Obtaining a Security Clearance – The Statement of Reasons

Obtaining a security clearance can up open up a number of doors for a civilian contractor. Once you have a clearance, your marketability becomes much greater in the government-sector job market. Many high paying positions with employers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing require security clearances and these companies spend thousands of dollars putting their employees through the clearance process. The process isn’t an easy one and many applicants for a security clearance don’t take the process seriously.  Receiving a Statement of Reasons is usually the first sign that they misjudged the process.

As a former attorney for the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) and now as a private practice attorney, I’ve been on both sides of the aisle during the security clearance process. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make when they begin the security clearance process is trying to represent themselves after they have been issued a Statement of Reasons (SOR), a summary of the reasons uncovered during the investigation why you may not be suitable for a security clearance. Once a Statement of Reasons has been issued, the process to deny your clearance has begun and without proper legal representation often times people end up getting denied because they didn’t mitigate the government’s concerns in their response. The government will have an attorney whose job is to highlight the reasons why you should not be granted a security clearance and they are very good at their job. They are not there to help you with your case and many people are surprised at how adversarial the process can be.

This is your one shot to resolve the issues that have been brought up…

Hiring an attorney to help you through the process can save you a significant amount of time and headaches later on. You only have one chance to resolve the concerns about your eligibility for a security clearance and trying to respond on your own often leads to a denial. When I worked for the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, I was shocked at the number of applicants who attended hearings on their own or attempted to respond with a written response without any legal representation. This is your one shot to resolve the issues that have been brought in the Statement of Reasons and you do not want to fight this battle alone. Our firm has represented numerous clients with security clearance issues and we know what it takes to resolve and mitigate issues that come up in security clearance investigations. We have helped many of our clients with significant security concerns resolve those issues and obtain their clearance after providing a detailed written response or appearing at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge with our representation. Your job will often times depend on your ability to obtain a clearance, so taking the time to research your options and having an attorney guide you through the process is your best bet at a successful result.

If you have been issued a Statement of Reasons or have any questions related to the security clearance process please give our firm a call as we have attorneys who specialize in this area and can help answer any questions about what you need to do to resolve any issues. Don’t try and go it alone. You need an experienced attorney by your side in order to give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome.

BP Oil Spill Deadline Extension

The deadline for filing a business or personal claim for damages caused by the BP oil spill has been extended past the original deadline of April 22, 2014. As of today, the new deadline extension for filing a business or personal claim is still unknown as the court has not officially released the new deadline date. We strongly advise anyone still thinking about filing a claim to do immediately as there is no telling when the new deadline will be set. While many experts are predicting this settlement deadline could be extended to late 2014 and even possibly as far out as 2015 if things are not resolved on appeal soon, it could very well be a date much earlier this summer.

Our law firm will continue filing claims for all eligible businessesIf you have any questions regarding the BP settlement claims process please contact our firm and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Our law firm will continue filing claims for all eligible businesses up until the end and we would be happy to walk you through the process and make sure you are getting the legal representation necessary to get your claim paid. We have been involved in filing claims under the new settlement since the beginning and our attorneys and staff our thoroughly experienced in the process needed to file a successful claim.

BP Oil Spill Deadline Fast Approaching

Updated (6 May 2014): The BP Oil Spill claims deadline has been extended. See our more recent post.

April 22 2014The biggest question asked by people contacting Perry Draper Law, PLLC is, can they still file a claim under the Economic and Property Damages Settlement? In short, yes. As of now, the deadline for filing a business or personal claim for damages caused by the BP oil spill is April 22, 2014. The settlement agreement has three options for the deadline: 1) April 22, 2014, 2) Six months after the final appeal or 3) a date agreed upon by both parties. As of today, this effective date is still unknown and many experts are predicting this settlement deadline could be extended to late 2014 and even possibly as far out as 2015 if things are not resolved soon with the appeals.

no guarantee that the deadline will be extended

While the deadline is likely to be extended beyond April 2014, we are advising all of our clients to have their claim filed before April of this year. There is no guarantee that the deadline will be extended and given the lack of any concrete information from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, there is a risk to waiting to file your claim after the April 22, 2014 deadline. Both parties could agree on a sooner date and that is no doubt something BP will attempt to negotiate.

If you have any questions regarding the BP settlement claims process please contact our firm and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Regardless if the deadline is extended or not, our law firm will be filing claims for all eligible businesses up until the end and we would be happy to walk you through the process and make sure you are getting the legal representation necessary to get your claim paid. Contact us today.

Wage Garnishment in Florida

A collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. In order to collect on that collection account, the creditor must first file a lawsuit against the account holder, or debtor, and obtain a judgment. The most important thing you can do if you’ve been sued by a creditor in Florida is to respond to the complaint. Ignoring a lawsuit will not make the problem go away, and in fact will lead to much larger issues later on for the person being sued.

Quote...a debtor has 20 days to respond to a lawsuit

In Florida, a debtor has 20 days to respond to a lawsuit. If the debtor doesn’t respond to a lawsuit in the required time period, the creditor will get what is called a “default judgment” and the case is essentially over. That is the best result for the creditor, as they don’t have to spend any additional time proving that you owe the debt and can proceed on with the next step which is collecting on the judgment.

Wage Garnishment

In addition, the creditor will often tack on outrageous legal fees, penalties, and interest charges to the original balance in the debt. While creditors have a number of options to collect on a judgment against a debtor, one of the most commonly used methods is a wage garnishment. The laws for wage garnishments vary by state and there are a number of exceptions to the rules, but Florida follows the federal law that allows a creditor to garnish up to 25% of a person’s disposable earnings. That means if you make $1000 a week after taxes, a creditor could garnish up to $250 a week from your wages to collect on the judgment. This garnishment can continue until they have collected the entire amount owed on the judgment including additional interest from the date of the judgment.

Quote...are completely exempt from attachment or garnishment.The good news is there are some very large exemptions to wage garnishment in Florida. Florida has a $750 exemption for the “head of family” which is defined as any natural person who is providing more than one-half of the support for a child or other dependent. This means that all disposable earnings of a head of household less than $750 a week are completely exempt from attachment or garnishment. Not only does the head of family get the $750 a week exemption, but under Florida law any earnings over $750 a week are also exempt from garnishment unless that person has agreed otherwise in writing.

In addition to the head of family exemption, if you take home less than 30 times the minimum wage per week, all of your wages are exempt. Other types of income, including Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Veteran’s benefits and retirement benefits are exempt from garnishment.

Make sure you understand your rights when you are sued by a creditor. A wage garnishment may be the worst case scenario, but if you don’t understand your rights and protect yourself from the beginning, it is a very real possibility for a debtor who has had a judgment entered against them. Talk to a Perry Draper Law attorney for a free consultation on your situation.

The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act Explained

To protect consumers and businesses from victimization by unscrupulous businesses and commercial entities, there are a number of federal and state laws on the books. The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, otherwise known as Florida Statute Section 501.201, is designed to protect consumers from unfair methods of competition and unconscionable trade practice. The law is consistent with federal policies governing consumer protection. If you feel your rights as a consumer have been violated, speak with St. Petersburg consumer protection lawyers who can review your case and offer a legal opinion.

As quoted by the statute, the purposes of the Act are:

  • To simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing consumer protection, unfair methods of competition, and unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair trade practices.
  • To protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.
  • To make state consumer protection and enforcement consistent with established policies of federal law relating to consumer protection.

The Act covers such actions as making false advertising claims about a product, trade libel (making slanderous claims about another company’s product), deceptive marketing and unfair trade practices, such as attempting to eliminate competitors.

A claim brought under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act has three elements:

  • A deceptive or unfair trade practice
  • Causation
  • Actual damages

In other words, you cannot file a claim if you cannot prove actual damages – an unfair trade practice is not enough. A Clearwater consumer financial protection attorney can determine if your case is worth pursing in court.

Perry Draper Law can help you recover compensation if you have been harmed by an unfair trade practice, breach of warranty, identity theft or other consumer or business fraud matter.

Determining Liability in a Personal Injury Accident

When someone else’s carelessness or recklessness causes you harm, you have the legal right to hold them accountable for compensation. In a personal injury lawsuit – such as one involving a car accident, defective product or slip and fall – the burden of proof is on the injury victim, or the plaintiff, to prove the defendant should be held liable. In other words, your Clearwater personal injury attorneys are charged with proving the defendant’s negligence caused an accident and harmed you as a result.

In a personal injury case, liability is a person or company’s legal and financial obligation owed an injury victim or the family of a wrongful death victim. Negligence is the most common theory of liability in these types of cases. Negligence is the failure to take reasonable steps to prevent injury or harm to others. For example, if a driver runs a red light and crashes into another car, the driver who ran the red light acted negligently – and may be held legally responsible for the collision.

To prove negligence, you and your St. Petersburg accident lawyers must show:

  • A duty of care – The plaintiff and the defendant had a relationship and owed them a duty of care. For example, a driver and a passenger, a doctor and a patient or a product manufacturer and consumer.
  • Breach of duty – The defendant put the plaintiff at risk, breaching his or her duty of care. For example, a driver drives recklessly, injuring a passenger, a doctor makes a medical error, resulting in the death of a patient, or a manufacturer releases a defective product, harming the consumer.
  • Causation – The defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries or death.
  • Damages – The amount of money owed to the plaintiff, in terms of economic and non-economic losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress and pain and suffering.

For years, the skilled attorneys at Perry Draper Law have aggressively advocated for personal injury victims’ rights.