Reasons to Update Your Will

A will is a legally binding contract that is widely considered one of the most important documents you will ever sign. The majority of parents with children actually do not have a will and without one you will not be able to allocate your children any benefits. The general consensus is that after death the eldest family member will have control of your estate, however the reality is this will be decided in court and a judge will end up with the final say. Here are three fantastic reasons to update your will.

Relationships

Over the years you may have developed new relationships with people and organisations, such as finding a new partner or becoming a member of a charity or church. You may want to adjust your will to eliminate any old relationships so that they will no longer receive your benefits upon death. Newborns can be listed as beneficiaries and children who have reached adolescents can be listed as executors.

Income and Assets

You may have listed your car, estate or business in your will and these assets may have changed. Even if you have not sold any of these assets, the value has still changed, for instance your car depreciates and your business grows in revenue. As such the insured amount listed on your will is going to be different and a lot of complications can arise when dealing with these matters after death.

Residency

The location where you created your will is governed by state laws. If you have changed location since then, you will need to consult an attorney to find the legitimacy of your will. State laws can be very different from each other and have different qualifying requirements.

The Law

Laws change all the time and you will want to keep up to date with any legislation affecting your will. The best way is to visit an attorney of the state who can help to validate your will for you and inform you of any changes in law.

Yearly Checklist

The best way to keep up to date is to simply have a yearly check up. Law firms specialising in estate battles can review your will and can work with you to successfully create your ideal will. At the end of the financial year is when most changes take place and is the best time to review your estate, assets, income, superannuation and all other elements that fall into your will.

List down a checklist and consider the following 10 points: children, marriage/separation, death of beneficiaries, location changes, circumstantial changes, state laws, taxation law, time since last review, new business and income increase/decrease.

Your will dictates where your assets will go after death and without one a judge will decide for you. This includes ownership of children under the matured age. If you would like to know more or if you are ready to take another look at your will then jump online and search for a law firm that specialises in estate battles.

An Objective Prepaid Legal Services Review – Is It A Scam Or Should You Join

The History Of Prepaid Legal Services:

Prepaid Legal Services, Inc is a multilevel marketing company that sells legal membership plans. The plans provide for legal service benefits, including unlimited attorney consultation, letter writing, document preparation and review, will preparation, traffic violation defense, automobile-related criminal charges defense and a general trial defense. Basically, they allow customers to have access to legal representation and attornies for a FRACTION of what it would cost outside of the membership.

Founder, Harland Stonecipher, started Prepaid Legal in the early 70s after noticing an enourmous need in the market place. The flagship product is the Life Events Plan and currently there are more than 1.5 million members in North America. A couple of years ago, due to a demand in the market place, the ID Theft Protection feature was added to the membership. The power of Prepaid Legal’s concept is that it sells a very unique service that people from all walks of life can get value from. They really don’t have any real competitors in the traditional business or MLM arena.

Training And Leadership In Prepaid Legal Services, Inc.

Prepaid Legal Services is led by some of the most dynamic and documented leaders in the network marketing industry. Besides founder Harland Stonecipher, the corporate team contains many seasoned MLM veterans like Jeff Olson and co-CEOs Randy Harp and Mark Brown. On top of that, there are many seasoned veterans that sit on the Board of Directors. One example is current Board member, Stephen R. Hague, A 35-year veteran of the insurance industry, Hague has served as Chairman and CEO of several insurance companies. Hague replaced former Board member, John Addison, co-CEO of Primerica, when Addison resigned in 2003.

Prepaid Legal Services, Inc. mainly focuses on building a business using offline building methods like contacting your warm market and handing out company DVDs to sharp people you come across. This DVD-approach has caused a major surge in the company’s recruting numbers across the US and Canada. With that said, they have recently instituted online presentation, lead capture pages and webinars for reps that want to leverage the internet to build their business.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Prepaid Legal Services, Inc.?

Prepaid Legal Services, Inc. has many benefits if you are searching for a home based business opportunity. Prepaid Legal leaders are great at teaching and promoting the funadamentals of building a network marketing business. The methods that are taught are simple yet effective, assuming you do not mind contacting people you know. Another attractive feature is, if you are uncomfortable at giving presentations, there are a ton of tools, resources and systems you can use to recruit people into your business. Another huge benefit that might catch your eye if you’re researching Prepaid Legal’s opportunity is that there’s a very generous income opportunity just from selling memberships. In short, the Prepaid Legal opportunity is great for the average person to join and make a profit in their first 30 days.

One disadvantage (if you want to call it that) that Prepaid Legal Services has is the potential for a rep to receive a chargeback. In other words, if a customer cancels their prepaid legal membership within it’s 1st year, the associate willl get a chargeback. Personally, I don’t really see this as a disadvantage because all businesses, traditional or MLM, have some sort of chargeback feature when commission is paid on a customer that cancels, ex. life insurance.

In closing, Prepaid Legal Services, Inc. is an established company that is marketing a service in a groundfloor industry. Besides having a valuable service and a rich comp plan, the fact that customers who have no interest in joining a network marketing business will still buy and hold onto the membership is a huge benefit you need to look at if you’re interested in building a customer base that’ll pay you on-going residual incoem for years to come.

Ca Public Death Records Free Access Over The Internet

State of California Death Records are under the safekeeping of the California Department of Public Health Office. Requests for the files can be directed to the office as well. If you want to obtain death files in other states, you will have to wait several years because only then will they become available to the public. In California, you can get them as soon as they are finalized.

The public health office offers two kinds of death files: the informational version and the authorize version. Informational versions include the basic pieces of information and are only accepted as an information aide to tell about the death of an individual. It is not accepted as an official file for any legal endeavour. On the other hand, an authorize version is contains pretty much the same information but it is recognized as a legal file that can be used in certain legal endeavours. Authorized versions are only offered to immediate family which include the spouse, siblings, parents, and their children. A text stating not a valid document for identity is printed across the page of an information version.

Any member of the general public is allowed to submit a request for death files, provided that the correct procedure is followed. A request form must be completed appropriately. Information such as the name of the dead person and your reason for requesting the death file should also be included. Send the completed request form back to the office, together with a government-issued ID and the corresponding payment. A sworn statement should also be included if you want to get an authorize version of the files. A no-refund policy takes into full effect once payment is done, whether the files are found or not.

It is crucial that you are accurate with the information that you provide when conducting a search. The normal return period is usually between 2 to 10 weeks. If you want to obtain the records sooner, providing the specific year and county where the divorce was finalized will help a great deal. Death files that date back from 1905 up to present day can be found at the Public Health Office. If you know the specific county, you can go to that place and make the request there. If not, the Public Health office can do that task for you.

Free Death Records are also offered by some online search tools. There are many search tools you can find on the Web but prior to choosing which one to go for, do a background search on them first. Figure out if they are regarded as a dependable source or not. You just have to know the full name of a dead person to start a background search.

Online search tools are either fee-based or for free. Fee-based search tools are able to provide an in-depth version of the death files. Search tools that offer Death Records Free Search can get you just the basic pieces of information. To show respect to the family of a dead person, the cause of death is usually not disclosed except to the immediate family.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you experienced a personal injury due to a recent accident? If so, you may have already learned that it is nearly impossible to settle a claim in Los Angeles without the help of a personal injury lawyer.

Accidents can be so traumatic that people often fail to make the right decisions to ensure that they will be fairly compensated for their losses. A good personal injury lawyer can be your best advocate. His or her knowledge, training and experience can increase your chance for a fair and just resolution of your case.

When we refer to “personal injury” we are talking about any loss or injury caused by an accident, including automobile or workplace accidents. If the accident is the fault of someone else, you are legally entitled to receive fair and just compensation for your losses.

Everyone with a substantial injury claim should seek the professional assistance of a personal injury lawyer. A Personal Injury Lawyer has an understanding of the legal rules and procedures that govern accident and insurance claims. With this knowledge, a personal injury lawyer can build your case. The lawyer’s careful preparation and presentation of your claim increases the odds that your claim will be settled for a fair and reasonable sum of money.

If you or anyone you know has experienced an accident or been damaged in some manner physically or emotionally through the wrongful act of another, seek professional assistance from www.geklaw.com. Backed by more than three decades of experience, GEKLAW features a roster of qualified and experienced lawyers. Our goal is to serve our clients with honor, integrity and enthusiasm in order to achieve a fair and just resolution of their injury claim.

GEKLAW handles a wide variety of major injury and damage cases, including automobile accidents, brain or spinal injury, burn injuries, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, unsafe premises, wrongful death, defective products, toxic substances, general negligence, employment wrongs and medical malpractice. For more information, visit geklaw.com.

Alex is a well-known author who writes on topics related toPersonal Injury Lawyer, Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Attorneys Los Angeles for the site www.geklaw.com.

Car Accident Lawyer Chicago – Best Lawyer to Provide Legal Help

One of the commonest causes for personal injuries in Chicago is auto accidents including car accidents. Person who suffers with injuries in car accident may not be guilty and people not guilty need to be reasonably compensated for the expenses they had to incur in treatments and medication apart from the losses in terms of damage to their property and monetary loss due to inability to work for many days. For these victims of negligence a help from Car Accident Lawyer Chicago is essential as an accident lawyer can provide much needed relief to the victims in fighting for their compensation. These lawyers can form suitable legal cases against the guilty and negotiate with the insurers for a proper compensation.

If someone gets injured in car accidents due to the fault of someone else, he/she needs to contact a car accident lawyer Chicago immediately as these lawyers are very tough litigators having many years of experience in this field who fight for the rights enjoyed by the auto accident victims in the Chicago metropolitan area. Not only Chicago, they also handle cases of other parts of the state of Illinois. These lawyers possess an effective combination of know how, experience and financial resources to fight for the rights of the accident victims. They outwork to ensure the victim gets compensated fully for the injuries in car accidents due to the fault of someone else.

Victims of car accident need to contact the Car Accident Lawyer Chicago as soon as the accident takes place with the adequate proofs like the photographs of the accident site, the damaged vehicle etc which will act as a base for preparing suitable case against the guilty. They will evaluate the proofs and material facts in evaluating the scope of litigation. The victim does not have to pay a single penny until they win the case in their favor and get the fair compensation.

About The Author

Terry Karlsgodt is a legal expert who has experience in representing their clients in personal injury, workers’ compensation, motor vehicle accident, wrongful death and social security disability cases. For More Information Please Visit, Car Accident Lawyer Chicago and Chicago Auto Accident Attorney.

Adoption Network Law Center Consultants & Newborn Adoptions

Many dream of having a child, and those who are unable to have children may opt to adopt one. Finding the right child to raise in your loving home is very important, and professionals like Adoption Network Law Center consultants can help couples find the right child. Consulting services that assist with newborn adoptions can be the first step to realize this goal.

Some families may choose to adopt children that come from troubled homes. While this is a noble act, they must ensure that they have the resources to deal with the issues of emotionally fragile children. Case in point: an article that was featured in The Telegraph shares the story of a mother named Rachel who was having trouble with her adopted son Tom. Tom came from an abusive home.

Prior to the adoption, the caretaker had informed Rachel and her husband of Tom’s emotional issues. At times, things got out of hand, and both Tom and his adoptive parents ended up needing the help of professional counselors. Families in similar situations can also turn to professional counselors to resolve their issues and allow emotional wounds to heal. Although difficult to do, there are ways to handle kids whose early lives were troubled.

Adoption means the child will be entering an entirely new world, away from the environment he has grown accustomed to. This poses some challenges, both for the new parents and the child. If adoptive parents dont think they are equipped to handle these challenges, they can choose to adopt a newborn. Adoption services like Adoption Network Law Center will gladly help them with this.

In this arrangement, the adjustment period will not be as hard on the child, if at all. A birth mother also has the option to meet the adoptive familythis way, she can ensure that her baby will grow up with the same beliefs and values she has if she prefers it that way. Even if she chooses to limit contact, the adoptive parents will still be evaluated via an adoption homestudy process that will be conducted in the state they live in.

Compassionate adoption services assist birth mothers who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies. Apart from exclusively recognizing pre-qualified families for the adoption process, these services can also provide assistance to birth mothers in terms of free housing and limited financial support (as permitted by state law).

Posted in Law

Factors Why You should Employ Employment Attorney NYC

Searching for and settling to a career is tough especially with the present state of the economy. Securing your job means putting more effort and doing more work since the employment competition is pretty tight. Nonetheless, with the economy becoming so unstable, it is no longer surprising why businesses are laying off a few of their employees. Nowadays, it’s just normal to see business abuse, particularly in New York. As a matter of fact, a number of workplaces are discriminating the jobless. /p>

There are numerous factors that can affect a person’s chances of getting hired. Cronyism is among these reasons. Only those individuals who have connections are the ones who can simply get the job. The reality is, there are lots of New Yorkers who find it hard get a job, but find it easy to find several properties to buy. Evidently, there’s a slow growth in the job gains. Adding to that, a few employees are also having issues with job security.

With various issues arising in the modern working environment, having dependable employment attorneys NYC becomes necessary. These people can provide assistance for employees of huge companies, small businesses and nonprofit organizations as far as employment and civil cases are concerned. What is best about them is they also offer their services internationally. Employees’ race, age, sex, disability and religion discrimination is not new to them. Through this, a lot of workers will be able to avoid getting stereotyped in the field they are in.

Whether your case involves harassment, gender equality issues, sexual harassment, breach of contract, executive compensation, or problems within partnerships, the employment lawyers can absolutely assist you. Other things available by the employmentattorneys are counseling and advice for financial institutions and other companies in numerous states, assistance concerning new business initiatives, acquisitions, joint ventures and the likes, drafting and revising employee handbooks, and other employment-related documents. What they do is to maintain a sense of fairness and equality among all employees. They stand to protect staff from the maltreatment or abuse of power among businesses, which would make certain that all employees will receive equal treatment. Nevertheless, bear in mind that both parties have existing laws to secure them.

In addition to the aforementioned support that they can provide, they will also strengthen the professional bond between employers and employees. In some companies, employees get to receive a “value exchange.- Through this, a fun, thriving, and fully engaged environment of a workplace is expected. A normal workplace can then be improved. Other than offering employees a sense of freedom, this will also help them to become productive as they are very pleased with what they’re doing.

In terms of legal issues concerning your business and job, it’s best to have the aid of the New York employment attorneys. Be it professional or social classes, they know as to how discrimination can cause huge complications. They also have a deep understanding about small and family-owned businesses that are caught up in legal matters with not enough financial resources. In terms of civil litigation, you can count on the expertise and experience of these people. You can personally visit their office to discuss matters to assure the proper legal claims in all cases.

The very best way to learn more about EmploymentAttorneys is to make the most of your time and start in a place where you feel comfortable. Being in a hurry will just decelerate your improvement because you might overlook the important information. Take a peek at https://www.facebook.com/youngandma to learn more about EmploymentAttorney. Set up a certain goal for yourself so that you can be focused on what you are planning to do.

Islamic Divorce in New York State

Muslims residing in the State of New York are in a dual situation when it comes to the implementation of family law. On one hand, they are governed by the religious law of Islam, known as Islamic sharia, and on the other hand, the secular family law of the state of New York. To Muslims, the family law of Islam mandates that marriage and divorce among Muslims should be done in accordance with the Islamic sharia, regardless of whether they live in an Islamic or secular country. Civil divorce decrees obtained by secular courts are not recognized by Islamic sharia.

Under Islamic law, a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, whereas a Muslim woman is prohibited from marrying non-Muslim man. Under these rules, a non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim man in compliance with Islamic sharia is subject to the rules of Islam in the areas of divorce, child custody and inheritance. In other words, a non-Muslim woman who gets married to a Muslim man in accordance with Islamic sharia, loses custody of her children in case of divorce, or in case the husband dies. Consequently, a non-Muslim woman marrying to a Muslim man is forced, under the rules of Islamic sharia, to surrender custody of her son when he reaches the age of seven, and her daughter at the age of nine. She also prohibited from inheritance. These rules are applied throughout Muslim countries with a system of sharia-based family law in place.

Marriage Contracts in Islamic Sharia
Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the marriage contract should include: (1) names and addresses of the couple; (2) name of the guardian of the bride; (3) names and addresses of two male witnesses; and (4) the amount of mahr, or a promise of money or its equivalent to be given by the husband to the bride. Like any other civil contracts, Islamic marriage contract should be in the form of offer and acceptance by the parties.

Contrary to the popular notion that mahr is dowry; it is not. A dowry is what the wife contributes to her marriage while mahr is an obligation on the husband to pay his future bride. Others call it a gift; it is not a gift either, because mahr is an obligation on the husband and is mandated by the Quran. The Quran calls it sadaq (Quran 4:4). If no stipulation of mahr is provided in the marriage contract, the marriage remains legal and in effect; in such a situation, the “qadi” (judge) will determine the amount of mahr, which remains a property of the wife alone. The amount of mahr can be paid partially: up-front (Arabic, muqaddam), and deferred until divorce or death of the husband (Arabic, muakhar), or it may be prepaid in full before the consummation of the marriage.

Legal Status of the Mahr Provision in Islamic Law
The most important feature of the mahr provision is that one party makes an offer and the other can accept or refuse to accept. It is a financial settlement between the couple in case a divorce occurs or the husband dies. Although, Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride.

In the State of New York, an Islamic marriage contract involving mahr may be considered premarital agreement for a divorce settlement. In legal terms, this is called a concurrence of wills or meeting of the minds of the future husband and his future wife. This also means that each party from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their acceptance, and a contract was formed when both parties met such a requirement.

The basic rule is that a premarital contract will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the law of the state in which it was entered into. Thus an Islamic marriage contract signed in Egypt according to the Egyptian law for example, must be interpreted according to the law of Egypt. The Restatement of the Law Second Conflict of Laws 3d, Chapter 8, Contracts, is clear about the law for the state chosen by the parties to a contract. The text of the Restatement reads: “(1) The law of the state chosen by the parties to govern their contractual rights and duties will be applied if the particular issues is one which the parties could have resolved by an explicit provision in their agreement directed to that issue.”

Looking at both academic and case studies in this area of law, this article points the reader in the direction of the current trends in the treatment of mahr in New York State and to address Islamic family law issues relevant to New York State law and the working of its legal system. The mahr provision in an Islamic marriage contract has been interpreted differently in other states. For more information on treatment of mahr in other states, the individual should seek legal advice.

Interpretation of the Mahr in New York State
Muslim men and women assert their Islamic legal rights in American family courts; as a result, Islamic sharia governing their marriages and divorces becomes an important and complicated part of the American legal landscape. This leads to a discussion of court cases involving Muslim marriage and divorce litigations in the State of New York, as well as whether New York courts will enforce the terms of Muslim marriage contracts, mainly the mahr provision.

New York courts have jurisdiction over divorce cases within its territory, with specific focus on premarital contract structured in accordance with foreign laws. And, various state courts have found no public policy prohibition in enforcing such agreements. In New York, a mahr agreement may be interpreted within the context of a contractual obligation.

In Aziz v. Aziz, the couple entered into a mahr agreement which required the payment of $5,032, with $32 advanced and $5,000 deferred until divorce. The New York court ruled that the contract conformed to New Yorks contract requirements, and that “its secular terms are enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” (See Aziz v. Aziz, N.Y.S.2d at 124).

In this case, the husband argued that the mahr agreement provided in the Islamic marriage contract could not be enforced because it was a religious document and was not enforceable as a contract. The wife responded by stating that although the mahr is a religious stipulation; its secular terms can be properly enforced by the court. The court agreed with the wife and ordered the husband to pay the deferred mahr. The court found that the mahr agreement complied with the necessary statutory requirements to be recognized and enforceable as a premarital agreement and held that the secular terms of the mahr agreement were “enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” The court stated that the mahr agreed to by the couple constituted a secular debt of $5,000 and ordered the husband to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

The case was based entirely on another New York of Appeals case of Avitzur v. Avitzur involving a Jewish Ketubah in which a Jewish woman sued for specific performance to force her ex-husband to appear before a Beth Din (Jewish Court). Under Jewish Law, only a man can grant a divorce, or “Get”. Until he does, the woman cannot remarry within the Jewish faith to anybody. Her children will then be considered illegitimate. In order that a “Get” may be obtained, both husband and wife have to appear before the Beth Din. The husband refused to appear, leaving the woman in a state of marital limbo, making her an “agunah.” The New York Court of Appeals found that the Jewish ketubah constituted a valid premarital agreement that could be enforced despite the religious underpinnings of the agreement.

Conclusion
As the second largest religion, and with the number of Muslims immigrating to the United State on the rise, American courts are more frequently looking into Islamic divorce litigations between Muslim couples. Out of respect to Islamic law and culture, American courts attempt to apply certain provisions from Islamic sharia, such as the mahr contract in divorce cases involving Muslim couples. By doing so, American courts risk involving their arguments with gender and economic inequalities between Muslim men and women, leaving Muslim women destitute. The application of mahr agreements in Islamic divorce in the United States prevents women from exercising their rights to equitable distribution of marital assets upon divorce. If the courts need to extend their respect to Islamic law in divorce situations, they should look into whether the wife had a choice in signing the mahr agreement. Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, the Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride. Other states do not regard the mahr to be a premarital contract. Individuals seeking information on the treatment of mahr by other states should seek legal advice from a competent attorney.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Republishing of this article is hereby granted by the author.

Deller Law Riversides Prestigious Family Law Firm

Family law cases are emotional and stressful. Changing support orders, obtaining move-away orders and custody agreements require a court hearing. If the case contains allegations of domestic violence, it is likely that these hearings will be longer and more frequent. The complexity of these cases many times makes it necessary to hire a Riverside divorce lawyer or Riverside domestic violence attorney.

**This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. If you are involved in a family law case, contact Deller Family Law to discuss the specifics of your situation. **

Modifying a child support or alimony order usually requires returning to court. A judge will not change the terms of a support agreement without evidence of a valid basis for the change. Individuals seeking to reduce the amount of support they pay will need to show a change in their ability to pay the amount or that the recipient is no longer in need of as much money. Individuals seeking to increase the amount of support will likely need to demonstrate that they are receiving less money than they need, that there is no other resource for additional funds and that they are legally eligible to receive additional support.

A move-away order permits a parent to leave the city or state of their current residence with the child that is the subject of a custody arrangement. This order is usually required when the move will take the child further from the other parent than is legally acceptable. In these cases, the individual seeking to move must demonstrate that a pressing need, such as acquiring a new or better job or being closer to family, requires the move. Because a move-away order changes the original custody arrangement, the childs parents will have to negotiate new custody terms. Many times, this negotiation cannot occur until after the court grants a parents request to move. This typically means that the parties would need to attend another hearing to obtain court approval of the new agreement.

Domestic violence in a divorce case is handled very seriously. If either party claims to have been the victim of domestic violence, a case could easily include a criminal hearing, injunctions and potentially even jail time for one of the parties. The severity of these penalties makes it necessary to hire a Riverside domestic violence attorney.

The complexity of modifying support orders and obtaining a move-away order usually makes acquiring legal representation essential to a successful suit. Gathering sufficient evidence of changed circumstances and presenting a clear, concise argument for why a support order should be modified are not easily accomplished without some understanding of the court system and applicable family laws.

There are many Riverside divorce and domestic violence lawyers, but not all are experienced or prepared to handle contentious, difficult or emotional cases. Deller Family Law has the expertise and resources required to handle divorce cases, domestic violence allegations and to arrange move-away orders. Contact Deller Family law today at (951) 680-9000 to discuss your case.

Point of Care Test Cups Held to be a Prohibited Benefit to Physicians Who Could Not Otherwise Bill

When a physician cannot bill for test results, and a company offers to give that physician those test results for free, a Florida Federal Court has ruled that the company is offering the physician prohibited remuneration. On May 5, 2015 the Middle District of Florida granted partial summary judgment on the latest motion in a contentious litigation between Ameritox Ltd. and Millennium Laboratories, Inc. Ameritox and Millennium are competitors and clinical laboratories that screen urine specimens for the presence of drugs. Millennium provided free point of care testing cups to physicians, who use the cups for initial testing and then return the cups back to Millennium for confirmation tests. Physicians do not bill patients or insurance companies for the point of care tests. Ameritox claimed that the provision of free point of care testing cups to physicians violates the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark law. Neither law allows a private citizen to make a claim against another private citizen for its violation (i.e., a government entity would have to assert a cause of action for violation of these laws against a private company). Ameritox argued, however, that Millennium’s alleged violations of the laws provided a basis for Ameritox’s unfair competition claims. The Stark Law prohibits physicians from referring their Medicare and Medicaid patients to business entities with which they have financial relationships. The term financial relationship includes compensation arrangements involving remuneration between the physician and the entity. The Stark law does provide exceptions from the definition of remuneration. However, the Court determined that, in the event that a free device provides an additional benefit to a physician, the device is considered prohibited remuneration. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits health care providers from knowingly and willingly offering to pay any remuneration to induce a physician to refer a patient for services covered by Medicare or Medicaid. It defines remuneration as including -transfers of items or services for free or for other than fair market value-. The Court held that the provision of free point of care testing cups to physicians constitutes remuneration (under both the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute) when those physicians could not otherwise bill for testing of the same specimen. The Court reasoned that provision of free point of care testing cups provides a valuable benefit to physicians in the form of free preliminary test results that the physicians could not have otherwise obtained. The Court left open for the jury to decide the provision of free point of care testing cups to physicians constitutes remuneration when physicians could bill for the testing done with the cup and agreed not to. As an academic aside, apart from this lawsuit and applicable Federal law, it is important to note that Florida law contains an anti-kickback statute that is specific to clinical laboratories. The law is broad and does not contain the safe harbor exceptions incorporated into the Patient Brokering Act. Clinical laboratories operating in Florida are well-served to become educated about this law.

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