Flink Smith Attends DRI of NENY Holiday Dinner and Christopher Guetti Elected to Second Term as President of DRI of NENY
The Defense Research Institute of Northeastern New York held its annual Holiday Dinner this year at the Century House in Latham, New York. Insurance company representatives, investigators, and defense counsel ranging from areas in the North Country down to Poughkeepsie, New York, were in attendance.
Presenting at the dinner, Professor Michael Hutter, a faculty member at Albany Law School of Union University since 1976, Special Counsel to an Albany area law firm, and a member of the Commission on Judicial Nomination, which selects a list of nominees from which the Governor must choose appointments to the Court of Appeals, reviewed Court of Appeals decisions from the past year, as well as provided his insights into the workings of New York’s highest Court.
In addition, in what appears to be an unprecedented event for the DRI of NENY, Christopher Guetti was elected President of the group for a second term.
Thank you Professor Hutter and congratulations Chris!
James Brodie Speaks at Hackett Middle School Career Day to Aspiring Lawyers
On October 21, 2016, James Brodie of Flink Smith Law LLC attended Career Day at Hackett Middle School to speak with middle school students who had expressed interest in becoming an attorney. During the event, Mr. Brodie discussed the academic requirements and day-to-day realities of becoming a practicing attorney.
Mr. Brodie is a native of the Capital District and currently lives in the City of Albany. He has been practicing in a variety of areas of the law, including matrimonial/family matters, insurance defense, labor and traffic matters. If you have any questions in these areas of the law, please consider contacting Flink Smith Law LLC to set up an appointment.
DRI of Northeastern New York to Hold Annual Holiday Dinner
Christopher Guetti, this year’s president of the DRI of Northeastern New York, an organization bringing together various representatives associated with the defense bar, wants to extend an invitation to its annual holiday dinner to the readership. This year, the event is set to be held on December 12, 2016, at the Century House in Latham, New York.
The annual holiday dinner has become one of the DRI’s most well attended events, certainly due in large measure to the participation of the esteemed Professor Michael Hutter, who will again be presenting, this year providing his insights on recent Court of Appeals rulings.
Although the DRI focuses on issues concerning defense attorneys, adjusters, and investigators, etc., all are welcome to attend in this social event. If you have any interest, please see the invitation to the event, which has meal and further contact information, attached here.
Jennifer and Christopher Headline at HB National Lead Paint Litigation Conference
Jennifer Dominelli and Christopher Guetti have again attended the HB’s lead litigation conference, this year held in Naples, Florida. The conference is a yearly event held to educate attorneys and others involved in litigation associated with this specialized area of the law.
Both Jennifer and Christopher have been representing parties in litigated lead paint matters through trial, if necessary, for many years, and have attended the conference not only as participants, but as speakers. This year, Jennifer represented Flink Smith as a co-chair of the conference, while Christopher presented for the second year in a row, this year discussing issues and recent developments in New York State ethics.
We congratulate Jennifer and Christopher on their accomplishments in this area of the law. If you have questions concerning liability associated with lead paint in homes, please consider contacting Flink Smith LLC to set up an appointment.
Flink Smith Participates In Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angels Program
As this is the season of giving, Christopher Guetti from Flink Smith, in conjunction with Christopher’s membership in the Breakfast Club, a group representing an association of local business professionals, participated in some community outreach through The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County “Chamber Angels” program. The Chamber Angels program seeks to assist some 2000 children enduring financial hardships that make the extra expense of the holidays a cause for stress and unhappiness in what should be a season of joy. It is made possible through collaboration with the Southern Saratoga YMCA, Franklin Community Center, Mechanicville Area Community Services Center and CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services. Children are identified by school districts and county agencies that then pass on the children’s ages and wish lists to the Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angel. More information on the program can be found here: Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angel
This year, the Breakfast Club sponsored two families from the program, and the members’ families purchased both needed clothes and much desired awesome toys for a boy and a girl in need.
Thanks to the Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Flink Smith, and the Breakfast Club for helping those in need this holiday season.
White House Plans to Overhaul Child Support Payment Rules for Prisoners
By Christopher Guetti
In New York, statutes concerning the granting of child support originally prohibited modification on the grounds related to incarceration, as this was determined to be the result of a voluntary act. It was treated similarly to the situation in which someone who was working prior to a support proceeding either quits that employment, or intentionally seeks a lower paying position, simply to reduce their income in order to avoid paying higher amount of child support. In those instances, the Courts were allowed to look back at the person’s income in the years prior to the proceeding and impute that income on the parent for purposes of awarding support.
That changed in 2010, when the state enacted changes to the New York Family Court Act and Domestic Relations Law, which allows for incarceration to be considered as a substantial change in circumstances, and allowing for the modification of a support order so long as the incarceration was not for the nonpayment of child support, or the incarceration was is based on an offense against the custodial parent or child.
Some, but not all, states have similarly enacted such changes so as to prevent the accumulation of uncollectible arrears. Nationally, the average incarcerated parent enters a state prison with $10,000 in arrears and leaves with $20,000 in arrears. A 2010 White House administration survey found that of the 51,000 federal prisoners that had child support orders, 29,000 were behind on payments, and they had an average of $24,000 in arrears. Those amounts are not only unlikely to ever to be collected, but the arrears simultaneously add to the barriers formally incarcerated parents face when reentering communities, potentially interfering with the parent’s ability to obtain housing and/or employment, which could otherwise be used to support their child. Those parents are also likely to enter the “underground economy” further preventing the identification of a parent’s income and collection of support. A parent released from incarceration with realistic child support arrears, on the other hand, would be more likely be in a position to do what is necessary to pay off that debt. Of course, this concept is not without its detractors.
The White House is now in the process of concluding the preparation of regulatory changes that would require the states to allow prisoners to lower child support payments while in prison. Although the specifics of the changes are not currently known, the regulations would both require all states to allow prisoners to modify child support court orders, while requiring the state courts to set orders based on prisoners’ “actual” income.
It is expected that the new regulations will be in place before President Obama leaves office. It is not clear what the proposed changes will have on the child support scheme here in New York.
DRI of Northeastern New York to Hold Its Fall Luncheon
Christopher Guetti of Flink Smith, this year’s President of the Defense Research Institute of Northeastern New York, wishes to invite all interested to a fall luncheon. Presenting this year will be Stu Morrison of Morrison Engineering, PC, who will be discussing New York State building codes, maintenance issues and other matters related to slip and fall cases in New York.
The luncheon will be held from 12 PM to 2 PM at the Century House in Latham New York, and participants will have their choice of bistro steak with sautéed mushrooms or black and white salmon. For those who are interested, a copy of the invitation can be found here, or contact Flink Smith for more information.
Maswick 1 of 2 Adirondack Lawyers Named to 2016 Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Stars List
James L. Maswick, an attorney who works primarily out of our Lake Placid office, was named to the 2016 Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Stars list. James was only one of two attorneys who work in the Adirondacks to receive this award, with the other attorney working out of Lake George.
Only 2.5% of attorneys in Upstate New York receive this distinction. James was nominated by an attorney outside of Flink Smith Law LLC and was thoroughly vetted by the Super Lawyers staff before being selected to the Rising Stars list. The Rising Stars list honors those with ten years of practice and under.
FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW! Flink Smith Law LLC runner up for best attorneys in 2016 Best of the Mountains Readers’ Choice Once Again
The attorneys of Flink Smith Law LLC are proud to announce that the readers of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News have voted it runner up in the best attorney/lawyer category in the 2016 Best of the Mountains Readers’ Choice awards. The results were published in the June 17-18, 2016 editions of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News. This is the fourth consecutive year that Flink Smith has been named the runner up for best attorneys.
Everyone at Flink Smith Law LLC thanks the readers of the ADE and the News for recognizing our commitment to the Tri-Lakes area and their votes for the firm.
Flink Smith Law LLC is a full-service general practice law firm, with a focus on litigation (including plaintiff’s personal injury and insurance defense matters), real estate transactions, matrimonial/family law, and criminal defense matters. It has two offices, in Albany and its office in the mountains, the Lake Placid office, and is pleased to represent clients in matters state-wide.
Combating Fraud Aimed at Escrow Funds
A recent email hack trend has disrupted otherwise successful real estate closings. The hacks serve as a reminder that real estate agents, title insurance agents, and buyer’s and seller’s counsel need to exercise caution in the disbursement of escrow funds. Otherwise, closing money could be unknowingly transferred to illegitimate accounts and beyond recovery.
Hackers have become increasingly adept at gaining access to the email accounts of agents and attorneys involved in real estate transactions. Hackers will monitor incoming and outgoing emails to determine the status of the transaction and to learn who controls purchase funds. When the transaction nears completion, or at such other time where funds are to be moved, the hackers create convincing dummy email accounts with email addresses mimicking that of an involved agent or attorney. The email address may vary by as little as one letter, number, or character. The difference is often undetectable to someone skimming the email address under the assumption it is from a party already involved in the transaction. Even email signatures, styles, and other details are duplicated to further the fraud.
The true fraud comes in the instructions from the fake email accounts. At the opportune moment in the transaction, hackers will send email instructions directing that the payment be made to an entity allegedly owned by a party or an entity that appears to be a real estate or other similar company. The entity is often based outside the state or country where the real estate transaction is pending. The money is wired to the fake entity, the hackers who control the entity withdraw the money from the entity account, and it is gone forever.
To combat similar hacks, agents and counsel should be wary of email instructions changing to whom purchase payment should be made. Even more suspicious are directions to transfer funds to entities formed or doing business solely outside the state or country. At this stage of the transaction, agents and counsel should independently verify any instructions regarding transfers of funds. Do not simply rely on contact information found in an email or fax. Some helpful suggestions include, but are not limited to, calling up previously used phone numbers and/or conducting internet research on the entity and phone numbers being used. This is a simple way to protect a transaction.
Although hacking has evolved over the years, the first step in avoiding it is to exercise caution and due diligence.