. 

The study found that citizens of the United States were about twice as likely to be arrested for a violent crime, even more likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses, and a whopping four times more likely to be arrested for property crimes. What do these statistics actually mean? Well, when you remove the “they’re all criminals” element, undocumented immigrants and fair immigrants aren’t actually committing any crimes. Undocumented immigrants are considered criminals just for being here. 

Other studies have found similar data to satisfy similar conclusions. The perception that immigrants commit more criminal activity will likely persist due to news outlets like Fox News or popular public figures like Donald Trump, who twist the truth or tell outright lies. But perception is only reality for the people who are forced to suffer for it. 

New DUI Laws Going Into Effect In 2022

You would never know it from the headlines that greet you every morning, but 2022 will mark changes to many laws governing penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Many states have implemented such changes in order to strengthen existing laws. You might see a stronger police presence on the roads during the holidays. You might see more checkpoints where none existed before. 

One bipartisan $78 billion transportation bill currently sitting in Congress is aimed at reducing the number of DUI fatalities. Tens of thousands of people are killed in automobile accidents every year, 10,000 of which are the result of alcohol. 

The bill is part of the larger $1 trillion infrastructure package. $17 billion has been set aside for auto safety. The bill’s language says that all vehicles made starting in 2026 must include technology to “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

Those convicted of DUI will know that similar technologies — albeit not passive ones — already exist and are in use. Sometimes those convicted must use a breathalyzer attached to the vehicle before the car will unlock. Fail the breathalyzer and you cannot drive the car. But new technologies would need to be developed to make the same system work passively. 

What you might not already know is that several automakers are already working on it. BMW, General Motors and Nissan are trying to make cars with infrared cameras that check for inattentiveness or impairment to save lives. If the driver shows signs of impairment, a warning sounds. Continue the behavior, and the warning becomes louder. If the behavior continued after that, then the car would automatically trip the hazard lights, decelerate, and pull to the side of the road. No word on whether or not the authorities would automatically be called. 

Other safety features (like emergency braking) that are mostly standardized already will become so by law.