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H-1B Applications Facing Greater Scrutiny, Lower Approval Rates

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]According to new data released by the Trump administration, fiscal year 2019 H-1B visa applications are being subjected to higher levels of scrutiny and are being rejected at a much higher rate than in previous years.  According to the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the increased level of rejections and requests for more information are the result of new policies with the stated intention of protecting U.S. workers. Requests for Evidence (RFEs) are used by USCIS to seek additional proof about a claim on an immigration application.  The number of RFEs issued has skyrocketed in recent years.  Between last October and December, 60,650 RFEs were issued (60 percent of all applications).  During the same time period in 2017, only 44,338 RFEs were sent (45.6 percent of all applications), but even that is a dramatic increase from 2016, where 26,799 were issued (27.5 percent of all applications). Denials are increasing too.  Last quarter, (October - December), 24.6 percent of H-1B applications were denied.  That's up from 17 percent in 2017 and 7.8 percent in 2016.  The overall number of denials has more than tripled from the last quarter of 2016 to the last quarter of 2018, jumping from 7,618 denials to 24,851 denials. According to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, the most issued RFE is to companies asking them to prove that the position they are seeking for the H-1B is truly a 'specialized occupation' job.   Other RFEs requested proof that the employer had a valid relationship with prospective workers and that prospective workers had job assignments. You can see the H-1B approval data here. Working closely with experienced immigration attorneys can reduce the chances that an H-1B application will receive an RFE and increase the chances of approval.  H-1B season is upon us, and the deadlines for fiscal year 2019 are nearly here.  Call us at 888-517-9888 to receive a free immigration consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Workers’ Compensation for Non-Citizens

Topics: Workers' Compensation

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One question we are often asked at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth is whether or not a non-citizen of the United States is eligible for workers' compensation benefits.  In California, that answer is yes.  All California workers, regardless of citizenship status, are eligible for aid should they be injured on the job.  Even workers who do not have legal authorization to work in the United States have workers' compensation protections. This is a very important point to reiterate.  If you are injured while working in California, regardless of your immigration status, you should contact a workers' compensation attorney.  Employers are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance, which does not discriminate on who you are or how you were injured.  You should immediately report any work injury.  Retaliation for reporting a work injury is illegal, but if it should happen, an experienced workers' compensation attorney will help you seek damages. The workers' compensation process is the same for citizens and non-citizens as well.  The benefits too.  All injured workers are entitled to medical treatment, disability benefits, and job displacement benefits.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you recover physically and financially from your work injury.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free injury consultation![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Bad Weather Crashes Closed the Grapevine, I 15

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Stormy weekend weather brought snow, sleet, hail, and ice to low elevation roads, including Interstate 5 through the Grapevine, leading to several crashes and a long closure of the freeway.  Snow and ice near the Nevada state line also lead to crashes, resulting in a closure of the 15.  The crashes and subsequent freeway closures reinforce the dangers of winter driving in higher elevations. California Highway Patrol (CHP) was proactive about the incoming storm, advising motorists that the I-5 could remain open if drivers remained vigilant and drove an appropriate speed for the conditions.  However, it only took a few hours for numerous crashes in the Grapevine area to occur, resulting in the freeway closure.  Traffic through the Tejon Pass was blocked for about 17 hours. Southern Californians heading home after a holiday weekend in Las Vegas were also impeded by the weather.  Caltrans closed the 15 freeway for nearly four hours Monday morning at the Nevada-California border after numerous incidents stemming from icy road conditions. With more snow and ice possible in higher elevations this week, be sure to plan any drives well in advance.  If you can avoid driving in bad weather, you should.  If you can't avoid driving in bad weather, allow for extra time to reach your destination. If you've been injured in an auto accident, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you recover physically and financially, giving you peace of mind.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Trump Administration Sued Again for Ending TPS Program

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A class-action lawsuit was filed by immigration advocates in federal court this week to reverse the Trump administration's decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for around 100,000 immigrants from Honduras and Nepal.  The new lawsuit was filed in the same court that is hearing arguments on a similar lawsuit brought on behalf of TPS immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.  In that case, a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Northern California prevented TPS benefits from ending while the court case was being heard. TPS allows certain foreign non-citizens who were physically present in the United States at the time of a natural disaster, outbreak of war, or other extraordinary event occurred in their home countries.  The program was created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990.  Under the law, TPS status was to be reviewed by the U.S. government every 18 months.  The Trump administration denied to renew TPS for 98 percent of foreign nationals covered by the program. The lawsuit, Bhattarai vs. Nielsen, argues that the decision to end TPS for 86,000 Hondurans and 15,000 Nepalese was based in part on discrimination and racism.  The lawsuit also alleges that it is unconstitutional to force U.S. citizen children of TPS recipients to choose between staying with their family or leaving the only home they've ever known.  TPS protections for Nepalese beneficiaries are scheduled to end in June and for Honduran beneficiaries next January. Read the full news article here. Some foreign nationals covered by TPS may be eligible for a green card.  The immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth help clients find the best way to seek legal permanent residence and United States citizenship.  Call 888-517-9888 to schedule your free immigration consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Lunar New Year Festival

Topics: Events, From Our Office

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth is involved with the local communities that we serve.  This past Saturday, we hosted a booth at the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival, braving the rain, and giving away lots of promotional merchandise. We took some pictures at the festival, which you can find below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3541" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3542" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3543" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3544" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3546" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="3545" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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McDonald’s Case Shows Importance of Trademarks

Topics: Intellectual Property

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In January, McDonald's lost the rights to exclusively use "Big Mac" in the European Union (EU) after a trademark dispute with Irish fast-food chain Supermac's.  While not affecting the trademarks of McDonald's in the United States, this court case helps illustrate the intricacies of trademark law and how it is sometimes a very dangerous game. The story of how McDonald's lost its trademark is confusing and requires some background.  Irish fast food company Supermac's was prevented from expanding into the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) because of McDonald's use of its mark "Big Mac" under EU trademark law.  McDonald's claimed that Supermac's business name could be confused with its trademark "Big Mac", even though Supermac's never sold a product called Big Mac.  McDonald's had also trademarked the product "SnackBox", a product it does not sell, but is sold by Supermac's.  Supermac's filed a complaint with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) claiming that McDonald's had not proven genuine use of the mark "Big Mac" in the EU.  The EUIPO agreed, stating that McDonald's did not provide the proper evidence to show genuine use, cancelling the Big Mac trademark. While the ruling is likely be appealed, Supermac's can now expand into the UK and EU and anyone can use the phrase "Big Mac".  There is a fine line between protecting a trademark and using that trademark too aggressively.  In the eyes of the EUIPO, McDonald's crossed that line.  The repercussions have been pretty swift.  Burger King in Sweden appears to be enjoying the schadenfreude, unveiling a limited-time menu featuring items such as The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was and The Like A Big Mac But Actually Big. Trademark law, and all other intellectual property laws, can be very nuanced and complicated.  If you or your business is looking for a competitive edge, or to prevent competitors from taking aggressive actions that could be damaging, call the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today at 888-517-9888 for a free consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Happy Lunar New Year!

Topics: From Our Office

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]新年快乐! The year of the pig has arrived!  The 12th and last animal of the Chinese zodiac, the pig symbolizes wealth.  People born in the year of the pig are said to be generous, loyal, and honest.  The 2019 Lunar New Year falls on February 5th, or 2/5, both considered lucky numbers for those belonging to the pig. From all of us at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, may you have a prosperous year of the pig!  Our law offices will be hosting a booth at the Alhambura Lunar New Year Festival on Valley Blvd this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., assuming the rain stays away![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Bicycling Safely in the Concrete Jungle

Topics: Personal Injury

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class="the-content"]The dangers of bicycling in the big city are well known.  Actions bicyclists can take to protect themselves while bicycling in the big city are less known.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has compiled some urban bicycling safety tips that can help bicyclists arrive to their destination safely.

Equip Safety Gear

Wear a Helmet

This tip is a bit self-explanatory. Helmets save lives.

Use Bike Lights and Reflectors at Night

The easier you are to see, the easier it is for other vehicles to spot you. It's actually law in California for bicyclists to have this equipment active on their bicycle at night or in poor visibility weather. You should have a white front light that can be seen from 300 feet, a red rear light or reflector that can be seen from 500 feet, and white or yellow reflectors on your pedals or on all sides of the bicycle.

Wear Reflective Gear, Even During the Day

The more visible you appear on your bicycle, the more likely it is that vehicles will recognize you and react properly.

Pretend You Are a Car

Follow All Traffic Signals

Many bicycles crashes occur because the rider ignores or overlook traffic devices. Bicycles are required by law to stop at stop signs, yield at yield signs, stop at stop lights, and generally obey all the rules of the road. Just like a car could cause an accident by not stopping at a 4-way stop sign, so too can a bicyclist.

Always Travel With the Flow of Traffic

Biking on the wrong side of the road is not only against the law, but it is also not safer. According to studies, it is in fact three times more dangerous. Why? One big reason is that drivers have no expectation that a vehicle will be driving on the wrong side of the road. If a car is turning right, the driver is likely looking to the left to check for oncoming traffic, not to the right, where a wrong-way biker is. Biking on the wrong side of the road can also lead to more severe accidents. Let's say a car is driving 30 mph and a biker is biking 20 mph. If the biker is going with the flow of traffic, an accident would be a rear end impact of 10 mph. If the biker is going against traffic, a crash would be a head-on impact of 50 mph.

Do Not Bike on Sidewalks

Similarly to not biking against the flow of traffic, bicycles on sidewalks are not immediately visible to cars driving on the road, cars turning at intersections, or cars backing out of parking spaces or driveways. It's also a danger to pedestrians and illegal in most areas. According to studies, biking on the sidewalk is at least twice as dangerous as biking on the road.

Assumed that Drivers Do Not See You

Avoid Blind Spots

If you are biking in another vehicle's blind spot, they cannot see you, nor react to you. Even if you're in a designated bike lane, it's best to be in a position where a vehicle that may need to turn can recognize you.

Avoid Passing on the Right

For the same reason that it is recommended for cars not to pass big rigs on the right, bicyclists should avoid passing other vehicles on the right. If a vehicle decides to turn right while you are passing it on the right, it will be unlikely that you can avoid a collision. It is much safer to stop behind a line of stopped vehicles than to try and pass them.

Watch Out For Car Doors

When biking, it's almost instinctual to move as far right as possible to create space between your bicycle and other vehicles. However, in an urban setting, this often puts you next to parked cars. Many drivers will not check their rear view mirror before opening their door to exit a vehicle, and if you're biking next to a line of parked vehicles, you could slam into an open door.  It seems counter-intuitive, but if there are parked cars on your right, experts recommend biking on the left side of any designated bike lane to avoid these types of accidents.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney if You Are in a Bicycle Accident

If you are a bicyclist and have been injured in a collision with another vehicle, if you are not at fault for the crash you may be entitled to compensation.  Call the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth for a free injury consultation at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]