Jonathan Koles Wins Justice For Slain Inmate’s Family In Hudson County

$407,500 FOR INMATE’S DEATH

Santiago v. Hudson County; A Philadelphia woman accepted $407,500 in her suit over her daughter’s death while an inmate at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny.

Luz Mendoza Santiago claimed in her federal ImageImageImagesuit filed in Trenton that her daughter, Joanne Figueroa, began vomiting blood on July 8, 2008, and that prison medical personnel failed to detect or diagnose an aorta esophageal fistula.

Figueroa bled to death the next day. Santiago contended that a timely diagnosis would have prevented Figueroa’s medical deterioration and death.

Santiago sued Hudson County, its correctional facility, Warden Oscar Aviles, corrections officer Lashaundra Gibson O’Neill, Prison Health Services Inc. and Correctional Health Services, alleging negligence, medical malpractice, civil rights violations and wrongful death.

The suit also sought survivorship death damages on behalf of Figueroa’s five children, three of whom were last known to be living in Philadelphia and two of whom were infants in Costa Rica.

The defendants denied the allegations.

Hudson County paid $400,000 of the settlement, reached on Oct. 5, and Correctional Health Services and Prison Health Services, Inc. the remaining $7,500.

Figueroa’s children and her mother were paid a total of $255,469 and plaintiff’s counsel $152,030 in attorney’s fees and expenses.

Jonathan Koles of Koles, Burke & Bustillo in Jersey City represented the plaintiff.

John Dineen of Netchert, Dineen &Hillmann in Closter represented Hudson County, its correctional facility, Aviles and O’Niell.  Stephen Siegrist of O’Connor Kimball in Cherry Hill, represented Correctional Health Services and Prison Health Services, Inc.

 
 
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Udemy Inspires Industry Experts to Profit as Online Educators

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by EMMANUELLE MICHE

Education technology service Udemy has launched Teach2013, a new program that seeks to encourage and empower industry experts and leaders to step up and not only create their own courses, but teach them as well.

Almost a reverse of Codecademy’s “Code Year” program from 2012, Teach2013 is focused not on getting more users to take the courses, but by bringing in even more qualified professionals who have a desire to contribute back to the community. After all, it only makes sense since there are a variety of topics and industries in the world and it’s while Udemy can bring in instructors to help teach courses, there may be some courses that just are better taught by specific individuals.

Eren Bali, Udemy’s co-founder and CEO, believes this initiative could have a lasting impact: “Imagine what we could accomplish if every expert shared his or her knowledge with the world. Offline instructors are now teaching millions of people around the world. But there are so many more subjects that students want to learn. We’re calling upon every expert to join us and teach the next generation, starting this year.”

In case you’re not familiar with Udemy, it’s a learning service not that dissimilar to being in a classroom, except it’s done virtually from wherever you are. Students could choose between any number of course categories, including arts and photography, business, crafts and hobbies, design, education, health and fitness, math and science, music, social sciences, sports, technology, and others.

Snap 2013 01 08 at 17.54.25 730x426 Udemy launches Teach2013 to encourage industry experts to create and teach their own courses

Udemy has gained considerable traction — its top 10 earning instructors earned more than $1.6 million in course sale and the company has seen a 700% user growth from May 2011 to 2012. There are also more than 5,000 courses on its platform. A wide range of experts have taught courses on the site, including New York Times best-selling authors, CEOs, celebrities, and Ivy League professors. They have taught more than 500,000 students so far.

The education technology landscape is definitely a crowded one, with Udemy competing for market share from the likes of Coursera, P2PU, Khan Academy, Skillshare, Codecademy, and others.

Those interested in teaching a course on Udemy can sign up on Teach2013′s website. Once accepted, the company will provide various tools and resources to help build and deliver a course that adhere to Udemy’s “standards for course quality.” According to the company, this includes access to Udemy’s proprietary Course Creation Platform and an invitation to Udemy’s online instructor community, “The Udemy Studio”, where experts can interact and discuss best practices for building a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Some experts will also receive production assistance from Udemy.

Instructors and their courses are judged at the end according to Udemy’s “strict quality control measures”. The company scores each lesson based on its level of instructional design, production quality, and the ability to deliver on learning outcome. So even before a course is seen by the students, it’s evaluated by the company to make sure it meets its standards. Courses can either be free or paid — if it’s paid, then the instructor receives 70% of the revenue from all course purchases. Udemy points out that instructors retain full control of course content, copyright, and pricing.

In 2013, Udemy has already signed up some interesting instructors to help teach, including Lean Startups author Eric Ries, Photoshop educator David Cross, photographer Don Giannatti, Mixergy founder Andrew Warner, yoga instructor Dashama Konah, #DOMINATEFUND managing partner Ben Parr, the Founder Institute, social media strategist Damien Franco, I Will Teach You To Be Rich author Ramit Sethi, Clarity founder Dan Martell, Contently’s Director of Community Erica Swallow, and dozens of other professionals.

Photo credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

The Empowered Homebuyer: Choose Your Agent … Then Lay Down the Law

The Empowered BuyerChoose Your Agent … Then Lay Down the Lawreal estate law

By Eric Peter Hoffman

EHoffmanNJ@gmail.com

Prospective homebuyers often seek to work with real estate agents before they begin searching for homes. As the name suggests, a buyer’s agent speaks for the buyer and will arrange for the buyer to have their goals met at all stages of the transaction. Even though that sounds straightforward enough, buyers and dealers now and then are confounded by the relationships that exist between the land agent, the buyer and the seller. To help provide some clarity for homebuyers, some states have passed laws that mandate what agreement between the agent and the purchaser must contain in order to be considered valid.

One example is in Virginia where buyers are not required to work with agents and can negotiate the terms of agreements with their agents. A successful practice has been to agree to a one-day contract with an agent so that a buyer can “try out” the agent, who will disclose listings to the buyer in the hopes of winning a chance to sign another agreement for a longer term.

Kelly Normand, a copartner representative with Century 21, explained some of the challenges facing buyers in Virginia. Virginia is a caveat emptor state, so purchasers without representation are left to do research without any outside help.

John Lesniewski, with Re/Max United Real Estate, stated that Maryland agents must present an information packet called “Understanding Whom an Agent Represents” to potential customers, yet purchasers are not required to sign full agreements.

Confusion can also arise in instances of double agency, when one agent speaks for both the buyer and the seller. A double agency scenario can come up when an agent has a listing and then works with a purchaser who is interested in making an offer on that same listing.

“In Virginia and D.C., buyers can agree to double agency if they want to buy a home listed by their Realtor or they can opt for designated agency, which is when two different agents from the same brokerage represent the buyer and the seller,” Mr. Ford said.

To avoid the difficulties of double agency and designated agency, a buyer may choose to work with an exclusive agent. An exclusive agent works for buyers only without any influence from sellers.

Certain agents, regardless of the possibility that they work for a business that works with both purchasers and merchants, decline to do double agency and rather will utilize a designated agent to handle one side of the transaction. This can have many of the benefits of an exclusive agent and is one of the more popular choices for new buyers.

Certain purchasers are hesitant to sign a purchaser agent agreement, especially provided that they are simply investigating the thought of acquiring a home.

“Some people are just naturally commitment-phobic, but other people worry about paying a fee to the buyer agent regardless of whether they find a home or not,” Ms. Normand said. “The buyer-agent agreement must show what the Realtor’s fees are, but the Realtor is paid at settlement from the proceeds of the sale. Technically, the seller pays the Realtor’s fees, but in reality, that fee is built into the price so the buyer is really paying as part of the home purchase.”

Another consideration is retainer fees that might be come back to haunt the buyer at closing. These fees are set costs that may not be disclosed until the end of a transaction, leaving a buyer with little recourse.

The buyer should carefully read buyer-agent agreement before signing and pay particular attention to the issues of compensation and termination of the agreement. If the buyer wants to end the agreement early, there should be rules for how to do so in the contract. This typically requires a mutual written consent by the buyer and the agent.

If you have any questions about these agreements or anything else mentioned in this article, please feel free to email me at EHoffmanNJ@gmail.com.

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