ProfNet Experts Available on Transitioning Students, Whistleblowing, Legal vs. Moral Duties, More

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

Aug 14, 2013, 15:55 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 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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  • The Need to Regulate the Parasailing Industry
  • Kountze Ruling Lacks Clarification
  • DUI Investigation Leads Back to Nightclub
  • Are Bar Patrons Their Brothers' Keepers?
  • The Impact of Detroit's Bankruptcy
  • Blowing the Whistle
  • How Parents and Educators Can Support Students


  • Staff Writer – The Flume (CO)
  • Sports Copy Editor – The Lima News (OH)
  • Copy Editor – Bauer Publishing (NJ)


  • Media 411: Get to Know the NLGJA
  • Grammar Hammer: That Which Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger
  • Anatomy of a Perfect Pitch: Reporters Share Query Responses That Hit the Mark



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The Need to Regulate the Parasailing Industry
Michael S. Steinger
Personal Injury Attorney
Steinger, Iscoe & Greene
In the aftermath of a July 2013 parasailing accident in Panama City Beach, Fla., we are reminded of the need to regulate the parasailing industry in the Sunshine State. It is vital to have oversight of parasailing operators and mandate insurance coverage in the event of injuries. Not only would beach-goers benefit from tighter regulations, but injury victims (and their families in the event of death) would benefit knowing that an insurance policy would cover costs of rehab and/or funeral/lost income. Insurance companies are notorious for acting in bad faith (delaying, undervaluing or denying legitimate claims) and personal injury lawyers might be necessary to compel insurance companies to act in good faith as the law requires.
Steinger is a founding partner of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene. Steinger has a history of handling thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients. He has earned a membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He was recently interviewed on a local TV station during the George Zimmerman trial.
Media Contact: Denae Olberding,

Kountze Ruling Lacks Clarification
Tom Brandt
Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin, P.C., Dallas
"A ruling issued this past spring may have cleared the way for Kountze ISD cheerleaders to display bible-based messages on banners during the upcoming football season, but key legal points related to the case are still to be decided. Just weeks before the scheduled start of trial, Judge Steve Thomas ruled in a May 8 summary judgment that the controversial signs were constitutional, clearing the school district from having to prohibit the banners. While the district was pleased the judge ruled that it was not required to prohibit these signs, what the ruling leaves unanswered is if a district is required to permit this type of message, or if there is discretion on deciding what is appropriate. As written, the judgment is open to interpretation. For Kountze ISD, there is a real need to clarify what it is required to permit as opposed to what it is allowed to permit so that it can move forward with confidence." Brandt represents Kountze ISD in the ongoing litigation.
Media Contact: Rhonda Reddick, 

DUI Investigation Leads Back to Nightclub
Steven C. Laird
Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, Fort Worth, Texas
"A Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigation of the club where former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was drinking in the hours before the wreck that killed his teammate shows that the legal fallout from drunken driving crashes doesn't stop with the intoxicated driver. The TABC says the private club which allegedly over-served Brent the night of the fatal car crash engaged in practices that promote excessive alcohol consumption by patrons. The police investigation showed that Brent's blood alcohol level was 0.18, more than twice the level considered unsafe for driving. While Brent faces jail time for allegedly killing his best friend in the crash, the owners of the club face not only having their liquor permits cancelled but also costly civil litigation for allegedly serving customers when they were already intoxicated."
Media Contact: Dave Moore,

Are Bar Patrons Their Brothers' Keepers?
Scott Callahan
Personal Injury Lawyer
Law Office of Scott P. Callahan, P.C., Houston
"Questions are being raised about holding customers to the same legal duty as bar owners after an arrest warrant was issued this week for a Texas man accused of giving drinks to another customer who later was involved in a fatal drunk-driving wreck. It seems unlikely that ordinary people will be held to such a high standard in civil cases as 'social host liability' in the homes of those serving alcohol has been widely rejected in Texas unless minors are involved. Dram shop laws hold negligent restaurants, bars and clubs accountable. The question now becomes whether a customer drinking at a bar owes a legal duty to a friend, acquaintance, or even a complete stranger with whom they have one or more drinks. That seems unlikely. This tragedy involves a battle between legal duties and moral duties."
Media Contact: Kit Frieden,

The Impact of Detroit's Bankruptcy
Ira Herman
Thompson & Knight, New York
"There have been fewer than 500 municipal bankruptcies filed since the 1930s, when changes to federal law first allowed cities to seek bankruptcy protection. Now that Detroit has filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, elected officials, labor leaders, municipal bond market participants and legal experts across the nation are focused on the Motor City. While other cities face economic pressures, the level of Detroit's debt relative to its operating leverage is probably greater than in any other city. Detroit's bankruptcy most assuredly will be precedent-setting. The key economic and legal question is to what extent a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filed under federal law can be used to modify a city's obligations to its workforce, retirees and municipal bondholders, despite state laws guaranteeing payment of these obligations."
Media Contact: Barry Pound,

Blowing the Whistle
Michael Stockham
Thompson & Knight, Dallas
"Employees who report suspected corporate wrongdoing are not automatically safe from employer retaliation under federal whistle-blower laws, according to a recent federal ruling. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that only those who file complaints directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), rather than through internal channels, should expect federal protections under the Dodd-Frank Act. This decision creates some uncertainty for whistle-blowers, but won't change the significant risks that companies already face from whistle-blowers. This may lead to an uptick in complaints being made directly to the SEC as employees bypass corporate compliance channels and go first to the SEC to assure their place in line for financial recoveries and protections against being fired or disciplined. The court's decision is based on the plain text of the statute, so it may well be adopted by other appellate courts."
Media Contact: Barry Pound,

How Parents and Educators Can Support Students
Joshua Smith, Ph.D.
Loyola University Maryland School of Education
"The school year is fast approaching, and for many students who are transitioning to a new school this fall the next few weeks will be filled with anticipation and anxiety. Gone unaddressed, these feelings of uncertainty could adversely affect a student's performance in the classroom. Transition is receiving increased attention because ninth grade course failures and high school dropout rates exceed all other grade levels; but transition issues are prevalent at all grade levels and into college. To stem this trend, it's critical for schools to ramp up transition programming and for parents to recognize they, too, must play a central support role."
Dr. Smith, an expert in educational transition and program evaluation, is available to discuss innovative ways parents and schools can support students during a transition to a new school. He is located in Baltimore, MD.
Twitter: @NACADAJosh
Media Contact: Nick Alexopulos,



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  • MEDIA 411: GET TO KNOW THE NLGJA. If you've never heard of The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, then read on to find out more about this media association which has been around since 1990.
  • GRAMMAR HAMMER: THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL US MAKES US STRONGER. Nietzsche's famous quote served as the lead-in for this week's topic – when to use that vs. which. Cathy Spicer, aka The Grammar Hammer, helps us decide *which* one to use:
  • ANATOMY OF A PERFECT PITCH: REPORTERS SHARE QUERY RESPONSES THAT HIT THE MARK. One of the most common questions we hear from ProfNet members is: What's the best way to respond to a ProfNet query? We decided to go right to the source and ask reporters for some examples of the best query responses they've received:


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