Al Smith en Corporate Religion <p>The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term yesterday with a bang, again. We've just seen the <em>Hobby Lobby</em> case that grants some corporate entities the right to religious freedom under the First Amendment. I'm not sure the many people who decried the Court's granting personhood rights to corporate entities for political campaign spending in <em>Citizens United</em> saw this one coming – you could kind of understand a corporation speaking through its wallet, but a corporation gaining personhood to express a religious tenet based on the beliefs of its majority owners? Wed, 02 Jul 2014 19:03:14 +0000 Al Smith 21376 at Court Secrecy Kills, Again <p>Al Smith, Montana Trial Lawyers Association.<br /><br /><br />In April I spoke about GM, its problem ignition switches and the lax federal regulatory system. GM hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. Last month, federal regulators fined GM and further investigations are underway.<br /> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 15:59:03 +0000 Al Smith 20094 at Pride In Our Legal System <p>May 1st was Law Day, America's yearly recognition of and reflection upon the unique role our legal system plays in our democracy. Law Day was first proposed by ABA president Charles S. Rhyne in 1957. It was envisioned as a day to honor our strong heritage of liberty, justice and equality under law. A heritage traced back to the English noblemen who met in May 1215 to prepare the Magna Carta, signed by King John in June 1215.</p><p></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 15:23:57 +0000 Al Smith 18722 at Federal Regulators – Whose Interests Do They Serve? <p>GM, oh GM, what to do about you? You hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, you determined 57 cents was too high a cost, to you, to fix the problem, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. If it weren't for those pesky family members who lost a loved one seeking accountability from you, and the trial lawyers that represent them, you wouldn't be the butt of late night comedy sketches. But, you have somewhat of an explanation, it wasn't all your fault.<br /> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:23:30 +0000 Al Smith 17393 at Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites <p><strong>Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites </strong></p><p></p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:17:31 +0000 Al Smith 16076 at Work Comp – You Can Help <p><br /><br />Workers' compensation, pretty boring stuff, until you need its benefits.&nbsp; So, this is for all you workers out there – from desk jockeys and burger flippers, to firefighters – and for you employers who want the best for your workers.&nbsp; What do you do if you are injured on the job and are unable to work for several weeks, months or years?&nbsp; How will you keep a roof over your head, make your car payments, buy clothes for your kids or put food on the table?&nbsp; If you are like most Montanans, you would have to rely upon the Workers' Compensation system.&nbsp; Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:06:18 +0000 Al Smith 14903 at Corporate Paid Umpires? <p>The L.A. Times has an editorial today on a subject I've spoken about before – arbitration. It opens with a “what if” - what if the L.A.</p><p>Dodgers have “just won the pennant and are going to play the New York Yankees in the World Series. But the rules have changed: All games will be played in Yankee Stadium. And, there are new umpires, hired and paid for by the Yankees.” The opening concludes with the observation that 'with rules like that, the Dodgers wouldn't stand much of a chance.'</p><p></p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 16:37:23 +0000 Al Smith 13742 at Holiday Cheer - Mandatory Arbitration Fixes? <p>It's that time of the year when when many of us are out buying gifts as part of our holiday celebrations.&nbsp; The vast majority of those will be purchased with debit or credit cards.&nbsp; Later this month and continuing next month the statements for those cards will be arriving – in mailboxes or in-boxes across the state.&nbsp; And, if you have a dispute with the bank – such as additional fees being tacked on that you didn't know about that caused you to go over your limit and incur even more charges – you will likely find that buried in the fine print of your account agreement is a prov Wed, 18 Dec 2013 18:04:59 +0000 Al Smith 12609 at Holiday Safety <p>We're quickly approaching the holiday season, a festive time for gathering with family and friends.&nbsp; It is a time for celebrating and for giving thanks.&nbsp; Every year it seems that we are urged to get into the holiday spirit earlier and earlier,&nbsp; at least the buying part.&nbsp; So, here are some tips to keep your holiday season and gifts joyful, and safe.&nbsp;<br /> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:45:27 +0000 Al Smith 11434 at What's The Cause of Rising Health Care Costs? <p>Well, the rhetoric over the Affordable Care Act, Obama Care, is heating up. Amazing that a private health insurance plan that Republicans touted as a solution not so long ago, is now being attacked by those same Republicans as being “socialist,” while Democrats who supported a national single payer system, now defend a private insurance plan. We even have disagreement as to whether it is a good idea for every citizen to have insurance coverage.<br /> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 15:36:41 +0000 Al Smith 10080 at