Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – IFB Solutions

by Richard Atkinson | July 13th, 2017

IFB Solutions is a manufacturing plant that produces everything from steno notebooks to t-shirts. What sets them apart is who they employ.  People are at the center of everything IFB Solutions does in Arkansas. Over 75% of the workforce at IFB solutions is blind or has some other visual impairment.  Nationally, the unemployment rate for the blind is over 60%.  IFB Solutions is doing their part to combat that statistic by giving the visually impaired an employment opportunity.  Working with the blind, providing them with independence, and having people at the heart of their mission is why IFB Solutions is this month’s Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Spirit of Arkansas Award winner.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is partnered with KATV Channel 7 to present the “Spirit of Arkansas Award.” The award is given to local charities doing exceptional work in the community. To be considered for the Spirit of Arkansas Award, a charity can apply here.

Saving your vehicle in bankruptcy

by Seth Hyder | June 27th, 2017

We all need our vehicle. It gets us to and from work, it gets us to the grocery store, and many other places. But what happens if you file for bankruptcy? You might worry about keeping that vehicle, especially if it’s the source of your money problems. A Rainwater, Holt & Sexton bankruptcy attorney is ready to help explain the process to you.

Chapter 13 Options
The 910-Day Rule
If you have purchased a vehicle at least 910 days (about 2.5 years) from the date of the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are eligible to “cram down” the balance on your vehicle loan.

Cram Down of Your Vehicle Loan in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A “cram down” of  an auto loan is a major benefit available in Chapter 13.  If you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth, or you are paying an exorbitant interest rate, cramming down a car loan in Chapter 13 bankruptcy can reduce your balance and lower your interest rate, thereby reducing your payment.

Making the Cram Down Stick
In order to make the “cram down” of the balance or the interest rate permanent, you must complete your Chapter 13 plan. The original balance and interest rate may be reinstated if you do not complete your Chapter 13 plan.

Extending Your Vehicle Loan
An additional advantage in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you can extend your payments over the course of a 36 to 60 month plan, regardless of whether you meet the 910-Day Rule. For example, you have 42  months left on your auto loan, by proposing a 60-month Chapter 13 plan, you can extend your loan 18 more months, thereby significantly reducing the vehicle payment.

If you are behind on your vehicle loan, Chapter 13 can also help you catch up on your payments by paying the loan over the life of the Chapter 13 plan.

Chapter 7 Options
Reaffirming the Vehicle Loan In Chapter 7
A reaffirmation agreement is a contract with a creditor whereby a you agree to pay for a debt as if the bankruptcy does not apply. In a Chapter 7, vehicle creditors often encourage you to sign a reaffirmation agreement. In many cases, reaffirmation agreements are not in your best interest, as you are once again liable on the loan, subject to a deficiency judgment and potential negative credit reporting.

In many instances, it is best not to agree to a reaffirmation but continue to make the payments and keep the vehicle. Most creditors will allow you to keep a vehicle, as long as the payments are made and current. If no reaffirmation agreement is executed, you have the ability to walk away from the vehicle without any danger of a deficiency judgment, should you have any issues paying the vehicle loan in the future.

Hoggard Wraps up presidency, Rainwater wins award

by Richard Atkinson | June 23rd, 2017
Former Bar President Denise Hoggard with John Rainwater, recipient of the Judith Ryan Gray Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Former Bar President Denise Hoggard with John Rainwater, recipient of the Judith Ryan Gray Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorney Denise Hoggard ended her year as the President of the Arkansas Bar Association last week at the Annual Arkansas Bar Association meetings. The meetings, held in Hot Springs every June, serve as a way for Arkansas Lawyers to get together, discuss and learn about issues affecting the profession as well as a way to learn ways to better help clients. During the meeting each year the new Bar President is sworn in, Tony Hillard followed Hoggard as the next Arkansas Bar Association President.

During her year as Bar President Hoggard worked tirelessly to advance the mission of the Bar Association.

“My goal was that as an Association, we should be actively working to protect our fair courts, advocating for our profession and for the public we serve.  I have been humbled by the many compliments and expressions of appreciation I have received, for a job well done.  While the work required long hours and stamina, it was well worth the effort” said Hoggard. “I have been given a great gift by being allowed to serve as President and it is a memory I will cherish forever” she added.

The annual meetings are also a time to give out awards to deserving attorneys. Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorney John Rainwater was honored with two awards. Rainwater was presented the Young Lawyer Section Award of Excellence in addition to being named the Judith Ryan Gray Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Both awards represent the great work Rainwater puts in for his clients as well as the Arkansas Bar Association. The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award was named for Judith Gray after her 40 years of work for the Arkansas Bar Association. The Award is given every year to an attorney who works on behalf of the Arkansas Bar Association to promote justice and public welfare across the state.

In addition to Denise Hoggard and John Rainwater other Rainwater, Holt & Sexton attorneys played a big role in the annual meetings. Rob Beard, Jason Owens, Jonathan Warren, John Rainwater, JaNan Davis, Thom Diaz, Josh Standerfer, Geoff Thompson, and Jessica Vaught all presented continuing education classes.

 

Victory Over Violence Difference Maker – Parents of Murdered Children

by Richard Atkinson | June 16th, 2017

Losing a child is never easy and grief can manifest itself in many ways. Parents of Murdered Children was formed to help parents put in impossible situations through the murder of their child. Parents of Murdered Children acts as a support group and provides help and resources to families struggling with loss. Those involved with the group can join therapy sessions and learn about the judicial process. In the never ending battle for Victory Over Violence it’s important to remember the victims of violence and these parents are hurting victims. The work Parents of Murdered Children does with these grieving victims makes them Victory Over Violence Difference Makers.

The Difference Maker award is in conjunction with the Victory Over Violence campaign launched by KARK Channel 4 and Fox 16. Once a month, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton presents a $1,000 donation to an organization fighting violence in the community and has established themselves as a true Difference Maker. The partnership goal is to create a safer Central Arkansas by uniting community groups promoting change through improvements in education, jobs, mentoring, and hunger.

Monthly Charity Winner – Food For Good

by Richard Atkinson | June 15th, 2017

dream center May 2017

This month’s vending machine charity winner is Food for Good, which is a project of the Arkansas Dream Center. The Arkansas Dream Center contacts those in need all over Arkansas.  In the summer Food For Good becomes a major project as they serve meals at 66 sites in central Arkansas. The meals are free to any child under 18 and serve as a way for them to eat fresh, nutritious, free meals when they are not in school and may be without food.

Our monthly charity giving is one of our favorite things to do. Each month employees nominate and vote on a charity in the community they would like to help. Throughout the month, employees “donate” by buying snacks and drinks that the firm subsidizes. All the proceeds from the snacks are then matched by the firm. We are honored to have such great employees who not only pick out wonderful organizations, but also help by donating all month long.

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – Hope Rises

by Richard Atkinson | June 14th, 2017

Hope Rises serves as a reentry facility for women who have been incarcerated. After a needs assessment in 2013, Kim Roxburgh and Hope Rises realized there is a growing number of women being incarcerated, but not much to help them upon release. The gender specific program helps those women with reentry options. Hope Rises is a 6-month residential program that has daily programing and requires residents to work. One of the bigger successes from Hope Rises has been the Dandy Line Kitchen started by former resident Lindsey Gant. The kitchen is staffed by current Hope Rises residents and is a fresh, healthy, and affordable meal delivery service. The assistance that Hope Rises gives to Arkansas women released from incarceration makes them a natural fit for this month’s Spirit of Arkansas award.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is partnered with KATV Channel 7 to present the “Spirit of Arkansas Award.” The award is given to local charities doing exceptional work in the community. To be considered for the Spirit of Arkansas Award, a charity can apply here.

New Of Counsel Attorney – Milton DeJesus

by Richard Atkinson | June 9th, 2017

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We would like to welcome Milton DeJesus who has joined our firm as an Of Counsel attorney.

DeJesus was born in Puerto Rico and migrated to Minnesota at age 7 with his parents. He grew up in Minneapolis and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War era. His undergraduate studies were done at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and law school at the University of Minnesota School of Law and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, CA.

After private practice with a small firm in St. Paul he accepted employment with a law firm in Little Rock and made Arkansas his home. DeJesus concentrated his practice in the defense of immigrants, in criminal, civil and administrative law, and in international law. He is admitted to the Court of International Trade in New York and the Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the 6th and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Arkansas and Minnesota Supreme Courts and Federal District Courts in several states as well as several immigration courts. He serves as a PALE Attorney for the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock.

He married Concepcion Rodriguez while in college and now have 4 children, all born in Minnesota and raised in Arkansas, and 6 grandchildren.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

by Mike Rainwater | June 8th, 2017

Per the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following:

  1. any period of loss of consciousness;
  2. any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident;
  3. any alteration in the mental state at the time of the accident  (e.g. feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused); and
  4. focal neurological deficit(s) that may or may not be transient;

but where the severity of the injury does not exceed the following: i) loss of consciousness (LOC) of approximately 30 minutes or less; ii) after 30 minutes, an initial Glosgow Coma Scale (CGS) of 13-15; and iii)  post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) not greater than 24 hours.

This is intentionally a very technical definition. The point is to provide a technical definition that can be used by those not familiar with the neurological details of what happens to the brain when subjected to “a non degenerative, non congenital insult to the brain from an external mechanical force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, and psychosocial functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness.”

In other words, a brain injury can be a SERIOUS, damaging injury even if it is MILD.  Insurance companies want to act like a MILD TBI is not a serious injury. Further, insurance companies will lead people to believe that there is not brain injury unless there was a “loss of consciousness” at the scene of a motor vehicle collision.  Not true.  The Mild TBI definition uses the words “any alteration in the mental state at the time of the accident.”  This can include feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused.

If you or a loved one has been in a collision which involved any “insult to the brain from an external mechanical force (which can include “whiplash”), you need the services of an experienced Arkansas motor vehicle injury lawyer in order to deal with the technicalities of pursuing a claim for damages that includes consideration of a mild traumatic brain injury.

New Attorney – Meredith Moore

by Richard Atkinson | June 7th, 2017

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We would like to welcome Meredith Moore who has joined our firm as an associate attorney.

A 2014 graduate of the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Moore has worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Pulaski County Prosecutors office prior to coming to Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. As a prosecutor she worked cases involving sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Moore is a native of Memphis, TN and attended Hendrix College in Conway before attending the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock.  Her work will be focused in our personal injury department.

Why Your SSD Application Was Denied

by Mike Rainwater | May 31st, 2017

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits do more than pay the bills after a debilitating illness or injury. They provide disabled folks in Arkansas a life. Without SSD benefits, many families would fall well below the poverty line with no way to pull themselves back out. If you’ve recently applied for SSD benefits, we know what you’re going through. Your disability keeps you from working, which means there’s no regular paycheck to keep you afloat. In addition, you’re unable to do many of the simple tasks that the rest of us take for granted, which makes applying for government assistance difficult.

However, despite your condition, you are expected to submit an error-free, perfectly documented application to the Social Security Administration. When a simple error or omission leads to a denial, you’re left wondering how you’re going to make ends meet. If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, you’re not alone. More than two-thirds of all initial applications are denied, but don’t give up. The good news is you can appeal.

The Social Security Disability attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton have been helping disabled folks in Arkansas secure benefits for years. We know the system, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you. Give us a call today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll review your application for free and work to get you the benefits you and your family deserve. Contact us today.

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