Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law
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To protect your safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we offer telephone and video conferences, in place of face-to-face meetings. Please contact our office today to set up a remote consultation. For more information, read our blog post.

March 2020 Archives

Information For Businesses And Individuals During Uncertain Times

COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused all of us to adjust to a new way of life. As much as it has impacted your personal lives, we also imagine it has impacted your business and professional lives as well. In challenging times, the attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers want to ensure you that help is available when you need it. While Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has issued a Stay-At-Home Order, legal services were deemed essential and exempt from the Order. While we are limiting physical interaction between clients and staff to the maximum extent possible, our office remains OPEN with the capability to conduct most, if not all, meetings virtually and to enable you to sign many documents electronically.

Statute of Limitations During the Covid-19 Crisis

Statute of limitations govern the amount of a time a person has to file a lawsuit. As an example, most injury cases in Ohio caused by negligent acts are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. Meaning, if you are in a car crash, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims and intentional torts such as assaults are governed by a one-year statute of limitations. Statute of limitations vary by case, so it is critical you speak with a lawyer quickly if a loved one or you have been injured. Furthermore, the best lawsuits are filed after a long due diligence period to ensure all potential wrongdoers are captured in the lawsuit.

How do you stay safe at home while quarantining?

The world we live in, as COVID-19 spreads around the world and throughout our county, is not the same world we lived in a year or even a month ago. By the end of March no fewer than 30 states had implemented "stay at home orders" to help flatten the curve and hopefully reduce the number of people infected with the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Doubles Risk of Mass Bankruptcies

According to an article on Yahoo! Finance the risk of mass bankruptcies has doubled due to the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States. NYU Stern School of Business professor emeritus Ed Altman stated that "distress in the corporate debt market has now reached levels that haven't been seen since the 2008 financial crisis." As a result, individuals should be prepared to file bankruptcy if necessary. The sooner financial concerns are addressed, the more quickly the game plan to prevent long-term financial issues can be implemented. We previously touched upon bankruptcy in our blog at https://www.rittgers.com/blog/2020/03/filing-for-bankruptcy-in-ohio-during-coronavirus-pandemic.shtml. For a free consultation regarding bankruptcy and how we can assist, please feel free to call us at 513-932-2115.

Filing For Bankruptcy In Ohio During Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 virus has caused stress on so many aspects of our daily lives. For many people, theses stresses span from how to stay healthy to how to make ends meet. The financial stress caused by COVID-19 can be seen on small businesses and individuals alike. For many, the newest Stay at Home order by Governor DeWine is yet another sign of hard times to come.

Domestic Violence Charges and Marsy's Law

In November 2017, the victim's rights amendment, commonly known as "Marsy's Law," was passed and added to the Ohio Constitution. As part of Marsy's Law, the definition of "victim" was expanded. A "victim" is now defined as "the person against whom the criminal act is committed, or the person directly and proximately harmed by the criminal offense." This means that the parent(s) of a child that was assaulted, or the spouse of a victim that was injured during a robbery are considered "victims" are also considered a "victim" and now have a number of guaranteed constitutional rights. Previously, only the person listed as "victim" in the police report was considered a "victim" in court; and while that victim had some influence on the case (see our previous blog on some limits on victims' influence in domestic violence cases), there was not a constitutional amendment defining victims' rights that must be honored.

Hamilton County Sheriff Announces Potential Charges For Non-Essential Businesses That Do Not Follow Orders

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced that non-essential businesses as defined by the State order that goes into effect tonight at midnight will face charges if they are caught remaining open more than once. He indicated that businesses would receive a warning if found to be operating, and if they are caught operating again will face charges. The sheriff also stated that deputies will not stop residents who are driving and will assume that they are traveling in accordance with the order. The penalty for violating this order is a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. A copy of the order can be found here: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/public-health-orders/directors-order-to-stay-at-home

Understanding A Domestic Violence Charge

Ohio Revised Code §2919.25 contains Ohio's domestic violence statute. There are three ways to violate this statute: knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member; recklessly causing serious physical harm to a family or household member; or, by threat of force, knowingly causing a family or household member to believe that the defendant will cause them imminent physical harm. A family or household member includes a spouse, person living as a spouse, former spouse, parent, foster parent, child, and any relative by blood or marriage that lives or has lived with the defendant.

Coronavirus ("COVID-19") Update: The Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Weighs In

Yesterday morning, we discussed changes in court policies and how some courts and jails across Ohio are working together to release low-risk inmates. Yesterday afternoon, during Governor DeWine's press conference, Ohio's Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor weighed in concerning the judicial system. While there is no uniform and binding order that all courts implement identical changes in their policies and procedures, Chief Justice O'Connor outlined recommendations for Ohio courts to follow.

How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted the Courts and Jails in Southwest Ohio?

Unfortunately, court policies and procedures have seemingly evolved day-by-day due to the coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic. The fact every court has implemented a unique policy adds to the frustration. Without uniformity in procedure, everyone must be extra diligent about knowing which cases will be pushed back and which cases will not be, based upon the type of hearing and which court.

Ohio to Close Most BMV's Due to Coronavirus

Governor Mike DeWine announced on March 18, 2020, that 181 BMV registrar offices will be close at the end of business that day. Five offices will remain open as they are essential and are able to issue and renew CDL's. As a result, Ohio drivers will not be able to renew their licenses. The Ohio State Highway Patrol, though, will not be ticketing for expired licenses while the BMV is closed. DeWine is also asking local law enforcement, such as the Cincinnati or Lebanon Police Departments, to follow suit. Drivers will still be able to utilize the BMV's online services to conduct other BMV business, such as renewing tags or paying reinstatement fees. This site can be reached via: https://services.dps.ohio.gov/BMVOnlineServices/

How does the Coronavirus affect parenting with an ex?

March 2020 is one for the books. We have gone from worrying about a week that began with a full moon and ended with Friday the 13th to this week we are all working from home and our kids may not go back to school for months. What does that mean for parenting with an ex-spouse and what, more importantly, does it mean for your kids?

Butler County Diversion Program - Coronavirus Update

Due to the current situation with the coronavirus outbreak, we understand that in-person classes are not ideal for the Butler County Prosecutor's diversion program. As a proactive firm, we reached out to the local educational providers to see what could be done to protect our client's health and wellness, as well as the community.

A Note from the Rittgers & Rittgers Domestic Relations team on the custody implications of Ohio's Extended Spring Break:

Effective March 16, 2020, Governor DeWine has implemented an "extended Spring Break" for all K-12 public and private schools. As of now, this announcement does not include daycares or in-home childcare. This announcement has left many people wondering how the school closures affect their existing custody orders. In most cases, if you have an existing custody order or shared parenting plan, there is an allocation of the Spring Break vacation per your child's school calendar. At Rittgers, as a team, our office is monitoring how the courts are interpreting custody orders in light of the Governor's statement. However, as of now, our recommendation to all parents is to allow exercise of the Spring Break for the previously planned one-week period then return to your regular parenting schedule. Obviously, with schools closed and many people being encouraged to work from home, we encourage flexibility and understanding of your co-parent's situation. This recommendation may change depending on facts specific to your situation or your parenting plan. If you have questions about your specific situation, please don't hesitate to reach out to us to set up a consult with one of our team.

Butler County Diversion Program - Coronavirus Update

Due to the current situation with the coronavirus outbreak, we understand that in-person classes are not ideal for the Butler County Prosecutor's diversion program. As a proactive firm, we reached out to the local educational providers to see what could be done to protect our client's health and wellness, as well as the community.

Are The Cases In The "Stella Awards" Emails Real?

No. The "Stella Awards" email is fake news and has been used for decades to convince voters across the country that jury verdicts are out of control. The email claims to be sharing a list of the year's most outrageous personal injury cases and verdicts. It should be noted, however, none of the cases are real. All the cases that are mentioned in the email are fake.

Can First Amendment Protections to Free Speech Be Restricted by Civil Stalking Protection Orders? The Ohio Supreme Court To Decide

In a split decision, the Third District Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court's issuance of civil protection order that protected the Petitioners by prohibiting the Respondent from making any comments about the Petitioners on social media. The case of Bey v. Rasawehr presents a relatively new development in the law as it focuses on the interplay between First Amendment protections, concerns for victim safety in stalking related cases, and the pervasiveness of social media. While the majority of the Court upheld the lower court's order restricting Respondents free speech, the dissent sought to overturn the lower court's order because it prohibited any type of commentary on social media regarding the protected persons. In a 4 to 3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case, appealed by the Respondent after the unfavorable decision from the Appellate Court. Oral arguments were heard on February 11, 2020 and a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court is expected within the next few months.

Car Insurance Companies Offer Deep Discounts For The Use Of Driving Applications - Are The Discounts Worth The Risk?

We've all seen the Allstate Insurance television commercial with their spoke person sitting in an armchair in the middle of a city intersection advocating for "Drivewise." Drivewise is an app created by the Allstate to track a person's driving. Almost every major car insurance company is advertising its driving app. A customer can download and let the app track his every move in exchange for auto insurance premium discounts.

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