Remembering Betty Dukes, Lead Plaintiff in Gender-Bias Class Action Against Walmart

Betty Dukes, the lead plaintiff in the Dukes v. Walmart class action case filed back in 2001, died this month at the age of 67. While the cause has not been announced, Ms. Dukes will be remembered as a fighter. As a result of her devotion to fighting for equal rights, she became known more than just locally, where she lived in Antioch, California. In fact, class action lawyers likely won't forget her name for years to come.
Dukes had a reputation for helping people. Whether it was feeding the hungry, or standing up for equal rights, she was determined to make a difference.
A Legal Legacy
Dukes v. Walmart was closely watched by lawyers across the country. If SCOTUS had let it proceed, it had the potential to be among the largest employment class action cases in history. Ms. Dukes sought to represent 1.5 million female employees. She alleged discriminatory employment practices, including failure to pay and promote women equally to men.
While SCOTUS's decision never reached ..

Legal Tips for Escaping a Domestic Violence Relationship

Domestic violence victims often have trouble leaving abusive relationships, despite the threat and reality of physical or emotional harm. Whether due to financial, psychological, or even physical factors, many victims don't feel like they have the option to get away or get help.
But there are resources out there for those in need. From the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to the Hotline, victims can get help in exiting a physically or emotionally violent relationship. And here are some legal resources for escaping domestic violence.
1. Domestic Violence Overview
Identifying an abusive relationship is the first step to escaping it. Many victims don't recognize that they are being abused, or that an abusive relationship is not normal or acceptable. Others may not think they are entitled to legal protection because they aren't a spouse or child of the abuser. Knowing what domestic violence is under the law, and which laws can protect victims of domestic abuse is ..

What’s Fair Market Value?

While the phrase “fair market value” might seem simple enough to understand, legally, the phrase is rather significant. Fair market value generally refers to what services, or a piece of property, are actually worth, rather than what they cost. Fair market value matters quite a bit when it comes to legal matters.
For example, in a car accident, a totaled car is not valued at the price when purchased new, but rather, at its fair market value. A car's fair market value is the value right before the accident. The law will not translate sentimentality into dollars, though regular maintenance and improvements can add to the fair market value, just like it would to the sale price.
Value in a Vacuum
States and lawmakers define the phrase fair market value a bit differently. For the most part, state statutes explain that the fair market value is the price at which both buyer and seller agree to a transaction when everyone has perfect information and there are no motivating factors or e..

Can You Sell a Home If You Still Owe on Your Mortgage?

The repayment time of a home mortgage loan can run anywhere from 10 to 50 years, and a lot can happen in that amount of time. You may need to relocate for work, or want to relocate for retirement. You may add children to your nest or become empty nesters, necessitating more or less space. Or maybe it turns out the house you bought just isn't for you.
There many reasons we would want to sell a home, but is it possible to sell your home if you haven't paid it off yet? Here's what you need to know, legally, about selling a home if you still owe money on your mortgage.
What You Owe
The only thing stopping you from selling your home before you've paid off your mortgage is your lender, because, technically speaking, you don't own the home outright yet. A mortgage is a transfer of an interest in real estate as security for the repayment of a loan, meaning whoever lent you the money to buy the home in the first place owns the home until you repay the loan. If you de..

Can Religious Communities Limit Who Lives in a Neighborhood?

We've all heard horror stories about homeowners' associations, imposing fines or even eviction notices on residents for grass that's too brown, playhouses that are too pink, families that are too big, and yard decorations that are too time-travely. And while all those stories seem ridiculous, the standard legal response is often, “Well, that's what you get with an HOA — gotta abide by the agreement.”
But what if a community is saying you can't buy or inherent a home because you practice the wrong religion or you're not religious enough? Surely that has to be illegal, right?
Quite a View
The Bay View Association was founded in 1875 in Michigan's Lower Peninsula region, under the state's Summer Resort and Assembly Associations Act, which allows for “the formation of corporations for the purchase and improvement of grounds to be occupied for summer homes, for camp-meetings, for meetings of assemblies or associations and societies organized … f..

What to Know About Marrying a Registered Sex Offender

Love works in mysterious ways. And to some, so does the criminal justice system. Most crimes don't stop following those convicted once they're released from jail, and sex crimes especially can haunt perpetrators for years, decades, or their whole life. For those offenders, and the people who love them, sex offender registration can impact everything from residency to employment to marriage.
While inclusion on a sex offender registry is not a per se bar to marriage, restrictions stemming from the registration and other conditions of probation or parole can impact romantic relationships. Here's a look at what you need to know about getting married to a registered sex offender.
Registration & Restriction
Federal law requires convicted sex offenders to register with state authorities and update registration at specified intervals, the duration of which depends on the severity of the offense. Any failure to register or renew could send a sex offender back to prison. Also, ..

How to Evict or Oust a Squatter on Your Property

Stories of squatters gaining title to the properties they trespass upon are the urban legends that keep landowners awake at night. Under adverse possession laws, it is actually possible, albeit rather difficult, for a squatter to gain legal title.
Landowners need to be aware of their rights when dealing with squatters, as many jurisdictions do provide squatters with some legal protections. For instance, if a squatter is actually a holdover tenant, or sub-tenant, meaning a renter who has stayed beyond the terms of their rental agreement, the formal eviction process will likely be required to remove the squatter.
Beware Taking Action Yourself
While a landowner may just want to get the squatter off their property as quickly as possible, doing so without the assistance of the court, law enforcement, or at least an attorney, could result in a civil suit for wrongful eviction, and even criminal charges.
Generally, a landowner cannot use self-help to oust a holdover tenant or squatter. Th..

Airbnb Host Must Pay $5,000 for Blatant Racial Discrimination

Tami Barker, a former Airbnb host in California, settled a civil rights complaint against her for $5,000, and has agreed to a whole host of other demands, after it was discovered that she discriminated against an Asian renter. Dyne Suh, and a few friends, had rented Barker's cabin through Airbnb. However, when Barker realized Suh was Asian, she cancelled the reservation, hours before it was set to begin.
Even though a last minute cancellation may be incredibly rude, it would not have been discriminatory but for what the host texted to Suh. In short, Barker sent Suh text messages essentially stating she didn't like Asians and foreigners, and further asserting that Trump's victory allowed her to discriminate. Airbnb and California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing did not agree with Barker, and took action.
Consequences for Airbnb Discrimination
Airbnb kicked Barker off the site, after this incident went public, for violating their antidiscrimination poli..

Top 5 Legal Questions Asked by Stepparents

Being a stepparent is no simple task. Children will eventually rebel against their parents, and stepparents are easy targets. Unfortunately, stepparents are often caught in the middle, or left in the dark, when it comes to decisions involving their stepchildren.
Stepparents do have some rights, but those rights are typically limited to what the legal parents allow.
Below, you'll find five of the top legal questions stepparents ask about their rights.
1. Can I Make Medical Decisions for My Stepchild?
Unfortunately, a stepparent cannot make medical decisions on behalf of a stepchild because a stepparent is not legally recognized as the child's parent. A stepparent may have legal authorization to make medical decisions, if there is a written parenting agreement between the legal parents and the stepparent allowing certain decisions to be made.
2. Can I Discipline My Stepchild?
While a stepparent may not be a legal parent, disciplining a child is perfectly legal (so long as..

Can You Sue Your Divorce Lawyer for a Mistake, Malpractice?

In life, mistakes happen. Sometimes a little mistake can be corrected, other times, even a little mistake can be unforgivable. Luckily, there's divorce. But what happens when your divorce lawyer makes a mistake?
In a legal case, like in life, when an attorney makes a mistake, sometimes it matters, and sometimes it just doesn't matter, legally, financially, or in the grand scheme of things. However, when it's your divorce case, no matter how inconsequential the mistake may be in reality, any mistake is a big one. Sadly, that's just not true. Generally, for a mistake to actually matter, or rise to the level of legal malpractice, a client must suffer damages or other losses as a result.
Unforgivable Divorce Lawyer Mistakes
Family law cases can be particularly difficult to assess malpractice. Notably, proving a mistake was made in the first place can be difficult on its own. In the practice of law, what one practitioner might call a mistake, another might call a stra..