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Pokemon Stop: Gaming Sensation Raises Potential Legal Issues

Authored by Christopher Powers, Summer Law Clerk

As you may have heard, Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation, including Central New York.

Pokemon Go is a downloadable mobile app where players try to find different characters from the popular Japanese cartoon and video game on a virtual map based on a user’s actual surroundings. The app uses GPS and other geolocation features on a user’s smartphone to places the virtual characters at local landmarks. Then, the player then must go to the place and use traditional gaming techniques to “capture” the character. Pokemon Go was released on July 7, and has become a worldwide sensation. Within a week, the game already had been downloaded more than 10 million times, according to CNN.

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The Drones are coming!

With the holidays upon us, more people than ever will be receiving the newest drone models as novel and exciting gifts.  The U.S. Department of Transportation expects over 1 million drones to be sold this holiday season.  But what exactly is a drone, you ask?  A drone is an unmanned aircraft commonly referred to as a UAV.  The flight of drones may be controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently lists three categories of drones: public, civil, and recreational.

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Important Time Periods for New York Business Owners Contemplating Litigation

Perhaps you have seen commercials from personal injury law firms trying to convince you to call them immediately if you have been injured because your claim may be time-sensitive. While these firms are obviously trying to get your business, there is some truth in this type of statement. Virtually any claim you may have against an individual or entity has a “Statute of Limitations” attached to it, meaning the amount of time you have to commence a lawsuit before your claim is deemed time-barred.

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Is your child driving for Uber? The nuts and bolts of ride-sharing and insurance coverage.

If you have a child who is still insured on your auto policy while they are away at College or beginning to transition out on their own, they may be tempted to make a few bucks by driving for one of these ride-share companies. If an accident occurs with serious injuries while your child is driving customers around, whose insurance policy will defend the lawsuit that will almost certainly follow? Most drivers are covered under personal auto policies (which likely include livery exclusions) and not commercial policies, which can cost up to 10 times the cost of a personal auto policy.

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Don’t Trash That Evidence!

If you are a home or business owner and someone is injured on your property, your gut reaction is probably to fix or remove the dangerous condition that caused the accident as soon as possible. An uneven brick paver or pothole that causes someone to trip and fall; a bottle of cleaning solution with a defective cap that spills on someone; a product display with a sharp edge that lacerates a customer. These are all conditions which you, the conscientious property owner, will try to remedy as quickly as possible. In doing so, however, you may unwittingly compromise your defense position if future litigation ensues.

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To Shovel, or Not to Shovel

Winter is upon us in Central New York, complicating our morning commutes and creating more work for us each morning as we clean off our cars and shovel our driveways. Recently, in the City of Syracuse, clearing snow from sidewalks has become a hot button issue as the Common Council contemplated whether to impose fines on landowners who fail to shovel their walks. Syracuse city counsilors recently decided not to impose fines on residents who do not clear their sidewalks, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the issue will not come up again. So, what is your obligation as a homeowner to keep a public sidewalk that abuts your property free from snow and ice?

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Advice for New Drivers

Two weeks ago my 16 year old son passed his road test and now enjoys what he calls “true freedom.”  Here is a summary of the conversation I had with him before his first “solo flight.”

DO NOT SPEED!  New drivers in New York State are on probation for six months. If you are convicted of speeding during the probationary period, your license will be suspended for six months.  When you get your license back, the six month probationary period starts all over again. If you are convicted of speeding during the second probationary period your license will be revoked (i.e., your driving privileges will no longer exist). In order to get your license back after a revocation, you need to wait out the revocation period and then repeat the entire licensing process, which means you will have to take the written and driving tests over again.

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Protecting Your Business from Construction Injury Claims

The owners of small businesses that provide general contracting or construction trade services know that workers’ compensation and commercial general liability insurance is expensive. Unless your company has also taken the steps discussed below, all the money spent for those policies may not fully protect your company in the event of a worksite personal injury claim.

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