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Francis J. Collins

Francis Collins’s Answers

11 total


  • Is this a violation of my civil rights?

    My daughters used to dance at a balto county rec and parks center. In September, I took them out because I did not like some of their practices. At this time I started contacting the Board of rec and parks and complained about these practices. My ...

    Francis’s Answer

    Answered in a vacuum of facts, I think you might have a violation of your constitutional rights. However, practicalities may prevail. Suing the county for this violation would be costly. Unless you are wealthy and want to do this as a matter of principle, you are not going to obtain a satisfactory remedy.

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  • Small Claims... Who do I sue to get my car back?

    I hired a mechnic to do some work on my engine. He led me to believe that he owned his own shop. He DROVE my car from my home to the shop. I gave him $1100 for the parts. He was suppose to be done with my car in a week. He gave me the run around...

    Francis’s Answer

    Under state law, you're entitled to a written estimate for all repairs costing more than $50 and you can't be charged more than 10% over the written estimate without your consent. If the mechanic finds that the repair will cost more than 10% than the estimate, or that additional repairs are needed, the shop must contact you to get your authorization.

    http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/edge77.htm

    I strongly urge citizens to use the small claims court -- at least once. Doing so will empower you to know and understand the process. You will then be able to resolve legal disputes which are expensive but not at the level where you would want to hire an attorney. Small claims court is fast (by lawyers' standards), inexpensive and fairly easy to handle. It is not unlike some of the T.V. shows such as "Judge Judy." You don't need a lawyer and being familiar with the process will give you the confidence you need to resolve disputes in a legal arena that you might otherwise feel you have to ignore.

    In your case, however, the mechanic does not have to put the car back in the condition it was when you entrusted it to him. However, if he did not give you a legally enforceable estimate for the work, you may be able to recover your vehicle without paying him.

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  • I was in a car accident and from the dents in my car you can tell it was the other drivers fault. should i sue?

    on oct. 3 i was in a parking lot about to back into a space. before i could take my foot off the brake a van hit my drivers side denting my door and smashing my side mirror. at the time a witness gave me his name but when the other driver insuranc...

    Francis’s Answer

    If you were injured, it certainly would be worth contacting an attorney. On the other hand, if there is only property damage (dents to your car, for example), you should probably handle this through your own insurer. If you don't have comprehensive or collision coverage on your vehicle, you may have to bring a claim for the cost of the repairs. Obviously, if that cost is not very high in legal terms (even if it seems high to you), it probably won't be worth hiring an attorney. On the other hand, even if there is only a few thousand dollars worth of damage, I strongly urge citizens to use the small claims court -- at least once. Doing so will empower you to know and understand the process. You will then be able to resolve legal disputes which are expensive but not at the level where you would want to hire an attorney. Small claims court is fast (by lawyers' standards), inexpensive and fairly easy to handle. It is not unlike some of the T.V. shows such as "Judge Judy." You don't need a lawyer and being familiar with the process will give you the confidence you need to resolve disputes in a legal arena that you might otherwise feel you have to ignore.

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  • What can i do if i was hurt during a work related injury and afterwards upon my return i was harrased by management

    i was recently hurt on my job at the home depot, my injury consisted of a misplaced 14ft by 4ft in diameter pvc pipe which resulted in an injury to my foot. The pipe was stored on the wrong cart and the cart was moved and it rolled off of the cart...

    Francis’s Answer

    You should immediately bring this to the attention of your workers' compensation lawyer if you have one. If your injury involves any significant treatment you should have an attorney.

    It is illegal in Maryland to terminate an employee "solely for having filed a workers compensation claim." Unfortunately, Maryland courts read that phrase narrowly and it is legal to fire you for two reasons, only one of which relates to your workers compensation claim.

    If you intend on pursuing this, you should not quit. If you quit, you will likely lose all of your possible legal rights.
    F.J. Collins

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  • How do I know if my employer taking advantage of me?

    Hi, I work as a overnight person at a major chain hospitality company. Since I am the only one working at the desk at night I do not get to take a break, but my employer still deduct my break from my check. When I complained to the manager about t...

    Francis’s Answer

    The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits an employer from failing to pay for hours worked. Therefore, based on the facts that you provide, the answer will depend on whether you are working more than 40 hours a week because of these breaks and whether your are an hourly employee. Maryland has a wage and hour division in the Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).

    If this problem pertains only to you, it will be difficult to find a lawyer because the amount at stake would be small. However, if more people are involved, you should call a lawyer.

    F.J. Collins

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  • Can I sue my Surgeon

    I had Surgery to remove a Cyst from the left side of my big toe on the right foot I was told to be out of work for the one week after the first week I went back to work on that Friday I went back to the doctor and found out that I had reopen my sc...

    Francis’s Answer

    It is very unlikely that your case would be economically viable. Although you should not have been treated this way, your economic damages would not justify bringing a malpractice case.

    F.J. Collins

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  • Can my former employer sue me for slander when I resigned and told the doctor that worked with us the reason ( cut in pay)?

    I resigned on a thursday after being told that I made to much money for what I did and they were thinking about cutting my pay. On Friday morning, I was told to go ahead and go because I had said slanderous things to our physician that ran our la...

    Francis’s Answer

    You did nothing wrong.

    F.J. Collins

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  • Slander in work place?

    My ex-boss accused me in email communication of suffering from depression and he suggested that I should seek medication for it. He also accused me of being incompetent employee, despite the fact that he wrote me several recommendation letters in...

    Francis’s Answer

    Slander or libel, a.k.a. defamation, is very fact specific. You must look at the context to determine if any particular statement is actionable. That being said, there are published cases addressing many comments that are probably similar to what was said about you. Generally speaking, in Maryland, a statement that someone is "depressed", without more, would not likely be defamatory. Defamation involves a statement that holds you up to public ridicule and is not clearly an opinion. Calling someone an alcoholic, for example, might be defamatory. However, saying that someone has cancer would not. "Depression" seems to fall between my two examples and is less clear.

    Remember also that if you have ever received mental health treatment you would likely be required to reveal all of your past history if you filed suit.

    F.J. Collins

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  • Is ex-employer liable for me loosing my livelihood?

    I was laid off 6 months ago. Four months ago I was selected for a position with another employer but was not hired because to my surprise, my clearance had been archived due to ex-employers negligence. Ex-employer is trying to fix things with the ...

    Francis’s Answer

    It sounds like you were working for one of Maryland's many "beltway bandits" in a defense industry job. Assuming that is correct, you would have to look at any contractual arrangement you had with your past employer. If your former employer did not guarantee that it would keep your clearance up to date after your termination, I seriously doubt you have a claim.

    As you probably know, you have certain due process rights with the government regarding security clearances. It sounds like there is some issue with the government that can be addressed without reference to your prior employer.

    If you cannot get the clearance you need, you should be finding out from the government why that is happening and try to deal with it through the government agency.

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  • Can I sue my boss for labor abuse?

    My boss screams at me in front of everyone and makes me clean the floor with my hands. Makes me take vacations one day at the time. I'm pregnant and she wants me to take 2 weeks not paid maternity leave. I left today because I couldn't take it any...

    Francis’s Answer

    If you believe you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination you may have a claim. However, you would need to prove that you are being treated badly BECAUSE of your pregnancy.

    A boss has the right to be a bad boss, as long as she is not doing so for illegal reasons such as your pregnancy or gender. You also need to consider how much you are being paid. If you could replace this job with another your best bet is to vote with your feet. A discrimination case is a long, expensive and arduous road. If your economic damages are not substantial, it is not worh pursuing. However, if you have a lot of economic damages, you should speak to an attorney or call the EEOC.

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