• Blog Post

    AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL CONSULTANTS, INC. v. FCC: “Robocalls” and the First Amendment

    In a recent decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the First Amendment implications of federal debt-collection automated calls.  More specifically, the court analyzed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”), a law which protected such calls as an exemption to its general prohibition against calls to personal phones using an automated telephone dialing system.   What is the TCPA?   In 1991, Congress enacted the TCPA to protect consumers from unwanted, unsolicited, and intrusive automated calls, which were becoming ubiquitous.  Initially, the law recognized two exemptions to the general prohibition on the practice commonly known as robocalling: calls to notify the public of an emergency and calls made…

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    Florida Detectives attempt to unlock a cell phone with a dead man’s finger

    In today’s technology driven world it seems our phones are attached to our hips whether we like it or not. We are driven by the accessibility and connection that these tiny machines provide us. But what right do you have regarding your phone after your death? In March, Florida police pulled over Linus Phillips for illegally tinted windows.  Upon speaking with Mr. Phillips, Officer Steiner detected the smell of marijuana.  However, before Officer Steiner was able to perform a search of the vehicle, Mr. Phillips began driving in reverse.  Officer Steiner was dragged by the vehicle before he fired his weapon in self-defense and killed Mr. Phillips. Detectives wanted to…

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    The Legal Considerations of Using Drones in Construction Zones

              The use of drones is no longer science fiction or limited to combat zones; commercial drones are the way of the future.  Drones are used in a host of industries: aerial photography, real estate, agriculture, construction, search and rescue, emergency management, and mining.  Even package delivery via drone may soon be a part of our everyday lives.  In May of 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began approving petitions for commercial drone usage and those slated for construction purposes comprised roughly 13% of the first 1000 approvals.[1]             These drones are not actually building structures or moving materials (yet).  Instead,…

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    Jurors: The Social Media Balancing Act

              Despite what Hollywood would have their audiences believe, most civil lawsuits settle before ever reaching a jury trial.  When cases do make it to a jury, the selection process is very important.  In domestic violence cases, defense attorneys aren’t likely to select a juror that suffered through similar circumstances.  In civil cases, a plaintiffs’ attorney would likely dismiss a juror who has been a loyal employee of the defendant.  It is easy enough to ask the jury basic questions during the selection process or garner simple information from juror questionnaires, but this is the information age and publicly available personal details are out there for…