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Real Estate – Purchasing a Home?

Real Estate – Purchasing a Home?

Spring and summer are the most popular times for first-time home buyers to purchase their first house. It is also a popular time for current homeowners to upgrade or downsize depending upon their needs.

In Indiana, there is no requirement that a lawyer be involved with a real estate purchase. Most of the time there will not be a reason to involve another professional beyond your Realtor, Loan Officer, and Title Company. But what about those times when something does not feel right about the title work, home inspection, or closing documents? What if you are buying the property from via a For-Sale-By-Owner transaction? What exactly are all of the documents you will sign at closing?

At any point during a real estate closing from before signing the purchase agreement through closing, if you are uncomfortable or concerned, do not hesitate to contact Goodin Abernathy, LLP. Purchasing a home is one of the most exciting, but stressful times of a person’s life. We have the experience in resolving conflicts in real estate transactions and can sit down with you to discuss your concerns. Sometimes a simple discussion is needed, other times you may need one of our attorneys to become more involved.

This is a large investment for you. Goodin Abernathy, LLP wants to help you enjoy your new home. Contact us for a consultation!

GA Welcomes Attorney, Garrett Lewis (Video)

Transcript:

Jim Browne:  Hey, welcome to Goodin Abernathy. I’m attorney Jim Browne. We have a new member to our group, Garrett Lewis. He is a young attorney, and I thought we would spend a little time with him so you get to know who he is and what he can do for you.  Come on in, Garrett.

Garrett Lewis: Alright, glad to be here Jim.

Jim Browne:  Where are you from, Garrett?

Garrett Lewis:  So, I’m actually from the South Bend area. I practiced there for a couple years before moving down here.

Jim Browne: What time of law did you focus on?

Garrett Lewis: We did Real Estate; we did Torts, which is contracts, defamation, things like that; and intellectual property, which is sort of copyrights, trademarks and patents.

Jim Browne: Do you have a typical client that you helped with the intellectual property?

Garrett Lewis: Yea, we dealt with small businesses. We had a few global businesses that we worked with and a lot of individual clients  with patents and trademarks.

Jim Browne: What about people with inventions?

Garrett Lewis: All, all the time.

Jim Browne: Awesome.

Garrett Lewis: Yea, some that we knew weren’t going to anywhere right out of the gate and some that where very successful.

Jim Browne: That’s great. Where you go to school?

Garrett Lewis: So I went to Purdue and I studied business first, “Boiler up!”  And then after that, I went straight from Purdue to Valparaiso for law school.

Jim Browne: I’m happy you joined us, remind me when did you start here?

Garrett Lewis: I started in April of this year.

Jim Browne: Right in the middle of the Covid.

Garrett Lewis: Right in the middle of it, right.

Jim Browne: And what areas of law are you focusing on right now?

Garrett Lewis: So right now, we still do Real Estate work but also do Personal Injury, Workers Comp and sort of ADA and EEOC Discrimination.

Jim Browne: Well, what’s that? I mean is that employment law type of work?

Garrett Lewis: Yea predominantly. Yep.

Jim Browne: And you are helping clients – individuals with their questions about discrimination? Tell us about that for a second.

Garrett Lewis: Yeah, so it sort of depends – when it comes to the ADA – businesses, for example, have legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations and….

Jim Browne: so, there are seven core areas – age, race, religion, sexual discrimination, physical disabilities – those are things that you’re focusing on?

Garrett Lewis: Correct

Jim Browne: Great. You’ve already had a jury trial in that area… and what court was it in?

Garrett Lewis: So that was actually in the southern district in the…

Jim Browne: A federal court?

Garrett Lewis: A federal court, yea.

Jim Browne: And that trial, what was it about?

Garrett Lewis: So, that case was about a woman who was working at a grocery store for about 12 years and because of her chronic conditions and disabilities, she needed to be able to use a chair, as necessary.

Jim Browne: And the new employer said “No, you can’t use the chair.”

Garrett Lewis: That’s exactly right.

Jim Browne: So, it’s something probably a pretty easy fix.

Garrett Lewis: It was a very easy fix.

Jim Browne: You had a nice result with that jury trial?

Garrett Lewis: We did.

Jim Browne: You where able to learn some things.

Garrett Lewis: Yes.

Jim Browne: Give me one thing that stood out to you about that process.

Garrett Lewis: Well, first thing is you know maybe as a last resort everybody paid attention on the jury, which was nice – and whereas outside of the court room, Covid has sort of made remote working a little bit more convenient, inside the courtroom it’s made it much more of a challenge.

Jim Browne: I understand, so you’re preparing and you’re going to teach us old guys what to do about those technological challenges right?

Garrett Lewis: Yep.

Jim Browne: Well, I’m glad you’re on board Garrett. If you have questions about any of those areas of law please call us at Goodin Abernathy. A lot of your questions can be answered by phone, and we really care about the quality and responsiveness of our work, so please call us at 317-843-2606. You’ll get in touch with whichever attorney probably best suits the area of law you’re looking for, and we appreciate you tuning in to Goodin Abernathy.

 

Can the Government or My Employer Require I Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?


It is December 17, 2020, and this week was the beginning of vaccine distribution in the United States.

Many people are asking, “Can the government or my employer require me to get the Covid-19 Vaccine?

The simple answer is YES, but the likelihood of that happening is going to depend on a lot of factors, and it is not likely that the FEDERAL government would issue such a mandate.

Historically, states have had the right to mandate vaccines in order to ensure safety of the public. However, experts believe that it is very unlikely it will happen.

What is more likely is that employers and states will condition return or access to workplaces, public schools and universities upon getting the vaccine. Currently, all 50 states and Washington DC have laws requiring certain vaccines for students, but there are exceptions for personal, moral or other beliefs.

The industries most likely to mandate vaccines are going to be those most at risk for contracting the disease, such as those who work in HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION, PUBLIC SAFETY. Another important factor will be: AVAILABILITY OF VACCINE.

Currently, the available Coronavirus vaccines have been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. By the time the vaccines receive full FDA approval, which could take months. A lot will depend on how widespread the current vaccine has been distributed.

It is not clear if employers could legally mandate a vaccine that is only approved for Emergency Use. However, it would be very unusual to mandate a vaccine that has not been fully licensed and approved by the FDA. Right now, the consensus seems to be to encourage as many people as possible to voluntarily receive the vaccine. Assuming large numbers of people get vaccinated, there is a much less likely chance that there will be mandates by states or employers.

On the other hand, once the vaccine is approved by the FDA, if the number of people vaccinated is still too low to be effective, AND there is an available supply of the vaccine, we should probably expect to see some mandates.

As with any vaccine, there will be exceptions to those mandates; for example: pregnant women, people with disabilities, or those who hold deeply-rooted religious convictions.

So, what does that mean for you? To be vaccinated is a personal decision for each of us. I can tell you that I will be volunteering to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available, and I look forward to putting an end to this deadly disease.

If you have questions about the vaccine as it relates to your employment, please feel free to contact me, Chip Clark, for a free consultation.

Also see, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.”

Injured at Work and the Employer Says it is Your Fault?

Injured at Work and the Employer Says it is Your Fault?

Indiana enacted its first Worker’s Compensation Act in 1915 in response to a growing number of workers injured on the job who had no guaranteed means of receiving medical treatment for injuries or wage replacement income during their physical recovery. Prior to enacting its first Worker’s Compensation Act, when an Indiana worker was injured, the worker was permitted to sue their employer in court in an effort to get compensation. However, lawsuits were time consuming, expensive, and frequently left the injured worker in a position where they were unable to obtain medical attention while their lawsuit was working its way through court because time was lost to address arguments from employers that the worker caused the accident or assumed the risk of the accident. The Workers Compensation Act struck a compromise between the competing interests of the worker and the employer and moved to a no-fault based system. In short, and in general, employers were stripped of the ability to claim the worker caused the accident. In exchange for this concession, injured workers were deprived from collecting pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life damages.

In today’s Indiana Worker’s Compensation system, this means when a worker is injured “on the clock” when they slip and fall, or are injured in a car accident, or are injured in a construction accident, the worker’s employer is not permitted to claim the worker should have paid more attention to what they were doing when the event occurred. However, some important employer-based fault arguments are still available to employers. For example, pursuant to I.C. 22-3-2-8, employers may raise affirmative defenses that no money is owed because the injury was 1) due to the employee’s knowingly self-inflicted injury, 2) due to intoxication, 3) due to the commission of an offense (not including traffic violations), 4) due to a knowing failure to use a safety appliance, 5) due to a knowing failure to obey a reasonable written or printed safety rule which has been posted in a conspicuous position in the place of work, or 6) due to a knowing failure to perform any statutory duty.

Disagreements often occur when an employer raises one of these defenses, and if left unresolved, a judge is asked to determine whether the employer’s defense is valid at a hearing. Like many areas in law, an exploration into the facts of an individual matter is usually necessary to assess the validity of these types of defenses. For example, just because a worker is intoxicated or impaired at the moment the worker is injured, it does not necessarily mean the employer does not owe compensation. Indeed, there is a difference between a drunk worker being injured when the worker drives a delivery truck off the road compared to a drunk worker performing his work satisfactorily when a co-worker accidentally drops an item from above that strikes and injures the worker.

Similarly, not every failure to use a safety appliance or knowing failure to obey a posted and written safety rule bars a recovery. When an employer allows the alleged prohibited conduct to occur or also engages in the prohibited conduct, the employer will not be able to shield itself from responsibility. As an illustration in an industrial or machine setting, if an employer posts an open and obvious sign that machinery must be shut down before it is cleaned, but observes employees cleaning the machine while it is not shut down, the employer will not be allowed to rely on a fault-type defense.

If you need help navigating a matter involving an injury at work where questions exist as to whether the employer may raise an argument that the worker is at fault for the accident, Goodin Abernathy, LLP can bring experience, knowledge, and resources to bear on the question. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Emel Doner’s Personal Injury Case

I was severely injured, while walking on a sidewalk, by a reckless driver. The accident happened out of town, in a major city on the west coast, while we were on vacation. I had broken bones, possible spine injury and severe lacerations. After being treated at a trauma center of a major hospital, I was forced to return home with tremendous amount of pain and discomfort, while cancelling the rest of our vacation which took years of planning. I had to undergo months of treatment and was left with a lot pain and suffered from depression. Meanwhile the medical bills started coming in, and I was in no condition to deal with the out-of-state healthcare providers and out-of-state accident insurance issues.

It was at this point that I contacted Christopher (Chip) Clark at Goodin Abernathy for his legal help and guidance. Right from the beginning, he had been very gracious, sympathetic to my situation and highly professional in his dealings with me and my husband. Chip and his staff worked diligently with the out-of-state and in-state healthcare providers, the responsible party’s insurance company and Medicare to gather and disseminate all pertinent documentation. Within a short period of time, Chip was able to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company. The settlement amount was the maximum possible that we could have received.

I thank Chip for his responsiveness, his competence and the extremely professional manner with which he dealt with me and my husband.

Emel Doner