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Corona California Legal Blog

Brookstone seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection -- again

Brookstone recently announced that it will close all of its stores located in shopping malls. The announcement came shortly after it filed for debt relief through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, the news is not all bad -- California consumers can still find Brookstone products online and in its airport locations.

Brookstone is well-known for its collection of neat gadgets, useful travel items and massage chairs. Founded in 1965, it used to be one of the few places shoppers could find certain tech tools, but it struggled to adapt to a digital world. In 2014 it had 240 stores but filed for bankruptcy and was purchased for $136 million. It now has 101 mall stores, all of which are set to close.

Fatal motor vehicle accidents: Claims when at-fault driver dies

Only one person survived a recent accident that killed two people. California police believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the wreck. Motor vehicle accidents that involve alcohol are usually avoidable, which can make the aftermath even more devastating for victims and family members. 

According to authorities, a minivan driver was possibly under the influence of alcohol and speeding at the time of the wreck. The driver may have been attempting to pass another vehicle when he lost control and crashed through the barrier separating the west and eastbound traffic on the highway. The minivan crossed directly into the path of pickup truck. Witnesses said the resulting accident looked like an explosion. Although the nature of their injuries is unclear, both drivers died while still at the scene of the accident. 

Student loan borrowers can benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy

College is expensive, but for many people in California, not having a degree can be even more costly. Most well-paying jobs require a college degree, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. While these loans generally cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few other options for some borrowers. However, federal programs that offered relief to defrauded students may be disappearing. 

The Borrower Defense to Repayment program was instituted in 2016 after multiple cases of fraud from for-profit colleges. This program cancels federally-backed loans for students who were misled by colleges or attended schools that engaged in acts of misconduct. Although this program provided relief to many fraud victims, the current head of the U.S. Education Department believes the rules are too broad. 

Distracted driving continues to be an issue

We have all heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Though more and more states have made it illegal to text and drive, Americans are unfortunately becoming less concerned with the risk of dangerous driving behavior. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the number of drivers who consider drinking and driving a serious threat had dropped by 20 percent. The number of drivers who consider running a red light and texting and driving to be risky has also dropped.

When we think of distracted driving, we tend to talk about millennials. Though teens have the highest rate of crashes, AAA has found that the problem of dangerous driving behavior is all over the age spectrum.

Drunk driving increases chances of fatal motor vehicle accidents

For California drivers who always wear their seatbelt, keep their phones out of reach and adhere to the speed limit, it can feel infuriating to be at the mercy of negligent drivers. Drunk drivers in particular pose a serious threat to other people on the road. People driving under the influence of alcohol are not only more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents, but accidents with high risks of death.

From the early 1980s through the middle of the 1990s, the number of drunk drivers on the road and resulting fatal accidents were significantly reduced. Unfortunately, not much improvement has been made over recent years. Data from 2010 indicates that 7,082 could have been avoided if drivers with .08 or higher blood-alcohol content had stayed away from the wheel. Although efforts to minimize drunk driving always seem to be underway, 2016 data showed that about 7,152 deaths were preventable for the same reasons. These figures include drunk drivers who died in the accidents they caused.

Growing personal loans could lead to Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Borrowing against home and auto loans is much less appealing than it once was, and understandably so -- many California consumers saw the repercussions of these moves during the Great Recession. However, some people's need for quick access to cash during difficult times still exists. Personal loans are rapidly growing to meet this need, but there is a chance it could also lead toward Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Personal loans are nothing new and indeed have been around since the inception of banking. However, they tend to be less popular than specific lending products, such as mortgages, auto loans and even credit cards. These are typically unsecured loans, so the interest rates tend to be higher.

Family of Melyssa Ford warn of dangers of truck accidents

All it takes is a second for tragedy to strike. This was apparently the case for reality TV star Melyssa Ford, who was recently injured in a devastating accident with an 18-wheleer. Truck accidents are no small matter, and her family chose to release images of the wreck and its aftermath to help other people in California understand just how dangerous they can be.

Ford was traveling to a bridal shower shortly after noon when the accident occurred. An 18-wheeler merged over into the lane she was driving in, but did so too closely and struck her rear right tire. The impact caused the 41-year-old woman's vehicle to flip a total of three times before coming to rest on its roof. Witnesses helped comfort the victim as she waited for emergency responders.

What to say to your spouse when you want to file for bankruptcy

If you haven't discussed bankruptcy with your spouse prior to your decision to file, it is natural to be concerned about what to say during that conversation. Bankruptcy is one of the biggest decisions a couple will struggle with and it shouldn't be handled casually. There are pros and cons to bankruptcy, but in most cases, your decision to file may be one of the smartest choices you can make about your financial future.

When you conclude that bankruptcy is the right decision in your situation, you will want to say the right things to make the conversation with your spouse much easier. Once you sit down for this discussion, here are a few things to say which can ease feelings and express why bankruptcy may be the right decision for both you and your family:

Motor vehicle accidents snarl traffic, send 7 to hospital

A multi-vehicle wreck sent seven people to the hospital and closed down northbound traffic on a California interstate. Officials say the driver who caused the wreck failed to brake in time to avoid the collision, although no arrests have been made. However, criminal charges are not necessary for victims seeking compensation from injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

A 69-year-old woman behind the wheel of a passenger vehicle was traveling in the slow lane of traffic when the vehicles ahead of her began to reduce their speed. She apparently failed to apply her brakes and rear-ended a pickup truck, sparking a chain reaction. An 18-wheeler traveling behind the passenger car was unable to stop in time and clipped the back of the car. The tractor-trailer then went across several lanes of traffic and down a nearby embankment.

Lil' Kim seeks Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection

Most people in California have a certain idea about the type of person who needs bankruptcy protection. The image of an individual who constantly spends well outside of his or her income usually comes to mind, even though this is far from the standard. In many instances, people find themselves in need of bankruptcy due to unexpected bills, financial emergencies or a sudden and unexpected loss in income. For rapper Lil' Kim, it was the latter that drove her to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Lil' Kim -- who was born Kimberly Jones -- filed for bankruptcy shortly after her home was foreclosed on. The house is currently set to go to auction in late June 2018. She was apparently more than $664,000 behind on her mortgage for the multi-million-dollar home. Her filing also revealed that she owes the IRS $1.5 million for back taxes and she's about $200,000 in debt for legal fees.

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