ProfNet Experts Available on Civil Rights Act Anniversary, Political Contributions, More

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

Apr 09, 2014, 12:30 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, April 9, 2014 /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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  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Summit
  • Divorce Wars: Military Style
  • Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents: Five Essential Documents You Must Have
  • Criminal Victims Often Find Civil Justice
  • Higher Speed Limits, Greater Consequences
  • Millions Affected by GM Ignition Switch Recalls
  • Energy Boom Supporting Chinese Investment
  • Conscious Uncoupling Can Create Common Ground
  • Right to Political Contributions is Protected


  • Reporter, Texas Courts – Law 360 (TX)
  • Metro Producer – The Boston Globe (MA)
  • Senior Editor – CNET en Espanol (CA)


  • Press Releases: The Most Trusted Form of Company-Generating News
  • Blog Profiles: Social Media and PR
  • Grammar Hammer: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda



Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Summit
Lex Frieden, MA, LLD
Board Member
United Spinal Association
"No one should have their ambitions, dreams or opportunities stifled by discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other civil rights legislation have established a fundamental framework for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, but we have yet to experience the full impact of those provisions. The dreams and ambitions of many people with disabilities have yet to be realized. Significant disparities in housing, transportation, employment and community living by people with disabilities are evidence of the need for us to continue our fight for civil rights and equal opportunity."
A United Spinal board member, Frieden played an integral role in the development, passage and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He is a professor at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and director of the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Frieden will participate in a social justice panel discussion on April 10 at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, as part of the Civil Rights Summit. He will talk about the linkage of the ADA with the Civil Rights Act of 1964; why disability rights are civil rights; and how the discrimination faced by people with disabilities is similar to that faced by people of color, women and LGBT individuals. He will emphasize how important community integration is to the over 50 million people with disabilities living in the U.S. today. The panel discussion will immediately follow the keynote speech by President Barack Obama. Other panel participants include former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; humanitarian Maria Shriver; athlete and philanthropist David Robinson; and businessman Steve Stoute on the panel.
Media Contact: Ahvi Spindell,

Divorce Wars: Military Style
Jeffrey Kerstetter, Esq.
Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle
"While every divorce is fraught with pitfalls, ranging from finding a compatible attorney to legal, custodial and emotional issues, military divorces raise special challenges. I've witnessed first-hand lawyers misquoting, misinforming or misadvising military clients or service members' spouses."
Most lawyers, including divorce lawyers, are unfamiliar with the interplay of state and federal statutes that could apply. Kerstetter, a military divorce attorney, offers a helpful tip sheet for any military personnel seeking a divorce. Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle is a Blackwood, N.J.-based law firm that that specializes in all forms of family law including divorce, military divorce, custody, prenuptial, domestic violence, wills and estates.
Media Contact: Tom Peric,

Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents: Five Essential Documents You Must Have  
Ronald Fatoullah, Esq.
Ronald Fatoullah & Associates
"The demands of caring for an aging parent can cause emotional complications and stress for all concerned. If you find yourself in this situation or one similar, the best place to start is by making sure your elderly parent has these five essential documents; last will and testament, health care proxy, power of attorney, living trust and living will. These documents will give you clear instructions in case a medical emergency should arise. Keep them handy."      
Fatoullah is the founder of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, a firm that focuses on elder law & trusts & estates. He has an eight-year inclusion as one of the "New York Area's Best Lawyers," and is also recognized by the New York State Bar Association, for his "advocacy, persistence and drafting" in creating the "Uniform Adult Guardianship Act".
Media Contact: Carol Schell,

Criminal Victims Often Find Civil Justice
Charla Aldous
Civil Trial Lawyer
Aldous Law Firm in Dallas
"Two recent cases that gained national attention due to what some considered poor criminal court outcomes may be destined for a turnaround in civil court. In Delaware, a judge concluded an heir to the du Pont family fortune wouldn't 'fare well' in prison and sentenced him to no jail time, even though he pleaded guilty to the rape of his 3-year-old daughter. In Texas, teen driver Ethan Couch pleaded guilty to the intoxication manslaughter of four people, but his now-infamous 'affluenza' defense resulted in a sentence of just 10 years' probation. Each case is now the subject of civil lawsuits brought by those who were harmed. We find time and again that those with financial resources can hire good lawyers and often escape accountability in criminal actions. In such instances, the much-maligned civil trial lawyers are the ones who can bring justice and public attention to wrongs in hopes that they do not occur again."
Media Contact: Mark Annick,

Higher Speed Limits, Greater Consequences
Steven C. Laird
Personal Injury Attorney
Law Offices of Steven C. Laird in Fort Worth, Texas
"Texas' move to increase speed limits on some highways in and around Dallas and Fort Worth could bring more accidents and more fatal crashes. The Texas Department of Transportation is increasing the speed limits on many highways in the Dallas/Fort Worth area from 60 to 65 miles per hour, saying the previous lower speed limits were implemented to reduce pollution levels. Now that vehicle emissions have reduced, transportation officials feel they can increase speed limits. However, numerous studies have shown that increased traffic speeds increase accidents. Higher speed limits come with consequences. Studies say that when the National Maximum Speed Limit Law's highway speed limit of 55 mph was repealed in 1995, fatal accidents increased nationwide by more than three percent."
Media Contact: Dave Moore,

Millions Affected by GM Ignition Switch Recalls
Eugene R. "Gene" Egdorf
The Lanier Law Firm in Houston
"The number of vehicles recalled by General Motors over faulty ignition switches has grown by nearly 1 million with the recent announcement of additional model years containing a dangerous defect that causes airbags to malfunction. According to GM, 13 people have been killed in accidents involving faulty ignition switches, and more than 2.5 million GM vehicles are being recalled overall. In the interest of safety, we hope GM owners take heed and get their vehicles repaired as quickly as possible. GM says there are 13 deaths, but we think there may be many more, and GM should be held responsible in a court of law."
Media Contact: Bruce Vincent,

Energy Boom Supporting Chinese Investment
Debra Villarreal
Thompson & Knight in Dallas
"Joint-venture investments in U.S. energy holdings by Chinese state-owned and private enterprises continue to grow. This trend is motivated in large part by the need for Chinese entities to understand the management techniques and technology of American energy companies. With the U.S. now on track to becoming the world's largest oil and gas producer, and China already the world's largest consumer, such partnerships can be mutually beneficial. China has enormous shale gas reserves, but production has been slow due to a variety of economic and geographic challenges. They recognize the need to learn from and partner with domestic producers, consistent with contractual and governmental restrictions. Meanwhile the infusion of Chinese capital allows U.S. companies to continue exploration and production from our own reserves."
Media Contact: Barry Pound,

Conscious Uncoupling Can Create Common Ground
Jeffrey O. Anderson
Family Law Attorney
McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P. in Dallas
"The concept of 'conscious uncoupling' immediately became something of a punchline when Gwyneth Paltrow used it to describe the end of her marriage to Chris Martin. Although it could be a ploy to buy time to create a divorce battle plan, it might also be a signal that they have found common ground in trying to create the best possible situation for their children. The breakup of the family is hard on children. The idea of conscious uncoupling might not help a husband and wife evolve as going human concerns, but it might help their family evolve into a different normalcy without as much trauma to their children. The uncoupling process can give the parents time to breathe and ease into a different normal, and let the children get accustomed to a new life before the word 'divorce' is said and the blinding white light explodes in their heads."
Media Contact: Rhonda Reddick,

Right to Political Contributions is Protected
Chris Gober
Political Legal Consultant
Gober Hilgers PLLC in Austin
"While many Americans advocate limiting the amount of money being infused into the political process, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is a reminder that the government's ability to reduce the amount of money in politics is limited by the First Amendment. In the ruling, the court struck down the federal aggregate contribution limit that restricts how much money a donor may give in total to all candidates and political committees during a two-year period. The decision is a consistent reaffirmation that the government may not constitutionally restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others. As the court stated, 'Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades – despite the profound offense such spectacles cause – it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition."
Media Contact: Rhonda Reddick,



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