New Associate at Stephanie Flynn Law!

Congratulations to Abby Kuntz who passed the July 2019 Nebraska Bar Exam and was sworn in as an attorney last week. Abby is eager to start representing clients! Abby already has significant courtroom experience from the various clinics she participated in while in law school as well as hearings she has participated in since being sworn in.

If you want to schedule a time to meet with Abby to discuss your case, contact the Firm, or call (402) 325-8469 to schedule an appointment.

What is the automatic stay in a bankruptcy proceeding?

Automatic Stay acts as an Injunction

Typically, when a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is filed with the bankruptcy court, an automatic stay goes into effect. The Automatic Stay acts as an injunction that, with certain exceptions, prevents creditors for contacting a debtor who has declared bankruptcy in an attempt to collect a debt.

What does the Automatic Stay do for Debtors?

Automatic stay provisions work to protect the debtor against certain actions from the creditor, including, but not limited to:

  • commencing or continuing judicial proceedings (filing a collection action with a court) against the debtor (generally prohibits most creditors from commencing or continuing with collection activities);

  • taking actions to obtain debtor's property;

  • taking actions to create, perfect or enforce a lien (interest granted over an debtor’s property to secure the payment of a debt) on debtor's property;

  • stopping pending eviction actions;

  • suspending (temporarily stopping) a foreclosure action;

  • preventing utilities from being disconnected for at least 20 days; and

  • stop wage garnishments and have certain garnished monies reinstated to the debtor.

When does the Stay take effect?

Under section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the stay begins at the moment the bankruptcy Petition is filed.However, secured creditors (those whose debts are secured by assets of the debtor) can petition the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay so that the debts may be collected.

Are there things that the Automatic Stay does not cover?

The short answer is yes. Creditors with secured debts may ask for relief from the Automatic Stay. Also, Congress has provided that debtors who have creditors with a security interest in real estate can be required to continue making monthly payments to the secured creditor.

The Automatic Stay also does not prevent a landlord from filing to evict a tenant after the automatic stay goes into effect when the basis of the eviction is for use of illegal substances or "endangerment of the property”. And landlords who received a court order granting the eviction prior to the filing of the bankruptcy proceeding may continue to enforce the order of evidence even after the Automatic Stay goes into effect.

The length of the Automatic Stay may also be limited, or the Debtor may be required to file a request for an automatic stay to be put into effect if the debtor has filed other bankruptcy proceedings within the previous year prior.

What if a creditor tries to collect a debt during the bankruptcy proceeding?

If a creditor continues to try to collect a debt after the filing of a bankruptcy proceeding, the creditor may be violating bankruptcy’s automatic stay.

If you need help filing for bankruptcy, contact the bankruptcy lawyers at Stephanie Flynn Law, or call (402) 325-8469 to schedule an appointment.

New Faces at the Firm

The Firm said goodbye to Melissa Peck and Steven Standish earlier this year. Melissa is now in training to be a caseworker with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Steven and his family moved to Virginia. Since then, the Firm has hired Scott Smith as a senior certified law clerk who will meet with clients, drafts documents, and appear in court as a a senior certified law student under the direction of the attorneys at the firm.

The Firm also hired Samantha Hogan and Abigail Kuntz. Both Samantha and Abigail graduated law school in May 2019 and are awaiting their Nebraska Bar results. Everyone at the Firm is rooting for them and awaiting the results to officially welcome them aboard as associate attorneys with the Firm.

New Associate!

Congratulations to Steven Standish who passed the Nebraska bar exam and was sworn in as an attorney last week. Steven is now an associate attorney with Stephanie Flynn Law, P.C., L.L.O. To learn more about Steven, click here.

Our Office Continues to Grow!

Senior Certified Law Student, Steven Standish, is starting as a Law Clerk with the Firm on January 2, 2019. Steven will be hired on as an associate attorney at Stephanie Flynn Law, P.C., L.L.O. once he has passed the Nebraska bar examination and been sworn in as an attorney in Nebraska, which is expected to occur in late April 2019.

We're Expanding!

Senior Certified Law Student, Melissa Peck, will be hired on as an associate attorney at Stephanie Flynn Law, P.C., L.L.O. once she has passed the Nebraska bar examination and been sworn in as an attorney in Nebraska, which is expected to occur in late September 2018. As a result, the office is expanding to accommodate additional staff. As part of the expansion process, the office will be closed on July 12, 2018, and August 10, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  

Medical Payments Coverage

Most insurance policies have medical payments coverage, also known as "med pay". This is money that can help pay for your medical bills, regardless of who is at fault in an automobile accident. Coverage typically ranges from $1,000.00 to $10,000.00. This is not the total limit that will be paid out, but rather the amount that will be paid out for each injured person covered under the policy. So, for example, if you had a policy with $5,000.00 in medical payments coverage and you and your spouse were injured in a car accident, your insurance would pay a total of $10,000.00 towards you and your spouse's medical bills. Medical payments coverage may be paid in addition to any amounts that may be paid out under liability limits. However, the same bills won't be paid by both medical payments coverage and liability coverage. 

Medical payments coverage can also be used in conjunction with your health insurance. So anything not covered by your health insurance could be covered under your medical payments coverage, up to your med pay limits. Your medical payments coverage can also be used to pay your deductible as well as any co-pays you may have.

If you've been injured in an accident, contact car accident attorney Stephanie Flynn, or call (402) 325-8469 to schedule an appointment. 

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Many automobile accidents result in minor injuries. However, some accidents, especially motorcycle accidents, can result in serious injuries or even death.  If you or the at fault party don't have enough insurance coverage, you may not be able to receive full compensation for your injuries.  Without sufficient coverage, your standard of living could be substantially changed. Unisured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage can help protect and compensate you in the event of a car accident.

Nebraska law requires that all motorists carry automobile liability insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you will not be able to recover anything unless the motorist has personal assets you can collect. But most motorists who fail to carry automobile insurance don't have assets to collect on.

Even if the negligent driver does carry insurance, the policy limits may not be sufficient to compensate you for your injuries and other losses. Nebraska law only requires a driver to carry policy limits of $25,000/$50,000 ($25,0000 per person and $50,000 per accident). In serious accidents, an injured persons injuries and damages are often more than $25,000. While Nebraska law does allow for drivers to carry higher limits, not all drivers do.

If you are seriously injured in a car accident and your damages are more than the negligent driver's policy limits, you can claim against your own underinsured coverage. The policy limits required by Nebraska law for UM and UIM cover are the same as bodily injury limits, $25,000 and $50,000. Although, you can choose to obtain higher UM and UIM policy limits.

Obtaining UM and UIM coverage above the minimums required by Nebraska law can help protect you in the event you are in a serious automobile accident that you are not at fault for. Insurance carries in Nebraska are required  to offer coverage of $100,000/$300,000, but many insurance carriers offer higher limits. Although, even coverage at these amounts may not fully compensate you in the event of a serious accident.  

You may also be able to purchase "umbrella" insurance, which is a separate insurance policy that can provide you with an additional layer of protection. If you decide to obtain an umbrella policy, be sure to find out what the policy will cover. Some policies will only provide coverage if you are at fault and will not cover you if you are the victim of another driver's negligence. To provide you with the most protection possible in the event of an accident, be sure to obtain an umbrella policy that provides for UM and UIM coverage, no matter who is at fault.

While most accidents result in relatively minor injuries, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may not be fully compensated if you don't have adequate insurance to protect you.  Obtaining the highest UM and UIM policy limits you can afford can help protect you in the event you are injured as a result of another driver's negligence. An umbrella policy  may also be able to provide you with another layer of protection. If you decide to obtain an umbrella policy, be sure to check with your agent to find out whether the policy provides UM and UIM coverage if you are the victim of another driver's negligent actions.  

Contact accident attorney Stephanie Flynn, or call (402) 325-8469, if you've been injured in a car accident due to another person's negligence. Stephanie Flynn Law does not sell insurance and all policies are different. This information is only intended as general aide. Please see our disclaimer for further information.

DUI

In State v. McCave, the Nebraska Supreme Court found that one cannot be convicted of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) when operating a vehicle on private property that is not open to public access. State v. McCave, 282 Neb. 500 (2011). The Nebraska Supreme Court held that, as a matter of law, a residential driveway is not private property that is open to public access. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed McCave's conviction for DUI while parked in a private driveway. The Court found that the police did not have probable cause to believe that McCave was an intoxicated person in control of a vehicle on private property open to public access.

Under Nebraska, a person may be convicted of a DUI if said person is in actual physical control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug when such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of his or her blood or when such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of his or her breath.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-6,196. However, Nebraska's DUI laws don't apply to a person's operation or control of a vehicle on private property that is not open to public access.  

In State v. Prater, 268 Neb. 655, 686 N.W.2d 638 896 (2004), the Nebraska Supreme Court held that an apartment building parking lot is private property open to public access.  The Court in McCave held that a private driveway is not private property open to public access as members of the general public have no right or implied permission to use a private residential driveway or the ability to enter the driveway in the same sense that a member of the public might drive through or use a private parking lot.

In summary, unless a suspect is in a location where the suspect could not have been unless the suspect had driven the vehicle while intoxicated (see State v. Miller, 226 Neb. 576, 412 N.W.2d 849 (1987) and State v. Baker, 224 Neb. 130, 395 N.W.2d 766 (1986)) or there is sufficient evidence to support that a suspect has driven a vehicle on a public road while intoxicated, a person cannot be convicted of a DUI while parked in a private driveway.   

If you're facing a DUI Charge, contact criminal defense lawyers at Stephanie Flynn Law, or call (402) 325-8469, to speak with an attorney who can help you through the process. 

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court held that sentencing a juvenile to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a nonhomicide crime was a violation of the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48, 130 S. Ct. 2011, 176 L. Ed. 2d 825 (2010). The United States Supreme Court went one step further in 2012, finding that  it is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile convicted of a homicide to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Miller v. Alabama, ____ U.S. ____, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012). 

The Nebraska Supreme Court recognized and applied the U.S. Supreme Court case law in State v. Castaneda 287 Neb. 289 (2014) when the Court vacated Castaneda's sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and remanded the  cases for resentencing. The Nebraska Supreme Court went one step further in State v. Mantich, 287 Neb. 320 (2014) and found that the rule in Miller applied retroactively to Mantich.