Consumer Law Task Force

2010 National Aging & the Law Conference: The Changing Face of Aging

Date: 
Thu, 12/09/2010 (All day) - Sat, 12/11/2010 (All day)

9th Annual Aging & Law Conference: The Changing Face of Aging  

REGISTRATION OPENS JULY 1, 2010 

Conference Highlights:

• More than 50 workshops focusing on cross-cutting issues in the law, aging and advocacy with a special emphasis this year on changes in the demographics and socio-economics of aging (e.g. issues of race, gender, sexual identity, the impact of the current recession etc.)
• Nationally recognized speakers and presenters in the field of elder law
• Opportunities for networking with legal services and aging advocates across the country
• Special sessions on Health Care Reform programs and its impact on older adults
• Pre-conference "Nuts and Bolts of Elder Law" on December 8, 2010
• or more information, or to Register, go to www.aarp.org/nalc

 Sponsored By:

 

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Consumer Law Center
National Association of State Units on Aging
AARPFoundation
ABA Commission on Law and Aging National Senior Citizens Law Center
The Center for Social Gerontology
Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

Location
Location Name: 
Westin Hotel
City: 
Alexandria
State: 
VA
Contact
Name: 
sbuckingham@aarp
Phone: 
202-434-2101
Sponsor: 
AARP, NLRC, and see notes
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NALC Save the Date.doc613 KB

Foreclosure Alert video from Congressman Cummings

Information about deaf access to legal services

I was asked about whether we have the technology to meet the needs of deaf clients. This requires some research, which I am still in the process of doing. I have collected some very relevant materials which I am posting here.

Every advocate and employee who may interact with a deaf client should be reading these materials so that they are prepared before meeting with deaf clients. While I do not have all the answers about how to adequately handle interactions with deaf clients, and that should be handled by the committee developing the Language Access Policy, these materials are very useful, and indicate generally that you should first consult with the client about what they feel would be the most effective way to communicate with them about their case, and then use that method as your primarily means of communication. ASL interpretters appear to be the MOST effective way of communicating with clients about complex legal issues, if the client communicates via ASL, but these materials suggest we take our cues from the individual client.

There are also various telephone relay options, and I have provided materials about that as well. Many of these are technologies provided via our tax dollars, and require no specialized equipment be purchased, or even any cost to the users, but they do require that the employee understand what the client is talking about when the client requests that these services be used. The best known technology is Maryland Relay, but there are others that may be more appropriate, or preferred by the client, and employees need to familiarize themselves with these technologies in order to serve our clients.

Directly relevant is the article Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf/Blind clients: A quick reference for Legal Aid Offices. The article is by Sharon Caserta, who wrote the Handbook below. This is a Clearinghouse Review article, so I cannot attach it. We have an account with Clearinghouse Review, so Legal Aid attorneys can, from their own office computers, go to this link: http://www.povertylaw.org/clearinghouse-review/issues/2007/september-october-2007-clearinghouse-review/sidebars, to download the report to read it. It is one of several articles in the "sidebars" section of that issue.

The attached documents include explanations of how some of the different telephone relay services work, services other than what Maryland Relay provides.  They can help you understand what resource a client is asking you to use does, as well as explaining how it works.  The FCC website below is where I got some of these, and it provides a lot of good information about other technologies, as well as about the companies that provide these services.

See also these links:

www.floridalegal.org/deaf/deaf_hard_of_hearing-handbook.pdf

http://webster.utahbar.org/barjournal/2009/05/serving_the_client_who_is_deaf.html

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html 

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/providers/medicare_providers/exauxaids.html

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Deaf-Hard-of-Hearing-Handbook-Caserta.pdf263.81 KB
Suggested-Best-Practices.pdf249.77 KB
Serving-the-Client-Who-Is-Deaf-UBJ.pdf505.71 KB
FCC-info-TRS.pdf723.63 KB
FCC-info-VRS.pdf554.51 KB
FCC-info-IP-Relay.pdf430.69 KB
FCC-MD-TRS-page.pdf276.1 KB
i711-IP-relay-service.pdf1.54 MB

Collected research

I get to give all sorts of advice out here in Frederick, and usually have to do a bit of research to confirm what I think I remember about some of the issues presented. Here's some research on some of these topics, just so we all don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Minors and contracts:
We were horrified, in our office, by the result in Schmidt v. Prince George's Hospital, 366 Md. 535, 784 A.2d 1112 (2001). The holding in that case was that minors can be held liable for "necessaries" contracted for on their behalf. However, it did not apply to contracts for other than necessaries. Therefore, contracts entered into with minors are still voidable, and can be disaffirmed by the minor within a "reasonable time" after she attains the age of 21.  Upon such disaffirmance, the contract becomes null and void ab initio, and the vendor is bound to repay all money that he has received under the contract from the minor. The issues that have not been thoroughly determined in MD are what is a "reasonable time" after turning 21, and how is a contract disaffirmed by the minor. See Garay v. Overholtzer, 332 Md. 339, 631 A.2d 429 (1993), McBriety v. Spear, 191 Md. 221, 60 A.2d 528 (1948), Amey v. Cockey, 73 Md. 297, 20 A. 1071 (1891). And, of course, what the appellate courts would do with these issues on appeal is just frightening given Schmidt.

Procedures in District Court for wage garnishments:
Maryland Rule 3-646(j)(2)
(2) Within 15 days after the end of each month in which one or more payments are received from any source by the creditor for the account of the debtor, the creditor shall mail to the garnishee and to the debtor a statement disclosing the payments and the manner in which they were credited. The statement shall not be filed in court, but
the creditor shall retain a copy of each statement until 90 days after the termination of the garnishment proceeding and make it available for inspection upon request by any party or by the court. (3) If the creditor fails to comply with the provisions of this section, the court upon motion may dismiss the garnishment proceeding and order the creditor to pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the party filing the motion.

It appears that some creditors, like Ford Motor Credit Co. in one of my cases, don't bother to file the reports. If your client does get garnished, watch for this. I would argue that the garnishment would not be allowed to be reinstituted, though that is hardly a settled proposition.

Credit Reporting Agencies and debts discharged in bankruptcy:
There are only two cases dealing with whether or not a credit reporting agency can continue to list debts that have been discharged in bankruptcy. In re Vogt, 257 B.R. 65, 37 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 42, 5 Colo. Bankr. Ct. Rep. 57 (Bankr.D.Colo. 2000), and Learn v. Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, Inc., 664 F.Supp. 962 (E.D.Pa. 1987).
Both hold that the bankruptcy and the individual debts can all be listed for the 10 years following the bankruptcy discharge. This is because reporting the debt status accurately does not violate the bankruptcy code because it is not in any way an "act" to effect collection of the debt. 11 U.S.C.A. § 524(a)(2). Unfortunately, the same analysis probably applies to debts that have not been acted on within the statute of limitations, an argument I really like to
make, and that has convinced some credit collection agents to remove some debts from reports.

Originally posted 3/27/02

Lopez v. Washington Mutual Bank

FYI.  New 9th Circuit Case holding bank is prohibited under 42 U.S.C. § 407(a) from taking directly deposited Social Security and SSI benefits to cover overdrafts and overdraft fees.  Broad language used in opinion - concludes that consent necessary to redirect funds must be "knowing, affirmative and unequivocal."   I wonder if this reasoning could also be used to argue banks can't let other creditors attach the accounts without affirmative consent??..... The case is Lopez v. Washington Mutual Bank, No. 01-15303.  The following link should take you to the full opinion.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/9th/0115303p.pdf

Posted by Dan Hatcher 3/18/02

Hospital Debt Collection information

A memo that Louise Carwell circulated last year on the new law regulating hospital debt collections. Another bill which will add additional protections for consumers faced with hospital bill collections looks like it is going to pass during this legislative session.

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Hospital Debt Collection.doc34 KB

How to use Citrix GoToMeetings for Task Force Meetings and Trainings

In order to facilitate access to the various Task Force meetings of the Legal Aid Bureau, you can go to Links, and, if you are a member of a Task Force, you will find the link to that Task Force's GoToMeeting information.In addition, I recently added the link to each Task Force GoToMeeting page to the calendar item for each Task Force on the website.  Clicking on the name of the calendar item will take you to that calendar item page, show you the link to the GoToMeeting page for the Task Force, and there you will find the GoToMeeting link.  Click on thatlink and it will take you to the GoToMeeting website, where a small popup window will appear to ask you to download the GoToMeeting application. Say yes.  That will take a minute or two.  Then you will be asked for your name and email address - please let other folks know who you are and how to reach you.  If this does not work the first time you try it, click on the GoToMeeting link again.

Once you enter your name and email address, a panel (see picture at right)GoToMeeting panel and a GoToMeeting window appear on your desktop.  The panel will show the conference line number and access code that you will need to call, as well as the audio PIN requested, when you log onto the GoToMeeting online.  The window is where you will see what the Task Force is looking at on the computer used at the meeting, if they choose to use it.  

If you want folks online to see the materials discussed during the meeting, please email those materials to the chair before the meeting.  The Task Force may want to collaborate on making changes to brochures, pleadings and other documents during meetings, refer to or explore new online websites during the meeting, or show PowerPoint or video presentations during the meeting. This window is where you can see what the in-person attendees are seeing.

So remember, find the GoToMeeting link to connect to the online window, and call the conference number listed to participate in the discussion during the meeting.  

If anyone has any trouble connecting to the meeting, please call Katherine Jones at 443-604-4729 - that's my cell phone, and I don't use it to connect to the meeting conference line, so you can reach me there if there are problems. 

To schedule GoToMeeting, contact ITHelp@mdlab.org.  You need to give ITHelp a title for the meeting, and the date and time of the meeting. 

You will also need to ask for any equipment you need.  Sometimes the meeting is between people from different offices, and no one needs any special equipment, they all just join the link and the phone call.  But if you are having a meeting from a centralized place, you need to make sure you have access to a computer at that meeting place.  Every office has a laptop, laptops travel, so you can bring your office laptop to the meeting place.  If you do not want to bring a laptop to the meeting place, you will need to request that a laptop be provided.  You may need to request that from the office where the meeting will be held.  In Baltimore City, make your request to ITHelp. 

You may also need a projector, so people in your meeting can see what you are sharing with people online.  Request a projector from IThelp.  If your meeting is in Baltimore City, let ITHelp know where to set up the projector, and whether you will be using your office laptop, or the one you requested from ITHelp.  If your meeting is not in Baltimore City, you will need to make arrangements to go to Baltimore City to pick up the projector, and then to return it.  It helps to find out who is traveling to the meeting from Baltimore City to do this, but make sure you make that arrangement.  ITHelp will not be doing that part.  We do not know who may be attending the meeting, you do. 

If your meeting is not in Baltimore City, you will also need to set the projector and the laptop up yourself, and connect to the internet and to the Legal Aid network if you will be trying to use Practice Manager, to access your home drivce, or to access your email.  You may want to spend some time learning how to do that well in advance of the meeting, and then you may also want to get to your meeting early so you can get everything set up and ready to go for your participants. 

I can teach you how to start the GoToMeeting, and how to make it work during the meeting.  Reach me at ITHelp@mdlab.org.

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GoToMeeting_User_Guide.doc3.84 MB

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Listed below are answers to questions about us and our web site. If you have a question not answered below, please Contact Us.

Why can’t I log on?

I may not have approved your account yet.  I usually approve people very quickly, unless they have not sent the information requested in the email sent in response to the request for an account.  Please tell us your name, where you work, and why you are interested in joining.  Please tell us whether your practice has any potential for conflicts with legal services clients.

The most common reason people have trouble logging in is because they have forgotten that their user name is always their first and last names with a space between the two.  Example: Bob Jones.

The password I send is a one-time use password.  Once you use it, I believe you are taken to your account on the website.  If not, look for the Tools Box on the right side of the website, and click on My Account in there.  Under your name you will see several tabs.  Click on the Edit tab.  Scroll down to the Password and Confirm Password field.  Enter a new password you can remember, but please use a secure password.  Though a password strength advisor pops up as you enter a password, the website allows you to use any password you want.  Once you have entered a password, scroll down to the Signature Settings.  Enter your name, followed by the program or firm you work for, or some title that tells us something about your interest in the website, like lawyer, attorney, paralegal, legal assistant, etc.  Finally scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen to Save your changes.

If you have forgotten your password, click on the New Password link under the log in fields on the front page of the website.  The website will ask for your email address, use the one you use for the website.  You will be emailed a link to the website, not a new password.  The link takes you to a page with a login button.  The button takes you to your account, where you should click on the Edit tab to enter a new password, re-enter it in the field below the first password field, and then scroll to the bottom of your account page and Save the change you just made.  

If you are still having problems, send a request through Contact Us or Feedback.

How do I get emails when new content is posted?

Our Task Force Groups work like a list serve, for the convenience of the attorneys.  Whenever new content is posted to the website for a Task Force Group, each member can get an email showing that content.  When each member account is created, the account is set, by default, to receive notifications of new content immediately when the content is posted.  But each member can change notification settings. 

To make that change, go to the Tools box on the right side of the website.  Look for "My Account" there and click on it.  You will be taken to your account page.  Look for the "Notifications" tab.  Under the tab, there are three "buttons."  Click on the "Subscriptions" button.  You should see a list of the task forces from which you are receiving emails notifications about new content.  Click the check boxes next to the content type and task force that you would like to change.  Under "Update options," select what type of change you want to apply to the content you have marked.  Then be sure to click the "Update" button next to the change you are making.

If you are going to be on an extended vacation, first of all, have fun while you are gone!  But please, before you leave, also come into the website to change your subscriptions to deactivate them if you use an out-of-office or away message with your email application.  All those messages come to the webmaster and it is slightly annoying.

How do I post content on the website?

Go to this page for details: http://www.mdjustice.org/HowToUpload.  Also see instructions about Pasting from Word at http://mdjustice.org/node/3970.

Can I copy and paste news articles onto MDJustice?  What about training materials I collect?

Here are two places for some guidance: 

http://groundwire.org/resources/articles/fair-use

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

In order to avoid issues for the website and for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, we request that you link to any news articles you would like to share, rather than just copying and pasting them into the text box of a forum post.  It is also nice to have a summary of why you think the article is worth sharing.  For other materials, make sure to obtain permission from the authors for any other types of materials shared on MDJustice from trainings you attend, and attribute them as appropriate given the permission you receive. 

Of course, if it is material you prepared post away, and thank you for sharing! 

I am getting way too many emails from this website; why is that, and how do I change it? 

Our Task Force Groups work like a list serve, for the convenience of the attorneys.  Whenever new content is posted to the website for a Task Force Group, each member can get an email showing that content.  When each member account is created, the account is set, by default, to receive notifications of new content immediately when the content is posted.  But each member can change notification settings. 

To make that change, go to the Tools box on the right side of the website.  Look for "My Account" there and click on it.  You will be taken to your account page.  Look for the "Notifications" tab.  Under the tab, there are three "buttons."  Click on the "Subscriptions" button.  You should see a list of the task forces from which you are receiving emails notifications about new content.  Click the check boxes next to the content type and task force that you would like to change.  Under "Update options," select what type of change you want to apply to the content you have marked.  Then be sure to click the "Update" button next to the change you are making.

If you are going to be on an extended vacation, first of all, have fun while you are gone!  But please, before you leave, also come into the website to change your subscriptions to deactivate them if you use an out-of-office or away message with your email application.  All those messages come to the webmaster and it is slightly annoying.

Who is MD Justice?

MDJustice is a statewide advocate website funded by the Legal Services Corporation, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, and the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., to provide resources to attorneys who are assisting litigants in Maryland courts who cannot afford an attorney.  The website is managed by staff of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.  Our goal is to leverage the experience and knowledge of all of the attorneys in the state toward assisting low income litigants achieve their goals in Maryland Courts.

I am an attorney working for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., but I cannot seem to access all of the content on the website, what do I do?

All staff of Legal Aid are automatically assigned to all Task Force Groups so that they have access to all of the Knowledge and experience of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., staff and resources.  If you cannot access something on the website, use the Contact Us link to alert the Webmaster about your problem.

But I don't really need all of the materials of every Task Force, do I?

Think expansively.  There may be pleadings or resources associated with a particular Task Force that may address a problem for your particular client.  We want you to have access to that information immediately, without having to wait for approval to be a member of the Task Force where the document or resource can be found.   

I am an attorney with a nonprofit law firm, or other nonprofit organization.  What do I do?

First, file your application at http://www.mdjustice.org/node/2001.  The application asks for your name, where you work, and why you are interested in joining.  Please tell us whether your practice has any potential for conflicts with legal services clients. 

Once your application has been approved, return to the website, log in with your new screen name and password, change the password you were given to one you can remember, and then click on the Groups tab in the menu bar.  The Groups are Task Force groups run by the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.  They are private Groups, not for the general public.  The moderator of the group you request to join will process your request as soon as possible.

I am a private attorney, but I would like to use your resources.  What do I do?

First, file your application at http://www.mdjustice.org/node/2001.  The application asks for your name, where you work, and why you are interested in joining.  Please tell us what pro bono work you have done recently and whether your practice has any potential for conflicts with legal services clients.  The moderator of the group you request to join will procees your request as soon as possible.

Once your application has been approved, return to the website, log in with your new screen name and password, change the password you were given to one you can remember, and then click on the Groups tab in the menu bar.  The Groups are Task Force groups run by the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.  They are private Groups, not for the general public.  The moderator of the group you request to join will process your request as soon as possible. 

What if my membership to a Task Force Group is not approved?

Attorneys and paralegals will always be approved to join the General Pro Bono Task Force, as well as the Maryland Advocacy Institute.  As a result, you will have access to all of the content on the website that would not put the advocates of nonprofit organizations at risk of divulging work product for their cases.  This will include a wide range of pleadings, and other resource materials.  If you are looking for something in particular, post a question on the General Pro Bono forum, and attorneys from across the state will help you with your request.

I would really like to see a Task Force about ...

Post your request via the Contact Us link you will find on most pages.  If you are willing to moderate the Group, we can create a group to suit your needs.  The Webmaster will be in touch with you.

What's RSS, and what is a Feed Aggregator? 

I got this from the HHS website.  I am sure you also can find more explanations by searching Google.  

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an easy way to keep up with your favorite news and information. An RSS feed contains headlines, summaries and links to full news stories. If you click an RSS link, you will see XML (or eXtensible Markup Language) code in your browser. This is to be expected, since you do not view RSS content through a browser. You view the headlines through an RSS news reader (also called an RSS aggregator).  

RSS news readers are software programs or web applications that aggregate RSS feeds and display the information. They allow you to scan headlines from hundreds of news sources in a central location.  While you can probably get your own RSS reader, and some are built into web browsers, the Feed Aggregator on this website is such a reader.  If there is a feed related to legal services issues you would like to see added to the Feed Aggregator, let me know and we'll probably add it.

I am no longer working with the nonprofit legal services program I was working at when I joined the website, what should I do?

We appreciate the contributions of all advocates willing to help us provide services to clients, where you work is not that important to us, and every contribution you make on this website should be counted toward your obligation to provide pro bono services as a Maryland Attorney.  So please stay, and please continue to share your advice and resources.  But you do, probably need to change your email so it does not bounce back and flood the webmaster's email.  You should also check your Notifications to change them in case you do not want to continue to receive those emails as often as you originally scheduled to receive them. 

To make these changes, go to My Account in the Tools Box on the right side of the website.  Under Edit on your My Account page change your email address from the one you were assigned by your former employer.  Then go to the Notifications Tab to make changes to the intervals in which you receive emails from your Task Force memberships.  Finally, go to the Tools box again to click on Groups.  That gets you to a page where you will find a My Groups tab where you can edit your membership for each Task Force. 

I cannot open a PowerPoint attachment

http://www.mdjustice.org/node/2284#comment-482

This may be because you have PowerPoint 2003 installed on your computer, and the document was created using a newer version of PowerPoint.  If the website makes you save the document, rather than just opening it, that's why.  Go ahead and save it somewhere on your computer that you can find it.  The file you download will be a compressed or zipped file.  That's fine, don't extract the files, and don't double click to try to open the files.  That's how MS PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 files look.  To open the PowerPoint, find the zipped file listed in an explorer window or on your desktop, or in your list in My Documents, wherever you put it when you saved it.  Right click on the zipped file, NOT on the files inside the zipped file.  Select Open With.  If PowerPoint is one of your options select that.  If PowerPoint is not one of your options, select Choose Program, and find PowerPoint in the list that appears. 

If that does not work, I can upload a 2003 version, just email kjones@mdlab.org with the page on which the PowerPoint is located.

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