Coal Company Bankruptcy

It is simply the circle of life; businesses are born, they grow, they have their ups and downs, and sometimes they fail. While personal bankruptcy is a tragedy for anyone, when a business goes belly-up it could negatively impact hundreds of employees. The only way to counteract this is for new businesses to come in and take the place of the old. In St. Louis, a coal company is experiencing heavy losses and may file for bankruptcy, and if it fails to restructure and pay off its debts, new energy companies will need to fill the gap.

According to an article in St. Louis Today, a major energy company, Armstrong Energy, is considering filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is primarily a coal supplier that runs five mines in Kentucky, and in 2016 the mines produced nearly six million tons of coal. Armstrong provides heat and electricity to huge portions of southern Illinois and Indiana, so a bankruptcy could be a huge blow to all of their customers. Armstrong reported a whopping $17.2 million loss in the second quarter, and this is on top of failing to make an $11.75 million interest payment in June. This follows a disturbing trend, as in 2016 two other coal companies filed for chapter 11, Arch Coal and Peabody, also headquartered in St. Louis. The reason that these companies are failing is because of increased competition from natural gas companies that are offering cleaner and cheaper energy alternatives. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows these companies to “restructure” and get their finances in order without worrying about having to pay creditors back for a short period of time.

There are many options in the St. Louis area for those considering bankruptcy. For individuals and families, The Powderly Law Firm, L.L.C can assist with either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. For huge corporations, however, the chapter 11 process is a lot more difficult and requires multiple lawyers and sometimes even multiple firms. “Restructuring” may involve mass layoffs, and even after the debt is repaid the company may still fail if their financial model is not stable. The losses experienced by Armstrong are not new, and it may be time to reevaluate whether or not coal plants are a viable energy source moving forward. The losses in St. Louis and in Kentucky, where the mines are, will be devastating. In order to save these states, new industries will have to come in to take their place.

In the face of climate change, new energy sources are constantly being researched. Natural gas is pushing out coal due to being cleaner and better for the atmosphere, but the methods to extract this energy from the earth are very controversial. It is also not known how long we can sustain ourselves on natural gas, so I think that a push towards wind, solar, and hydroelectric power is the only way forward.

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Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment is one of the last things you want in the workplace. You already have a lot to do and you don’t want to be brought down by such a thing. But sadly, harassment in the workplace still persists, mainly because employers don’t do enough to prevent it and some employees just want to do harm to others.

The website, however, mentions that those who have experienced discriminatory behavior, including harassment, in the workplace, may have legal options. But how can harassment manifest in the workplace?

Physical Harassment

Harassment happens when an employee has received unwelcome behaviors, usually involving harm or threat of harm. Usually, an employee receives these behaviors because of his age, ethnicity, gender preference, race, religion, and sex.

The most common form of physical harassment is sexual, wherein an employee is receiving unwanted sexual advances or is being exposed to sexual contents or gestures that have the intention to gratify the sexual needs of the harasser or offend the harassed.

Another common form of harassment is violence, either through threat of harm or outright assault. This violence can be as mild as shoving, moderate as fist fighting, and severe as murdering and raping.

Emotional Harassment

Emotional harassment may be harder to prove, because it usually doesn’t leave behind physical evidence, unlike physical harassment that often results into injuries. But it can be argued that emotional harassment can be considered worse, because of the detrimental effects on the victim’s psyche.

Like physical harassment, emotional harassment is received by an employee typically because of his age, ethnicity, gender preference, race, religion, and sex.

One of the most common forms of emotional harassment is bullying, wherein an employee is consistently targeted with behavior that is meant to intimidate him or mock his features. This is particularly common on persons with disabilities, mainly because they often cannot fight for themselves and may be too limited to approach management and explain the situation.

Other forms of emotional harassment include backstabbing, defamation, exclusion, sabotage, and suspiciously excessive criticism.

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cruise ship slip and fall injury attorney Louis A. Vucci, PA

A holiday vacation onboard a cruise liner is supposed to be a perfect getaway from the stress and the monotonous everyday life. A vacation boat itself, today’s cruise ship is designed like a mini city due to its complete and modern facilities. Quite better than a city, actually, because besides providing quality entertainment and luxurious comfort at very affordable costs, all possible source of fun and excitement have been built in and on it. But while total fun is never an issue while onboard a cruise ship, authorities remain concerned on the safety of the passengers, especially when an accident occurs while out at sea.

Floors becoming slippery due to sea the breeze, ship fire, the ship running aground or colliding with another vessel, rogue waves or a storm, etc., can often turn a great adventure into a nightmare. Another worse scenario is that when something wrong happens, passengers have very limited places to run to for safety.

Due to reports of different sea tragedies during the past years, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) enforced strict compliance with all international flag and port standards, requirements and guidelines to ensure the safety and security of each passenger. Plus, the Safe Return to Port requirement, which all cruise ships built starting 2010 should meet, has also been mandated. This requirement specifically states that the ship, despite an accident, ought to be able to carry all passengers safely back to port, and that all crew members, especially the medical personnel, should be able to skillfully handle all emergency situations.

Cruise ship lawyer Louis A. Vucci, PA, emphasizes the duty and responsibility of the cruise ship staff in making sure that passengers are safe from any risk of injury; this includes the presence of well-trained medical personnel that should be able to provide the medical assistance needed by the passengers.

Despite the laws governing cruise ships, however, accidents still occur and injuries are still often sustained due to the negligence of many crew members. While no crew member would definitely want a passenger to sustain an injury, being neglectful in his/her administrative duties cannot just go unpunished and be without any legal obligation to the injured. Thus, in the event of an injury, consulting with a highly-trained cruise ship injury lawyer will certainly be to the benefit of the injured victim.

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Motorcycle Accidents: Common Causes and Contributing Factors

Anyone who has had the experiencing of riding a motorcycle will be well aware of the many ways it can prove to be a fast and effective way to travel. On the flip side, these experienced motorcyclists would also be familiar with the many risks involved in using motorcycles on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle accidents lead to 30 times more deaths than traffic crashes that involve regular passenger vehicles. Collisions between cars and motorcycles are particularly deadly, given the discrepancy between these two different vehicles in terms of size, speed, and safety features.

There are a number of different factors that contribute to the recurrence of motorcycle accidents in roads all over America. Because of a motorcycle’s size, drivers that become momentarily distracted may take their eyes off the road for a second and miss a motorcyclist giving proper signal before they make a turn or merge into traffic. The lack of any protective chassis around a motorcycle can also cause riders to easily fall or become unseated by even the most minor of collisions. A simple fender bender between two cars can lead to neck and back injuries for an individual riding a motorcycle. It’s also common for motorcyclists to collide with open car doors in busy streets where people typically park their vehicles. These open door collisions can be mitigated and avoided by both motorcyclists and car owners. While car owners are encouraged to keep the doors of their vehicles closed while parked, individuals riding motorcycles should take extra care and maintain a safe speed while navigating down these roads.

Most traffic accidents can be avoided by following good safety practices on the road. Still, for some individuals, the effort to follow traffic laws and regulations won’t matter if they end up sharing the way with a negligent and reckless driver. If you should find yourself in a motorcycle accident despite taking care to mitigate certain risks, the best course of action might be to consult with accident attorneys that can help you learn more about your options.

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Construction Equipment Malfunctions and Workers’ Compensation

Working on a construction site comes with many hazards, and accidents have the potential to do serious damage. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one-fifth of worker deaths occur in construction accidents each year. In such a hazardous environment, workers expect that their equipment will operate properly and safely. When heavy machinery malfunctions, construction workers can suffer serious injury or death.

Heavy-duty construction equipment such as cranes, forklifts, scaffolding, excavation equipment, trucks, and welding equipment can malfunction for a variety of reasons, some of which are the fault of the manufacturer and some of which are the fault of the operator or maintainer. Power tools can also malfunction due to a defect or failure to follow safety procedures, causing burns, electrocutions, or other accidents. The most common causes of malfunctioning construction equipment are:

  • Improper operation or operator error
  • Failure to properly maintain equipment
  • Defective equipment
  • Use of equipment beyond its designed purpose

Two of the most devastating construction accidents include crane collapse and scaffolding collapse. Scaffolding and cranes are typically several stories high and can crush workers with several tons of metal. If death doesn’t occur, victims may experience devastating injuries including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, lacerations, broken bones, or internal organ damage. Beyond the physical bodily harm caused by the accident, victims may experience financial devastation and psychological trauma affecting their relationships and ability to work.

Employees injured in a machinery malfunction may be entitled to workers’ compensation. According to Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, victims can pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and psychological trauma. They may also be entitled to file product liability claims if the manufacturer is at fault for selling defective equipment. However, claims involving equipment malfunctions can be complicated. Legal teams must investigate the machinery, gather physical evidence, research occupational safety regulations, and analyze common practices.

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