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  • Posted on 7/23/2014 Unemployment benefits and your obligation to accept suitable work

    If you’ve received Iowa unemployment insurance benefits, then you should know that if you’re lazy, they’ll be taken away.  You’ve got to continue to fulfill certain work search requirements.  You’ve got to call up Iowa Workforce Development every week and ascertain that you’re still looking.  You’ve got to log the contact information of every employer you contact.  And if you get a job offer, and it’s “suitable”, you have to take it.  Fail to accept suitable work without good cause, no benefits for you.



                But what is suitable work?   If you’re trying to figure this out, the first thing you should look at is the wage.  There is a cutoff point for what wage is considered suitable for you.  Here’s how you calculate what wage you have to accept:  First, find out what your “average weekly wage”, or “AWW” is.  You should have received a document showing your AWW when you first qualified for unemployment benefits.  Next, look at a calendar and figure out which week of your claim you’re in.  The longer ago you made your claim, the lower the wage is that is considered suitable.  A wage is considered suitable if it is (a) not less than minimum wage and (b)




    • 100% of your AWW if offered during the first five weeks of your claim OR

    • 75% of your AWW if offered during the sixth through twelfth weeks of your claim OR

    • 70% of your AWW if offered during the thirteenth through eighteenth weeks of your claim OR

    • 65% of your AWW if offered after the 18th week of your claim.



                So let’s say your AWW is $400.  In the first five weeks of your claim, a job paying less than $400 weekly would be considered unsuitable.  From the sixth through twelfth weeks of your claim, a job paying $300 could be suitable, but a job paying less would be unsuitable.  From the thirteenth through eighteenth weeks of your claim, a job paying $280 could be suitable, but any job paying less would be unsuitable.  And from the eighteenth week onwards, a job paying $260 would be suitable, but any job paying less would be unsuitable.  If these numbers scare you, remember that work paying less than minimum wage will never be suitable.



                It’s easy enough to figure out what wage is considered unsuitable, but if a job’s wage doesn’t render it unsuitable, there are a number of other factors to take into account, and it’s not up to you, the claimant, to apply them.  The Department, Iowa Workforce Development, is the party that decides whether these factors indicate that a job is suitable, essentially by looking at the job duties and working conditions.  Factors include “the degree of risk involved to the health, safety, and morals, the individual's physical fitness, prior training, length of unemployment, and prospects for securing local work in the individual's customary occupation, the distance of the available work from the individual's residence.”



                The trouble in all of this is that you’re the one being offered the job.  There’s a good chance you won’t be able to call up Iowa Workforce Development and ask their opinion of whether a job you’re offered is suitable or not—you might have to make a snap decision by applying your best judgment.  No matter your decision, you have to let Iowa Workforce Development know about the offer and your decision.  And if you opted to turn down an offer for a job that they consider suitable work, you might have your unemployment benefits cut off.



                You should not be afraid to appeal this decision.  Iowa Workforce Development has, several times, cut off unemployment benefits for a claimant’s failure to accept suitable work, when that claimant had a perfectly legitimate reason for his or her choice.  In your appeal, you need only show the administrative law judge that you had good cause to turn down the job offer.  Here are some examples of what administrative law judges have considered good cause: you recently started working a different job; the job offer conflicted with the schedule of a course you had recently registered for; you used to work for your prospective supervisor and refused the offer because you feared him; you lacked the training for the job.



                If you thought you had good cause for turning down an offer of suitable work, there’s a good chance you actually did.  Need help with your appeal?  I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you."  If we can help you, call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at sdlombardi@aol.com and katrina.schaefer8@gmail.com. We look forward to your call.

  • Posted on 7/22/2014 Fired for your cash drawer being short? That’s not enough to deny you unemployment benefits

                If you lose your job, it’s reasonable to file for unemployment benefits.  Your employer might protest your claim, and if that happens, Iowa Workforce Development will probably arrange a fact-finding interview to figure out whether you should get benefits or not.  If they deny you benefits, you can appeal the decision, and if they grant you benefits, your employer can appeal the decision.  The appeal will probably be in the form of a telephone hearing conducted by an administrative law judge.



                If you were fired from your job, your employer might argue that you should be denied unemployment insurance benefits because you were fired for misconduct.  If the Judge agrees with your employer, you’ll be denied benefits (a decision you can appeal).  But it’s important to remember that what your employer deems to be misconduct isn’t necessarily what the law deems misconduct—meaning, you can mess up on the job and legally be fired for it, but you might still be able to get unemployment benefits.



                Ellen Graham (not her real name) worked as a cashier, and she was fired because her cash drawer was short by $93.  Surveillance footage didn’t reveal her actually stealing the money and her employer didn’t accuse her of stealing it—it was merely unexplained.  She had had two other cash shortages in recent weeks, one of $121 and the other of $26.  While there was certainly a question of Ms. Graham’s handling of cash, her employer was unable to pinpoint a problem. 



                Ms. Graham wasn’t given additional training.  And while every cashier was supposed to count their cash drawer at the end of a shift, that frequently didn’t happen.  That might have been fine, but Ms. Graham did not always have the time to count the money in the cash drawer at the beginning of her shift—the last one of the day.  The implication was that Ms. Graham was likely to be blamed for any cash mistakes her coworkers made throughout the day.  In fact, the day before she was fired, the woman who worked the shift before her was caught stealing from a supervisor.



                Did Ms. Graham’s employer have good enough reason to fire her?  Yes—it might seem unfair, but employers can generally fire whomever they want, and Ms. Graham’s employer seems to have had some modicum of reasonable suspicion.  But did Ms. Graham’s employer show that she committed misconduct deserving of a denial of unemployment benefits?  No, not at all:



    “‘Misconduct’ is defined as a deliberate act or omission by a worker which constitutes a material breach of the duties and obligations arising out of such worker’s contract of employment…On the other hand mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed misconduct within the meaning of the statute.”



    It looks as if Ms. Graham’s employer was trying to get the Administrative Law Judge to believe that she had either stolen the missing money, or materially breached an obligation to keep track of the money.  The thing is, the employer didn’t show anything other than, at best, mere negligence or inadvertencies on Ms. Graham’s part.  Administrative Law Judge Dévon M. Lewis found that Ms. Graham was deserving of unemployment benefits.  Her employer simply hadn’t carried its burden to show misconduct.




                If you have a factfinding interview or an appeal coming up in your unemployment benefits case and you aren’t sure quite how to handle it, the Lombardi Law Firm is interested in hearing from you.    I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you."  If we can help you, call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at sdlombardi@aol.com and katrina.schaefer8@gmail.com. We look forward to your call. 


  • Posted on 7/21/2014 Serious Iowa Personal Injury Accidents

    Motorcycle Accident in Pocahontas County, Iowa



    Motorcyclist dies after crash in ditch



    I have been so busy lately and need to thank Katrina and Bridgette for their help keeping up the blog posts. But time moves on and sooner or later lawyers start catching up which is where I am an so let me start with a couple of news items. The riders name is John Lubinas. We handle several motorcycle accidents every year and the injuries are always bad; many are deaths. If we can help you please give us a call. If you choose to go it alone make sure you check out our website with instructions about recorded statements and accident investigation.





    Jet skier injured in crash with boat on Des Moines River



    Our next case has to do with a jet skier being injured while having fun on the Des Moines River in Polk County. The report said he may have suffered a spinal injury.  We have devoted an entire area of our blog to boating and water sport safety. In these cases there is always going to be debate about whether the injured person, the victim, shoulders some of the blame. So prepare before giving a statement or else get us on your legal team to do the preparation. The insurance adjusters do not see this as a question of fairness. It is about saving money on claims. If you say something you shouldn’t then you lose and get zero.





    Charles City Bike Accident





    Then in Charles City we had a man killed while riding a bike. The bicyclist was 55-year-old Brian Buy Lauterbach who was hit by a car. We’ve handled these accidents and of course without the cyclist to testify they can be difficult especially if there are no other witnesses. So the key is to hire a lawyer early rather than later so the investigation can get underway without undue delay. It is the delay that makes the destruction of evidence possible. I have several videos on the site that can help you. Go to the HOME page and click on the “Videos” link.  You should check out the Pedestrian Accidents and the videos for Motorcycle, Bike and ATV Accidents.



    Okay this is enough for one day. Good luck with your personal injury case and if the personal injury and accident lawyers at the Lombardi Law Firm can help you let us know.



    Steve Lombardi

Des Moines Accident Attorney Serving All of Iowa And Answering Questions About Personal Injury Accidents

Straight talk when you need it most.

Exploring Recent Personal Injury News From Around the State of Iowa

What's my case worth? What should I do right after the accident? Why is the case manager working against me? These are all questions we often are asked and these answers can all be found at the Iowa Injury Law Center. If you have a question that isn't answered or just want to talk to a personal injury lawyer, contact Steve. 515-222-1110 or sdlombardi@aol.com. He looks forward to speaking with you.

Personal injury law is our business and for the past 30+ years Steve Lombardi has assisted hundreds of clients with personal injury. Clients come from all over Iowa, we do travel and have handled cases in most of Iowa's 99 counties. Let us help you or at least help you get to the right attorney. Currently the worst personal injury cases come from interstate highway accidents, drunk driving collisions, rollover accidents, work related injuries, explosions, electrocutions, falls and spinal chord injuries. We've handled most every type of personal injury case in Iowa and would like to evaluate your case. So call us before you talk with the insurance adjuster.  




Free Legal Questions


http://www.lawguru.com

We pride ourselves telling you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.

Accidents.  They happen anywhere, anytime.  You cut your finger with a knife in the kitchen.  You spill your morning cup of coffee.  You slip on a patch of ice and fall.  Accidents at home are painful and perhaps embarrassing but certainly manageable.  When they happen on the road or on the job, however, they become devastating. 

Whether you’re involved in a serious car wreck, an accident with a truck, or hurt on the job, you’ll find yourself potentially out of work and out of money.  What if you lose your eyesight or a limb?  Your bills will pile up, especially those never ending medical bills that can result in your insurance company raising rates or worse yet, refusing to cover you.

Even though you’re the victim, it seems as if nobody wants to help you and everyone who is supposed to be helping you, wants to blame you. Trying to handle the situation without professional assistance can be just as terrifying as the injury itself.  

At these times, personal injury attorney Steve Lombardi can help.  With over twenty-six years of experience representing civil trial clients in central Iowa, he knows the law and can achieve results for you.   His practice includes personal injury cases; car, truck, motorcycle, and boat accidents; major injury cases including brain damage, loss of limbs, loss of eyesight, death and surgical cases; workers’ compensation; professional malpractice; and a limited number of divorce cases in which significant and valuable property must be divided.

Lombardi Law Firm is located in West Des Moines, Iowa, and serves clients from Polk, Dallas, Madison, Warren, Clarke, Cerro Gordo, Jasper, Linn, Wapello, Clinton, Scott, Pottawattamie, Muscatine, Lee, and Johnson counties, including accidents occurring along the interstate highways I-80, I-35, I-235, and I-380.

Steve Lombardi is the kind of lawyer who cares deeply about his clients.  Just like many of his clients, he too has experienced the breakdown of the health-care system.  When he was thirteen, his father died of lung cancer.  The doctors gave his father no real help.  For two years before his father’s death, they diagnosed a pulled muscle.  Before going to law school he had never been in a lawyer’s office, because his family couldn’t afford legal services.

From those experiences, he draws a great desire to help his clients win their cases involving any type of malpractice, and serious injury, a desire to help his clients find some justice in an imperfect world.  He prides himself on always telling clients what they need to hear not just what they want to hear.

In the pursuit of justice, Steve Lombardi believes his clients are necessary partners in building the evidence that will be used in court:  active, responsive clients with some understanding of the process have the best chance of success.  He is passionate about the work he does and enjoys working closely with his clients to collect the evidence supported by the legal theory.  He believes there are no small issues in a case because every detail could turn a case in the client’s favor. 

Steve Lombardi works very hard to positively impact his clients’ lives.  And while he recognizes that not every case can be won, he just hates to lose.  Justice delayed is justice denied. You can be sure Steve Lombardi will use all of the legal tools available to fight for you, and to win your case.

This week I'm stressing highway safety.  With the cold wintry weather there have been a lot of accidents, injuries and deaths on Interstate 80, 35, 235 and all the other highways in Iowa. I've been posting on some of them.

There are snow plows and Interstate Highway Workers out there and when you see one get over to the side, giving them plenty of room, stop and let them go by or get over and stay clear of the work area. Don’t challenge them or be impatient with these workers. They have a job to do and you challenging them for the road is going to get you no where fast. So back off and let those guys do their job.


BlogBurst.com 

Adventure Travel

The adventure travel business is big in the United States and for that matter all over the world.  In the year 2000 the estimated worldwide revenue was $154 billion and was growing at a 20% annual growth rate.  See Adventure Travel Industry Growth Statistics, Christina Heyniger, Xola Consulting. This industry is unregulated and the certifications the guides obtain are of limited comfort because the associations regulating those guiding services have no enforcement mechanism. The release documents the adventure travel customers sign completely relieves the guiding service of any wrongdoing these Generation X "kid" guides do on the trip. I've travelled all over the world and have some observations from my experience. I invite others to join in with comments and if you write to me I'll respect your privacy, if you want me to, and will use your experiences, both good and bad to make everyone aware of the pitfalls. So come join us with Adventure Travel.

Ag-Law Farm Accidents

Iowa farm families when suffering accidental injury can count on the Lombardi Law Firm to assist them in handling their insurance claims. If you need assistance with an insurance claim give us a call. We handle accidental rollover cases, highway collisions, injuries by equipment, grain dust cases, grain bin suffocation cases, explosions, burns from explosions and electric shock, electrocutions and chemical poisonings. If your accident isn't in this list, call us to see if we can assist you. For 30 years we've helped Iowans just like you to recover fairly. Call us at 515-222-1110 or write to Attorney Lombardi at sdlombardi@aol.com

Boating Accidents

Boating safety is a major concern for those who own or operate a boat on Iowa's lakes and rivers. On this site we focus on boating safety and how boaters get themselves in "hot water" with liability. If you're hurt while on the water you should immediately contact a quallified attorney and seek legal advice about how to gather and preserve the evidence you may later need to protect your rights.

Campus and School Accidents

Going to college is an exciting time in a young adult's life. But the college life is one where freedom causes those not yet ready for responsibility to experiment with the bounds of reason leading to unique ways people are injured. Join us at Lombardi Law Firm as we catalogue the university milieu and personal injury in America.

Car and Tractor Trailer Accidents

Although tractor trailers are a vital part of the American economy, their presence on the roads presents a significant problem while car drivers fail to respect them. The accidents are often severe, resulting in spilled products, bad wrecks, and possible death. If you are injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer along the highways of central Iowa, Steve Lombardi of the Lombardi Law Firm in Des Moines can help you handle these troubling times. Call 515.222.1110 for a free consultation.

Car Damage Property Accident Lawyer

With over 30 years of Iowa property damage and personal injury accident law we provide the law experience you need to maximize your personal injury recovery in any property damage case. If you have questions about property damage here are the answers to your questions. Due in part to the number of questions we get about property damage and how to settle the property claim after an accident the Lombardi Law Firm has created this page with a list of commonly asked questions. If your suit has significant personal injury or death claims we invite you to contact us about your case, but due to the time involved in answering questions (and the fact we still have to pay the bills around here) we do not allow non-client questions for just property damage. Clients may contact us at 515-222-1110 or 800-383-0331 or sdlombardi@aol.com.

Client Trial-Deposition Preparation

Lombardi Law Firm believes in trial preparation. We don't rely on luck to win your case. Instead we prepare you from the first moment we talk with you. What we do is listen to how you talk, think and most importantly answer questions. You can be successful if you are prepared correctly. Not all attorneys take the time to properly prepare their clients. We do.

Construction Site Personal Injury Accidents

Construction Site Personal Injury Accidents - Despite attempts to improve safety at construction sites by updating the regulations about equipment and producing detailed safety information, construction sites remain one of the most dangerous workplaces. If you are injured while working on a construction site, contact personal injury attorney Steve Lombardi as soon as possible to help with getting the relief you’re owed.

Criminal Law

Criminal law in Iowa is an interesting exercise in police power and the State of Iowa flexing it's muscle to collect fines and police the state. If we can help you find the right legal counsel to defend you against criminal charges contact Attorney Steve Lombardi at sdlombardi@aol.com or 515-222-1110. 

Dog Bite Accident Lawyer

With over 30 years of Iowa personal injury accident law we provide the law experience you need to maximize your personal injury recovery in any dog bite case.

Drunk Driving Iowa Personal Injury Accidents

Drunk Driving, Alcohol and Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Accidents in Iowa

Guns & Handgun Rights

If you want to carry or (buy) acquire a handgun, rifle, or revolver and you’re running into obstacles, the Lombardi Law Firm is here to help.  Based in Polk County, Iowa, lawyers Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer practice statewide and are prepared to guide you through the getting, keeping, or renewing your permit to acquire or permit to carry weapons. And if you are a gun owner and need legal help we are here to help you with your legal problems.

Here are some of the services we can provide:

  • We can help you apply for a permit to acquire.  If you don’t already have a permit to carry, then you need to get a permit to acquire if you want to get a pistol or revolver. This is a fairly simple process.
  • We can help you apply for a permit to carry.  If you want to carry a loaded firearm in public in Iowa, you need a permit to carry.   We can help you apply.  Need help becoming eligible?  We can help.  Need to know what rights your permit to carry gives you?  We can help you there too. We can also direct you to where to take the concealed or carry permit instruction course.
  • We can defend you if you’ve brought your gun somewhere you shouldn’t have.  Did you bring your gun into a business that has a policy against guns?  Are you facing a trespass charge for being ready to defend yourself?  Need to know whether your firearm needs to be concealed or whether you can carry it openly?   Come to us to and we can help you protect your gun rights.
  • We can help you if your permit has been denied, suspended or revoked.  Maybe you’ve run into trouble with the application process, or maybe you just received notice that an annual background check has placed your right to bear arms in danger.  You can appeal any decision to deny, suspend or revoke your permit to acquire or permit to carry.  And we can help.

Hip & Knee Implants

Hip and knee replacement devices have come under increasing scrutiny in the last few years, as manufacturers began to recall certain types of these implants. One type of hip implant, and perhaps the most controversial at this time, is called a metal-on-metal bearing. With knees we're starting to see Zimmer's NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral component product questions.

I-35 I-80 I-235 I-380 Collisions/Accidents

Interstate highways 80, 35 and 235 personal injury lawyer teams up with lawyers from Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Texas and all other states to provide information to those injured or the families of those killed in accidents and crashes with semi-trucks, motorcycles, cars, SUV's, mini-vans and those working on the highways (State Troopers, highway workers, DOT maintenance workers and others. ) Contact any of these firms for assistance. Steve Lombardi, 1300 – 37th Street, Suite 6, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 (515)222-1110.

Large Damage, Major-Serious Injury and Death Cases

Damage cases involing death, brain injury, traumatic head injury, spinal injuries, loss of a limb or eyesight or hearing. Most law firms shoe every horse that comes into the barn. We won't and don't. We say no to most cases. We say "yes" to large damage cases so we can focus on getting you the best result.

Motorcycle, Bike and ATV Accident Lawyer

With over 30 years of Iowa personal injury accident law we provide the law experience you need to maximize your personal injury recovery.

Lottery, Gaming and Games of Chance

Winning the Lottery is more than Just Dumb Luck. - You can’t win a lottery without turning in a ticket.

As much as you may want to think this is about fairness, it’s not; it’s about playing by the rules you agreed to when you bought a lottery ticket that is later picked as having the winning numbers.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you won the lottery when you can’t produce the winning ticket. To win the lottery you have to do several things.

  1. Be old enough to legally play the game.
  2. Buy the winning ticket.
  3. Buy the ticket during the time period when the game is active.
  4. Possess the winning ticket. (Can be by gift or other legitimate means. Just not stolen.)
  5. Sign the winning ticket.
  6. Turn the ticket in by the deadline for validation.
  7. Actually turn the ticket into the Iowa lottery.
  8. Have the ticket be validated by the lottery’s machinery.
  9. Don’t engage in fraud or theft to possess the winning ticket.
  10. Don’t wait to turn in the winning ticket if the economy is in down market because the value of the winning prize will probably decline.

The Iowa Lottery recently had a drawing named Hot Lotto that was sold at a Des Moines convenience store with the winning number being drawn on December 29, 2010. That meant the winning number had to be turned in on or before December 29, 2011. It was, but barely.

Pedestrian Collisions Causing Injury and Death

Pedestrian accidents can have many causes. Pedestrian accidents are caused by inattentive drivers, crossing in the wrong place, listening to an iPod or other MP3 device, the weather or a whole assortment of other facts. Lombardi Law Firm explores the many facets of pedestrian accidents. Come join us. Clients may contact us at 515-222-1110 or sdlombardi@aol.com.

Professional Licensure Defense for Doctors, Dentists, Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners and Nurses

We assist the medical, dental, pharmacist, nurses and veterinary professionals with defense in civil matters having to do with the Iowa Board of Medicine and all other licensing boards. Call for a consultation.

Property or Real Estate related Injuries leading to Serious Injury or Death

If you’re injury or death case happened (caused) on property (real estate) you need to get a qualified legal opinion that will result in a successful insurance claim and lawsuit settlement or verdict. You need a lawyer on your side that is licensed as a lawyer and licensed as a real estate broker. As a lawyer with a client, but who doesn’t practice in this area full time you need direction and a lawyer who can act as co-counsel. We handle referral work all over Iowa and pay thousands of dollars in referral fees to Iowa’s rural practice lawyers. If you’re not sure there is a case call or email Attorney Lombardi and find out; this consultation is usually free of charge. 515-222-1110 or sdlombardi@aol.com

 

OWI-CDL Lawyers

Without a CDL you can operate. As a truck driver in Iowa an OWI can cost you dearly. Call these OWI-CDL Lawyers for HELP.

Unemployment Benefits in Iowa

If you’re unemployed or partially unemployed and are looking for an attorney to help you get the unemployment compensation you need, the Lombardi Law Firm is here to help.  Based in Polk County, Iowa, lawyers Stephen Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer practice statewide and are prepared to guide you through the difficult process of getting unemployment insurance benefits.

Where can you find legal help with your Iowa unemployment insurance claim? The Lombardi Law Firm is here for you. Call Steve and Katrina at 515-222-1110. 

Whistleblowers / Financially Ripped Off?

Financial crime has increased in America. The amount of retirement funds saved along with government fostering a gambling mentality has creating an environment where greed seems acceptable. Working people, honest people, young adults and the elderly need to be on the lookout to save their hard earned savings and to protect their futures. Join us with the Lombardi Law Firm as we create depository of blog posts that are all about financial rip-off stories that are in the news.

Workers' Compensation

If an individual is injured while on the job, he or she is entitled to worker’s compensation to pay the medical expenses and help cover a percentage of lost pay from mandatory time off. Although the process is relatively simple, getting the full value of your claim is a time-consuming and potentially complicated issue.

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Steve Lombardi
Iowa civil trial, workers' compensation and personal injury lawyer