What Is Discovery

by Dennis and King Law Firm in Chattanooga, TN.

Discovery comes before a trial and is a part of a civil case where both sides try to “discover” what the other side knows about the case or about the other side’s history. If a suit is filed, discovery is both crucial as well as unavoidable. During the discovery process, both sides are able to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s case resulting in little to no surprise at trial. Learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses can also help get the case settled before it goes to trial.

Tennessee has rules that govern discovery. These rules can be found in the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 26. Georgia’s discovery procedure is governed by the Official Code of Georgia Sections 9-11-26 through 9-11-36.

What can each side discover? In essence, each side can discover anything that is relevant to the case or could lead to something that is relevant to the case excluding any information that is privileged. Some of the information sought in discovery during a personal injury lawsuit includes:

  • Medical records
  • Documents
  • Identity of witnesses
  • Identity of a witness
  • Medical history
  • Photographs of injuries.

What Is Privileged Communication?

Privileged communication must meet three requirements:

  1. The person must speak or write something they thought no one else would see—an expectation of privacy.
  2. The law considers the communication confidential, such as advice from a doctor, a confession to a pastor or a priest, or conversations between spouses.
  3. One did not knowingly communicate the information to another person other than to someone the law deems a confidential communication.

How Does Discovery Actually Work?

There are four ways lawyers conduct discovery:

  • Depositions

A deposition is when a witness to a case gives out-of-court testimony that is put into writing and later used in court. A deposition typically has a court reporter present as a representative of the court. The deposition usually takes place at the office of the court reporter or at one of the law firms representing a party to the case. Depositions serve two purposes: 1) To record the recollection of witnesses while the memories are still recent and 2) To give all sides of a case a fair preview of the evidence likely to be presented at trial.

  • Interrogatories

An interrogatory is a written letter to the other side in a case, asking them to answer a question. Interrogatories are generally between twenty-five to thirty-five questions long, depending on the state. Although most interrogatories are expected to be tailored to each specific case, many of the questions are generic enough that they can be copied from case to case. In personal injury cases, for example, the questions may be as simple as “Describe the nature and extent of your injuries” or “List the number and names of each physician you visited to treat your injuries”.

  • Request for Admission

A request for admission is a written letter submitted to the other side in a case, containing factual information to which the court can admit, deny or object. Like interrogatories, requests for admissions are generally limited to around thirty questions. Unlike interrogatories, requests for admissions usually come in the form of true or false questions. Requests for admissions presented to the court are assumed factual unless the judge allows the requests withdrawn or amended.

  • Request for Production

A request for production is a written letter to the other side in a case, requesting specific books, documents, or physical items for inspection and copying. They are sometimes referred to as document requests, notices to produce, or demands for document inspections. Requests for production can also include certain electronic evidence, such as e-mails or hard drives. Requests can be denied if the requests would violate privileged communications. Parties presented with such requests can also respond and explain that the evidence requested is unavailable for certain reasons: for example, the documents suffered destruction, or the items in question are no longer in the party’s possession.

Do I Need an Attorney for Discovery?

If the point is reached in a civil trial where discovery is likely to occur, or a response is required to any of the tools of discovery, it is highly suggested that an attorney is contacted because they will be able to explain matters more comprehensively and help protect one’s rights.

If looking to have a nice dinner out with friends, family, or anyone else for that matter, look no further than Portofino’s Greek and Italian Restaurant – a staple in East Ridge! This lovely restaurant has a homey feel and a welcoming flare. Named after a colorful fishing village in the heart of the Mediterranean, Portofino’s serves up dishes true to its roots. While it would be impossible to truly capture the essences of this town, Portofino’s in East Ridge does a fantastic job of recreating the ambiance and taste!

In true Italian fashion, the meal began with breadsticks and oil, along with a side of dolmades. The dolmades are grape leaves generously stuffed with beef and rice paired with a lemon butter that melted in your mouth. The breadsticks arrived hot, crisp and fresh from the oven, served with an herbed oil blend- the perfect starter as we talked and waited for the rest of our party.

Our last friend arrived just as we finished the appetizer. A friendly waitress, or cameriera in Italian, quickly greeted her. Our friend knew exactly what she wanted and ordered her wine for the evening-a glass of Spiropoulos Red Stag, a Greek, medium-bodied, ruby-red wine that imparted flavors of blackberry on the tongue. After one sip of hers, I had to order a glass for myself.

After chatting and enjoying our drinks, the waitress requested our order. In the spirit of adventure, I decided to try the “Tour of Greece Numero Due” consisting of a pastitsio, a Greek lasagne with a creamy béchamel sauce instead of marinara, moussaka, a baked eggplant dish, and more of those tasty dolmades! With an enticing aroma, the flavor did not disappoint.

Everything on the table looked and smelled delicious. Across the table laid a Grouper Florentine comprised of a roasted filet topped with creamy spinach and red pepper sauce; a “Tour of Greece Numero Uno;” a sampling of gyro meat as well as pork souvlaki; pita bread with a side of tzatziki sauce, and a filling vegetarian lasagne with mozzarella/romano cheese. It all tasted even better than it smelled!

Unfortunately, the downside of devouring a delicious appetizer, a few drinks, and a generous entree, is that none of us had any room left for dessert – oi′ vā′! We soon regretted this obvious mistake as we passed by the desert bar with mouthwatering cannoli and baklava teasing us as we made our way outdoors.

If seeking recommendations for a nice night out on the town without all of the downtown traffic, please visit Portofino’s Greek and Italian Restaurant in East Ridge. It is an experience like traveling to the Mediterranean without ever leaving Tennessee!

The Benefits of Having Good Tires

by Tire Square and Wheels in Chattanooga, TN.

Every part of a vehicle serves a purpose. However, tires are an area that often gets neglected. Having proper tires can improve fuel efficiency, handling, and overall safety. Read ahead to learn the importance of tires as well as some tips on choosing the right set.

Making a habit of continually checking tire pressure can go a long way toward improving driving practice. Under-inflated tires use up more gas, hurting a car’s fuel efficiency, while over-inflated tires can reduce handling, putting everyone on the road at a greater risk.

Remember to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold and have not been recently used. To properly control the pressure of your tires, first determine the recommended pressure for the vehicle. This number can be used to compare with the current set, which can then be measured with a tire gauge. If the set is incorrectly inflated, there are some easy methods for making the proper adjustments.

For adding pressure, drive to the nearest gas station to use an air compressor. Remove the valve stem caps from the under-inflated tires, and use the compressor to fill the tires to the correct pressure. For subtracting air, simply press down on the needle in the middle of the valve with a pen and wait until it is at the recommended amount.

There are other quick checks to survey on a day-to-day basis before stepping into a vehicle. Uneven tread wear around the edge of a tire might be indicative of improper wheel alignment. If this is the case, the car should be realigned. Doing so will increase both fuel efficiency and safety.

It is also a good idea to rotate a vehicle’s tires every so often, as front tires tend to wear quicker since they are leaned on when turning. Doing so will also help avoid various alignment issues.

Finally, check for nails or other sharp objects that might have gotten stuck in a vehicle’s tires. While punctured tires will most certainly need replacement, doing so is preferred to having an unexpected blowout on the road.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SET

Always check the owner’s manual to ensure the proper size of tires is purchased. Not only can an ill-fitting set affect the overall comfort of driving, but it can also create a serious safety issue.

Another faux pas is mixing and matching tires. Two pairs will move differently when the vehicle is steered, affecting both the driver’s performance as well as the ability to drive smoothly and safely.

It is also very important to have a set of tires that are appropriate for current weather conditions. One trap that many drivers fall into is believing they can get away with all-season tires throughout the entire calendar year. While all-season tires are useful during the spring, summer and fall months, they are simply not safe for use during the winter. For example, they do not grip the road well and can be the main source of an accident, especially if the road is icy. As a result, make sure to always switch to winter tires near the end of the fall. For optimum safety and performance, once the ice has melted, the tire should then be switched back to all-season tires.

For further information regarding winter and all-season tires, please call Tire Square and Wheels at 423-710-1001 or find them online at tiresquareandwheel.com.

The Benefits and Relevance of Industrial Mechanical Insulation Systems

by B&B Thermal Insulation in Chattanooga, TN.

In today’s world of increasing energy concerns, the need for efficiently managing facilities is more and more relevant. Properly insulating industrial systems reduce energy costs, ensures facilities maintain air, sound as well as temperature quality. More specifically, mechanical insulation provides improved safety, effectiveness and aesthetics to work environments. Proper mechanical insulation also maximizes the return on investment in industrial facilities by improving energy efficiency, enhancing the quality of work environments, and reducing overall costs.

While conservationists and environmental consultants push expensive and sophisticated mechanical appliances, few of these options compare to the overall gains of properly insulating an industry’s mechanical systems. When done correctly, mechanical insulation systems:

  • Minimize energy costs
  • Maximize return on investment
  • Enhance system performance
  • Reduce emissions
  • Bolster personnel safety
  • Inhibit noise transfer

Additionally, these systems increase the durability and hands-off maintenance of a facility’s insulation systems. Once installed, insulation provides continuous savings and other invisible but vital benefits. Quite simply, sometimes the easiest solution is the best one.

For more information about industrial and mechanical insulation systems, please contact B & B Thermal Insulation at 423-622-5623 or find them online at bbthermalinsulation.com.

10 Benefits of Outsourcing Payroll

by L and L Tax Services in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA.

Every business owner is faced with the option of doing payroll in-house or outsourcing to a payroll service provider. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, outsourcing payroll seems to be a common choice for both large and small businesses. If you are trying to decide if payroll outsourcing is right for you, consider the following benefits.

1. Fewer Compliance Issues

Payroll tax regulations can be complicated and confusing. It may be difficult to stay up with all the tax rules and changes when trying to run a business, yet you are legally responsible for inaccurate payroll reporting, which can result in penalties from the government. Outsourcing payroll services can help you prevent compliance issues. Companies dedicated to running payroll stay up-to-date on all tax rules and therefore are much less likely to make costly errors. In addition, outsourced payroll services will often handle filings, taxes, and payments, as well as take responsibility for the cost of mistakes.

2. Lower Costs

In addition to reducing the probability of costly penalties, hiring a company to manage your payroll can save you money in other ways. Payroll outsourcing usually costs less than managing payroll internally. Particularly for small to medium businesses, the price to pay for training and the labor hours spent processing payroll in-house generally add up to more than the price of outsourcing.

3. Saved Time

Not having someone process payroll internally can not only save you money but also time. When one of your employees has to work on payroll every couple of weeks or once a month, they are spending less time actually doing their job. Because payroll takes a lot of time and attention to detail to prevent errors, outsourcing to a professional company can increase efficiency.

4. No Days Off

When you rely on an employee to manage your payroll, you may have to deal with illness, vacations or resignations. If your employee gets sick or requests PTO when payroll is due, it may not get done on time, which can lead to penalties. Hiring a payroll company means no asking for days off. This ensures consistent and reliable payroll processing of every pay period.

5. Better Security

By processing payroll in-house, you may be putting yourself at a greater security risk. Even though you may trust your employees, there is always a chance personal information could accidentally get shared or be seen in the office. This could lead to potential identity theft, messing with company records, manipulating payments or embezzling money in extreme cases.

6. More Reliable Backup

While payroll software is available to help companies run payroll internally, if the software goes down, all of your data may be lost. When you outsource payroll to a service provider, they generally have backup systems in place and several server locations to protect your information – without additional cost to you.

7. Peace of Mind

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing payroll is the peace of mind that comes with it. When you don’t have to worry about whether your payroll is getting done correctly and on time, you can concentrate on growing your business. Since payroll providers usually take responsibility for errors, you can feel confident they will take responsibility for mistakes. If the payroll service company cannot fix the issue, it is quick and easy to hire a new one, as opposed to taking weeks for hiring and training new members of your staff.

8. Alternative Payment Methods

Many payroll companies offer different options for paying employees. Doing payroll in-house often means sending paper checks to your employees each pay period. By outsourcing payroll, businesses often have the ability to do direct deposit or even offer pay cards to those employees without bank accounts. Having these options means it is easier to stop payments and reissue them if necessary.

9. Quicker Processing

Payroll service providers employ experts in payroll rules and requirements. Because payroll is all they do and they have advanced technical resources as support, they can complete complex payrolls quickly and accurately. This includes adding new employees to the system and removing former employees as soon as they leave the company.

10. Access for Employees

Outsourced payroll often comes with an employee access system that allows employees to see their personal payroll information. This creates a quicker and more efficient way to get information to employees and makes it easier for them to update their information. Since this feature often comes with outsourced payroll services, employers do not have to worry about maintaining it.

While every payroll company is slightly different, the benefits of outsourcing payroll often outweigh the negatives. If any of these factors are leading to inefficiencies or limiting profitability in your company, it might be time to consider payroll outsourcing. For more information about outsourcing payroll, call L and L Tax Prep at (706) 841-0829 or find them online at www.facebook.com/LLTAXPREP.