NEWS
  1. January, 2018
    On December 20, 2017, Apple Inc. publicly admitted that recent updates to the iOS 10 and iOS 11 Updates deliberately slowed down older iPhones, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. These updates damaged the functionality of older phones and even rendered them inoperable. On December 28, 2017, after much public criticism, Apple issued an apology for "how we have communicated." While Apple now claims that the deliberate slow-down in functionality was designed to offset shut-down issues with older batteries, customers have instead experienced reduced battery life since the iOS 10 and iOS 11 updates. Apple Inc. did not warn iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 owners of the potential consequences of downloading the iOS 10 and iOS 11 updates until months after the updates were released to the public. Instead, Apple Inc. deceptively touted the necessity of the updates and the purported improvements that would result from the updates. For example, in advertising for the security updates on its website, Apple Inc. emphasized the necessity of the updates by stating: "Keeping your software up to date is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your Apple product's security." Nowhere did Apple Inc. ever disclose to its customers that the updates would negatively affect the iPhones and their functionality. On January 4, 2018, Brown Law Firm filed the first complaint in Ohio against Apple Inc. for violating the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act §4165.01 et seq and committing Common Law Fraud.
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  2. January, 2018
    Brown Law Firm is proud to announce that a sponsor it represents was rated “Exemplary” for its Compliance in the recent Ohio Department of Education ratings.
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  3. January, 2018
    For years, childcare providers licensed by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) have had to deal with an antiquated and cumbersome automated payment system known as Ohio Electronic Child Care (ECC) to track attendance and calculate payments for publicly funded childcare services. Among the worst aspects of the ECC payment system were the swipe cards, which had to be swiped into a point-of-service device inside the home or childcare center by each parent or caretaker every single time that a child checked in and out. This necessitated that the parent or caretaker be present for every pick-up or drop off in order to properly record the child’s attendance. Equally problematic is the ODJFS-endorsed practice of “back-swiping” whereby parents or caretakers may retroactively enter their child’s attendance into the point-of-service device. Each date and hour must be inputted correctly and any error is liable to have severe consequences for providers, including non-payment for services rendered, revocation actions and even felony charges. Fortunately, ODJFS recently announced that it will do away with the unwieldy ECC payment system and replace it with a new system called the Child Care Time, Attendance and Payment (TAP) System, which is said to be more efficient, accurate, and user-friendly than ECC. The TAP system reportedly does away with the use of swipe-cards and features a mobile tablet that will allow parents to enter child attendance on the mobile tablet instead of a stationary point-of-service device. As ODJFS rolls out the new system over the coming months, licensed providers are encouraged to monitor the new system for possible problems and learn all aspects of its functionality. Remember: if something goes wrong and raises ambiguity about the hours of childcare services provided, ODJFS is likely to resolve the matter in manner detrimental to the childcare provider.
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  4. December, 2017
    A lawsuit is filed against a business owner. The business owner attempts to send a copy of the complaint to his attorney. Due to an inadvertent miscommunication, the complaint never reaches its intended destination and the business owner’s attorney is never notified of the lawsuit. Consequently, a default judgment is entered
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BLF FILES FIRST LAWSUIT IN OHIO AGAINST APPLE FOR SLOWING DOWN IPHONES

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AWARDS
"EXEMPLARY" RATING TO BLF CLIENT

END OF AN ERROR:
ODJFS ANNOUNCES NEW PAYMENT SYSTEM

DEFAULT JUDGMENT IS NOT
NECESSARILY THE END OF THE STORY


WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE WHEN SIGNING A PERSONAL GUARANTEE FOR A
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

  1. December, 2017
    Lenders, landlords and other creditors often require a personal guaranty from LLC members. A personal guarantee acts to bind LLC members to personal liability for the obligations of the LLC. The language in the guaranty matters! . WATCH HOW YOU SIGN Signing your name followed by your business title (“president” or “manager”) does not negate your personal liability. You may be able to negate personal liability by using “by,” “per,” or “on behalf of” with the name of the LLC. READ CAREFULLY – YOUR PERSONAL GUARANTY MAY LIVE BEYOND A SINGLE TRANSACTION Phrases such as “now or at any time hereafter” or “all obligations incurred” or “now existing or hereafter contracted” may create a continuous personal guaranty of future transactions by the LLC with the creditor. CREDITORS MAY BE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE THE TERMS OF THE PERSONAL GUARANTY Consider proposing elimination of the guaranty when certain conditions are met. For example, ask for a dollar amount cap on the guaranty or set a period of time for the guaranty or limit the guaranty to certain assets. The moral: WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!
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  2. IS YOUR DISCIPLINARY POLICY COMPLIANT WITH OHIO LAW?
    November, 2017
    House Bill 410 became law in April 2017 – with many of its provisions effective at the beginning of the 2017 – 2018 school year. All community schools (and school districts) must adopt discipline policies to comply. Schools MUST change their zero tolerance policies, removing “excessive absences” as a cause for disciplinary action. Schools CANNOT expel or suspend a student only for being absent. School policy on truancy must include these intervention strategies: > Truancy intervention plan for student. > Counseling. > Request or require parent to attend parental involvement programs. > Request or require parent to attend truancy prevention mediation program. Schools must recognize the difference between excessive absenteeism and habitual truancy. Tracking and reporting attendance: > Schools must report and track attendance based on hours, not days. This means that schools must track time due to tardies and early dismissals and report to nearest hour. This time must be counted toward absences. It is no longer acceptable to track and report attendance in half-day or full-day increments. Schools have additional EMIS reporting requirements: > Date school notifies parent of a student’s excessive absences – must be reported on EMIS. > Date student absent without legitimate excuse 30 or more consecutive hours, 42 or more hours in one month, or 72 or more hours in one school year – must be reported on EMIS. > Date student, who is adjudged an unruly child for habitual truancy, violates a court order regarding that adjudication – must be reported on EMIS. > Date absence intervention plan has been implemented for a student – must be reported on EMIS. School must establish Absence Intervention Team, which must include: (1) school representative; (2) school representative who knows student; and (3) parent. Others may be included as well. School must make three “good faith efforts” to secure parent participation on student’s Absence Intervention Team. Parent may appoint designee to participate or participate via phone. School should define “good faith efforts” in its policy. Timeline for Habitual Truancy: > Within 7 days of triggering absence the school will do the following: > Notify parent in writing of excessive absenteeism. > Select Absence Intervention Team members. > Make three good faith efforts to secure parent participation. Within 10 days of triggering absence, the school will assign student to Team. Within 14 school days after assignment, the school will develop student’s Absence Intervention Plan. Within 7 days after Plan is developed, school will provide parent in writing. The student has 60 days to make progress under the Plan. Filing a Complaint with Juvenile Court for Habitual Truant: > On the 61st day after implementation of Absence Intervention Plan, school attendance officer must file a complaint against student in Juvenile Court if the following apply: > Student was absent without legitimate excuse for at least 30 consecutive hours, at least 42 hours in one school month, or at least 72 hours in a school year; > School has made meaningful attempts to re-engage the student through an Absence Intervention Plan and other intervention strategies and there was no significant progress. Timeline for Excessive Absenteeism (with excuses): > Notify parent within 7 days of the triggering absence. > Follow truancy plan outlined in Absence Intervention Policy. > Student and family may be referred to community resources. There is NO complaint filed in Juvenile Court.
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  3. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS IF ODJFS ACTS TO REVOKE YOUR LICENSE
    October, 2017
    The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (“ODJFS”) oversees issuing and revoking Type A and B licenses for childcare. Professional childcare providers in Ohio rely on their licenses because they allow reimbursement by the government for providing childcare. When ODJFS decides to revoke a childcare provider’s license, it usually means the end of that person’s business and livelihood. Unfortunately, childcare providers are sometimes swiftly shepherded through the ODJFS administrative process without being fully aware of their legal rights and options. Many, for example, are unaware that their Type A or B license is a valid property interest that may not be taken away without due process of law. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that certain substantive rights - life, liberty, and property - may not be deprived except through constitutionally adequate procedures that safeguard fundamental rights of the individual. The “due course of law” provision in Section 16, Article I, of the Ohio Constitution is the equivalent under Ohio law. It is a well-settled point of law that a Type A and B childcare license is a property interest that may not be taken away without due process of law. Due process rights guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions apply in ODJFS administrative proceedings. In an administrative hearing, you have a fundamental right to a notice and a hearing, i.e., an opportunity to be heard. Regarding notice, the agency must properly inform you of your right to a hearing and include: the charges or other reasons for the proposed action; the law or rule directly involved; and as a statement informing you that you are entitled to a hearing if requested within thirty days of the mailing the notice. If you are the subject of a Type A or Type B revocation hearing, it is crucial to confer with an attorney as early as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected. This could make the difference between losing your license or retaining it.
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