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Drop in Mortgage Delinquencies in Arizona

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Across the country and in Arizona, there was a drop in mortgage delinquencies in the 4th quarter of 2011. In Arizona, the number of delinquent mortgage loans dropped to approximately 7.7% during the 4th quarter of 2011 from 8.07% in the 3rd quarter of last year. Arizona also ranked 20th among all 50 states and Washington DC in the rate of mortgage delinquencies and second in the rate of foreclosures.

Nationwide, the national mortgage delinquency rate dropped to 7.58%. That was a drop from 7.99% in the 3rd quarter of last year. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association which released those figures, there was also a decline in the percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions have been initiated.

However, Arizona foreclosure lawyers don’t believe that this state of affairs is likely to continue for long because the state and federal investigation into shoddy foreclosure paperwork has now ended.

However, the report also indicated an increase in the percentage of Federal Housing Administration and Veterans’ Affairs mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. The rate of delinquency of Federal Housing and Administration loans in Arizona increased to 11.88 in the 4th quarter of last year, from 11.6 in the 3rd quarter of last year. In the case of Department of Veterans’ Affairs loans, the rate of delinquency increased to 6.08, from 5.89 in the 3rd quarter.

There was also an increase in the number of Federal Housing Administration and Veterans’ Affairs loans in foreclosure. The FHA loans in foreclosure increased to 2.91% in the 4th quarter of 2011 from 2.58% the previous quarter. The rate of loans in foreclosure increased from 2.22% in the 3rd quarter of 2011 to 2.44% in the last quarter.

One in 6 US Surgeons Suffers from Alcohol Dependence

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new study confirms alarming levels of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency among surgeons in the United States. According to the study, which has been published in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery, approximately one out of every 6 surgeons reported problems related to alcohol dependence.

The researchers e-mailed more than 25,000 doctors to ask them about their drinking practices. Out of these, barely 7,200 doctors actually responded to the survey. Of these, approximately 15% were found to show signs of alcohol abuse and dependence. Further drilling into the statistics found that 14% of male surgeons were likely to show abuse, while among female surgeons, the rate was 26%.

Although, just one third of the doctors responded to the survey, the researchers are concerned enough to call the findings a significant problem. According to the researchers, the level of alcohol abuse seen in the survey indicates a high potential to impair surgeons’ ability to perform surgery safely.

So, how worried should you be that your surgeon has an alcohol problem that you're not aware of? The surgeons say, ‘not very.’ According to them, there are very few cases involving surgeons who made medical errors under the influence of alcohol. The chances of your surgeon making a medical major medical error while operating in a intoxicated condition, are actually quite low.

However, California medical malpractice attorneys would like this study to encourage surgeons who struggle with alcohol addiction to come forward for treatment. It's also important for hospitals to give this study particular attention. Health facilities must undertake intervention strategies when they become aware of an alcohol dependency problem among staff members.

Motorola Settles Shareholder Lawsuit for $200 Million

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Motorola has announced that it will settle a securities fraud lawsuit with its shareholders for $200 million. The settlement is subject to court approval, and is aimed at settling a lawsuit filed in 2007.

The lawsuit alleged that Motorola had fraudulently inflated stock prices by making misrepresentations about projected revenues for the last two quarters of 2006. According to stockholders, the former Motorola Inc. chief executive officer Edward Zander had told investors that they could expect strong sales numbers during the last quarter of 2006. By the time the lawsuit was filed in August 2007, Motorola's position had fallen from the second biggest cell phone manufacturer in the world to number 3. The lawsuit alleged that the company had concealed information about its competitiveness in the cell phone market.

The lawsuit which sought class-action status was filed before Motorola was split into 2 companies last year. When the company split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., the lawsuit was handed down to Motorola Solutions.

The lawsuit was filed by the Macomb County Employees Retirement System and St. Clair Shores Police and Fire Pension System. Motorola Holdings has confirmed that it was not involved in the lawsuit, and will therefore not participate in any settlement.

California securities fraud lawyers found that Motorola had plenty of legal troubles in February. Earlier in the month, Apple filed a lawsuit against Motorola Mobility in a San Diego court. The lawsuit aims to stop Motorola from asserting patent claims against Apple. Meanwhile, Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Motorola Mobility is trying to use essential patents to block Microsoft products. According to Microsoft, Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, is using its patents to block many Microsoft products that include video-playing software.

15% of Surgeons Report Alcohol Abuse Risks

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It’s not the sort of news that’s meant to soothe patients or Arizona medical malpractice attorneys. According to a new survey, a significant number of surgeons report issues with alcohol abuse.

The anonymous poll was conducted by researchers at the University Of Washington in Seattle. The results of the study have been published in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery. All surgeons in the study were members of the American College of Surgeons.

According to the survey, 15% of surgeons seem to show some indications of alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse. Further, nearly 14% of male surgeons seem to exhibit these tendencies, while among female surgeons, the rate is much higher at 26%.

Those rates of alcohol use and alcohol dependence are much higher than the 8% to 12% figures for alcohol dependence among the general public. Researchers hasten to add that there is very little danger that an intoxicated surgeon could make a major medical error that could cause serious harm to a patient. According to the researchers, the incidence of such errors committed under the incidence of alcohol is extremely rare. The rate is about one in 10,000, which doesn't seem to Phoenix medical malpractice lawyers like a very favorable rate at all.

Having said that, the researchers want to know why surgeons are not subjected to the same kind of drug and alcohol screening as people in other occupations are. People in a number of other occupations like transport operators, are subjected to frequent alcohol screenings and random drug and alcohol testing to reduce the possibility of abuse. Currently, there are some doctors, like anesthesiologists who undergo pre-employment drug screening, as well as random drug tests.

However, the incidence of voluntary testing among surgeons and doctors in other specialties is low. Researchers say there's no reason why other kinds of doctors and even surgeons must be exempted from pre-employment drug and alcohol screening as well as random drug and alcohol tests.

Continuing Spate of Bankruptcies in Solar Industry

Monday, February 20, 2012

The ongoing financial crisis in the solar industry has claimed yet another company. Earlier this month, Energy Conversion Devices, a company that has a solid reputation for innovative energy saving technologies, announced its decision to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company has decided to sell all of its assets, including its main subsidiary United Solar Ovonic. Energy Conversion Devices is particularly known for its innovations like nickel-meta-hydride batteries and thin-film solar laminates.

The news of the bankruptcy filing was not exactly a surprise to California business bankruptcy attorneys. About a month ago, the company had announced that it was suspending production at its 6 plants. The company also announced that it was planning to eliminate 500 out of 1300 jobs at its plants by the end of 2011.

Despite its excellent record in energy technology, the company has struggled to stay afloat over the past decade. Over the past 11 fiscal years, it has posted profits in only 3 years. According to the bankruptcy filing, Energy Conversion Devices has $145 million in cash and short-term investments, and is relying on these to help it through the bankruptcy proceedings. It also has $986 million in assets and a total debt of $249 million.

Industry experts don't believe that the company can rely on a possible sale of United Solar Ovonic to get it through this. Some of the company’s products including thin-film solar laminates were considered innovative once upon a time, but since then, new technologies have been developed. The company may find a few buyers in Asia, but the larger Asian energy companies are looking for technologies that are newer than the ones that are currently being offered by Energy Conversion Devices.

Spinal Cord Injury Can Result in Excruciating Pain

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hollywood star George Clooney's recent comments about the intense pain and trauma that he suffered after suffering a spinal cord injury during the shooting of a movie, are getting a lot of media attention. Fresh from his Oscar nomination, Clooney’s comments were made during an interview leading up to the awards. His thoughts resonate especially strongly with Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers and spinal cord injury victims.

The actor suffered a spinal cord injury in a stunt accident when he was filming the movie Syriana. The injury left him in terrible pain and agony. In his own words, the pain was so bad, it felt like he had suffered a stroke. The trauma was so severe that at some point, he began blowing out spinal cord fluid from his nose.

In order to cope with the pain, Clooney began drinking heavily, but no amount of alcohol was enough to numb the pain. He also suffered from excruciating headaches. After about 3 weeks of the trauma, Clooney began thinking of committing suicide to get away from the pain.

Since then, Clooney has undergone surgery to treat the pain, and although he says that the surgery has given him relief, he still suffers from terrible headaches.

Clooney's injury was sustained when he was performing a stunt in a movie. However, Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers find that many of these injuries occur in auto and motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists may be at a special risk for spinal injury, because they have no protection during an accident. Unlike a motorist who may be cushioned from impact by the body of the automobile, a motorcyclist can be thrown several feet into the air, landing on the ground with huge impact, increasing the risk of neck injury and spinal cord fracture.

Accident Fatality Rates for Teenagers on the Rise Again

Friday, February 17, 2012

Even as the number of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents has been declining, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that there has been an increase in the number of teenage drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported a 29% decline in traffic accidents in the first 6 months of 2011. During the same period of time, there was an 11% increase in the number of teenage drivers killed in accidents. Accident prevention strategies that are being implemented to keep adult motorists safe do not seem to be having any benefits for teenage drivers.

According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there was a 16% increase in the number of 16-year-old drivers in accidents in the first half of 2011, and a 7% increase in the number of 17-year-olds killed in accidents during the same time. In both these cases, the numbers were higher than during the first half of 2010. Overall, the increase was about 11%.

In California, the number of fatalities in the first months of 2011 was the same as during the same time the previous year. The data is only for the first half of the year, and once the final figures are available, San Francisco car accident lawyers will have a better understanding of how California has fared in keeping teen drivers safe.

A total of 23 states reported increases in teen driver fatalities, while only 19 states reported a decline in these rates. Eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change in teen fatality numbers.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association speculates that the effect of graduated driver’s licensing programs is probably leveling off because these laws have been in existence for a while, and this has possibly contributed to this increase. Additionally, the researchers also believe that more teens are now driving because of improved economic conditions.

Is Barney's Preparing to File for Bankruptcy?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some of the most iconic names in American business have decided to file for bankruptcy in recent months. Now, another veritable American institution Barneys, could be considering a similar filing. The company recently hired a restructuring firm to help it deal with massive debt that’s coming up in 2012.

According to representatives, Barneys is currently discussing options with lenders and is confident that the matter can be resolved quickly. The luxury retailer is looking at refinancing $200 million loan that is due to come up in September.

All this debt is mainly due to a takeover of the company 5 years ago, that left the company with about $500 million in additional debt. Barney's was sold to Dubai-based- Istithmar World in September 2007. Since then, several investment firms including Istithmar World have paid tens of millions of dollars in order to keep the company afloat, a task that became increasingly difficult during a recession when people cut back on the luxury spending.

Barneys has nine stores across the United States, including a flagship store in Manhattan. Its clientele is basically upscale, but the company has faced stiff opposition from the likes of other New York institutions like Saks and Neiman Marcus recently. Not all is bad news for Barneys. The company recently saw an 18% spike in sales in December.

Now comes news that the company has hired a financial restructuring firm in New York, to help it deal with its financial struggles. Hiring a restructuring firm does not necessarily indicate to California business bankruptcy lawyers that the company has plans to file for bankruptcy. It is highly likely that the company will be able to restructure its debt, and settle its financial matters without having to go the bankruptcy route.

Licensed Electrical Contractors - Safer Work

Monday, February 06, 2012

When considering hiring a company or person to work on your home or business, many people look at the cost as the biggest factor, and in today's economy - too often cost is put in front of safety. When hiring a contractor, it is pretty easy to find someone who is willing to do the work "on the side" without permits. Sometimes this is because they cannot get permits since they are not licensed as a contractor in the state. Typically, no permits means no inspection - and without an inspection you will probably lack assurance that the job is up to code and safety standards. Can you imagine the safety risk associated with electrical wiring (panels, outlets, appliances, etc) and physical structures (stairs, decks, etc)?

Hiring a licensed electrician or contractor provides you with peace of mind and probably better work than a weekend warrior or less experienced person could provide. By hiring a licensed contractor, your insurance and even the contractor's insurance can provide coverage if things go wrong. Especially in California, protecting yourself against liability is important.

When looking for a contractor, your search may want to include Union-trained or certified contractors, like Thousand Oaks Electric, who is certified by the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). It is also a good idea to read reviews and testimonials, such as on Yelp, Google, Angie's List, etc. These can be a good indicator about the quality of the services that the person or company provides.

It is easier now for people to do their homework and find quality - but will people be willing to pay for it?

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