ProfNet Experts Available on Affordable Care Act, Nelson Mandela, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers and Media Industry Blog Posts

Nov 27, 2013, 13:00 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Nov. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. To receive these updates by email, send a note to with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition. 

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  • Obamacare Website Security Issues
  • Overtime Emails Can Be Evidence
  • Oz Lawsuit Highlights Role of Executor
  • Spirit Banner Oversight Needed
  • Republicans Pass Three Bills to Regulate Natural Gas Industry
  • Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom
  • PennDOT Operation Safe Holiday Program
  • Obamacare/Affordable Care Act
  • Comet ISON


  • Reporter – Law360 (CA)
  • Political Reporter – The Journal Times (WI)
  • Editor – amNewYork (NY)


  • Media Coverage of JFK's Assassination in 1963
  • New York Women in Communications: Blogging 101
  • New York Women in Communications: Social Media Branding for Your Job and Yourself


Obamacare Website Security Issues
Rose Romero
Thompson & Knight in Dallas
"Concerns are growing that the website has security flaws that could put consumers' personal information at risk. In recent congressional hearings, experts said the complexities of the government-run site may create opportunities for identity theft and fraud, and compromise the security and privacy of personal data. What's still unclear is whether federal regulations that mandate the protection of personal health information, and impose hefty penalties for violations, will apply to the new health insurance exchanges. Of course, even if the federal rules don't apply, a breach of Social Security numbers, birth dates and financial information may trigger other state and federal consumer notification laws. The logistics of alerting victims that their personal information has been compromised also can be costly and time-consuming."
Media Contact: Barry Pound,

Overtime Emails Can Be Evidence
Mark Shank
Employment Attorney
Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail Shank in Dallas
"Emails and other forms of electronic communication are becoming important evidence for hourly workers suing employers for overtime violations. Non-exempt workers who can document responses to work-related emails outside of their scheduled shifts have a better chance of success in these claims. In a 24/7 work environment, after-hours email exchanges that are accepted – if not expected – behavior can create real problems for companies.  An email curfew banning work-related messages for hourly employees after a certain time of day is one option to guard against overtime lawsuits. A curfew is something to consider, but that's a policy that both managers and employees must consistently follow to be valid. It's increasingly important for businesses to properly classify workers, keep accurate records and set proper expectations."
Media Contact: Barry Pound,

Oz Lawsuit Highlights Role of Executor
Kevin Spencer
Estate Attorney
Spencer Law, P.C. in Dallas
"A lawsuit filed by the executor of the estate of Jack Haley Jr. – whose dad played the Tin Man in the 'The Wizard of Oz' – shows the importance of choosing a strong executor. Jack Haley Jr. produced the documentary 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic,' and signed a contract for its distribution. Media reports of the lawsuit say Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. never complied and refused to distribute the film to avoid paying his estate half of net profits. The estates of many deceased celebrities, including Elvis, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, reap millions annually from royalties. Naming an executor strong enough to litigate for the estate is the difference between your beneficiaries receiving their full inheritance, or just a fraction of it."
Media Contact: Dave Moore,

Spirit Banner Oversight Needed
Tom Brandt
Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin, P.C.
"Much like Kountze ISD has experienced the past two Texas football seasons, an Alabama high school has found that it was its cheerleader-made banners – and not the action on the field -- that created the biggest headlines. Kountze ISD made national headlines last fall when its cheerleader squad included Christian-themed messages its banners. In Alabama, however, the McAdory Yellowjackets' message to the Pinson Valley Indians was that they should 'get ready to leave in a trail of tears.' In Alabama, the district has acknowledged that the absence of adequate district oversight helped create a situation where a glaringly offensive message was brought to the football field. If a district loses the right to review and approve school-sponsored messaging, it opens the door to situations such as what happened in McAdory." Brandt represents Kountze ISD in ongoing litigation involving that district's banners.
Media Contact: Rhonda Reddick,

Republicans Pass Three Bills to Regulate Natural Gas Industry
Jeffrey Raizner
Offshore Injury Lawyer
Doyle Raizner
"The Republicans of the House passed three pieces of legislation attempting to regulate natural gas, bypassing environmental regulations. Should this become a law, the domestic oil and gas industry will prosper; in return, hydraulic fracking procedures will increase. Fracking will put the communities and workers in the area at risk, as the dangers of this process expose fracking workers to toxic chemicals, explosions, oil and chemical spills."
Raizner is a Houston-based attorney with more than 20 years of experience in the areas of personal injury and bad faith cases involving insurance misconduct. He is particularly committed to legal matters involving offshore injuries, maritime law, overseas holiday and travel injuries, and workers' compensation bad faith cases. He has been lauded for his legal advocacy as an offshore injury lawyer, helping injured seamen maximize compensation by invoking their Jones Act rights through litigation. He has represented clients from the U.K. who have been injured while vacationing in the United States, as well as U.S. citizens working overseas who have been injured or exposed to harmful toxins. His practice is entirely devoted to litigation cases.
Media Contact: Denae Olberding,

Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom
Dr. Thomas McClendon
Professor of History
Southwestern University
One of the most-anticipated movies of 2013 is 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' which will be released Nov. 29. Says Dr. McClendon: "Nelson Mandela was one of the most iconic and transformational figures of the latter half of the 20th century. Ordinary people make history in their daily actions and collective struggles, but some leaders come to shape and symbolize the movements ordinary people carry out. Mandela was one of those leaders as the face of the anti-apartheid struggle and the key leader of the African National Congress (ANC) during the transformation from apartheid to a new South Africa."
Dr. McClendon specializes in the history of South Africa and the anti-apartheid movement. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming book "The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics" which will be published in December by Duke University Press. He is available for interviews about Mandela and his legacy.
ProfNet Connect Profile:
Media Contact: Ellen Davis,

PennDOT Operation Safe Holiday Program
Steven E. Kellis
Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer
Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis
"The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has implemented Operation Safe Holiday this Thanksgiving. This planned enforcement is working to keep individuals safe during the holiday season, as November 2012 recorded 10,738 crashes and 120 fatalities. If you encounter an impaired driver be sure to protect you and your family this holiday season. This program will begin Nov. 22 and continue through the New Year holiday."
As a devoted DUI lawyer, Kellis has represented clients in DUI and DUI-related cases for the past two decades. His experience and knowledge provides strong and aggressive defense that is needed when facing drunk driving or other serious DUI-related charges. A DUI conviction can permanently change your life and can adversely affect your family, your ability to drive, your job, your future employment opportunities and your freedom. The penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania are potentially severe.
Media Contact: Denae Olberding,

Obamacare/Affordable Care Act
Dr. Robert Field, JD, MPH, Ph.D
Professor of Law and Health Management Policy
Drexel University
"'Keep the government out of my health care.' That and similar refrains have permeated health policy debates in the United States for more than a century. Underlying these concerns is an ongoing debate over the relative merits of the government and the private market in delivering and financing health care. The problem with these debates is that they miss a key point: There is no need to speculate about the possible effects of letting the government take over the American health care system because it already has. Take any component of health care in the United States -- from the pharmaceutical industry to the hospital industry to the medical profession to the private insurance industry -- the government's hand is everywhere. A system that seems so clearly rooted in the free market in facts rests on a huge partnership between the public and private spheres."
Dr. Field is a nationally known expert in health care regulation and its role in implementing public policy.  He holds a joint appointment as professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University.  He is also a lecturer in health care management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of Penn's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. He is the author of "Mother of Invention: How the Government Created 'Free-Market' Health Care" (2013), just released by Oxford University Press.  It presents an historical overview of four key health care sectors to demonstrate the underlying importance of government programs in creating and maintaining the health care system and to place health reform in the context of an ongoing evolutionary process.  He is also the author of Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise, a comprehensive overview of health care regulation, also published by Oxford University Press.
Media Contact: Alex McKechnie,

Comet ISON
Brian Koberlein
Science Writer, Physics Professor
Rochester Institute of Technology
Nov. 28 is a big day for Comet ISON. While we celebrate Thanksgiving, the comet will play chicken with the sun. Astrophysicists like Koberlein are waiting to see what will happen when ISON flirts with the sun on its first grand tour of the inner solar system. The speedy comet needs better luck than Icarus to beat the sun's heat and gravitational pull as it flies around the solar mass. Koberlein breaks down the science behind Comet ISON's journey in his popular science blog on Google+: "Comet ISON has a chance of being quite bright. This irregular mass of rock, dust, ice and frozen gases could be the 'comet of the century,' with an apparent magnitude of -10 or more (about as bright as the moon). A more realistic prediction is that it will peak at -3 to -5, or about as bright as Jupiter or Venus. ISON is more active than typical comets, with more gas and dust being ejected from its surface. It's this ejected gas and dust that forms the coma and tail that we see as a comet. It is likely that ISON will continue to be more active (and therefore brighter) as it nears the Sun. ISON's orbit is almost parabolic, which means this is likely its first visit to the inner solar system. Comets that have visited the inner solar system before typically have elliptical orbits (just as planets and asteroids have elliptical orbits). Comets with parabolic orbits tend to come from the farthest reaches of our solar system. And since this is ISON's first trip into the warmth of the inner solar system we have to consider what that heat will do to ISON. The answer depends on its makeup. If ISON is fragile, the higher-than-average activity could mean that it will disintegrate as it gets nearer to the sun."
Media Contact: Susan Gawlowicz,



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